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The Secret Disney Club You Never Knew Existed

Disneyland is filled to bursting with whimsical and heartfelt attractions, but not all of them are easily accessible to your average ticket holder. For years, urban legends about the park have claimed that there is an exclusive member's only club hidden in the midst of the magical kingdom that only a special few have seen. This legend is, actually, based in fact. When Disneyland finally reopens and you next find yourself in the New Orleans Square section, keep your eyes peeled for a non-descript blue door with a stained glass "33" at the top. If you find it, you'll be at the entrance of the fabled Club 33.

Thanks to the internet's unique ability to shine a light on some of the most secluded corners of the world, Club 33 no longer has quite the secretive allure that it once did. Photos circulating online can give you a sneak peek at what's inside. However, unless you happen to find yourself with a sack full of money or in the company of some very generous friends, a peek is all you're likely to get. Despite not being quite as mysterious as it once was, Club 33 still retains its air of exclusivity.

Here's the lowdown on the hidden member's only club you never knew existed in Disneyland.

What's the story behind Disneyland's Club 33?

Throughout the years, Club 33 has had the air of intrigue that usually follows illegal high-stakes betting parlors or underground fight clubs, but the origins of the club are actually much more corporate in nature. According to D23, the official Disney fan club, the idea for Club 33 came to Walt Disney himself while the company was participating in the 1964 New York World's Fair. At the massive exhibition, Disney noticed that there were many special areas designated to cater specifically to VIPs away from the throngs of the crowds. Thus, the idea for a high-end reception area that catered to celebrities and other VIPs inside Disneyland was born.

The club was created in the park's New Orlean's Square area, at 33 Royal Street, hence the name Club 33. It was meant to abut a personal apartment Disney was creating for himself in the same space, but unfortunately, he died before the club opened in 1967.

In 2014 Club 33 reopened after undergoing an extensive round of renovations, which included expanding the size of the club, updating the interior design, and reconfiguring it to utilize a new entrance, per the Los Angeles Times. Since the original opened, locations in Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disney, and Disneyworld in Orlando have popped up, as well (via HuffPost).

Club 33 is as exclusive as it is expensive

The allure of a secretive club inside the world's most popular theme park is not one to be downplayed. If you are overcome by it, what can you do to actually visit Club 33 yourself? Well, there's some good news, and some bad news, in regards to that question. 

The good news is that you don't need to be a celebrity or ultra-exclusive VIP guest to go. The bad news is that you'll need to be very wealthy, or know someone who is. Admission to Club 33 is only available to members or the guests of members, and membership doesn't come cheap. Disney doesn't publicly disclose the costs, and the reported membership dues vary depending on the source. According to Insider, membership will allegedly set you back $25,000 or more to join, and then an additional $12,500 to $30,000 a year. Many people in the US will recognize that sum as their annual salary before taxes. Oh, and also, the waiting list for a membership is, supposedly, longer than a decade. 

If you can't afford the steep price, you'll have to try and secure an invitation from a member. Those who don't have ultra-wealthy Disney fanatics in their life have turned to Craigslist to try and score a ticket in. Thrillist reports that some hopefuls take to the internet's bulletin board trying to buy reservations from members of the club.

What to expect if you make it inside Club 33

So, what does the high cost of admission get you? Like many member's only clubs, it's likely not so much the specific amenities on offer at Club 33 that draws people in, as it is the exclusivity itself. As noted by Thrillist, it's alleged that celebs like Tom Hanks and Rebel Wilson count themselves as members. Given the club's status as the place for the elite to mingle at Disneyland, there's always a chance you'll be sharing the dining room with some genuine A-listers.

The club itself is also nothing to turn your nose up at. The space is well-appointed, with a French Quarter-inspired courtyard called the Court of Angels, an elevator full of old-world charm, and many other accouterments such as an antique harpsichord and animatronic vulture. There are now two main dining and drinking rooms in Club 33, the Le Salon Nouveau, a chic lounge that was added during the 2014 renovation, and the main dining room, called Le Grand Salon (via Insider). Once inside, you'll have the luxury of being in the only place in the park that serves booze. The food and beverage services are top notch, with price tags to match. ResortTV1 did a tour of the club in 2019 when the price of the prix-fixe 5-course meal was $130.

Whether you're in it for the fine dining, or just the opportunity to grab a picture with Mickey and an Oscar-winner at the same time, if you want to make a visit to Disneyland's most exclusive club, you'll have to start saving your pennies.