The original door to Club 33 at Disneyland prior to the major 2014 remodel. The new door is more prominently marked and located across from the La Mascarade d'Orleans shop
|Location||Anaheim, California, U.S.|
(The Walt Disney Company)
|Broke ground||Early 1960s|
Club 33 is a set of private clubs located in three of the Disney Parks. The original is in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. Originally maintained as a secret feature of Disneyland, the existence of the club is now well known, with similar locations in Tokyo Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland, and new locations coming to Walt Disney World's four parks. Membership of the clubs is not transferable between resorts.
Of the many stories regarding the origin of the name of Club 33, two stories are the most prominent. The first and official explanation states Club 33 gets its name solely from its address of 33 Royal Street in New Orleans Square at Disneyland. The building was constructed by Liam Quick and James Jeffs of JQ Construction in the late 1960s.
A second and less-well-known story speculates that the name honors there being 33 corporate sponsors at Disneyland in 1966-1967 when the club was being built and opened.
Club 33 members and their guests have exclusive access to resort experiences, which vary depending on type of membership. In addition to the Club 33 restaurant, access may also include Le Salon Nouveau, a jazz lounge within New Orleans Square, and 1901, a lounge in Disney California Adventure; neither are open to the public. Club 33 is one of two locations within Disneyland Park to offer alcoholic beverages, although the park has a park-wide liquor license and has set up bars for private events—and alcohol is served at several locations within Disney California Adventure (DCA). However, DCA is a separate amusement park with its own admission turnstiles, so the tradition remains that alcohol is not available within Disneyland Park itself during normal operating hours.
Club 33 Members designate themselves and/or others to receive Premier Passports valid for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In addition, their Club 33 membership card grants them access to early park admission, as long as they and their (up to three) accompanying guests have an accompanying annual pass or valid day ticket. Members are entitled to complimentary valet parking at the Disneyland Resort Hotels and access to many private and exclusive events held within the Club 33 restaurant and Le Salon Nouveau, throughout the Disneyland Resort, and a select number of experiences in destinations outside of Disneyland.
As of 2011, there is a 14-year waiting list for new memberships. The membership waiting list was re-opened in May 2012 after being closed for five years. Corporate members pay an initiation fee of $40,000, and individual members pay $25,000 in addition to annual dues, which are about $10,000.
The entrance of the club was formerly located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at "33 Royal Street" with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it. Following a major remodeling in 2014, the entrance was relocated to 33 Orleans Street in New Orleans Square, opposite the La Mascarade d'Orleans shop.
When Walt Disney was working with various corporate promoters for his attractions at the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair, he noted the various "VIP Lounges" provided as accommodation for the corporate elite. This gave him the idea that culminated in Club 33. When New Orleans Square was planned, this special area for corporate sponsors and VIPs was included. Disney asked artist Dorothea Redmond to paint renderings and hired Hollywood set director Emile Kuri to decorate the facility. While Club 33 was originally intended for exclusive use by Disneyland's corporate sponsors and other industry VIPs, when it opened on June 15, 1967, six months after Disney's death, individual memberships were also offered.
To enter Club 33, a guest must press a buzzer on an intercom concealed by a hidden panel in the doorway. (At one time, a member needed to insert their membership card in a slot near the buzzer for entry, but it has now been upgraded to allow entry by simply tapping the membership card over the emblem.) For non-members, a receptionist will ask for the reservation name over the intercom and, if access is granted, open the door into a vestibule that used to be a small shop. Check-in occurs in this vestibule. Beyond is an open-air courtyard called Court des Anges. Members and guests are then escorted up an elevator or a curved staircase to the lobby on the second floor. From there, they can either dine in Le Grand Salon or retire to Le Salon Nouveau. Le Salon Nouveau contains the original antique-style glass lift which was used prior to the 2014 remodel to take guests to Club 33's second level. The lift was an exact replica of one Disney saw during a vacation in Paris, but the owner of the original refused to sell. Undaunted, Disney sent a team of engineers to the Parisian hotel to take exact measurements for use in the creation of a replica. A sample of the original finish was taken to ensure faithful reproduction.
The second level has two rooms. One room (The Salon Nouveau) is entered by passing through an area paneled in dark wood and lined with refrigerated wine cases; the other room (The Grand Salon) is more formal and exclusively for reserved-seating meals.
Once upstairs, guests can view antique furniture pieces collected by Lillian Disney. The walls are adorned, in part, with butterflies pinned under glass and hand-painted animation cels from the original Fantasia film. Walt Disney also handpicked much of the Victorian bric-a-brac in New Orleans antique stores.
The club is also furnished with a few props from Disney films. There is a functional dark wood telephone booth with leaded glass, just off the restroom balcony. The wooden booth was built for the club, and the leaded glass came directly from a similar booth from the Disney film The Happiest Millionaire. An ornate walnut table with white marble top was used in Mary Poppins. A video capture from the film on display atop the table shows actors Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber and David Tomlinson standing immediately to its left. Drinks for members and their guests are prepared at a newly installed bar.
A harpsichord which was rumored to have been an antique was in fact custom-built for Lillian Disney specifically for use in Club 33. The underside of the lid features a Renaissance-style art piece that was hand-painted by Disney artists. Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney have both played this harpsichord.
Walt Disney wanted to make use of Audio-Animatronic technology within Club 33. Microphones in overhead lighting fixtures would pick up the sounds of normal conversation while an operator would respond via the characters. Though the system was never fully implemented, it was partially installed and remains so. An Audio-Animatronic vulture is perched in atop a grandfather clock in the club's upstairs lobby. The microphones were clearly visible at the bottom of each of the old Trophy Room's lighting fixtures.
In The Grand Salon one may walk through doors leading to the surrounding balconies. The balconies overlook the water in the New Orleans area of the park. The shows often put on there are also very visible from the balcony.
Club 33 in other Disney parks
|Location||Urayasu, Chiba, Japan|
|Owner||Oriental Land Company|
|Location||Pudong, Shanghai, China|
|Location||Bay Lake, Florida, U.S.|
An additional set of Club 33 locations opened at Walt Disney World. A Club 33 location will be located in each of the four parks within the entertainment complex. Originally confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel on April 13, 2017, the locations were originally set to open in Fall 2017. The first club opened in Hollywood Studios in March 2018, followed by Epcot and Magic Kingdom.
- Bevil, Dewayne. "Club 33 coming to Walt Disney World's theme parks". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
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- Snopes.com, Club 33 Description.
- Fixmer, Andy (June 13, 2007). "Club 33 Is Disneylands Haven for Johnny Depp, Chevron, Booze - Bloomberg". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012.
- DisneylandClub33.com, Club 33 Trophy Room, site documenting Club 33, with photos.
- Huffman, Jennifer (March 14, 2007). "Napa reporter all ears for Disney's Club 33 | Napa Valley Register". Napa Valley Register. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008.
- Makinen, Julie. "Tracking clues to Shanghai Disney's hidden perk: a members-only Club 33". Los Angeles Times.
- Oswald, Anjelica. "The new Shanghai Disneyland has its own secret, super-exclusive dinner club". Business Insider.
- Poblete, Jordan (December 10, 2016). "Peek inside Club 33 at Shanghai Disney Resort". DisneyExaminer.
Media related to Club 33 at Wikimedia Commons