You may have heard about the mysterious Club 33 located in the Disney Parks. This exclusive members club is the stuff of myths and legends. Because so few people get to experience a visit to Club 33 and share what they encountered not much is known about this elusive hangout. So just what is Club 33 and how are you able to enjoy this secretive Disney venue?
History of Club 33
Club 33 started in Disneyland in 1967 and was Walt’s magnificent vision. After visiting the New York World’s Fair in 1964, where he experienced first-hand executive VIP lounges offered by corporations, Walt was inspired to create a private club for VIP guests to Disneyland who wanted to escape the crowds.
This would also be the perfect place for Walt to do business with his industry contacts who could help expand his dream, by showing off everything Disneyland had to offer before retiring to a private lounge in opulent surroundings to be able to escape the curious glances from day guests.
Club 33 used to be the only location where you could buy alcohol on Disney premises which was another big bonus for its patrons!
Sadly, Walt Disney died a few months before the original Club 33 opened but you can feel Walt’s spirit running through the club, as well as seeing personal photographs and curiosities Walt and his wife Lillian had collected from their travels around the world.
Originally Club 33 was just going to be for corporate sponsors of Disney but when the lounge finally opened, six months after Walt’s death, memberships were offered to anyone who could afford it.
Today members, celebrities, executives and VIPs can all be found inside this grandiose club.
As well as privacy and exclusivity the luxurious Club 33 offers its guests incredible service, gourmet food and a fabulous atmosphere. The elegant décor is inspired by Art Nouveau design and comes filled with props from Disney films such as Mary Poppins. There is also a piano inside which over the years has been played by a wide array of legendary musicians.
Club 33 also has a shop at the exit, (it is Disney of course!), which sells exclusive Club 33 merchandise. A great opportunity to purchase a memento for those lucky enough to experienced this ritzy hideaway.
Where Can You Find Club 33?
For many years Disneyland was the only park that had a Club 33. In 1986 the second Club 33 was opened in Tokyo Disneyland, followed by a third location in Shanghai Disneyland which opened in 2016.
It took a long 51 years for Club 33 to open in Disney World! The first Disney World location opened in 2018 and in the following years clubs have now opened in each of the four Disney World Parks. This makes Disney World a fantastic destination to become a Club 33 member as you get access to all four of the Club 33 locations in the four Disney World Parks.
The Club 33 locations in Disney World are:
- EPCOT – Constellation Club in the American Adventure Pavilion in World Showcase
- Magic Kingdom – Captain’s Quarters, near the entrance to Adventureland.
- Hollywood Studios – Spotlight Lounge, behind The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant.
- Animal Kingdom – Harambe House, near the Festival of the Lion King show.
Disneyland now also has a Club 33 in California Adventure in the 1901 Lounge inside Carthay Circle Restaurant.
Why it is called Club 33?
There is a lot of speculation and fantastical rumors about how this exclusive members lounge became known as Club 33.
One theory is that when the number 3 is turned on its side it looks like Mickey ears and that the number 33 on its side looks like ‘mm’ for Mickey Mouse.
Another theory is that it is in honor of the original 33 investors in Disneyland.
But the reality is slightly less charming. The address for the original Club 33 in Disneyland is 33 Royal Street in New Orleans Square, which is most likely where the name came from.
Membership to Club 33 is very hard to obtain and comes with a hefty price tag! The waiting list to join is also many years long. In fact, in 2007 the waiting list for Disneyland became so long they had to shut it for 5 years before allowing anyone new to join. Some people have been on the waiting list for decades!
This is one of the reasons Club 33 is so mysterious and alluring, the membership is so hard to obtain, which means so few people have experienced what Club 33 has to offer, that people become desperate to know just what goes on behind the doors!
The good news is as Disney World has four locations it should be easier to obtain a membership as they have the ability to have four times the amount of members.
Not many memberships are offered each year so patience is needed! Some years no new memberships are offered and in other years many more than usual are available. So if you want to join be prepared to be in it for the long game!
How much does it cost to join Club 33?
Club 33 membership at Disney World is rumored to cost an eye-watering $33,000 to join and then $15,000 in annual fees!
The high cost is to keep Club 33 elite. Anything less would mean many Disney fans would jump at the opportunity to join and the exclusivity would be lost.
Meals and drinks are not included in the price of your membership. You read that right, to dine inside Club 33 you have to pay extra! But having a meal in the opulent setting of this swanky restaurant is one of the activities many members like to enjoy. You are served a gourmet five-course prix fix menu to feast upon, using the best quality ingredients combined with excellent service.
If you are a Club 33 member at Walt Disney World this doesn’t give you access to other Club 33 locations around the world, so you would have to get a membership to each one to be able to visit all of them!
What Does a Club 33 Membership Get You?
With the amount of money members invest you will be glad to know you get more than just access to the Club 33 lounges and restaurants!
Club 33 members also receive:
- Annual Passes for Walt Disney World for yourself, your spouse, and any children under age 26
- Passholder Perks Include:
- 365 days of admission to Walt Disney World
- No block out dates
- Unlimited PhotoPass downloads
- Free standard parking
- Discounts on table-service dining, merchandise, recreation, and guided tours
- 50 one-day park hopper tickets
- 5 daylong VIP guided tours
- An undisclosed number of instant ride reservations
- Access to private concierge services
- Access to all four Club 33 lounges found at Walt Disney World
When visiting the restaurant, bar or lounge the staff in Club 33 can entertain you with interesting facts and fascinating stories about the history of Club 33. They can also give you a tour to show you all the interesting artifacts, and the stories behind them, that adorn this private members club.
How to be invited to join Disney’s Club 33
To apply to become a member and join the waiting list contact [email protected]. After writing the email to Club33 membership there is no guarantee you will join anytime soon, as they don’t have a certain amount they admit each year. In fact, I’ve heard some have been on the waitlist for over a decade!
Not even celebrities are guaranteed acceptance, but I imagine having the income certainly makes it one less obstacle to joining. So when you apply, be patient. Try networking and seeing to know any active members, and simply ask if they can help get your invite looked a bit sooner.
Why Is Club 33 So Secretive?
One of the reasons Club 33 is so secretive is to keep it exclusive. The air of mystery is a big draw to people who are able to pay the high fees to become a member.
This VIP experience is aimed at elite people who want a special Disney experience and are willing to pay a substantial price tag to have it.
Disney does a fantastic job of hiding these clubs in plain sight. Everybody loves a secret doorway so this is another way Disney keeps the allure alive!
The entrances are non-descript doors that can easily be walked past if you are visiting the parks as they are made to not stand out. Only people in the know will realize these are the doorways into the private Club 33!
On your next Disney World trip try to see if you can spot the Club 33 entrances in each park!
How To Visit Club 33 Without A Membership
If you are lucky and know someone who is a Club 33 member you may one day get an invite from them where you will be able to visit and dine inside one of the Club 33 locations!
As part of their membership Club 33 members are given 50 park hopper tickets a year to use for friends and family and can also invite guests to join them on one of the five VIP tours they receive each year.
If you are lucky enough to receive an invitation from a member to visit Club 33 you will be sent an email with the rules, which include not taking any photographs that include other people inside the venue to help maintain anonymity and no videos are allowed whatsoever.
Asides from paying to become a Club 33 member or knowing someone who is there is no other way for people to visit Club 33, which is one of the reasons it is such a coveted experience!
Next time you are at Disney World and see a doorway just marked 33 you will know what opulence and luxury lies behind in this secretive members-only club!