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D23 Members Enjoy the ‘Magic & Merriment’ of Walt Disney World

Jeffrey Epstein

by , Director, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Hi, I’m Jeffrey Epstein guest writing for the Disney Parks Blog about our latest unique experience at Walt Disney World. For two candy-coated days and nights, D23, the Official Community for Disney Fans, presented Magic & Merriment at Walt Disney World. December 12 and 13, 200 D23 members and their guests (from 25 different states!) were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at how Walt Disney World transforms each year into a winter wonderland with the help of some of Disney’s most creative talent.

Holiday Services’ Lisa Borotkanics talked about the incredible team that installs hundreds of trees, wreaths, and snowy displays throughout the resort (and the Disney Cruise Line!) before handing out sets of multiple FASTPASSes to the group for the weekend. Then Erich Herbitschek, Master Pastry Chef of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Stefan Riemer, Pastry Chef, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts came out and decorated one of their signature gingerbread houses before everyone’s eyes (and were pretty hilarious while doing so). And Saturday evening on a darkened Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Show Director John Phelan talked about the origins of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights—before flipping a giant switch (with the help of a young guest), igniting the Spectacle to glorious fanfare.
Grand Floridian Gingerbread House
Other weekend highlights included reserved seating to see Tony award winner Chita Rivera narrate Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, a private feast on the set of Lights, Motors, Action!, a delightful lunch inside the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon with a visit from the Dapper Dans, tours of the Cinderella Castle Suite, and tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party—complete with a cookie-filled hospitality suite on the Liberty Belle!

Whether they came from Iowa, Oregon, or just down the road, the weekend was truly memorable not only because of the incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences shared by all, but thanks to the passionate D23 members in attendance, whose enthusiasm and passion about Disney may only be matched by a certain special mouse.


  • My boyfriend James and I had a spectacular time this entire weekend! It was the BEST way to end our magical Christmas vacation to Disney. Neither of us had been to Disney during the holidays, and it was truly filled with Magic and Merriment thanks to Jeffrey, Becky, Joanna, and Matt! Thanks again and hope to see you at another D23 event soon!!!

  • Nice to hear those who were “lucky” enough to get tickets to this event had fun, but to date, I still have not received an answer to the email I sent to D23 on registration day, when the website wouldn’t move onto the credit card info page, when I was going thru the online ticket purchase procedure!

    This ultimately ended up in our not being able to get tickets for this event, even tho we were going to be at WDW on vacation, from 12-1 til 12-12 and were willing to go to the added expenses of another 2 days’ stay!

    I’ve been shut out of other events as well and hope they make some changes for the better, to let members get better access to exclusive events! Otherwise, the membership fee has not been worth it to me this year!!

  • Hats (or I suppose Mickey Ears) off to Becky, Jeff, and the D23 team for putting together this fantastic event. I can’t explain how incredible this event was! We’re still trying to decide what our favorite part was. I hope to see you guys back for next year!

  • I’m so jealous of everyone that got to go, including my boyfriend. lol. It sounds like an amazing event. If it becomes an annual thing, I’ll have to go next year.

  • Jeffrey and the D23 team put together a fantastic event. We’re so glad we got to be part of it.

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