Tuesday, August 11, 2009

D23 Offers Benefits, Not Entitlements

Tickets to a sneak preview of the Walt Disney Family Museum came and went in a flash last Wednesday as D23 members clamored for the highly-anticipated ducats. Available on the museum's website with a special D23 activation code, they were gone in less than ten minutes.

And that's when the bitching and whining started . . . again.

It's a familiar scenario. D23 makes free tickets available to a special event like a Walt Disney Studios tour or a meet-and-greet with Disney imagineers and historians. Demand far exceeds supply and then, POOF, a handful of lucky members get a wish fulfilled and a bunch more just get pissed off.

A sample of comments on the Walt Disney Family Museum's Facebook page after the tickets were gone:

"I paid $80 for a magazine subscription. Way to keep Walt's dream alive."

"Yeah... this was CLEARLY not thought out very well. D23 & the WDFM really dropped the ball this time."

"It's impossible to get into any of the D23 events. I joined for the first year to see how it would be. So far it has been a huge disappointment."

"D23 has been a HUGE waste of money! My guess is they won't be around 5 years from now."

Tops among the frustrations this time around were error messages received on the WDFM website when people attempted to place their orders. It was clearly a case of an overwhelmed server unable to handle this sudden glut of traffic. Ever try to be the tenth caller to win concert tickets from your favorite radio station? That error message was your busy signal. So what do you do? You hang up and try again. I did--four times--before I finally got through. I have my tickets for the early afternoon on September 26th.

If I hadn't been fortunate enough to get tickets, would I have been disappointed? Absolutely. There's nothing wrong with that. But I wouldn't have blamed Disney, D23 or the WDFM for it, because, in the end, I still had the exact same chance to get tickets as any other D23 member. There were just more members than there were tickets, plain and simple.

There is an annoying sense of entitlement shared by some D23 members. I would remind them, and any person considering joining, to read what membership in the club actually includes: a subscription to "twenty three" magazine, a membership card and certificate, a "surprise gift", discounted admission to the D23 Expo, and, finally, "unique special event opportunities throughout the year" (highlight added by me). There is no promise that D23 will just hand you tickets to any event. So before signing up or renewing your membership, you need to decide if the 75 bucks it costs is worth the "opportunity" to attend these events. Personally, I think it is.

As a side note, the WDFM posted on Facebook that, contrary to what the rumor mill was saying, additional preview tickets for D23 members will NOT be available. There were still a handful of unclaimed tickets for museum members only around 3:00 yesterday afternoon, but I wouldn't expect them to last long.

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