Club 33 is an exciting part of Disney history and something that most of us have wondered about for quite some time. If you have been to Disneyland you might have noticed the “33” visible on the door, but might not have given it much thought at the time. Yet once the internet has introduced you to its splendor and mystery, it is an entirely different story.
We all know that Disney parks have their secrets, and some die-hard Disney fans will know quite a lot about some of these ‘secrets’, but Club 33 is no secret. It is simply a mystery to those who know they will likely never see the inside in person.
Let us give you somewhat of an insider’s look at what is really lurking behind the doors of Club 33.
Club 33 at Disneyland: The History
Before Club 33, private guests of Walt Disney and his wife, Lillian Disney, would be entertained at the Red Wagon Inn restaurant lounge in Disneyland. Before long, this guest list grew rapidly and this lounge was no longer big enough.
In 1967 Walt Disney founded Club 33 himself in New Orleans Square. He drew inspiration from 1964 NYC World Fair Sponsors and their private lounges. The purpose of Club 33 was always for Walt Disney to have an exclusive club where he could entertain business associates and VIPs privately inside the Disney Park.
What’s in a name?
There has always been some debate about where exactly Club 33 was named. The general assumption for many years has been that the legal requirement for places that serve alcohol, to have an address before it can obtain a liquor license, was the only motivation for Walt Disney to name the club at all. It is thus safe to assume that the address of the first Club 33 in New Orleans Square (33 Royal Street) inspired the name “Club 33”.
Club 33: The Location
You can find Club 33 at Disneyland Park in New Orleans Square. Although the premises are still there, the door has been moved to be more visible and easier to access.
While the door that was initially used is still there, it now serves as an emergency exit for Disneyland staff. The newer entrance can be seen across from the La Mascarade d’Orleans store.
Today, there are also a number of international locations.
In 1983 another Club 33 was founded in Tokyo Disneyland. This one is not located in New Orleans Square but rather in the Center Street of World Bazaar, which is this location’s iteration of Main Street. In 2016 Club 33 opened in Shanghai Disneyland Resort on their version of Main Street. And in 2018 a new Club 33 opened in Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.
How can I join Club 33?
Becoming a club member requires a lot of patience, as the process will not be quick. Membership is exclusive, and only a few spots are allocated each year. At the moment, the waiting period for membership averages four years. Parties who are interested in joining Club 33 can send a letter to:
Wait List Information
1313 Harbor Blvd
Anaheim, CA 9280
It is strongly advised that you never call the club to enquire about your application, as membership is seen as a privilege, and putting any kind of pressure on your application is not a good idea. Gaining this exclusive membership is an honor, but it also takes quite a bit of time and patience.
Club 33: the Cost
It is easy to see that memberships of most exclusive clubs will run at a pretty high cost. The costs of this private club are no exception. Additionally, if you are a member of Club 33 in one location, you are not granted access to other Club 33 locations.
While the information on the exact cost varies, the latest seems to suggest that an initial membership fee deposit of $60,000 is required, followed by an annual membership fee of $25,000 – for the original Disneyland Drive Anaheim park location.
What are the membership benefits?
There are a great many benefits that club members can enjoy for such a premium. First and foremost is priority entry into Disneyland Park.
Priority seating at selected shows and events, exclusive merchandise and fine dining experiences, small gifts on special occasions, and personalized stationery are common incentives for members who are Disney fans.
Meetings with cast members, exclusive gatherings, live music at dinner, and exclusive Disneyland tours are also regularly included for members of Club 33. Due to the reputation of the club, there are also some high-profile names on the membership list. This naturally means that people with Club 33 membership have the opportunity to rub shoulders with VIP guests and celebrities in an exclusive club setting instead of high-end restaurants.
Some other perks include:
- Access to the exclusive 1901 lounge in Carthay Circle Theater.
- Valet Parking
- Complimentary Resort Hotel Upgrades
- Sneak peeks on park news
- Miscellaneous VIP services
- Private VIP tours
- 50 Single-day guest passes to Disney Parks
- Annual passes for each year you are a member of Club 33
Rules of Club 33
As with any exclusive club, there are some rules that members are expected to honor. Members and their guests must conduct themselves properly as per the conduct expected at most luxury establishments. There is a strict dress code for members who want to enter Club 33. Skirts, smart blouses, or cocktail dresses for women and a formal suit for men.
While photographs are permitted on the Club 33 premises, no videos will be allowed. It is important to remember this if you want to document your experience, because transgressing on such laws reflects quite poorly and can have unwanted consequences.
Inside the Club
Court of Angels
Entering Club 33, this is the first thing you will see. The Court of Angels started out as a public area, but has since been upgraded to be an exclusive location for members. At the foot of the staircase, you are met by two angels that light the way up the stairs.
Once at the top of the stairs, you will find a second reception room. Here you will find the interactive vulture, a merchandise cabinet, and a harpsichord. There will also be two booths in the New Orleans theme, one for Pirates and one for a Haunted Mansion. This area leads to the lounge room.
Le Salon Nouveau
The Le Salon Nouveau takes a lot of inspiration from Disney’s Tiana’s Palace, which is a jazz club that appears in the Princess and the Frog – Le Salon Nouveau is an opulent jazz lounge.
In this jazz club you will find a hand-carved wooden bar and a ceiling that is designed to match it with a beautiful stained glass insert at the center.
Le Grand Salon Restaurant
Le Grand Salon is Club 33’s main dining room, which can be found at the end of an alley flanked by large windows. To fit the New Orleans theme, the dining room floor of Le Grand Salon has a checkerboard pattern.
While the cost of Club 33 membership is quite high, it is not the only thing standing in the way for prospective members. To date, Club 33 remains an “invitation-only” place, so no one is really guaranteed a spot if they apply. There are many different variables that might decide whether you are invited to become a Club 33 member, but the primary variables seem to be influence, wealth, and fame. Examples of known members include Katy Perry, Tom Hanks, Elton John, and Christina Aguilera.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I purchase Alcoholic beverages at Club 33 at Disneyland?
Yes, Club 33 is one of the only places in several Disney Parks where you can buy and consume alcohol on the premises.
Why was Club 33 founded?
Originally, Club 33 was founded so that Walt Disney would have a place to take corporate sponsors that was private from everyday park guests.
What inspired Walt Disney to open Club 33 at Disneyland?
Walt Disney was inspired both by the World’s Fair and New York World’s Fair, where he attended several VIP lounges and decided that he wanted his own private lounge in plain sight of the theme park, but away from general vacation goers and other Disney fans.
Where is Club 33 at Disneyland?
The original Club 33 at Disneyland is located in New Orleans Square at 33 Royal Street. There is also Club 33 at Tokyo Disneyland resort and Shanghai Disney World. A new Club 33 location recently opened on Mickey Avenue in the USA location.
Can non-members get into Club 33?
Non-members can have access to Club 33 via invitation from a member. However, they will not be granted access automatically with such an invitation. Especially during the holiday season, only elite guests can gain access to Club 33 depending on availability, and it can be expected that if the dining room or other facilities in Club 33 are full, guests will likely be turned away.