The reason for the backlash from folks is for the limited availability of the tickets. Speaking with several friends, we thought the cost would be a hold back for most people, and it seems to have worked with the DL event. (Still not sold out). However, with how the price was set for the WDW event, there was little chance of this not going fast. It turns out that there are a lot of other events going on the same weekend which would explain why so many people were trying to get tickets. Maybe they were already planning on going to NFFC or the Westfest Meetup. I just know that when I was looking at rooms before the tickets were sold and all the value resorts were booked.
Remember, D23 was setup as a way for Disney to give fans a direct feed from the company on what is going on and coming around the corner. They also said that there would be events that would be happening throughout the year that the members could take part in. The first major event was a tour, which was free, of the Disney archives. The growing pain they learned from this was not to turn on the links a few minutes early! It was completely booked before the original start time! (I'm actually glad I missed out on this because I ended up having a kidney stone removed two days earlier. I was out for another week). I think this was a major wake up call for how popular these events could be, and D23 stepped up and said that they were going to do more tours for those that couldn't get in for the first two rounds.
To have the chance for backstage tours of Broadway Musicals, to have Imagineers be able to explain to the fans how and why they do what they do, I see a premier of an upcoming movie and celebrate afterward, and to get a chance to all of us to dig deeper into the Magic(tm) at the D23 Expo then we could have on our own.
While we are still going to experience growing pains with how D23 is able to run events, I believe that they are truly learning from the past, that they would like to do more to allow more people to join in for the fun.
I don't know how many people are going to be at the Magic and Merriment event. I know that I will. Some think only 50 people are going, but my order number was well above that. Also, in another thread, it looks like there is a handful of us that were able to get tickets. It's late, and I think I'm rambling now, so it's time for me to finish this up. Good night.