Time well spent at any existing Disney theme park location is enough to make you feel like a million bucks. It’s all about Disney’s dedicated devotion to guests and all those personalized customizations they work into each and every visitor’s experience. Whoever you are and whatever opportunities you designate for yourself while at the Disney Park of your choice, you may rest assured that you’re in for a magical time all your own.
While Disney Parks excel at making all of their guests feel extra special at any given time, it cannot be denied that there are certain exclusive experiences that can elevate your visit even further. We are, of course, talking about those elite extras that bestow upon you the ultimate VIP treatment. We could list numerous examples to go by, but what undeniably takes the cake in all-star treatment is having that selective, often coveted, membership into Disney’s elusive Club 33.
From what started out as a private Disneyland-based social hub for dignitaries to its eventual growth to include many locations in Disney Parks the world over, we’re taking an extensive look at Disney’s various Club 33 locations with background and insight into what each one is all about.
The History Behind Disneyland’s Original Club 33
Disneyland’s original Club 33 was established by Walt Disney back in 1967. Taking inspiration from the VIP lounges created by pavilion sponsors at the New York’s World Fair from 1964, Walt’s original intention was to develop an unassuming, yet elite location right-onsite in the Park for the use of VIP corporate sponsors solely. At the time, it was the only location within all of Disneyland that served alcoholic beverages.
While, for a time, the heavily guarded secret remained exclusive to those who were specifically invited to attend by Walt Disney himself, six months following his death individual memberships started to be offered for those who had both the monetary means and were able to complete an extensive selection process, proving their worth for inclusion. These rigid standards remain in place even to this day, with a waitlist currently stretched out across several years.
Since the original Club 33’s presence has become more renowned throughout the years, albeit primarily for its legendary elitism and mysteriousness, several other Club 33 locations have been established throughout various other Disney Parks as well. These include a site in Tokyo Disneyland, one in Shanghai Disney Resort, and four at Walt Disney World Resort.
The not-so-secret location for Disneyland’s ultra-secretive Club 33 is directly above the famed Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. It is, appropriately enough, situated at 33 Royal Street in New Orleans Square, right next door to what was formerly Walt Disney’s in-park family apartment quarters. Designed to have an old-time vintage feel, many of the decorative touches housed within are authentic artifacts from Disney history, including props from various Walt Disney Pictures and even personal items having belonged to the Disney family at one time. Though many of these original items were replaced with replicas after a 2014 renovation, some do remain intact, including the original conceptual Disney artwork currently on display.
At Club 33, guests get to enjoy one of the most exceptional dining experiences in any Disney Park, ordering multi-course meals from a wide range of menu selections from their in-house resident La Grand Salon. All is carried out to precision and perfection, making the impeccable dining scene here one that garners no words and leaves diners speechless as they indulge accordingly. And after your lavish meal you can enjoy many other rites of passage that come with being admitted into this top-secret social hub, including the chance to hang out at the Le Salon Nouveau lounge, see spectacular sights from their private balcony viewing, or even purchase one-of-a-kind, in-house merchandise of many kinds.
Unlike Disney World, which has a specific Club 33 in each of its four theme parks, Disneyland has just the one. The closest you’d get to a Disney California Adventure Club 33 location is the 1901 Lounge at the Carthay Circle, which also caters exclusively to Club 33 members. As a most unassuming private lounge, it may be hard at first to distinguish its entrance among the three doors at the front of Carthay Circle Restaurant.
It is the one to the right, for those who are looking. And those special few who get to go beyond the door will find themselves on an instant transcendence back to the 1930s, with all the décor and cozy home-like furniture accents. Two sections categorize the lounge; one features an array of sofas, loveseats, chairs, and casual comfort. The other part is the main lounge site, sporting full bar service balanced out by authentic artifacts and convincing replicas alike. More than just drinks make up the experience, as the lounge even features three designated menus—the Eats menu, one comprised of Children’s selections, and even a Finger Desserts fixing.
Related: 5 Dining Experiences You Must Have at Disneyland Resort
The second Disney Park to follow suit in establishing its very own Club 33 location was Tokyo Disneyland when it did so back in 1983 upon opening. They made the decision to provide their own secret spot when the Oriental Land Company, the regional owners and overseers of Disney in Tokyo, were in the process of designing the Park, relying on both Disneyland in California as well as Walt Disney World in Florida for inspiration. They balanced accordingly what they chose from each location, deciding to take from Disneyland the idea of a secluded VIP-exclusive social club and restaurant. And in accordance to not broadcasting its whereabouts, they too decided on an unassuming, humble spot without all the fanfare. Their Club 33 is hindered on Center Street, located in World Bazaar—their Park’s closest equivalent of Main Street, U.S.A.
Just like its west coast counterpart, Club 33 at Tokyo Disneyland is designed to evoke feelings of a bygone era, with vintage décor and accents to bolster its underlying theme. It remains the only place within park limits where alcohol is served.
Guests arrive through the unassuming doorway and then ride up via an elevator into a lavish social hub, which includes a full-service phenomenal restaurant experience offering up the most enticing entrées as presented via a multi-course meal. And like other Club 33 sites, you can top off the experience with other onsite opportunities, be treated to phenomenal views of Cinderella Castle from an exclusive balcony, and even purchase Club 33 merchandise and souvenirs you can’t find anywhere else.
Related: Tokyo Disney Begins its Totally Minnie Mouse Celebration
It was in 2016 when Shanghai Disney Resort opened in China, and with it, the third official installment of Club 33. Like Japan’s version, the location for this highly regarded hideaway can be found at the Park’s Main Street, U.S.A. equivalent—on Mickey Avenue.
Deviating from other Club 33 destinations somewhat, the style and décor motif here isn’t just about vintage nostalgia. There is a very specific theme carried out in perfect cadence with its very esoteric enchantment—that of the animated Disney classic Fantasia. From sugar plum fairy chandeliers to awesome artwork and symbolic artifacts throughout, this is perhaps one of the most surreal deliverances of all the Club 33 renditions to date.
Dining here is carried out within a range of separate dining rooms, adding privacy and intimacy for you to be treated to a personal experience that’s yours alone. And as would be expected at any Club 33 destination, the menu features a multitude of multi-course offerings.
Again, there’s no better way to top off your optional experience than to enjoy stellar balcony views and by purchasing some exclusive souvenirs and merchandise.
Related: New Merchandise Coming to Shanghai Disney Resort for Duffy’s New Friend LinaBell!
Walt Disney World
Believe it or not, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida was the latecomer to the Club 33 social scene. It wasn’t even until the year 2017 that they formally announced plans for opening their own installments of Club 33 at each of the four main theme parks. The first to open was the location at Hollywood Studios, back in March of 2018. After that, the ones at EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom both opened. Animal Kingdom Park was last, with their 2020 premier.
Each Park’s specific Club 33 has its own unique name. The first one over at Hollywood Studios, which is known as Spotlight Lounge, can be found discretely situated above the famed Brown Derby Restaurant. You get to it via an exclusive elevator just near the restrooms. EPCOT’s location, the Constellation Club, is housed above the American Adventure Pavilion in what was previously used as the Chase Visa Lounge—an exclusive hub for Disney cardmembers—during the Park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. You’ll find the Magic Kingdom’s Captain’s Quarters near the entrance to the Park’s Adventureland. The site for Animal Kingdom’s version, known as Harambe House, is rightfully located within Africa.
Each has its own awesome theming in par to the Park in which it is housed. Reminiscent of the 1901 Lounge California Adventure in more ways than one, Disney World’s Club 33 destinations are all lounges and do not provide the same extended restaurant experiences as other Club 33s. But they do all live up to all the same elite standards as the other locations. And like the others, you can find one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs available to purchase, to remind you of your most unforgettable experience!
Rules to Remember
Disney’s Club 33 locations are all discrete destinations, with a set of rules and regulations to keep their most guarded secrets reserved exclusively for the delight of those who are ever fortunate enough to enter themselves. That means that they have very strict camera and videoing policies. Prior to your reserved timeframe for attending Club 33, you will be updated on the most current procedures on what is and is not allowed.
You may be wondering if it is all worth it to become a bigwig member of the Club 33 social elite. Aside from an exclusive hangout and being part of the “cool crowd” membership perks come in a plentiful array of additional offerings. Here are just a couple for your consideration:
- Annual Park Passes
- A set number of private VIP tours annually
- 50 single-day admission tickets/passes for friends
- Access to all of the exclusive lounges and restaurants
- Exclusive access to Club 33 merchandise
- Ride and attraction reservation privileges
- Other concierge/VIP services and experiences
Becoming A Member
Unless you are invited to attend as the lucky guest of someone who already has a membership, Club 33 admission is virtually off-limits to anyone who isn’t a member themselves. And becoming a member is no easy task. For starters, the price for joining is astronomical for most folks, and unless you have deep pockets, you’re out of luck. Exact pricing cannot be stated, but in estimating Disneyland’s going rate, individual initiation fees can range from $25,000 to 40,000 ($50,000 corporate pricing) with an annual membership fee on top of that spanning between roughly $12,000 to $25,000. Disney World’s membership is approximately $33,000 for an initiation cost plus an additional $15,000 fee annually.
If money isn’t a deterrence for you there’s also that little matter of a waiting list to consider. The waitlist process can span several years, and some years there aren’t even any memberships sold. At best, only a small number are granted in a given year. And remember, they have final say in whether you are accepted to join the club or not.
Still not discouraged? If you want to have a go at a possible Club 33 membership someday, you can start the process with an email query to Club33@WaltDisneyWorld.com if you are seeking membership at Disney World. For those looking to get in at Disneyland’s establishment, you must send a letter in writing to the following:
33 Member Services, 1600 S.
Anaheim, CA 92802,
The management team will contact you if and when a membership becomes available and whether you have been accepted as the club’s newest member.
Whether you’re going big in pursuit of elite extras like a membership to Disney’s prestigious Club 33, or seeking the simple satisfactions that come from Disney’s more obtainable mainstays, any vacation to Disney Parks makes you feel like part of a very special club.