Disney Movie Club

Recently I got some junk mail inviting me to join the Disney Movie Club, which has about the same business model as Columbia Record Club had for LP records. You get some free movies up front, have “opportunities” to buy movies every month (they ship and bill you for them unless you say no), and have to buy a few movies at full price later. The deal I got in the mail had you getting 5 movies up front and you had to buy 4 more, but if you bought one at half price now, you only had to buy 3 more at full price. I researched it and found a deal where I only had to buy 3 more, or 2 if you bought one now. For the most part the selections included whatever movies Disney currently has on DVD (they intentionally take older titles out of production, putting them back “in the vault” so that people will snap them up when they re-release them later; also some titles are for members only and not available in the initial enrollment), plus Disney properties like Pixar, and including some live action movies like Marvel and some other ones. I have a lot of Disney and Pixar movies already, but it seemed like I could come up with 9 movies total that would cost $90 grand total. $10 each for Bluray movies is pretty good, and they often include a DVD copy and a digital download so you can add it to iTunes and play on your computer or other devices. So I decided to do that. And once you buy your movies at full price, you can cancel your membership and do it all over again if you want even more movies.

If you want to join, click the link below and then make sure you enter the promo code at the bottom of the page (use 50503 to also get a free Dory blanket, alternatively use 50821 to get a free Moana blanket) to get the best deal:

Since I have most of the Pixar movies already, I was more focused on picking through Disney movies. I already have two big ones: Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast from the “Disney Renaissance” of the 1990’s when Disney animated movies got good again. In the 2000’s, they tried some new directions with not very good results before getting to some movies that I liked, like Meet the Robinsons and Bolt, before hitting it big again with Frozen in 2013. Lately, Big Hero 6 and this year’s Zootopia have gotten some good reviews, but I had not seen them. Meanwhile, DreamWorks and others are also doing animated movies all the time, as well as Pixar, and some others, so there really are a ton of animated movies coming out, enough that 5 are nominated for an Oscar category of best animated feature.

But there is something about the classic Disney studio movies, starting with the first feature length movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, way back in 1937. Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi all came out in the early 1940’s before a wartime lull. The 1950’s saw another good run with Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty. Things got more sporadic in the 1960’s with the only standouts being 101 Dalmations and The Jungle Book, and then went downhill with cheaper animation and less frequent movies (Disney was doing more live action movies) for the rest of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s until the renaissance began in 1989 with The Little Mermaid. I’ve never seen half of these. I remember seeing Robin Hood, with all of the characters portrayed by animals when it came out. I think we saw Aristocats, but I was probably a little young to remember it. And I remember seeing what must have been re-releases of The Jungle Book, Bambi, and The Sword in the Stone.

Anyway, I was able to pick out a few movies for my Disney Movie Club picks by picking Bolt and Meet the Robinsons, which I had seen and liked, as well as a special edition of Aladdin even though I have it on DVD already. I also got Pixar’s Wall-E which I liked, but not as much as some and had never gotten it on disk. On blind faith, I went ahead and ordered Zootopia and Big Hero 6 and, since they have a special edition and I had never seen the original, Snow White. Now I only have to buy two more, and one of those could easily be this year’s Pixar offering Finding Dory. I could wait for more things to come out or pore over the older movies and see if there is something I should get, so that got me going back and looking at how the whole catalog of Disney animated movies stacks up, which I will write about later, but to start with here are all of the Disney animated movies. This doesn’t include movies that are partially live action like Mary Poppins or Song of the South. That doesn’t matter when picking a movie to buy, maybe, but when people rank the movies, they all need to be working off of the same list, so here it is, the Disney animated movie canon:

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  • Pinocchio (1940)
  • Fantasia (1940)
  • Dumbo (1941)
  • Bambi (1942)
  • Saludos Amigos (1942)
  • The Three Caballeros (1944)
  • Make Mine Music (1946)
  • Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
  • Melody Time (1948)
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
  • Cinderella (1950)
  • Alice in Wonderland (1951)
  • Peter Pan (1953)
  • Lady and the Tramp (1955)
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
  • The Sword in the Stone (1963)
  • The Jungle Book (1967)
  • The Aristocats (1970)
  • Robin Hood (1973)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
  • The Rescuers (1977)
  • The Fox and the Hound (1981)
  • The Black Cauldron (1985)
  • The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
  • Oliver & Company (1988)
  • The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • Aladdin (1992)
  • The Lion King (1994)
  • Pocahontas (1995)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
  • Hercules (1997)
  • Mulan (1998)
  • Tarzan (1999)
  • Fantasia 2000 (1999)
  • The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
  • Dinosaur (2000)
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
  • Lilo & Stitch (2002)
  • Treasure Planet (2002)
  • Brother Bear (2003)
  • Home on the Range (2004)
  • Chicken Little (2005)
  • Meet the Robinsons (2007)
  • Bolt (2008)
  • The Princess and the Frog (2009)
  • Tangled (2010)
  • Winnie the Pooh (2011)
  • Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
  • Frozen (2013)
  • Big Hero 6 (2014)
  • Zootopia (2016)
  • Moana (2016)

10 thoughts on “Disney Movie Club

  1. Pingback: Disney Movie Rankings | Ted's Blog

  2. Realized yesterday that if I redeem the codes included in each DVD at Disney Movie Rewards, I will have enough points to get another free movie, maybe two, since I already have some points from three previous purchases (Star Wars and two Pixar movies). And the free movies . . . also have codes for more points!

  3. . . . And done! They took 101 Dalmatians off of the Disney Rewards site, and it was showing as limited supply on the Movie Club site. Coming in at no. 11 on the rankings, I figured I should get that one. It comes with a DVD in addition to the Blu-ray plus a lot of extras and includes a digital download, which I can play on my tablet or computers. Then I only needed to buy one more to complete my commitment.

    I wondered why my initial shipment was still showing as processing. Fearing there might be some kind of problem with my credit card that would not resolve itself, I called customer service today. They said two of my titles were backordered and should be back in stock, but they didn’t know when. They recommended I choose alternate movies. So instead of Snow White and Zootopia, I picked The Little Mermaid (which I’ve never seen but ranked no. 3) and Alice in Wonderland (no. 17 and one which I have seen and liked; the cartoon, not the live action version). The Little Mermaid did not include a digital download whereas both of my original picks did. It was good I did all of the ranking and had movies picked out so that I was ready to go with my alternates. One reason I want to go ahead and get the shipment is to get the reward points and use them on Tarzan which is only 900 points, while a lot of other decent movies are more like 1200-2000 points, preventing me from getting two movies total from the rewards.

    I wasn’t that upset about missing Zootopia and I should probably rent it to see if I like it anyway, but I was looking forward to Snow White, which I had never seen and of course is a classic, ranking at no. 4. It is shown as limited stock, so it may not come back in stock (Disney creates artificial scarcities of its movies by taking them out of print regularly, which is why Pinocchio is $135 at Amazon right now, but it should be re-released in a couple of years). So I just went ahead and ordered Snow White as my second selection. I haven’t gotten the first movie, just the free blanket for joining. And now I’m done.

    It will probably work out best if I wait a couple of years before joining up again so I can get things that are not in print right now. I’m not sure I could pick another 8 movies that I would want to own.

  4. I got 101 Dalmations last week and the introductory shipment as well as Snow White showed up today, so I am all done. I only needed to redeem one disk’s points to get to 900 and ordered Tarzan for free at Disney Movie Rewards. So that is 10 Blu-rays for $90 total.

    It’s a little disappointing being finished. They offer some nice selections of the month and pre-orders. For instance, right now you can pre-order Finding Dory and pay only $24.95 instead of the usual $29.95 plus they throw in a lithograph (basically a postcard). Instead I used up my selections on older titles at full price with no free extras. So if I had played it more patiently, I could have paid $10 less for my 9 movies. Unfortunately, the prices they charge for movies at the club are too high to make it worth it to stay a member, but I think I will do it anyway just to see what all is coming out. Once I can pick out 7 more movies, I could cancel my current membership and sign up again with a new intro deal.

    Meanwhile I will wait a little while before I order another free movie from Disney Movie Rewards. The best choice for me would be Hunchback of Notre Dame, but it is 1200 points and does not include a digital download. Newer releases and re-releases seem to include the download version, which is a nice extra, so it is probably a good idea to only pick titles that include the download. However, they may not re-release a title for a while, so if you really want something, maybe it is just better to go ahead and get it. 6 of my 9 movies included downloads (Tarzan does too). Plus with Disney Movie Rewards (separate from Disney Movie Club) you can’t count on any particular title ever being available, certainly not for a reasonable amount of points (Cars 2, widely believed to be Pixar’s worst movie, is inexplicably priced at 1650 points; Monsters University is 2500 points). But at the club, it might be worth waiting for versions with downloads. And while a “diamond edition” or “signature edition” Blu-ray is very tempting with the extras and sometimes slipcovers (which don’t do that much for me, but some people get carried away), it’s not like the versions will get worse. Eventually there will be 4K DVD’s of these titles at even higher resolution than normal Blu-ray and there are already 3D Blu-rays available for a lot of them (if you have a 3D DVD player and TV; I don’t even know how all of that works).

  5. Every now and then Disney Movie Rewards offers double the points for a day when you redeem your codes. So I thought I would hold off on redeeming points for a double point day, but then decided that since they are offering The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I would like to get that one, and that it could go away at any time (Tarzan went away a day or two after I ordered it) and there might not be anything I would want for a while, at least not for a reasonable number of points, I should order now. So I entered points for all 8 of my Blu-rays and redeemed the 1200 points for Hunchback. That also gave me 4 digital versions of movies that came over to iTunes and which I downloaded last night.

    I looked over the selection of Disney Movie Club movies to see if I should cancel and join again, but I think it would be better to wait. Not everything available to club members is available as selection when you join the club, so you have to be careful. For instance, when you join you can get the 60th anniversary edition of Alice in Wonderland, but members can get the 65th anniversary edition which includes a digital download of the movie. The non-member club website lets you search for movies and will show results that are for members only. Also prior to joining the Movie Club, you should look and see what is available on Disney Movie Rewards so if there is something you want at a good price in points, you don’t get it from the club. And make sure you get the deal where you only have to buy 3 more movies instead of 4.

  6. I went ahead and canceled my membership in the Disney Movie Club. It was definitely a great deal. And the club itself has some good extras when you play along with their pre-orders and featured titles. Like their featured title (which they send to you automatically unless you decline) for the month is Finding Dory for $24.95, which would normally be $29.95 (an acceptable price since they give you so many free movies up front), but you can get it and Finding Nemo both for $34.95. Plus you get a lithograph and a free gift box. I already have Nemo on DVD, so I don’t feel like I need to get it on Blu-ray, plus I already finished my commitment to buy two regular price disks, so I don’t want to pay all that money anyway, even if they give me 50% or 60% off additional movies that I order. So you want to make the best possible use of buying commitment titles.

    The other thing they have are pre-orders which can count as a commitment purchase and usually have a discount, plus they often throw in a lithograph. Right now they are taking preorders for Pinocchio for $24.95 even though it won’t come out until January. A while back they were doing preorders for Finding Dory for that price and included a lithograph.

    When I signed up I only needed to buy two commitment titles at full price and I used my choices kind of poorly on titles that I could have gotten in my enrollment (or subsequent enrollments . . .) though one of them was about to go out of print, so probably okay I bought it. There are also club exclusives that cannot be used for enrollment, like the version of Alice in Wonderland that I got (accidentally I got it as an enrollment choice when I called to see what the holdup was on my enrollment shipment and they offered to swap out movies that were backordered; I don’t think I realized at the time that they were bending the rules for me). So that is kind of a complication. A lot of the exclusives include a free download of the movie, like the 65th anniversary Alice that I got did, whereas the enrollment 60th anniversary version did not.

    So for commitment picks you want to buy the exclusives or get special offers on featured titles or preorders. It probably takes about six months for a new title to be available as an enrollment title, so maybe I will re-join in July and hopefully be able to choose Finding Dory and Pinocchio as enrollment picks, though if I rejoin now I could probably get the Finding Dory deal immediately and then use Pinocchio and whatever extras as my second title. If you’re a collector and can’t resist little extras like this you might be in trouble. The problem is there just aren’t enough enrollment titles that I want right now to warrant signing up and if I’m going to wait until July, there is no reason for me to be a member in the meantime.

    Looking ahead, Disney has a new animated movie, Moana, coming out soon, and a live action version of Beauty and the Beast coming out next March. Pixar seems to be in a lull right now with Cars 3 coming out in June (Cars 2 got terrible reviews) followed by an original movie, Coco, in November 2017, then more sequels for The Incredibles and Toy Story in 2018 and 2019. Apparently Disney pushes Pixar for sequels which are probably cheaper to produce and less risky. Disney had two animated movies this year and won’t release any in 2017, then will release Wreck It Ralph 2 and a movie based on Jack and the Beanstalk in 2018.

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