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  1. #1

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    A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Hi folks .... I havent posted in a while, but, I was (still am? Who knows?) a charter first day member of D23. I remember being so excited to call in and join this mysterious new "official" club with great expectations, in March of 2009. A good friend did the same and we called each other to make sure we "got in" on the first day. We waited with excitement for the first expo, and attended the first Holiday screening (Christmas Carol at the El Cap) and dinner that December; I went to wonderful, once in a lifetime events like the Rocketeer screening and the Ponyo "premiere" (true, not a D23 event but D23 was the reason I got in) as well as taking friends to the Studio to see movies of our childhood 50 years later. Although there were frustrations at times, there were wonderful memories as well - which outweighed the frustrations - until the events of my third year of membership.

    I feel, like many have written about other aspects of the Disney company, that the benefits of D23 have decreased. I know its a corporation, I know the people are wonderful and committed lovers of all the unique aspects of Disney history and creativity - but I just feel like I have been taken for granted and disrespected. The way so many things were handled at the second expo; the increased prices and watered down "uniqueness" of the events, at least in my perception; and the feeling that overall there are cutbacks in offerings for the year ahead. Do these measure out quantitatively? Perhaps not - but the FEEL that way to me. And my feelings are that I am not valued, that I am taken for granted, and one thing more than any other has made me decide to put an end to my participation ....

    The screwed up, in my opinion, definition of my membership term and timing.

    I know other threads have talked about the confusion of renewal and member years so I wont repeat all the factors, but - having joined in March of 2009, there is just NO ****** way that my membership can be considered to end prior to March 2012. Yet I have stopped getting magazines; received emails of my imminent loss of membership "privileges"; not received all the "freebies" that I was supposed to. My friend was in the same boat; she made the effort to email them asking when her membership was good through. They sent her the Kermit issue but no response. Yes, I know, I know ... the subscription fulfillment process is not maintained by D23 proper, or whatever. But this has been going on for years. Who gets a watch? Who gets a journal? Who gets what when? What is a "year"? Well, that sounds clintonesque - a year is TWELVE MONTHS!!! Duh. To quote my good friend, I'm no fool, no sirree. But I have been treated like a fool, like an object, like a number - not like a member or a friend. And it is NOT up to me to make the effort to fix it, it is up to the vast, undead bureaucratic machinery to which I am but a series of digits.

    Added to that my feeling that year four will just be more of the same - not true for everyone else, perhaps, but true for me. I have been blessed with wonderful opportunities and great memories, long before D23, to have special experiences and meet wonderful creative people and castmembers, but now it all seems "been there done that". I do appreciate the creativity and thought that appear to have been put into the Smoketree ranch and Marceline events, but I cannot afford those - I just wanted basic service and respect.

    To the D23 staff, you have all my respect and sympathy - I know you are probably fighting against pressures that we, the membership, will never fully know. Expected to deliver on budget committments and member levels without the resources to acheive them, trying to share your own love for this vast empire of creativity and imagination, and its wonderful history. I have appreciated everything you have accomplished, even along with the disappointments. But, it is January 2012 and apparently I am no longer a member for 3 years after March 2009, and I dont care about another 2 months of being taken for granted. I hope for better things ahead for you all and thank you for what you tried to acheive; I suspect the continued existence of D23 depends on the next year of results and its survival remains uncertain. I wish I could support it again but I feel like I would be saying "thank you very much for using me" and I get enough of that in the rest of my life LOL!

    Good bye D23.

  2. #2

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    well said. The D23 club seems to be one of the most disorganized step child like creations of the Disney Co. I too joined excitedly the very first year - and was then totally confused as to what I was really getting for $75 - I tried and tried to get into the Studio tour but never was able and that was one of the main reasons i joined. I did not rejoin and have not missed it.

    D23 convention the first year was awesome - D23 2nd time around was a feeble and half assed replica of the first year - hardly worth the time it took to park my car. The first year I spent a few days roaming around in amazement - This year - I was in and out of there in under 5 hours and told the rest of the family - "don't bother - you've seen it"

    I'm not sure how the two are connected except by name but BOTH of these "experiences" by the same name - (The club and the convention) are unfortunately a disappointment for me at this time.
    Hidden Mickey - Tower of Terror



    Hidden Mickey's here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatzup...7623565921220/
    Check out my Wal't Apartment tour here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatzup/sets/72157625183415995/

  3. #3

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Why wouldn't you just call Disney guest services, or scan your membership card with the expiration date, and explain this to Disney rather than take to the boards to complain? Maybe, if you let them know, they would fix things for you.

  4. #4

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Quote Originally Posted by EC82 View Post
    Why wouldn't you just call Disney guest services, or scan your membership card with the expiration date, and explain this to Disney rather than take to the boards to complain? Maybe, if you let them know, they would fix things for you.
    Thanks EC82, I agree completely. I too am a charter member, and I have to say that D23 hasn't always been as easy as I'd like. But, on the occasion that I have had complaints or problems, I have found guest services very responsive and will to help fix problems. As far as events, I discovered early on, that if you really want to attend something, you have to plan ahead. Things like the Studio tours, you have to be on the site ready to go before the tickets go on sale, otherwise not much luck will be had. The D23 Expos where a bit of a disappointment, and I think there still needs to be some serious effort in planning these out. But, I have had fun at each one, and really enjoyed meet Disney fans like myself.

    All in all, I am quite satisfied with my membership, and will continue to renew as long as I can afford it.

    I personally think D23 is underfunded, and suspect that may be a deliberate thing. Disney could easily dump tons of money into a flashy club, and blow the others out of existence. Instead I think they are trying to supplement the other fan based organizations and control the Disney message a little better. As can be readily seen on this and other fan sites, the Disney organization is properly one of the most micro-analyzed companies in existence.

    Everyone needs to remember something that even Walt himself knew... Disney is a for profit company, and beholding to its stockholder. Not everything they don't is going to be immediately successful, or successful at all.

    Just a couple of pennies into the pond.

  5. #5

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    I understand much of how you feel about the benefits of the membership. I, as well, am a Charter DAY member of the club...the best things about the club that I experienced were the Surprise Charter Day pin (which always gets comments from people when worn), the "UP" All Night event (what a fun event, and it was great to get to see Up before the general public!), the 1st Anniversary party at Disneyland (what a GREAT night! although the 2nd anniversary was pretty pathetic), the Disney Studio Tour (yes, I had to make my reservation asap when they opened up), and the 1st Expo (although the 2nd was a disappointment, I thought they would make improvements to the terrible line situation and it actually got a lot worse).

    I understand your decision, but I feel that I have gotten enough to justify the membership...so far. I've seen some downhill changes (1st Expo vs. 2nd Expo; 1st Anniversary vs. 2nd Anniversary; UP Preview Screening vs. anything similar); But I will hope for the best, as I said, for now....

  6. #6

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    You are a better man than I Gunga Din,
    We too were charter members and had NOTHING but problems, the membership was late (it was supposed to be a gift).I had problems registering for the 1st D23.,and practically had to have a email tantrum in order to get my passes for the Disney Museum preview. As the person who said call guest services, they really don't know who to contact and frankly don't want to hear about d23 problems. So we took a year off from a membership hoping that things would change. We took the $35 dollar membership and went in with greatly lowered expectations..even then we were disappointed. We were frustrated by the disorganization of the last D23 (what we saw of it). We didn't even try to get into the smaller events (why be frustrated for nothing). After all this we still renewed our membership. I guess we are just gluttons for punishment.

  7. #7

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Thanks for the post and the thread, JiminyCEsq. A charter year member myself (I signed on Day 2 darnit!), last month I lost my job and I found myself on the fence between deciding to renew my membership another year or letting it lapse. I have yet to renew it and now reading your post, I find myself empathizing with the feelings you expressed. As a Disney fan, I would normally automatically renew like a good Disney fan. But the passion to join for another year just wasn't there this time. Looking back, I got a fair amount of fun and exciting opportunities (including a free Studio/Archives tour) during my membership. Perhaps it's me and now I'm a jaded Disney fan/D23 member, feeling over three years, it's sort of a "been there done that" attitude, with nothing really new, strikingly appealing, or exciting on the horizon worth the cost of admission for D23 Year 4. Or it's closer to what feelings you described. But certainly, reading your post has crystallized my decision to not renew and feel content about it. However, I may join again next year when D23 Expo is expected to return.

  8. #8

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Hi all,
    I'm in no way strongly supporting D23, but I think the club is great for Disney fans and those that live close to Anaheim or Orlando.
    I too was a Charter Member the first year, but then let my membership lapse. Why? Because I live in Washington State and only get down to DL once a year, and DW every 3 years or so.
    But, I still to this day love my free Studio Tour my wife and I got to participate in. How else would I have gotten a tour by the VIP tour guide who gave tours to celebrities and executives over the years. As well as a tour of the Archives by Mr. Dave Smith!!!!
    In fact, my wife and I made a whole trip down to California a studio tour trip without the kids. In addition to the Disney Studios, we visited Universal Studios, and got to walk the WB lot to see a taping of Two and 1/2 men--prior to Charlie's meltdown. It was a blast!
    Sure I miss the D23 magazine with freebies. Although I will purchase the D23 mag at my local supermarket from time to time and purchase the membership freebies off of ebay if I like them.
    I would still be a member to this day, if I lived in Anaheim and could take part in all of the fun activities planned.
    So for what it's worth, I definately saw the value in D23. It just wasn't for those of us who lived so far away.

  9. #9

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonk5 View Post
    Hi all,
    I'm in no way strongly supporting D23, but I think the club is great for Disney fans and those that live close to Anaheim or Orlando.
    I too was a Charter Member the first year, but then let my membership lapse. Why? Because I live in Washington State and only get down to DL once a year, and DW every 3 years or so.
    But, I still to this day love my free Studio Tour my wife and I got to participate in. How else would I have gotten a tour by the VIP tour guide who gave tours to celebrities and executives over the years. As well as a tour of the Archives by Mr. Dave Smith!!!!
    In fact, my wife and I made a whole trip down to California a studio tour trip without the kids. In addition to the Disney Studios, we visited Universal Studios, and got to walk the WB lot to see a taping of Two and 1/2 men--prior to Charlie's meltdown. It was a blast!
    Sure I miss the D23 magazine with freebies. Although I will purchase the D23 mag at my local supermarket from time to time and purchase the membership freebies off of ebay if I like them.
    I would still be a member to this day, if I lived in Anaheim and could take part in all of the fun activities planned.
    So for what it's worth, I definately saw the value in D23. It just wasn't for those of us who lived so far away.
    That free tour is now $60
    Mike



  10. #10

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    I can understand your frustrations and why you feel D23 is no longer worth it to you. I'm also a first day charter member and got the dreaded 'You're Expired" thing in the issue before the Muppets. I wrote to D23 on their contact form and was amazed that I had fast personal responses (this has been a BIG complaint by me...soo didfficult to just ask a simple question.) I think they have truly listened on this front and have improved greatly. I had never gotten the Journal and figured the watch was the gift, but after my email I got the journal. I was also assured my Muppet issue would come, and it took 3 emails, but it finally arrived. I had purchased a card to renew my Gold membership at the Expo (you got a great print by Stacia..uh..whatever her last name is) and just renewed, looking forward to getting the calendar. I don't live close, but make the effort to attend the 'biggies' both Expos, Destination D Disneyland and hopefully the Destination D this August. I can kind of see what you mean by the 'been there done that'. The first Expo was so amazing, I think because it had never been done before..we never had access to Imagineers and got to see them in person, but this Expo had amazing highlights as well..Loved the extra Pixar emphasis, Dick VanDyke and so much more. Yes, this Expo had SERIOUS problems but I'm hopeful much has been learned and they will continue to work on improving the club. I still love my membership and all it has afforded me to do and see and I look forward to many more years with D23.

  11. #11

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonk5 View Post
    ...but I think the club is great for Disney fans and those that live close to Anaheim or Orlando.
    Charter Year member here (also a day 2 member). I totally disagree about it being good for Orlando. I think people near WDW get the shaft and are second-class citizens for D23, which is a shame, because there is so much more to do at WDW with the amount of parks and space.

    I'm also a Premier Passport holder from Seattle who goes to both parks and I have to say that I am also VERY disappointed in how they just don't do much outside of L.A. Sure, 2012 they are starting to add a few things in different cities, but honestly it's a joke.

    Why not a D23 day at local Disney Stores so members get 30% for a day, a special limited pin, and a cupcake or something?

    What about a D23 traveling tour of some sort?

    Or how about D23 members get more in-park discounts beyond the crap ones they give now?

    Or maybe exclusive D23 contests and prizes?

    Just my thoughts...

  12. #12

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Quote Originally Posted by ethanwa View Post
    Charter Year member here (also a day 2 member). I totally disagree about it being good for Orlando. I think people near WDW get the shaft and are second-class citizens for D23, which is a shame, because there is so much more to do at WDW with the amount of parks and space.

    I'm also a Premier Passport holder from Seattle who goes to both parks and I have to say that I am also VERY disappointed in how they just don't do much outside of L.A. Sure, 2012 they are starting to add a few things in different cities, but honestly it's a joke.

    Why not a D23 day at local Disney Stores so members get 30% for a day, a special limited pin, and a cupcake or something?

    What about a D23 traveling tour of some sort?

    Or how about D23 members get more in-park discounts beyond the crap ones they give now?

    Or maybe exclusive D23 contests and prizes?

    Just my thoughts...

    You mean like the "Fanniversary" traveling tour that they announced for this year, going to six cities?

    There have been D23 contests, and I'm sure there will be more.

    As for in-park discounts, you should probably ask the Parks for that, not D23. There is so much political in-fighting at Disney it makes the mind boggle, but no doubt this is one of those things where the Parks are being highly territorial instead of doing what is right for the Disney brand overall.

    I don't think about my D23 membership much but when I do, I am very glad to be a member.

  13. #13

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    Quote Originally Posted by EC82 View Post
    I don't think about my D23 membership much but when I do, I am very glad to be a member.

    same here.... same here!

  14. #14

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    I understand the disappointment some have experienced. I have had mostly excellent experiences since joining on day one. I have been able to attend almost every D23 event I wanted to. As for renewals I have had no problems. Like most units of Disney, D23 is willing to take my money willingly and then thank me. I don't time the delivery of every issue and as long as they arrive I am happy. I live in So. Cal. so I have access to the events held here. I have been able to attend many events at WDW.
    Leonard
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  15. #15

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    Re: A bitter good bye to D23 from a first day member

    I received a D23 e-mail yesterday touting all of the great discounts that are available to me by being a D23 member and, you know, I pretty much determined then and there that I wouldn't renew my membership again. Let's be honest, the ONLY REASON anyone belongs to D23 to begin with is because we're fans of the theme parks. Yet, D23 continues to patronize this loyal fan base by providing us with discounts to the Nixon Library and Super Shuttle...are you freaking kidding me? What a slap in the face. Cripes D23 leadership, how little pull do you actually have within the Disney organization? Can't you convince $50 million dollar/year man Bob Iger to mandate a 5% discount on admission tickets or at least a 10% discount at a World of Disney store to D23 members. I remember him talking at a shareholder's meeting about the incredible "personal connection" this new club would make with the Disney fan base... "D23 is our way of saying 'thank you' and celebrating our fans, who bring the magic of Disney come to life every day in every corner of the world." Well Bob, if you're saying thank you to me I currently don't feel very compelled to say "you're welcome" because you're saying it with the sincerity of a freckle faced teenager at my local Taco Bell drive through.

    At least the Magic Kingdom Club made an attempt to entice its members to visit the parks by offering special ticket books. The reality is that D23 seems to take the loyal theme park fan base for granted and I think that, over time, this discretionary investment simply won't continue to be justified by households that frequent the parks. I have a D23 membership card that I don't actually have in my wallet anymore because it is essentially worthless (especially inside a Disney park) since my Premium annual pass already puts the available D23 discounts to shame. Honestly, wouldn't you think this club would offer it's loyalest fans at least a break on annual passes - we're the die hard aficionados, right?

    I do feel compelled to applaud the Disney Vacation Club business unit for recognizing that their members buy into DVC because they are hooked on the parks. DVC offers its members a plethora of discounts in practically every theme park restaurant at WDW and DLR not to mention a discount on annual passes. Why is it so difficult for D23 to be commensurate with them? I suggest you save your renewals and purchase into DVC, they know how to "thank" their members.

    I'm sure the D23 staff reviews this thread so be on the look out for a decrease (at least by one) in your top-tier membership renewal revenue.
    Last edited by Disney_Wrestler; 01-25-2012 at 10:05 AM. Reason: correction

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