We’re all about sharing our favorite ways to experience the luxurious side of Disney, whether that means splurging on a stay at a Deluxe resort or doing Disney on a budget when you’re used to bougie. (Think gorgeous hotel rooms, delicious charcuterie boards, and add-on experiences to make your vacation extra enchanting.) But there’s one place that’s a cut above the rest: Club 33.
This private club started at Disneyland in the 1960s and has since grown to become one of the most highly coveted dining locations at the Disney parks — and most fans will never have the opportunity to experience it. Still, some of the most exclusive parts of Disney are the most fascinating. So, we’re diving deep into the history and membership of Club 33 and sharing everything you need to know about Disney’s Club 33.
Club 33 History
The original Club 33 is a private, members-only club at Disneyland. It’s an exclusive place that’s almost as old as Disneyland itself, and the mystique of the club’s door in New Orleans Square has allured guests for decades.
Club 33 was envisioned by Walt Disney himself. The executive lounges at the 1964 World’s Fair inspired Walt Disney to create Club 33, though it didn’t open until the year after Walt passed away in 1967. Of course, the first of these clubs opened at Disneyland, but it has expanded immensely in recent years. There are now Club 33s at Disney theme parks across the globe, including at Walt Disney World. There’s a second exclusive club at Disneyland Resort, the 1901 lounge above Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure — and Club 33 members also get admission to that lounge.
Initially, when Walt conceived Club 33, he wanted it to be an area inside the park where he could entertain visiting dignitaries, celebrities, and corporate sponsors. The venue would be attached to the apartment being built for the Disney family above New Orleans Square.
There are a variety of rumors concerning where Club 33 got its name. According to Mickey Visit: There were 33 original investors in Disneyland, 33 votes to continue building the club after Walt died, and 33 lessees of Disneyland while the club was being built. Plus, if you rotate the number 33, it looks a little like “mm”, for Mickey Mouse.
However, these aren’t actually where the club’s name came from. Per the D23 archives, Club 33 was named after its address, 33 Royal Street in New Orleans Square. The fan-favorite restaurant Blue Bayou is located right next door; its address is 31 Royal Street.
Club 33 Membership
Part of what makes Club 33 so exclusive is the steep price tag.
Club 33 is said to have a $25,000 initiation fee and an annual $10,000 membership fee, as of a 2013 article by Eater. But according to USA Today, the initial fee to join can range from $25,000-50,000, with annual fees costing $12,000-25,000.
That is, if you can get a membership. There are only around 500 members at a time to maintain the club’s exclusivity, and membership is by invitation only. So, even if you had thousands of dollars to spare, you can’t simply buy your way into Club 33. There’s a waitlist that is said to last up to 15 years. When we say this club is exclusive, we mean it.
Some say Club 33 is more tailored to VIP clientele, like celebrities with Disney connections. Still, that hasn’t stopped the everyday Disneyland goer from doing everything they can to get in. Let’s just say, it’s about who you know.
If you’re active on Instagram, you’ve likely come across several Disney influencers posting about their Club 33 visits. With only a few hundred active memberships at a time, we’re willing to bet that not everyone you see posting about visiting Club 33 is a member of the organization. But here’s the deal — you can get into the exclusive lounge above New Orleans Square if a club member invites you. So, if you want to get into Club 33, befriend a member (remember that you’ll still have to pay for the five-course dinner because that elite Disney magic isn’t free).
As the folks at Disney Tourist Blog put it, Club 33 isn’t a secret society at all. It’s simply a place where wealthy Disney fans, business executives, and celebrities can escape the theme park crowds if they’re willing to pay a hefty price tag.
Benefits of a Club 33 Membership
Club 33 membership comes with more than a few perks. AllEars reports that membership benefits include annual passes to the Disney theme parks, 50-single day park tickets, and five Disney VIP tours each year. Members also get to purchase special Club 33 merchandise, plus exclusive tours of private locations inside the theme parks, including the Disneyland Dream Suite, which is not open to the public.
Back when FastPass was still around, Club 33 members got access to a select number of FastPasses during their park visits. We assume that this perk is still in place, just with Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane access instead.
Food and Drinks at Club 33
Speaking of the food, what’s on the menu? It changes seasonally, but some highlights in the past have included seasonal soups, mushroom croquettes, kingfish, pheasant, veal, and more. We’ve even heard of a $75 burger being served at the renowned restaurant. And don’t even get us started on the photo-worthy desserts and “33” adorned lattes. Have you ever heard the question, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” Well, we’re more interested in a cup of Club 33 coffee after dinner.
At one point, Club 33 was the only location that served alcohol inside the Disneyland theme park. This has changed in recent years, since Oga’s Cantina at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge serves cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. You can also get beer and wine at the Blue Bayou restaurant adjacent to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
In February 2022, Napa Rose chef Gloria Tae and Club 33 chef Clint Chin switched places. So, as of this year, Tae is the very first female chef de cuisine at Disneyland’s Club 33. She oversees the menus at Le Grand Salon and Le Salon Nouveau in Club 33 and the menu at the other private dining experience in New Orleans Square, 21 Royal (but that’s a deep dive for another day).
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Club 33 yourself, the unofficial fansite for the Disneyland location of the club has a photo tour. You can take a look here. Keep in mind that most guests who visit the lounge don’t get any photos aside from in the Court of Angels, where the club’s iconic staircase is located. Beyond that, pictures and videos aren’t permitted.
Other (More Accessible) Park Experiences
Here’s the deal: as much as we love the lore of Club 33, we know it’s not accessible for everyone. Most people who visit the Disney theme parks will never have the opportunity to try caviar in Disneyland’s most exclusive lounge. So, what’s a fan to do? Well, we’ve got some tips.
Over on TikTok, we’re sharing a new series for how to experience Disney on a budget if you want to feel bougie. Think affordable charcuterie boards and fairly-priced resorts. (We’re all about that life!)
For something a bit more upscale, check out our luxury guide to Walt Disney World. It won’t get you into Club 33, but it’ll still have you swooning. Besides coming with a pretty price tag, this pixie dust isn’t exclusive.
At Disneyland, if you’re looking for a great dining experience, try Napa Rose or Carthay Circle. Both restaurants are known for serving up delicious dishes and will give you that fine-dining feel. We may not all be Club 33 frequenters, but we can still feel like royalty, even for just a little while at the happiest place on Earth.
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