Orange County News

Disneyland's Club 33 opens up waitlist

Friday, May 04, 2012

Club 33 is the most exclusive place at Disneyland. For years, they haven't allowed cameras inside or new members to join, but we got a behind-the-scenes look.

Club 33 is located in Disneyland's French Quarter, next to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride exit. It's a place that Walt Disney himself envisioned at the 1964 World's Fair.

"He recognized they had private clubs for dignitaries and corporate sponsors and he thought that would be a good thing to have at Disneyland," said Kim Irvine, director of concept design at Walt Disney Imagineering.

In the entrance is an elevator that was there when the club was created back in 1967. Walt had the idea when he was in Paris and saw a similar elevator he wanted to replicate, so he sent imagineers there to create the elevator.

The set designer from "Gone with the Wind" drew out the concepts of two main rooms. One is a masculine trophy room. The other is a Napoleon-style dining room, which is just as elegant today and filled with gourmet food. It's the only place at Disneyland serving alcohol. The most popular drink is fruit punch, and the most popular desserts are the Mickey Mouse macaroons.

Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis said he is opening up the waitlist to the club for the first time in more than a decade.

"As we broaden the amenities and benefits that are offered, we're able to add new members," said Kalogridis.

The biggest added benefit is that you also get into a club called 1901, which doesn't open until June 15. The upscale bar and lounge highlights plenty of Disney history and is located at Carthay Circle in California Adventure. With membership, there comes access to a sort of Disney concierge as well.

"There is one person you have to call, one phone number. From that point, a cast member will arrange whatever it is that you'd like," said Kalogridis.

Although the list is opening up, the price will keep membership pretty exclusive. An individual membership costs $25,000 for an initiation fee and $10,000 a year in dues. For corporations, it's $40,000 at the start and then $10,000 dues. And with all that, it doesn't cover the cost of dinner. Still, Club 33 visitors said it's worth the price.

"I think the amazing thing to me is that Walt Disney grew up, and his dad said, 'You know what, you need to get a job, stop doodling.' But look at the magic that was created because he followed his dream. I think we become a small part of that when we come to Club 33," said visitor Lupe Ortiz.

Guests who are interested in membership should send an email to: club33interest@disneyland.com.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.

See photos of Disneyland's Club 33.

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disney theme park, orange county news, elex michaelson
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