Disney to add members to 'secret' Club 33 and open new club
This post has been changed. See note below.
It won’t be signed “Willy Wonka,” but there’s a new golden ticket going around.
For the first time in a decade, Disneyland has opened membership to its exclusive Club 33, the secretive, members-only restaurant hidden in New Orleans Square.
For years, Disney die-hards and others hoping to walk through the green door bearing No. 33 haven't had the chance to add their names to the already overwhelmed wait list. But Friday, that all changed.
Disney officials announced memberships would be offered to a "limited number" of new members — for an initiation fee of $25,000 and annual dues of $10,000 — in honor of Club 33's 45th anniversary and the completion of a five-year expansion project at the park.
One hundred embossed invitations will be sent to potential members already on the waiting list, Disney confirmed. Officials did not say how many of the reported 800 people on the list would be added.
Also marking the occasion is the opening of a second private club at Disney California Adventure. Named for the year Walt Disney was born — 1901 — the lounge is described as a "warm, intimate space" featuring personal artwork and photographs from early animators, including Disney himself.
"Imagine it's the 1930s, and this is where the animators would’ve hung out, swapped stories, doodled on napkins," Ray Spencer of Walt Disney Imagineering told the DisneyParks blog. "This is the place Walt and the animators might’ve chatted, relaxed, unwound."
Only Club 33 members will have access to 1901, officials said. The new lounge sits on the bottom floor of the Carthay Circle Theatre near the entrance of California Adventure. It opens June 15.
Disney created Club 33 as a place to entertain investors and business associates, although it didn’t open until six months after his death in 1966. But yet again a Disney dream was realized: Presidents, dignitaries and celebrities have visited 33 Royal St.
Rumors about Club 33 have long swirled on the Internet, as hopefuls shared what they knew of the almost-mythical membership. The fan website www.disneylandclub33.com had already posted news of the openings by Monday morning.
"As to how long this window of opportunity will remain open is unknown," the website warns. "So don't miss out!"
Disney officials said those interested in Club 33 membership could email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
[For the record, May 15: An earlier version of this post gave an incorrect date for Walt Disney's death. He died in 1966.]
— Kate Mather
Photo: A new private lounge, above, at Disney California Adventure — named 1901 for the year Walt Disney was born — will be open to Club 33 members beginning June 15, Disney officials said. Credit: Disneyland Resort