Vote of the week: How much would you pay to get into Club 33?
Published: September 3, 2010 at 8:19 AM
Theme parks offer all sorts of premiums - front-of-line passes, guided tours, character breakfasts, animal encounters - some for no additional charge, but most costing extra, beyond the cost of your admission ticket.
But there's one special theme park "extra" that you can't simply buy your way with a phone call and a credit card: Disneyland's famed Club 33.
The private club, located above New Orleans Square, sells memberships, but has been sold out for years. And if you are not a member, or a senior Disney manager, you can't make a reservation - at any price.
But what if you could? What if Disney suddenly decided to set aside a few Club 33 reservations each day, and make them available to "regular" park visitors at an extra charge?
How much would you pay to get into Club 33?
Now, we're talking just the charge to make a reservation. You'd still have to pay for your park ticket, and for the meal. So keep that in mind when deciding. Let's also assume that your reservation won't allow you to take over the joint - we'll say that the maximum for the ressie would be a party of four. (And in case anyone brings up the argument, let's also assume that this plan wouldn't take reservation space away from any existing members, just from some mid-level Disney managers instead.)
Please tell us how you voted, in the comments. And if you've dined before at Club 33, I'm sure that other Theme Park Insider readers would live to hear about that too! Have a great weekend, and thanks again for reading TPI.
Update: A reader suggests rephrasing this question this way: "How much would you bribe a Disney manager or Club 33 member to make a reservation on your behalf?" Cynics. ;-)
Published: September 3, 2010 at 8:29 AM
For a unique dining experience in spectacular surroundings I'd be willing to pay in the $51-$100 bracket.
I've hears somewhat mixed reviews about the quality of the food but never heard anything but positives about the quality of service and atmosphere created.
It certainly would be an earner, though I'm sure the current club members wouldn't be too happy.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 9:22 AM
I wouldn't pay anything. I don't go to theme parks to sit in a private club and have a meal and separate myself from the unwashed masses. I go to ride roller coasters. I wouldn't say food is the furthest thing from my mind, because I love to eat. It's just not a high priority for me at a park, Disney or otherwise. Even if I HAD the connections and money to get into Club 33 (which I'd never heard of before reading this,) it just wouldn't interest me. I'm a fast-food kind of guy. Olive Garden/Red Lobster is as fancy as I get.
Out of curiosity, Robert (or anyone else)..what's the significance of the number 33?
Published: September 3, 2010 at 9:53 AM
^^Free masonry. The Illuminati. I'm not completely sure just guessing.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 9:59 AM
My comment was the first comment. Forgot to log-in.
Just to add, I think it would be nice if you could do a small tour of the club, even if it's not including the dining room. From what I've seen there's lots of interesting stuff in there that would certainly be worth seeing.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 10:06 AM
I would say $50 to $100 assuming that the meal/sovineers would be pretty pricey too!
I would love to go there! Full of history!
Published: September 3, 2010 at 10:42 AM
I would be willing to pay $100+ primarily because I am a Disney fan. I see how it does not appeal to the average theme park-goer.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 12:27 PM
I have dined at Club 33 a few times and it is well worth the experience. I voted to keep it above $100 because it is a very special place and wouldn't want to taint the unique value of the setting.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 1:07 PM
I always wanted to see it, though one of my friends has a membership and took my other buddies to see it. They thought it was cool, but nothing spectacular.
Still, as a theme park fanatic, I'd pay the $50-$100 charge for a meal.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 1:18 PM
I wouldn't pay a "cover charge" to eat there -- I would hate to think I'd be "diluting" the membership experience for the other people dining there.
That said, if any member wants to invite me along as a guest, I'll pick up the tab for dinner... (HINT, HINT!)
Published: September 3, 2010 at 2:31 PM
I think the tour idea is awesome. Charge a small fee 10-30 dollars and take people thru the club with a knowledgeable guide. This could be done on off-hours when members aren't eating.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 4:36 PM
From what I understand, the Club 33 staff frequently provides tours to first-time diners now.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 5:16 PM
I would'nt pay anything. Apparently club 33 is soooo exclusive that I did not know it existed..... lol.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 5:33 PM
Hmmm...tough question. We're not really talking about just a great meal, or even "just" a phenomenal dining experience- those can be had elsewhere. What makes Club 33 so special IS the exclusivity- ergo, if it were to become available to anyone willing/able to pony up, I think the appeal would be lost. There are plenty of people willing to pay top dollar at Disney (as evidenced by the deluxe resort prices), that there would be no shortage of the "regular guy" willing to pay. Personally, I'd love to go- but only because of the mystique (for lack of a better word)that surrounds it. If that were gone, so would be the appeal.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 6:54 PM
I always wondered why they didn't put a Club 33 in Florida - or something like that. I think that would make a lot of people (including myself) happy. I put my vote on the $51 - $100 price range. I'm not sure how the place is set up - if they have a seperate bar/lounge area - but if they did, I'd even vote for a 2 tier system - $50 admission for drinks at the bar & $100 - $150 for dinner (like a Victoria & Alberts type experience). Never have been to the California park but hope to go someday......
Published: September 3, 2010 at 8:38 PM
Well, I've been there and the kids meals alone were in the $50.00 range (which was the basic kids meal from downstairs - the Blue Bayou...Anyway, service was excellent, a very sophisticated atmosphere; elevator ride was interesting. Otherwise, the Blue Bayou is what I would prefer for "special" dining. Once was enough. Wouldn't pay to go again. Although, tickets to the park were included with the meal.
Published: September 3, 2010 at 8:41 PM
I believe the 33 in Club 33 is the address of the club inside the park. I voted for the $1-$20 just out of curiosity, but I agree with another comment that I go to the park to enjoy myself, not to be in a highly pretentious restaurant. Satcy
Published: September 4, 2010 at 12:27 AM
I voted that I wouldn't pay anything. It's not my kind of thing. I go to Disney Parks for the atmosphere, but I don't like the idea of the exclusive restaurant/ club. It's not for me and I don't like fine dining that much. I'll stick to the Jazz Kitchen as that's more my kind of atmosphere for dining.
Published: September 4, 2010 at 9:04 AM
Well since membership is around $10,000 with annual renewals around $3,500 and that they stopped the waiting list to be a member because it's too long (10+ years) and there are only ~500 members at any one time, I would pay more than $100 to get a reservation (which includes park admission as well.) With a few drinks or wine it costs around $150 a person to eat there for dinner. I like fine dining so someone invite me! Anyway I've only been to Disneyland once for a day (after staying up all night so it feels like a dream.)
Published: September 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM
The 33 in Club 33 represents the original 33 companies who were the investors of Disneyland.
Published: September 5, 2010 at 9:39 AM
There are a whole bunch of fun rumors as to the club name's origin:
Though fun, I tend to believe that a cigar is just a cigar and they picked the name because it sounded cool and was thematic and mysterious.
Published: September 5, 2010 at 12:34 PM
Walt Disney was a 33rd degree freemason? That's actually pretty believable in a way.
Published: September 5, 2010 at 5:05 PM
I had the pleasure of having Sunday brunch at Club 33 back in the late 1990s. I was the guest of a member. Like many of you, I am a big admirer of Disneyland so I knew what Club 33 is and was thrilled to get to go there. That said, I don't believe there should be a way to buy one's way in for a meal. This is a very special place and it needs to stay special.
Published: September 5, 2010 at 10:35 PM
Being a Pass holder I voted for the 51-100 price bracket. I think just having the experience to eat in the same place that Walt Disney would bring his special guest to eat with him would be great. I think it’s the history of the club that makes it more interesting and not the food. I would also like a chance for a walk thru opportunity of Walt’s apartment above the fire house.
Published: September 6, 2010 at 12:28 AM
A friend of mine from the Orlando parks managed to snag us a reservation our here in Anaheim. It was definitely worth it, although i wouldn't go often.The minimum cost of a meal is equal to a one-day park admission, so my Alaskan Halibut was 80-some bucks. Food was great. The vinegar and oil dipping station was pretty awesome, as were the numerous desserts. And the various banquet rooms and baroque-style bathrooms were entertaining. I was a bit creeped out by the room with the microphones in the chandeliers so that servers knew what guests want just from listening in on the conversations at the table. (Walt's personal touch).
Published: September 6, 2010 at 2:27 PM
Disney can take their DVC and Club 33 and shove it...
But thanks for Gaston's Tavern, probably the only tavern to not sell alcoholic products in the world (and not just the World).
Published: September 6, 2010 at 3:30 PM
Gee Anthony! Why so sour? I am a DVC member and wished I could have joined years ago.
Published: September 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM
Who cares about this spot, Give me an underground Mine train ride that you need a special membership to ride and I would jump off a bridge.
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