Of the many Disney experiences on my Disney bucket list, including visiting all of the parks around the world and visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum, there is one experience which tops my Disney bucket list: visiting Disneyland’s Club 33. This exclusive club located at 33 Royal Street in New Orleans Square is open only to Club 33 members and their guests. Club 33 features an exquisite restaurant filled with numerous items selected by Walt Disney himself.
While Walt Disney was visiting the famous 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, he was inspired by the many VIP lounges for the fair’s corporate sponsors. He wanted to create a similar VIP lounge at Disneyland where VIPs and sponsors could visit while in the park.
Though the exact origin of the club’s name isn’t known, there are two prominent theories. One theory suggests the name Club 33 comes from Disneyland’s original 33 sponsors. The other theory suggests the name comes simply from the club’s address of 33 Royal Street.
Much of Club 33’s décor was personally selected by Walt and Lillian Disney. The restaurant features many pieces of antique furniture collected by Lillian Disney. The club also features Lillian’s antique harpsichord which has been played by both Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John.
The Disney’s picked up some of Club 33’s décor during their travels. In fact, the club’s elevator was inspired by their travels. While visiting a hotel, Walt became intrigued by the hotel’s French lift. When the hotel would not sell him the elevator to include in Club 33, Walt had his imagineers visit the hotel to study the elevator and create an exact replica for Disneyland’s VIP lounge.
With a 14 year wait list and extremely high membership fees, Club 33 is a very exclusive club. Though Disney doesn’t publish Club 33 membership fees, the initial membership fee is reported to be somewhere between $25,000 to $100,000. In addition to the initiation fee, annual dues of $12,000 to $30,000 are also required for membership. Club 33 members receive Premier Passports good for admission to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Membership also includes access to 1901 Lounge located in Carthay Circle at Disney California Adventure.
Obviously, joining Club 33 probably isn’t going to happen for me, but visiting the club for dinner or even for a tour tops my Disney bucket list. It may sound impossible given the club’s exclusivity; however, I know several people who are not members who have had the fantastic experience of visiting Club 33. Being the dreamer that watching all those Disney movies has inspired me to be, I’m not giving up on the possibility of someday visiting Disneyland’s Club 33.
Have you had the chance to visit Club 33? If so, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments. If not, let me know what tops your Disney bucket list!