If you've been a SoCaler for most or all of your life, and you have older siblings, you likely can pinpoint the very moment you entered into Disney fandom.
Maybe it was digging out your older brother's "The Rescuers" follow-along record or finding your sister's "Little Mermaid" VHS, but it remains crystal clear in your mind (as clear as the water in Disneyland's Finding Nemo ride).
So it nearly goes without saying that Disney fandom is a rather substantial, emotion-laden thing for many people. Thus the modern clubhouse -- it is called D23 -- is indeed an important part of the whole.
And that whole just grew by a few Oswald the Rabbit-sized leaps on Monday, June 17 when the new D23 site debuted. It's full of fresh features and fan-pleasing extras. We're not humming the theme to ...it's a small world when we say "fan-pleasing extras," either: Artwork that has only been seen by archivists, special Disney family photos, celebrity interviews with beloved Imagineers, maps of the parks that rarely see the light, and other deep cuts make up the site's full buffet of Disneyana.
A favorite, though? Access to Disney A to Z, an encyclopedia that contains over 7,000 entries about, well, everything that falls under the Disney umbrella, from the majors (hi, Mickey Mouse) to the itsy-bitsy odds 'n ends (think Hyacinth Hippo, from "Fantasia").
Now, every clubhouse tends to have a membership fee of some sort, and D23 does, too. But along with the web site upgrade they're offering something a little sparkly: free membership. Yep, there are higher tiers, for payment, that'll nabe you a bit more, including that fan magazine, but your free membership means you can access Disney A to Z and those interviews and rare theme park clips.
And, of course, that once-every-two-years fan convention -- D23 Expo -- is just ahead in August.
So, Mouseketeer -- are you ready to enter the clubhouse again? There's no secret password, just a free sign-up through the Disney store. Of course, if you want to sing "M, I, C, K, Eeeee, Yyyyyy" as you sign up for your membership, you most certainly can and should.