Special Report – With Steve Webkinz!





“Why do I have to pay money to play Webkinz when I played it for free when I was a kid?”


As many people who played the game years ago are re-discovering their childhood fandom, this is a common complaint posted on social media. However, while it may have seemed to some that they were getting access to the game for free, in reality, they were not.


When Webkinz.com launched in 2005, the only way to play on the site was by registering a code that came attached to the plush pet they were adopting onto their account. Once a code was registered, the player could play for one full year from the date they adopted that pet. At the end of that year, the account became locked until another code was registered during a new pet adoption. An important side note is that multiple adoptions NEVER “stacked” multiple years of membership. So, adopting 10 pets on the same day only ever gave 1 year of membership—not 10 years.



Once the “Webkinz craze” hit around 2007, with so many new plush pets flying off the shelves and players’ collections constantly growing, most kids never got locked out of their account. Basically, they were continually adopting so many pets that their membership never ran out.


In 2009, once plush sales began to decline from their meteoric peak, Ganz introduced Deluxe Membership as a new way to subscribe to the Webkinz game without having to constantly purchase physical plush toys. While this form of membership came with many bonuses like monthly gifts and eStore Points for special items, the amount and variety of bonuses added to Deluxe Memberships has steadily increased over the years, while the fee has essentially remained the same.



In 2012, Webkinz transformed its membership structure to a “Freemium” model. While Deluxe and Full Membership basically remained the same, once those subscriptions ran out, players were no longer locked out of their accounts. Instead, they could continue as a free player, with limited access to certain items and features. Kids that wanted to create a new account could also for the first time adopt a free pet instead of registering a code. This is the membership model that Webkinz still uses today.



Want to know what all the differences are between being a Free Player, a Full Member, and a Deluxe Member? We created a handy list which you can see here.


Do YOU remember the days when the only way to play Webkinz was to purchase a plush toy? And what would you like me to report on next? Let me know in the comments below!


110 Responses to Special Report – With Steve Webkinz!

  1. pinkkie9 says:

    I remember when I was little I was trying to collect every webkinz there was and now I’m still trying to get them all!!!

  2. TripleGFarms says:

    Hey Steve, Love the adventure park. However I can’t get into it due to not buying certain pets after a certain time. How come we have to buy pets to unlock the feature if we already have them?? I love my pets and it would just be plan silly and confusing if i had two of the same one to unlock the adventure park feature

  3. jbakcs789 says:

    I miss the way pets used to be happy most of the time. Now it’s nearly impossible to see them smiling with their eyes open. And I remember when plush owners could play the good games.

  4. Kimatkinz says:

    However, many activities and items that were open to plush owners were made into Deluxe activities which was not fair – new Deluxe activities should have been introduced when Deluxe was introduced, not activities taken away from plush account players that were already registered and paid for.

  5. bubbashuka says:

    Awww!! My account was made on March 21, 2008. I miss the old Webkinz, but love the new webkinz too! I just really miss some of the features. :(

  6. WebkinzFanCEG says:

    I’m a huge fan of Webkinz. I have 9 accounts and over 200 Webkinz pets. I joined Webkinz and started 2 Webkinz accounts in 2008, then I got my aunt’s old account in 2010, started 3 more accounts in 2016, and started another 3 accounts in 2018. About half my accounts are Deluxe and half are not, but it’s fun playing on even my Full Membership accounts.

  7. barkopinko1916 says:

    the fact of the matter is you took features away from full memberships as to why people say that. quit censoring me.

    • grannyjany says:

      Yes, I remember how sad it was when many of the games and items that used to be for all members became Deluxe only. It was a way to get more people to buy Deluxe membership. I ended up buying Deluxe about 3 years after that to access everything again.

      • barkopinko1916 says:

        i said that in another comment, but they censored it, likely to keep the peace. if deluxe was really an option as the article described, literally nobody would be saying the top.

  8. momno1 says:

    I remember when Webkinz Day was a big deal in stores that sold Webkinz. So much fun winning prizes and playing games. One year our family hosted a Webkinz Day party at our house: We had real balloon darts and a real claw machine — codes for virtual items from the estore were inside the balloons and prize capsules. We played live Bathtub Battles, Go Fish and Jumbleberry Fields. Doug the Dog kept hiding all over the house and outside we played giant Lily Padz and Bullseye Batter. For dinner we served all secret recipe foods. My son dressed as Chef Gazpacho and I dressed as Ms. Cowaline, and each guest went home with a new L’il Kinz pet. Happy, happy times!

  9. lemony says:

    Steve, will we see free deluxe days again?

  10. Leopardcat101 says:

    Steve, could you clarify something please? I have a free member account with only one pet as well as a Full member one with more. I read the list of differences, and for Free member it says: A limit of 3 rooms for your pet
    and no access to buying treetop
    or underwater rooms I have two regular rooms at the moment. I tried to buy a 3rd room, but it won’t let me. All rooms to buy have silver paw logos on them. Should I be able to buy one more room as in the list?

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