Did You Know Disneyland Has A Secret Members Club?
You could go to Disneyland every day for the rest of your life and still not be sure you’d seen everything the sprawling park has to offer. But did you know there’s one small corner of the park you can only get into if you’re a member?
The private lounge was built as part of New Orleans Square following the 1964 World’s Fair as a place where Walt Disney could entertain high-profile guests away from the hustle and bustle of the park’s main streets.
Later, in 1967, it was renamed Club 33 for its Disneyland location – 33 Royal Street – and opened up to those prepared to pay the hefty membership fees.
Designed and built in the style of New Orleans’ 19th century French Quarter – think ornate wrought iron railings draped with flowers and pastel-coloured exteriors – Club 33’s whimsical interiors are based on watercolour paintings by Dorothea Redmond, one of Disney’s OG Imagineers. Many of the antiques that still occupy the space were hand-selected by Walt and his wife, Lillian, on a trip to New Orleans.
The club is comprised of two lavish dining rooms and a number of smaller entertaining areas, along with an entryway gallery that holds a number of rare and one-of-a-kind original Disney artworks and sketches.
New Orleans Square does a pretty good job at concealing Club 33. In fact, most visitors to Disneyland pass right by it and don’t even notice it’s there.
Sadly, Walt never saw the completed club, passing away five months before it opened. Since then, celebrities, government officials and sports stars have enjoyed a gourmet meal inside.
If you’re keen to get inside Club 33, patience is key. The number of memberships is capped and new memberships tend to be offered on an invite-only basis, though a handful are made available most years.
Applications for membership need to be made in writing, with fees rumoured to start at around $25,000 and balloon right up to $100,000, plus ongoing annual fees from $12,500, if you don’t mind.
How To Get There
(All images: John Hallett / Flickr)