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The Secret, Ultra-Exclusive Club Inside Disneyland

(image: abear-andabow on Flickr)

There are all sorts of hidden details and secrets tucked around Disneyland. Things like Hidden Mickeys or Walt Disney’s own apartment in the park are pretty well known to Disney fans, but perhaps less well known, and much harder to access, is the secret, exclusive social club tucked away off New Orleans square.

The club is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look. Hidden in an “alley” of New Orleans Square, across from the La Masquerade D’Orleans shop, is a simple door with an innocuous “33” sign next to it. It might not look like much, but it’s the entrance to the most exclusive —and expensive—spot in Disneyland: Club 33.

Rumors and myth surround Club 33 among Disney-philes. Even the origins of the name of the club are a bit mysterious, with some claiming the “33” stands for Walt’s initial 33 investors in Disneyland … and others claiming that it was chosen because 33 turned on its side looks a lot like “m m” – as in Mickey Mouse.


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Club 33…someday…maybe…probably not…in my dreams for sure! #33 #club33 #disney #disneyland #secretclub

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But there are things we do know about the club. Behind the simple doors is a beautiful courtyard with a sweeping staircase up to the restaurant overlooking the hustle and bustle of the commoners making their way to Pirates of the Caribbean or The Haunted Mansion. You can sip on a cocktail while you’re there, because Club 33 is the only place in Disneyland park that sells alcohol.

One of the myths of the club is that it exists because Walt, and the Disney honchos that succeeded him and ultimately built the club after his death, did want a place to entertain VIPS where they could drink. The club itself—and we know this only thanks to instagram feeds and the reports from lucky attendees—is a riff on the New Orleans square theme, decked out in blue and gold finery. The club also includes antiques, like a harpsichord that used to belong to Lillian Disney.


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Sounds cool and fancy, so … how do you get in? Well, this is a private social club, so you’ll need to spend a few years on the waiting list then pay an initiation fee somewhere between $25,000 to $50,000, and then you pay annual dues around $30,000. Oh, did you think you’d at least get free food when you’re granted entry to the club? Foolish mortal. You’ll still have the cough up cash to dine there, but that’s just a piddly $75 for a burger or $120 for the prix fixe dinner.

You can be invited to visit by a member, which sounds like the much cheaper way to go, and can be akin to a holy—if expensive—pilgrimage for Disneyland fans. It sounds like a fun way to spend an evening, and of course, there’s a gift shop you can visit to pick up swag that lets those in the know understand how rich or lucky you are.


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And if you’re not invited or not a member? Good luck. Non-members have been turned away, even if they were famous, and other members have been kicked out for doing things like selling or auctioning off the chance to visit the exclusive spot. The club values its elite status as a getaway for VIPS visiting the park and won’t compromise on that. Club 33 locations do exist in other parks, with more opening soon in spots like Shanghai.

But you can stop by that simple little door whenever you’re in the park and imagine what’s going on in the hallowed halls … and if knowing of the existence of the club puts you in more of an “eat the rich” mood rather than a dreamy one, take some solace in the fact they paid $50,000 or more to drink booze then go over to California Adventure and toast them with a much cheaper cocktail.

(via Thrillist)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.