Disney Movie Club, Part 2

I think my first go around with the Disney Movie Club worked pretty well. I wound up getting 9 Blu-ray movies for $90 total and with the Disney Movie Reward points from those plus some others I got two more Blu-ray movies free: Tarzan and Hunchback of Notre Dame, two movies towards the end of the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. I also learned I could have played it a little better by buying pre-orders or feature titles instead of full priced commitment selections, since they usually sell those for $5 less. That would have brought my total down to $80 after paying for both commitment titles. If you want to join, click the link below then go to bottom of that page and click “Have a promotion code?” Make sure you enter the promo code 50503 (gives you a free Dory blanket or 50822 for a free Moana blanket or 61330 for a free Cars blanket or 47256 if you don’t want a blanket):

I would like to do it again because it is such a good deal, and I started a list of movies I would like to get, but I could never get the 6 or 7 titles for the enrollment (5 movies for a dollar plus 1 for $11.95 that counts as a commitment, and an optional 7th movie for $8.95, leaving 2 more commitments to buy at full price later). Before I cancelled my membership last year, they started taking pre-orders for Pinocchio, which hasn’t been available for years and the new release would be a “Signature Edition” which includes Blu-ray, DVD, and a Digital HD version, along with extra content, I would think. The first Signature Edition they did was Snow White, which I bought in the first round and enjoyed. The second was Beauty and the Beast, but I already had a really good version of that one on DVD that also included an unfinished draft preview of the movie that was shown at a film festival to raves from critics. Beauty and the Beast went on to become one of the only animated movies ever nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture (later they put animated movies in a separate category). So I would like to have gotten Pinocchio, which surprised me by rising to the top of the list I made of most acclaimed Disney movies, but I thought I would wait. Typically when a movie is first released on DVD, the movie club has it available as a pre-order that puts it in your hands by the day of the release, then it is available for purchase for club members (sometimes as a feature title which may or may not include a discount, and sometimes as part of a double feature with another movie with some kind of discount), but usually takes three months before it shows up as an enrollment choice. With Pinocchio being a re-release I am not sure how long it will take for it to become an enrollment choice, but I am assuming three months. Meanwhile, Moana was released to theaters and was pretty good, so I wouldn’t mind owning that when it comes out on Blu-ray, and Rogue One turned out to be really good too, so I would like to get that when it is released (both in March), but if Rogue One is like The Force Awakens, it would never be available as an enrollment title. Therefore if I was going to have to get Rogue One as a commitment purchase I kind of needed to sign up before its March release in order to get the $5 discount (plus they would throw in a lithograph, of dubious value, but because it exists why wouldn’t I want that for free?). However, Pinocchio probably won’t be an enrollment choice until April, so if I want to get that, maybe it needs to be my other commitment title that I could pre-order and get a discount and lithograph.

Two of the titles on my list of possible future picks were Zootopia and Finding Dory, but I wound up getting really good deals on both of those on Black Friday, lower than the $9 or so average price from the movie club. That left me scrounging for more titles. One thought was to get Blu-ray versions of some of the DVD’s I have already. In addition to Beauty and the Beast those titles are Toy Story 1 and 2, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. In November, Pixar released new versions of those Blu-rays which included the Blu-ray and Digital HD version instead of the earlier releases which included Blu-ray and DVD (these re-releases were available as enrollment titles almost right away). I like the idea of getting the Digital HD versions to watch on a laptop or tablet and it works out well since I already have the titles on DVD anyway: now I could have all three formats. So here is the order I placed:

  1. Beauty and the Beast
  2. Toy Story
  3. Toy Story 2
  4. Toy Story 3
  5. Mary Poppins
  6. Ratatouille
  7. Jungle Book (2016)

I succumbed to getting the Signature Edition of Beauty and the Beast. And I got the duplicates of Toy Story 1 and 2, and then figured I might as well add Toy Story 3 since I didn’t have it yet (a fourth is coming out in 2019). Also I got Mary Poppins, which I have never seen all the way through (I don’t think) and haven’t been that crazy about what I have seen, but it is a Disney classic and has a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, despite Dick van Dyke’s fake cockney accent being universally accepted as one of the worst of all time. Also I had seen Saving Mr. Banks recently, which is about the making of Mary Poppins. Not a great movie, it did get my curiosity up. Pixar’s Ratatouille was always on my list, but I never got around to getting it, partly because it did not include a Digital HD version, but the newest release includes that now. And I really wavered on 2016’s live action version of Jungle Book, but decided to go ahead and get it after reading some good reviews, liking the voice cast, and seeing it even made a few critics’ Top 10 lists (though not nearly as many as Zootopia). All seven movies come with Digital HD versions and 3 of 7 include DVD disks. I steered away from getting titles that did not include the Digital HD version since I feel like that is becoming the norm and future releases will include it, so I will count on re-releases of movies like The Princess and the Frog (coming in February) that I would like to have but don’t want to miss getting the digital version. I already own 4 of the 7 on DVD, so there is a lot of duplication unfortunately. Also, not much new since I have seen all or part of all the movies except the new Jungle Book (saw the original though).

Once I signed up, I went ahead and pre-ordered Pinocchio at the discount before that goes away. And I almost certainly will pre-order Rogue One as well, but I feel like I can wait a while just in case something better comes along. One of the deals with the club is when you order one movie at full price, you can get additional movies at 40%, 50%, or 60% off depending on that month’s offer (usually 40% for members who haven’t bought their commitment titles yet, while 60% is for VIP members who have already gotten their commitment titles and can quit the club whenever they want). Those discounts usually don’t bring the price down to the $9 average price, but sometimes they have sales on movies and you can still add the discount. For instance Mary Poppins is on sale now and after the 40% discount would be $11.97.

I’d like to get Moana eventually, but I don’t know when that will happen (maybe Black Friday?). And I can put The Incredibles and Finding Nemo in my list of possible future enrollment picks. But Disney will not release any of their own animated features this year (they did two in 2016: Zootopia and Moana) although Pixar will release two: Cars 3 in June and Coco in October. Disney will continue releasing two Signature Editions of older movies on Blu-ray per year, probably Fantasia, Bambi, or the The Lion King later this year and into 2018. I don’t know if I want those, but they are all highly rated. There will also be a new Star Wars in theaters in December. So this might hold me for a little while and I could see me signing up again maybe next year. Meanwhile, I might use the points from the enrollment selections to get Hercules for free from Disney Movie Rewards.

I was looking at the 2016 movie box office totals and Disney properties dominated with the top 3 grossing movies of the year and 6 of the top 10 grossing movies of the year: 1. Finding Dory, 2. Rogue One, 3. Captain America: Civil War, 5. Jungle Book, 7. Zootopia, and 10. Dr. Strange. And they also had No. 12 which was Moana. I doubt they can pull off something like that again: they only had 4 of the top 10 in the previous 3 years. So I think part of the reason for all of my purchases is Disney had a particularly good run lately.

6 thoughts on “Disney Movie Club, Part 2

  1. I was tracking the shipment and it arrived in Atlanta over the weekend. Even though Monday was a holiday, I wanted to see if maybe it had worked its way to my local post office. When I checked the status, it said Delivered. I walked out the front door and there it was! I haven’t watched any of the movies yet, but I did watch some of the extras from Beauty and the Beast. And I entered enough Disney Movie Rewards codes to order Hercules (and they all showed up in iTunes right away, but I haven’t downloaded them). Looking forward to getting Hercules since I have never seen it and didn’t own it previously, unlike most of the movies I just got. So that was all good. Then yesterday the club introduced a new offer where you can get a free Finding Dory blanket with your enrollment (I got an Olaf blanket with my first enrollment last year, which Rosa enjoys), so I missed out on that.

  2. I got Pinocchio in the mail on January 30, the day before it was released in stores. I watched it and thought the animation was impressive, a big leap forward from Snow White. That left me with one more commitment title to buy at full price, which I planned to use on Rogue One, but that movie doesn’t come out until maybe April. Meanwhile, Moana comes out at the beginning of March. Moana will be an enrollment choice eventually whereas Rogue One probably won’t, so I could wait up to a couple of years probably to re-enroll and pick Moana. However, after looking over what was available and seeing that Disney may not be releasing many Blu-rays that I would want over the next year or so (and things that I want now may not be available in the future), I decided that I should get Moana in March to complete my commitment, cancel my membership, and sign up again later in the month, pre-ordering Rogue One as my first commitment in order to get a discount. Don’t know what the second commitment will be (maybe this year’s Coco or The Last Jedi), but then it should be a couple of years before I would enroll for a fourth time. One problem with doing a third enrollment in March is I won’t have any enrollment picks stored up for later to combine with things in the vault now that I might like to have like Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella (all highly rated and I have never seen any of them; they should all be released in the Signature Collection in 2019 or later). But by 2019, Disney, Pixar, and Lucasfilm should have released some new movies that I would want to get me up to 7 enrollment picks, assuming the club is still going.

  3. I pre-ordered Moana and received that Monday, the day before it was available in stores. It was fun seeing it again (I had seen it in the theaters) and I enjoyed the extras. Once I made sure the disk worked, I cancelled my Disney Movie Club membership by phone. The next day I got a confirmation that my account was cancelled. Then tonight I called them and signed up again, ordering the following:

    1. The Princess and the Frog
    2. Frozen
    3. Dumbo
    4. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    5. Lilo and Stitch I and II
    6. Mulan I and II
    7. The Incredibles

    All of the movies come with a Digital HD version. I already owned The Incredibles on DVD, so now I will also have it on Blu-ray and Digital. I have never seen Lilo and Stitch before and I haven’t seen Dumbo or Pooh since I was a kid. I called instead of enrolling online because the customer service reps (“cast members” at Disney) will often give some flexibility on what titles they will let you use for an enrollment whereas the website has no flexibility. The only one where that came into play was Dumbo where I was able to get the “member exclusive” 75th anniversary edition which includes the Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD instead of the 70th anniversary edition on the enrollment website which doesn’t have the digital version. Also, lately Disney has been releasing Blu-ray catalog titles with Digital HD instead of a DVD disk, including Mulan and Princess and the Frog whose new versions came out just last week, and Lilo and Stitch which came out at the end of January. So these weren’t choices that were available to me during my second sign-up in January. And maybe because they are new they will include slipcovers, which I don’t see as that big of a thing, but I guess they are nice. The included sequels to Mulan and Lilo and Stitch are direct-to-video productions that people generally hate and I probably will never watch; The Hunchback of Notre Dame included a sequel like that and I have not watched it. All of these are in the top 30 of my list of the 56 Disney movies except The Incredibles, which is by Pixar, so I think it is a good group. There are others in the Top 30 (even the Top 10) that I don’t have that I haven’t necessarily even seen before like Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp, but they are in the Disney vault, so I just have to wait over the next few years for those to become available. Also, the membership includes a free Finding Dory blanket. And I will pick up Rogue One as my first club purchase, so I only have to buy one more full price Blu-ray in the next 2 years.

  4. I got my enrollment yesterday! All but Pooh and Frozen came with slipcovers, so that was a nice surprise. I opened Lilo and Stitch and there were separate digital redemption codes for digital copies of the original and sequel movies. I redeemed both of them at Disney Movie Rewards and earned 150 points each. Mulan I and II worked the same way, so that was 300 points I wasn’t counting on.

    I went ahead and used my points to get the original 1967 Jungle Book (it went out of print last year so it won’t be back for a few more years, and it includes Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD copies). It was 2000 points or 1600 points plus $3.28 for shipping at DMR, so I opted to pay the shipping and save 400 points. It is highly rated (#16 on the list I made and I seem to be getting movies that fall in the top 30 for the most part), but some people complain that the original movie aspect ratio was 1.33 to 1 while it is cropped or matted at a ratio of 1.75 to 1 on the Blu-ray, losing 24% of the animation. So I could have waited for the Signature Edition of the disk and hope they offer the original version (Signature Editions of Snow White and Pinocchio have kept the 4:3 ratio), but there is no guarantee and the animators seem to have been aware that the top and bottom of the frame were likely to be lost, so the impact is minimal. Also, since 1.33 to 1 doesn’t fit the 1.78 to 1 TV as well, you end up shrinking the image down and adding useless black bars down the sides if you watch it at the original ratio. Ideally, maybe they would include both versions on disk.

  5. Regarding the comment above, if I didn’t know that Jungle Book was originally 4:3, I would never have known there was a different aspect ratio. A lot of the Signature Collection versions don’t seem to have much beyond the extras of the earlier Diamond editions, so I think the Diamond edition of Jungle Book was a good choice.

    Meanwhile they have now released a Signature Collection version of Bambi. It was released yesterday and, because it ranks high on the list I made (#9), I would like to have it, but I need to just be patient. If I got it now I could complete my commitment and quit the club, but I need to wait to see if December’s Star Wars movie is good and use that as my commitment next February or so. Then I need to wait until they release Cinderella and Lady and the Tramp (#7 and #6) Signature Collections to add to a future enrollment (possibly at the end of 2018 or early 2019). Hopefully when those are available Bambi will also be around. Right now the last of the Diamond Editions (Aladdin) is still available as well as all 4 Signature Collection releases (since Bambi just came out it won’t be eligible for enrollment for 3 more months), so I am hoping that waiting won’t hurt me except that I won’t get the free lithograph you get when you buy a commitment and the longer you wait the less likely you are to get a slipcover. Honestly if I can’t get Bambi pretty cheaply, it isn’t something I would want and even with the club the average price is still $9 per movie. They are likely to release a Signature Collection of Lion King later this year which I could skip, except that it is #8, so I really should get it too. But not Fantasia!

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