Let's face it: we live in a subscription-based world. From streaming services to meal kits; "unlimited sip clubs" to Patreon support; box-of-the-month clubs to ClassPass, most of us spend hundreds of dollars on month on add-ons, services, passes, and passions that cost "just a few bucks a month." 

It's a convenient – and insidious – discovery: that most of us would never buy a year of access to Netflix for the eye-watering sum of $200... but $16 a month for the rest of our lives? Eh... could be worse. 

We've also seen theme parks get in on the game. Annual passes to Six Flags, SeaWorld, and Cedar Fair parks have long defaulted to a small down payment, followed by $8 - $25 per month recurring fees. Sure, you can cancel after twelve months... but in the model made famous by Planet Fitness, no one remembers to. 

Disney's own monthly payment plans for Southern California or Florida residents have been a source of great discontent for tourists, who see locals get near-unlimited access for less than the price of a monthly phone bill. 

But in late 2022, Disney confirmed word that had leaked to Wall Street: that Disney was looking to capitalize on fans' brand loyalty with a whole new kind of subscription... Insiders referred to the effort as "Disney Prime" – drawing connections to Amazon's Prime subscription that includes a streaming service, free retail shipping, a music service, discounts at Whole Foods, photo storage, and more. (Amazon reports that it has 230 million Prime subscribers worldwide; for scale, that's about as many adults as live in the United States.)

It's highly possible that the concept of "Disney Prime" died with the dismissal of former CEO Bob Chapek. After all, the concept does reek of Chapek's infamous lean toward brand optimization, his laser-like focus on consumer products, and his tendency to prefer quantity-over-quality. But just imagine... how much would you pay for a Disney loyalty program with these kinds of benefits?

1. Disney+

Disney is on a global and ongoing crusade to make streaming profitable. But like all streaming services, it's in a constant state of "churn." Subscribers drop off to join another service; join just long enough to watch a particular show, then cancel; start a free subscription, then end it; become dissatisfied with price hikes or show cancellations and jump ship... That's why Disney pushes "bundles" that viewers are less likely to drop and return to... and why including Disney+ in a larger "Prime" subscription that the company's most diehard fans are unlikely to end would build a strong, stable bedrock of subscribers.

2. D23

2022 Collector Box. Image: Disney

"The Official Disney Fan Club" is best known for hosting the biannual D23 Expo – the fan convention where Disney + Pixar + Marvel + Star Wars make big announcements of upcoming projects. But D23 is at work all year hosting small fan events, special experiences, and offering Disney-adjacent discounts for those who pay the club's $100 annual fee. For those who live outside the L.A. and Orlando areas and don't expect to attend the Expo, the big sell for D23 Members receive a quarterly publication plus an annual themed collector box with a member card.

3. Free Shipping

The Disney Store is a go-to online shopping destination for Disney Parks fans... It's almost always running a promotion for free shipping on orders over $75... but that's a marked departure from the rest of the retail world, where Amazon Prime's model has made fast, free shipping a standard. Especially for Disney's biggest fans, sometimes you want to just buy a MagicBand or a mug or a t-shirt, and having to plan a cart that reaches $75 can mean you miss out on limited time items. Free shipping with "Disney Prime" could allow those impulse purchases to happen – an asset to fans and the company.

4. Genie+

Image: Disney

Obviously, the pricing model of Disney's theme parks has changed dramatically since the pandemic, slashing perks and adding new upcharges left and right. None are more frustrating than Genie+ – the paid-for sequel to FastPass. Genie+ is a mess of a system whose rules and intricacies leave even the biggest Parks fans fuming. 

But it's the service's price that's a major bummer given that it offers a service nearly identical to (if not worse than) FastPass did. At least offering a 50% discount on this service would be a major perk for Disney fans who frequent the parks. 

5. Disney Visa Discounts

If you have a Disney Visa card, you get a whole list of perks. Those include the kinds of financial perks that help pay for the card's annual fee – 10% off at select Disney Parks restaurants, 10% off at Disney Store, etc. – as well as 0% financing on Walt Disney World vacation packages, discounts at Disney on Broadway shows, special hotel room rates, and select-your-own card designs. Those feel like natural "plusses" for a "Disney Prime" program, adding value to the subscription while rewarding spending money at Disney!

Obviously, we don't know if Disney is still pushing forward with a larger, all-encompassing subscription program for its fans... but if you could get the perks of Disney+, D23, Disney Store shipping, and park discounts in one package, how much would you be willing to pay each month? Let us know in the comments below!


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