Club 33 is a private club located in the heart of New Orleans Square in Disneyland. Officially maintained as a "secret" feature of the theme park and off-limits to the general public, the entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at "33 Royal Street" with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it. Club 33 members enjoy access to the club's exclusive restaurant that serves—along with meals—beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. It is the only location within Disneyland to offer alcoholic beverages. Club 33 members are also privileged with access to the park 365 days a year. Club 33 offers individual and corporate memberships. Rumors are that the waiting list can be upwards of three to five years and the initiation fee as high as US$10,000. The membership levels offered for individuals are Gold and Silver, with the main differentiation being the number of days in advance a member can make reservations to use the Club.
The original Club 33
Once considered an "urban legend" due to the secretive nature of the club, various origins have been claimed for the name "Club 33". One says that the club was named for Disneyland's thirty-three corporate sponsors at the time. Another is that Walt Disney chose the name simply because he liked the way that "33" looked. And one explanation, arguably the most common, is that "33" when turned on its side bears similarity to two letter "M"s, as would stand for "Mickey Mouse". Still another claims that the number represented Disney's alleged membership level with the Masons. In actuality, it was simply the address assigned to the door by chance, namely the aforementioned "33 Royal Street". The Blue Bayou Restaurant has an "address" of 31 Royal Street while a gift shop immediately to the right of the entrance is number 35. Even this fictitious address is thought to have come about in order for Disneyland to obtain a California liquor license; the license for the restaurant is assigned to Disneyland's physical address of 1313 South Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim. Cocktail napkins show the fictitious address of "33 Royal Street, New Orleans Square, Disneyland USA".
When Walt Disney was working with the promoters of the 1960 World's Fair, he noted that there was a special area for "wining and dining" the corporate sponsors of the Fair. This gave him the idea that culminated in Club 33, originally designed for the use of Disneyland's corporate sponsors and other industry VIPs. When the design of New Orleans Square was planned, this special area for corporate sponsors and VIPs was included in it. After Disney's death just prior to the opening of New Orleans Square, it was decided that Club 33 was to be opened up to individual members.
Guests enter the ornate lobby and have the option of going to the dining level via an antique glass elevator. Once at the dining level, guests can view antique furniture pieces collected by Lillian Disney as well as furnishings used as props in Disney films. There is a fully functional glass telephone booth just off the elevator which was used in The Happiest Millionaire and an ornate walnut table with white marble top which was used in Mary Poppins. A video capture from the film on display atop the table shows actors Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber and David Tomlinson standing immediately to its left. Another antique table chosen by Mrs. Disney for display at the end of the main hallway has a base of carved ebony and depicts two children in Arabic dress. A newly-installed bar prepares drinks to order for members and their guests. Original conceptual artwork by Disney artists such as Marc Davis is on display throughout the restaurant.
A harpsichord which was rumored to have been an antique was in fact custom-built for Lillian Disney specifically for use in Club 33. The underside of the lid features a Renaissance-style painting that was actually done by Disney artists. At one time, it could be played by anyone who sat down at it. The instrument is currently in need of tuning and partial restringing. Wait staff will gladly raise the lid and keyboard cover for photographs.
Walt Disney also wanted to make use of Audio-Animatronic technology within Club 33. Microphones in overhead lighting fixtures would pick up the sounds of normal conversation while an operator would respond via the characters. Though the system was never fully implemented, it was at least partially installed and remains so to this day. An Audio-Animatronic condor is perched in one corner of the club's "Trophy Room". The microphones remain in the room's lighting fixtures and are clearly visible at the bottom of each. The animal trophies which Disney inherited and for which the room was named have been removed by Disney family members. Photos of the room with the trophies still installed can be seen on the walls now. This room was also known as the "Disney Room".
On January 5, 2014, Club 33 closed for a major renovation and expansion. In the process, much of the historical character of the Club was lost, with the "Trophy Room" becoming expanded kitchen space and the original French lift being retired and turned into a dining booth, while the Trophy Room's vulture is perched atop a grandfather clock. The entrance to Club 33 was relocated to the Court of Angels, which was walled off from regular guests by a glass door. The newly expanded Main Dining Area, rebranded as La Grand Salon, featured much larger picture windows that made the club appear much more visible to guests outside on ground level.
The upper floors of the French Market restaurant, once used for storage, have become additional space for the Club, housing part of the new lobby and a new lounge called "La Salon Noveau". The new Club 33 also shares kitchen space with another exclusive restaurant, 21 Royal, which is located in the former Disney Gallery/Disneyland Dream Suite space.
A second Club 33 is located in Tokyo Disneyland. Rather than being located in New Orleans Square, it is located on Center Street off World Bazaar. Members of Disneyland's Club 33 do not have reciprocal privileges in the Tokyo club.