Disney’s official fan club, D23, has a tough job. It must represent and service a large swath of the Disney fan community. Given the scope of the company’s history, recent acquisitions, and ever changing nature of the theme parks, this is a near impossible task. However, they are very committed to trying.
The 2017 slate of events will delight Disney fans across the country as it serves up something special for both young and young-at-heart. Here are a few highlights and preliminary calendar for D23 events in 2017:
Screenings on the Disney Studio Lot and at Walt Disney World Resort: Throughout the year, D23 will once again offer special screenings on both coasts of classic Disney favorites, including Tangled, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and more. D23 will also screen The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh exclusively for members in Orlando. Just in time for back-to-school, D23 will celebrate Disney Afternoon favorites such as DuckTales, Gummi Bears, and Chip ’n Dale Rescue Rangers, holding a screening event on the Studio lot with special guests, picture spots, and more surprises. And D23 Members will be invited to the lot for a spook-tacular Halloween screening event that will include a special exhibit from the Walt Disney Archives.
The official Walt Disney studios Tour: D23 Gold Member-exclusive tours of the historic Studio lot return, including a look inside the Walt Disney Archives and a tour of Walt Disney’s office suite. The 2.5-hour tours offer fans a unique perspective on historic moments from Disney films, television shows, and theme parks.
D23 Behind-the-scenes experiences: In January, D23 will host the first of several behind-the-scenes events at unique Disney locations, featuring special guests and gifts tailored to each experience. Following a year where members explored the Ink & Paint Department on The Walt Disney Studios lot and took an after-hours tour of the Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World Resort, there will be more surprises in store for members in 2017.
Lunch with a Disney Legend: Beginning in February, D23 brings back these exclusive luncheons with Disney luminaries, where members will meet Disney Legends and hear their fascinating stories. The events return to both Walt Disney World Resort and The Walt Disney Studios, where members have already dined with Legends such as animator Glen Keane, Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar, and voice talent Kathryn Beaumont.
Advance Screenings: Members can expect a host of exclusive, advance screenings of what are sure to be some of 2017’s most popular releases from The Walt Disney Studios. This year, D23 Members saw previews of Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Finding Dory in cities across the county, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland, and Seattle. Plus, D23 Members in Los Angeles attended the red carpet premieres of Moana and Pete’s Dragon. For those guests who don’t live in the cities where movies are screened, D23 Gold Members across the country will be selected at random to receive complimentary movie passes, which will be included in issues of Disney twenty-three, D23’s quarterly publication.
D23 Disney Fanniversary Celebration – EPCOT 35: D23 heads to the parks in honor of Epcot’s 35th anniversary. Epcot, originally announced as the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow by Walt Disney in 1966, has continued to grow and evolve over the years. D23 Members can look forward to a treasure trove of video, illustrations, and photographs to complement a host of stories, both new and old, in honor of this landmark. Plus, D23 will hold a special member event at Walt Disney World Resort in honor of the anniversary.
Signature Events: D23 will bring back foodie favorite Sip & Stroll during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and members on the West Coast will get to join the fun, as D23 debuts a new event in conjunction with Disneyland Resort’s culinary festivities. And after giving members a look inside the Walt Disney Birthplace in Chicago in 2016, D23 will return to the Windy City next year to see the tremendous progress made on the home’s restoration. Expect special holiday events on both the East and West Coasts to make the season bright.
Member Mixers: After mixing and mingling at complimentary gatherings in Seattle, Chicago, Bridgewater, N.J., and even at San Diego Comic-Con, D23 will bring more mixers to cities around the country in 2017.
D23 Expo 2017: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event returns. It’s D23’s biggest event of the year, as all of Disney’s wonderful worlds come together once again July 14–16, 2017, at the Anaheim Convention Center for three magical days of once-in-a-lifetime live performances, star-studded presentations, exclusive collectibles, and more.
Dates, ticketing information, and more D23 events will be announced throughout the year. Full details on D23’s lineup of 2017 special events can be found on the Fan Club’s website at www.D23.com/events. All events and dates are subject to change.
Current event calendar:
January 14: The Official Walt Disney Studios Tour — Presented by D23, Burbank, Calif.
January: D23 Behind-the-Scenes Experience, TBA
February 4: Tangled, Burbank, Calif.
February 11: Tangled, Walt Disney World Resort
February: Lunch with a Disney Legend: TBA, Walt Disney World Resort
April 8: The Official Walt Disney Studios Tour — Presented by D23, Burbank, Calif.
April: Lunch with a Disney Legend: TBA, Burbank, Calif.
April: D23 Behind-the-Scenes Experience, TBA
May 13: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Burbank, Calif.
May 13: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Walt Disney World Resort
May: Lunch with a Disney Legend: TBA, Walt Disney World Resort
Spring: Behind-the-Scenes Experience, Walt Disney Birthplace, Chicago
July 14–16: D23 Expo 2017, Anaheim, Calif.
August 19: “Disney Afternoon” on the Lot, Burbank, Calif.
August: Lunch with a Disney Legend: TBA, Burbank, Calif.
September 9: The Official Walt Disney Studios Tour — Presented by D23, Burbank, Calif.
September: D23 Behind-the-Scenes Experience, TBA
Fall: D23’s Disney Fanniversary: Celebrating 35 Years of Epcot (more info coming in 2017)
Fall: Sip & Stroll, Walt Disney World Resort
October 29: Halloween on the Disney Lot, Burbank, Calif.
November 18: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Walt Disney World Resort
November: Lunch with a Disney Legend: TBA, Burbank, Calif.
December: Light Up the Season with D23, Burbank, Calif.
December: D23 Holiday Event at Walt Disney World Resort
While they’re still having a hard time balancing events on the right and left coasts, I know a lot of fans in the middle of the country feel left out about some D23 events. But at least with a calendar this early, you can plan to be in SoCal or Orlando at the right time.
Are you a member of D23? What do you see as its biggest benefit?