Club 33 is One of the Most Exclusive Places in the World…
If you are a Disneyland fanatic or a So Cal local, chances are that you’ve heard of the legendary Club 33. Yes, the talked-about, rarely seen and incredibly exclusive location said to be the only restaurant at Disneyland Resort to serve alcohol. It does exist, but many people do not know its origins. We’re here to explain everything we know…from experience. And don’t worry, if you don’t want to spend tons of dough on alcohol, there are plenty of spots surrounding the park to choose from!
What is Club 33?
Club 33 is an exclusive, members-only restaurant located in New Orleans Square section at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. It contains a lounge, restaurant and viewing balcony that overlooks the Rivers of America. The club is secluded from the public, but you can spot the front entrance in plain sight in the back alley behind Cafe Orleans and next to the Blue Bayou. What makes Club 33 so appealing is exactly how exclusive it is. In fact, it’s commonly referred to as the most sought after theme park location in the entire world.
How to Become a Member?
Here’s where things get wild. There are two ways to get inside Club 33. The first way is to become a member. Sounds simple, right? Think again, because In order to become a member, you will need to join the waitlist, which will set you back 5-10 years. If you don’t die before then, you’ll then need to pay membership fees, which in 2018 was a staggering $25,000 just for initiation and another $10,000 per year afterwards. Yeah, good luck. Some of us barely make that much money in an entire year.
The second way to get into Club 33 is simply just know someone. Networking works wonders and having a connection who also has a Club 33 membership has its benefits. Just like the Magic Castle in Hollywood, you can join club members for a fancy dinner, only if you are invited by an existing member. However, they’ll need to make a reservation in your honor beforehand. In case you were wondering, meals served at the club will run you approximately $150 plus the steep costs of fancy cocktails. I mean, if you’re fortunate enough to afford a membership, money is no option anyway, right?
If you don’t want to dish out tens of thousands of dollars and don’t have any connections, there’s a certain exception. Just be famous! Oftentimes, celebrities will be allowed to wine and dine at Club 33‘s secluded location as it’s tucked away from the massive crowds. This is usually where you’ll find the movie stars who are showing up for a premiere of their new Disney flick, or those who are just there to spend time with the family.
The Origins of Club 33
There are lots of rumors and myths surrounding Club 33‘s origins, including being the Illuminati Headquarters. I mean, it would be pretty funny to imagine a sinister group of powerful people having a meeting surrounded by Mickey Mouse paraphernalia. Sounds more like an episode of The Simpsons. However, believe it or not, the truth is actually more interesting!
Back before opening Disneyland in 1955, Walt Disney didn’t have the means to afford his grand vision for the park. He needed sponsors to help pay for everything and Main Street USA was originally home to some of the sponsors’ storefronts. Walt wanted to accommodate VIPs as well as existing sponsors with their own secluded area of the park, an idea he got while visiting the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The fair had special lounges to cater to the VIPs and elites, something Walt wanted to replicate at his new park.
Details around the naming of Club 33 are scarce, but the story told to cast members is there were 33 original sponsors who helped fund the park. Walt named the lounge ‘Club 33‘ in their honor. A simpler explanation, given by cast members when asked, is that the name is simply comes from 33 Royal Street, the address for the location in New Orleans Square.
Similarly, the Disney Dream Suite was also constructed to further entertain special guests. It was also meant to be an upgraded apartment for Walt and his family, who were using the Firehouse Apartment located at the entrance to Main Street USA. The Dream Suite is located above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and adjacent to Club 33.
Sadly, Walt Disney died just 6 months before the completion of both projects. However, his legacy lives on in both locations as they were both brain-children of the Disney himself. There’s a feeling of sacred history when visiting the club, let alone Disneyland Resort. The park was the first of many and the only one Disney got the chance to enjoy.
Fun Fact: If you ever visit Disneyland Resort, look at the top floor window of the Firehouse Apartment. If the light is on, this is meant to represent Walt Disney’s spirit still within the park.
What’s Inside Club 33?
If you are able to be buzzed in from the entrance way, you will see an empty back alley. An escort will take you to a vintage French corridor elevator that will take you up to the Club. Inside you will see lots of Disney movie memorabilia and priceless items from Disneyland‘s history as well as antique furniture and fixtures. It’s truly a special experience to dine at Club 33 and it will always remain a cool, hidden spot at the Disneyland Resort.
Frustratingly, photography and videography are not allowed inside the club so decent images of the interior are scarce. I guess you wouldn’t want to ruin the special feel that the name brings anyway, but you can’t help but wonder what’s inside! Check out the video below for more fun info about Club 33.