Greetings! My name is Kristen, and I’m Twenty-Three. It’s an honor to have been asked to write for Disney Driven Life and I look forward to sharing with you my love for all things Disney and the ways I continue to open up paths to the past, present, and future of the Disney Company.
As a child, my first introduction to Disney Clubs (not on TV), was the Magic Kingdom Club. The Magic Kingdom Club offered exclusive vacation plans, special ticket media, reduced golf and tennis, as well as special savings on meals and accommodations. The program was started as a benefit for corporations that would like to give added value to their employees. My aunt had had a membership through her job in the late 1970’s as I was growing up. Then, when I joined the Navy in 1989, I gleefully received my first card. It wasn’t really designed as anything extraordinary for the fans, but it gave me a little more access to information and discounts. A few years later I discovered Gold Membership and its wonderful subscription to Disney Magazine and converted my membership status. But, in 2000 the fun was over and I mourned the loss of my Magic Kingdom Club, especially its subscription Disney Magazine. For nearly a decade I turned to the internet to find my up to date Disney information, and managed to find discounts on my own, but something was missing to me in no longer having that company line to turn to.
To my delight, in spring of 2009 the Disney Company made an announcement that they had created it’s “first official community for Disney fans.” The moment Bob Iger walked onto the stage of “The View” to make his announcement, I was in. This new “Club’ would be company driven, but fan focused to offer access to Disneyana like never before. The number 23 honors the year 1923, in which Walt Disney left Kansas behind and said hello to Hollywood, where he founded Disney Studios. It embodies the spirit of Walt setting forth to make the magic real for millions of people around the world. It embodies the spirit of the Disney fan community and our never ending love for all aspects of things Disney.
Currently there are two levels of D23 membership available to the public. All Members receive a membership card and personalized membership certificate. There’s a collectible gift from the Walt Disney Archives Collection. Members have the exciting opportunity to attend exclusive member-only events and purchase merchandise. Access to discounts and offers around the resorts and in some cases across the country was added in 2010. Gold members will get the fabulous “Disney twenty-three” Quarterly Publication mailed to their home. Plus, Disney fans everywhere can access the D23 Web site to stay connected to the latest Disney and D23 news. At the time of this post Gold membership is $74.99 a year, and Silver membership is $34.99 a year.
When the announcement was first made last year, I saw many fans on the internet moan and groan that they didn’t need to pay $80 a year to belong to the “official” fan club. For all of their valid reasons, I just didn’t care. D23 was another chance for my inner fan girl to let loose, and another way to be connected to the magic even when stuck at home. Now, in the middle of the community’s second year, D23 has grown to have tens of thousands of members spanning the globe. With the stunning success of the first D23 Expo and the numerous special events already held, fans are signing up to join D23 and looking forward to another year of exciting special events, from studio tours and movie premiers, to the ultimate D23 Expo.
I giggle with delight when the quarterly D23 magazine arrives in the mail. Not only do I know that it will be full of wonderful Disney information about the past, present, and future of the company; but frequently I find collectible treats tucked inside. It can be tough to live far away from the magic of Disney Resorts. Vacations may only come once in awhile, and are never long enough. However, every time I open the pages of my quarterly D23 Magazine, I’m transported into another place, and the whole Kingdom is mine. These days, as my kids near adulthood, I tend to bemoan getting older and older; but my family just laughs and says “Don’t worry mom, you’ll be 23 Forever.”
Contributed by: Kristen K. (NDM #252). Kristen is our resident D23 expert and creator of The DVC Mom Blog