My family’s excited. The postman just delivered a package from Disney Movie Club—three DVDs we bought for $10 each. Granted, these aren’t the most recent Disney DVD releases, like The Great Mouse Detective or The Princess and the Frog, however, they are still a great deal at that price. We picked up Darby O’Gill and the Little People, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Great Muppet Caper. But that’s one of the things that we really like about the Disney Movie Club, the chance to get some older, harder (or impossible) to find titles.
We’ve been Disney Movie Club members for about four years now. It’s given us a chance to get some great deals on Disney DVDs, but it may not be for everyone. The big draw for us, as I’m sure Disney intended, was the initial offer of something like, “Five DVDs for $1.99 each!” and then in smaller print, “plus shipping and handling, with purchase of one DVD at regular price and membership agreement.” Normal price seems to usually be $19.95, comparable to what we find at our local Wal-Mart or Target.
So in our initial order, we got five movies for less than $2 each, we paid $11.95 for one movie, which counted towards our minimum purchase agreement, and got another for $8.95. In all, we received seven movies for about $31, plus shipping and handling. We ended up paying about $5 a movie, on average. And we had almost the full catalog of Disney titles to choose from. Our choices included the latest releases, including the Pixar titles, classic titles that my wife and I fondly remember, TV collections from Disney Channel and Toon Disney, as well as “adult” titles from Disney’s subsidiaries, such as Miramax and Touchstone.
After this initial order, we were committed to ordering three more DVDs within the next two years at the regular club price of $19.95 or more. The Disney Movie Club has titles for less than that amount, but they don’t count towards your purchase agreement.
You’re probably familiar with how this sort of club proceeds from here. To help us meet our commitment, Disney has a feature title every month. They send you information in the mail, announcing that month’s featured title, plus any specials they’re having. You can decline the featured title by sending the card back with the “Decline” box checked, by calling a toll-free number, or online. If you do nothing, the title automatically ships and your credit card is billed.
This is the negative point about Disney Movie Club. You have to stay up on the monthly offer and make sure to decline it if you don’t want the movie. This isn’t as big a deal as it was when I was in a record club in pre-internet days. It’s a simple matter to log onto the Disney Movie Club website and decline the monthly feature. If you forget, you can send the unopened DVD back for a refund, but you have to pay the return postage.
We generally fulfilled our initial commitment by declining the featured title, which is usually Disney’s most recent DVD release. I’ve found that at our local Target stores (and I’m presuming it’s this way nationwide), Tuesday is the release date for new DVDs and for that first week, Target has the new releases on sale for 15-20% off; that is, a DVD normally priced at $20 for $16 or $17. So we would normally buy Disney’s latest release at Target during its first week and use our Disney Movie Club account to order harder to find titles, like Tailspin or Bill Nye the Science Guy.
That, to me, is the greatest advantage of Disney Movie Club. You can buy hard to find titles, and there are some that are exclusive to the Club. You can’t get movies that Disney has “in the vault,” but the Club has some of the great live-action movies that my wife and I remember seeing in either the theater or on Wonderful World of Disney.
Another advantage of the Club is the occasional sales, usually along the lines of “Buy one movie at regular price, get another at 40% (or 50%) off.” Less often, they have a sale like we just took advantage of, where select DVDs were $10 each, provided that you ordered at least two.
Once you meet your commitment, you enjoy “VIP” status. This involves special sales and merchandise. For example, today’s VIP special is The Aristocats for $15, with no other purchase required. There’s also a special VIP-only sale of buy one DVD at regular price, get a second for 60% off. The Club also has special trading pins available for VIP members to purchase.
Our experience with the Disney Movie Club has been a good one. By carefully picking out the movies we paid full price for and taking advantage of sales, I feel like we’ve saved money through our membership. We’ve only received an unwanted movie once, and that was because I forgot to decline it. I returned it with no hassle from Disney, and was only out the cost of return postage.
Another program fans of Disney movies should be aware of is Disney Movie Rewards. Unlike the Disney Movie Club, this involves no commitment, no purchase. As its name implies, it’s simply a loyalty rewards program. Once you create an account at the website, www.disneymovierewards.com, you can log in and enter the code found in the inserts of your Disney DVD (or Blue-ray). These are worth points, usually 100 each, but sometimes as low as 75 or as high as 125. As your points build up, you can redeem them for various rewards, such as DVDs, sticker sheets, MP3 players, and vouchers for movie tickets.
So far, all we’ve chosen for our rewards has been DVDs, mainly because they’re something the whole family can enjoy. Granted, the DVD selection is limited, and you’re not going to find any recent releases. But we’ve picked up some of the classic Disney films like Kidnapped!, Robin Hood (the 1950’s live-action version, not the one with the fox), and So Dear to My Heart for free.
You can also get points by mailing in ticket stubs (up to four) for Disney movies seen at the theater for 50 points per ticket. This allows for “double-dipping.” You can see the movie at the theater and submit your stubs for up to 200 points, then buy the movie when it’s released on DVD and collect another 100 points. There are also occasional surveys or “scavenger hunts” for points or gift points for you. If you see and buy Disney movies like we do, the points add up quickly.
One of my favorite things to do with these programs is to use them together for a synergistic effect. For example, each of the three movies I just received via Disney Movie Club had a code inside of it. I entered these three codes in Disney Movie Rewards for a total of 250 additional points. Sometimes, the movie you receive from redeeming your Disney Movie Rewards points has a code which allows you to “recoup” some of the points expended on it.
Any fan of Disney movies, especially the classic ones from back in Walt’s day, should be aware of these two programs. The way my family sees it, since we’re going to be buying these movies anyway, these programs are a great way to maximize the value.
Contributed by: Mark (NDD #102). Mark is our resident “how to save money while living the Disney Driven Life” expert.