“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!
tbh I miss the days where we had full access to vacation island and the arcade without deluxe membership.
I feel like they did a good job of making the deluxe membership special while not taking too much away from regular players. When I had the deluxe membership, it was really fun and special, but I don’t feel like my enjoyment is limited now by not having it. There are still so many games and other activities to do! I understand why Webkinz had to change their model. When times and trends change, companies have to keep up with that, and this is the product of that! And to be honest, having a deluxe membership is way cheaper than when I was younger and would buy/be gifted the plushies, trading cards, figures, and clothes. I saved up so hard as a kid haha
Yeah same. I understand opening up new areas that are Deluxe only, but I don’t like how they took away access from us “paying” (full) members and made it Deluxe only.
I agree. I have never been a deluxe member (only a full member), yet I have items from room themes that have not retired that are now deluxe only.
But I still enjoy going on to Webkinz and experiencing some of my childhood memories lol
Someone must be reading these messages. Why no responses from Someone in the know? It seems like there are quite a number of us with the same questions (or complaints)!
Duckess1, I’ve noticed that, too. When they do answer a question or complaint, the answer is usually vague. :-(
Thanks for agreeing. I see you would like some rare or retired items. I have extra Aztec, Halloween. Friend me at duckess1 and maybe I have something you would like.
Thank you, duckess1. I am farout1. I will send you a friend request. :-)
Thank you, duckess for the wonderful gifts! I love what you sent me! Thank you! I will send you something in return, but it won’t be as amazing as what you sent me. Thank you for everything! :-)
The article asks us what we want you to report on next. I would appreciate it if you did a report on how to clean plush Webkinz. I bought a Brilliant Bandit on Amazon; it said it was new, but arrived dirty. I want to clean it, but I don’t know how to, and don’t want to hurt anything. Thank you for your help!
Hi GoGanz24 – It depends if you want to keep the code intact or not. When my daughter was young and we played Webkinz together she played with the plushies a lot – so much that some started to look a little grubby. I put them in zippered lingerie bags and popped them in the washer and dryer – cold water – delicate cycle – low heat. They turned out looking brand new. I’ve done this also with plushies I have found at Goodwill. The toys are so well made that a gentle washing won’t damage them. If you want to keep the codes intact you could try spot cleaning with a mild soap – air dry- and maybe just a couple minutes in the dryer on cold air just to fluff them up. Good Luck!
Thank u for re posting :) love being deluxe!
Thank you for this report, I really enjoyed reading it. Looking at all the old pictures of the home screens really threw me back to my childhood and how much I miss how Webkinz and its community used to be xD It’ll never be the same again and it makes me so sad…
I agree, I love the memories from when I first started in ’09
I would like in the Vacation Island Theme to also have a winter theme also, not just summer. I know we like the winter months and doing things outside during that time. Just an idea.
Ew no. I like that the Vacation Island is tropical year round. Sometimes you just gotta get away from the snow
I agree with Gramall! I love the Vacation Island theme, but wouldn’t it be “cool” if we had a Snowy Mountain Retreat? Snow boarding. Snow skiing . Building snowmen. A cafe where we could get a mug of hot chocolate. A prize wheel where we could win Winter themed items. A store where we could buy Winter themed items that aren’t sold in the WShop. A Winter Vacation spot for our pets that love all things Winter! :-)
Gosh! I remember my first Webkinz was from my school as a prize! I can’t remember if webkinz at the time was popular, I was in the first grade, but popular enough to be a prize at school!
Will there ever be a way to recover archived accounts?
Last September, I was able to retrieve a family members old account that had been idle for 8 years – the username and password had been forgotten. However, while cleaning out an old dresser, a stroke of luck hit when we found them written down on a scrap of paper and hidden in a drawer. I entered them in the log in page and got a message that in would take 24 hours to retrieve the account from the archives. IT Worked and everything was there! All I had to do was adopt a new pet to change it to a full account. If you have the username and password to the archived account, It’s worth it to give it a try.
You’ll have to hurry if you know the user name and email Webkinz support. Webkinz just changed their policy on inactive accounts. They won’t be able to be archived forever.
Next thing to report on the curio shop and will Arte ever add old holiday items from Halloween to his inventory. I would love to purchase old items. Or old floaty click prizes that we have not seen in a long time.
I agree, bunnypop520! I would like to see ALL the hard to get room items in the Curio Shop! Like the Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Civilization, Aztec, Halloween and Christmas themes! Arte just keeps having the same old items. Most are things that he says are “rare”, and they aren’t. Also, they need to lower the KC on these items, too. Some items are priced so high it’s ridiculous.
Actually, I don’t agree :-) I’ve worked very hard to trade for those old and rare items, sometimes trading very “big” to get them. To put things like that back in the Curio Shop defeats all the work I, and many others like me, have gone to to collect them. It also makes the whole point of retiring things meaningless, if they just bring them back. Nothing in WW would be ‘worth’ anything…
Ladycayte, I can understand how you feel. However, it is not fair that those of us who never had a chance to get these items when they were available, now can’t because they are “retired” and considered “rare”! We are talking about non-tangible virtual items that you will never touch, nor display in your homes. They really don’t have any worth! As a Deluxe player, I realize, and understand, that if WW should close down, leave the internet or whatever, I will have nothing to show for it other than the plush animals I bought. ALL players deserve the chance to buy the items they desire, be they new or “rare”! Plus, there is no reason to “retire” items, other than creating the “haves” and the “have nots”.
If you make friends in the trading room with a few of the adult players, they might give you certain items you missed—or trade low for them. If I get to know someone, I’m one of the adults that gladly will give or trade low for past items if I actually have extras. That’s how I filled in certain missing pieces. There’s also a huge Webkinz community on Instagram and I’ve traded that way (but only recommend it’s with someone you know on Webkinz).
I believe there should be an option to earn the E Store cash, like buying it with KinzCash for example. Pretty much all games nowadays will let you do certain things to earn the special money. This needs to be done to thrive in this day and age.