Our Disney loving family fell in love with the idea of being Club 33 members from the time we learned of the club inside Disneyland. The private club is located next to the Blue Bayou restaurant and is only open to members and their guests. We put our names on the wait list in 2005 and never received any correspondence from Disneyland regarding the club. Finally, in 2012, we received a golden envelope with the Club 33 logo. Opening the envelope was a monumental moment for us. Over 7 years each time we checked our mailbox we hoped that envelope would arrive. Our dream had finally come true.
We would be celebrating the Fourth of July in Disneyland just a couple of weeks later so decided to reach out to the club member service and request a tour before making a decision on membership. We were invited to tour the club and couldn’t have been more excited for our upcoming visit. The tour day finally arrived and we started our morning by parking at the Grand Californian Hotel. We were so giddy when the valet parking attendant placed a Club 33 sticker on our windshield.
My husband’s cell phone rang as we were walking through the Grand Californian Hotel to make our way to the park. It was the representative we were scheduled to meet calling to cancel our tour reservation. She had a blow out on the freeway and needed to reschedule. We were extremely disappointed but decided our special day just wasn’t meant to be. We chose to go to the park and enjoy the day doing our very best to forget about our cancelled plans. A few minutes later the phone rang again. This time it was a different club service representative calling to apologize and reschedule the tour. We were invited to visit the 1901 club in California Adventure. The special lounge with access exclusive to Club 33 members had just recently opened prior to our visit. Of course we were elated with the invitation and agreed to meet the representative just a few minutes later. 1901 is named after the year Walt Disney was born and is decorated with personal photographs and artwork from the early animators. The furniture feels very authentic to the 1930s and includes overstuffed leather chairs, dark wood, and beautiful intricate wall papers. We spent an hour in the 1901 club learning more about the Club 33 membership and enjoying drinks. The sherbet lemonade and shirley temple were delicious! Toward the end of our visit, something magical happened. We were offered dinner reservations for Club 33 later that evening. The unexpected surprise was so exciting!
Not expecting to dine at Club 33, we had not packed appropriate apparel for our vacation. We spent an hour in the park watching street performers and riding the Silly Swings before rushing off to shop for clothes we could wear to dinner. If you’ve ever noticed other guests wearing a suit and tie to Disneyland and wondered why anyone would be so dressed up for a family day at the park, they just might be visiting Club 33.
Later that evening we arrived in Disneyland a few minutes early for a couple of rides on the teacups before our dinner reservation.
Then the magical moment had arrived. We walked over to the Club 33 door and rang the buzzer. The door opened and we stepped inside.
We were greeted at the desk and given directions to go upstairs for our table. Fully convinced I would not be sharing about this experience here I did not bother taking too many photos. Years later I wish I would have better documented the experience. We walked up the stairs and were seated at a table by the window. From the moment we were seated, our waiter was extremely patient and attentive to our family. The menu was extensive and meal options included a variety of dishes. With our daughter just three years old at time, I was happy to see a kids menu included. Her side of fruit came in a huge dish and her cup was plastic with a lid and light up Tinkerbell.
Dinner was amazing and because it felt tacky to be taking multiple pictures of everything that impressed me, sadly I didn’t. My meal choices included a zucchini appetizer, salad, and chicken. The deconstructed s’mores dessert was unbelievable. Our waiter recommended a chocolate martini with dessert and it surely did not disappoint. The cocktail was delicious and perfect for a lifetime Disneyland fan with the mickey ears made of chocolate swirls on the inside of the glass.
Before leaving Club 33 we had a family photo taken next to the bar.
It took us 7 years of waiting to finally experience the fabulous Club 33. The benefits to joining the Club are a long list but my favorite is being part of Walt Disney’s dream. The club is located in the same space Walt Disney used as his personal apartment during the Disneyland park construction. He dreamed of opening a club exclusive to corporate sponsors and VIPs. Club 33 opened just five months after Walt’s death in May 1967. The Club decor has stayed true to Walt’s original vision and includes his handpicked art decor and his wife Lillian’s antique furniture. The elevator from the main floor to the second floor dining room is an exact replica of the one Walt fell in love with during a vacation to Paris. The club is also filled with props from Disney movies including a table used in the original Mary Poppins.
The club has a balcony accessible from the dining room. The balcony overlooks the water in the New Orleans area of the park and provides a great view of shows. Years ago Disneyland offered balcony seating for the Fantasmic show. Unaware at the time, we watched the show from the Club 33 balcony and shared desserts from the club kitchen.
Club members receive complimentary access to both Disney parks, valet parking at the Grand Californian Hotel, and access to the presidential car on the Disneyland Railroad. As of 2011, the wait list for Club 33 membership was 14 years. Sadly, as much as we loved the idea of being members, we turned down the opportunity and added our names back to the wait list. We are determined to be financially prepared the next time we receive that magical golden envelope in our mailbox. Each time I check the mail I’ll be wondering if the life changing moment has arrived.
Club 33 membership would be a dream come true for our family. What would a Club 33 membership mean to you?