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5 Amazing Things About Club 33, Disney's Secret Restaurant
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January 5, 2019
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Erin De Santiago
Erin De Santiago is a travel and food writer who writes for various publications and her own sites, including her award-winning blog, Our Tasty Travels.
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Located inside the Disneyland Resort, Club 33 is an exclusive restaurant that is only open to club members and their invited guests. It has a strict dress code and strict policies regarding social media, making it even more elusive to non-members. With a supposed 10-plus year waiting list and an initial membership initiation fee that rivals a brand-new car, it’s no surprise that Disney fans are fascinated with the restaurant behind the secret door.

If you are wondering what the fuss is about, here are five amazing facts about Disneyland’s Club 33:

Club 33 Is the Only Place You Can Drink Alcohol Inside Disneyland Park

Credit: @disneyland33member

For the over-21 crowd visiting the Disneyland Resort, being able to have a glass of wine or a cocktail inside the park brings some bragging rights. Even the mocktails are impressive at Club 33. Expect fancy garnishes and Club 33 stirrers on drinks you order here.

Club 33’s Original Elevator Is Now a Booth Inside the Restaurant

Credit: @disneyland33member

In the original Club 33, an old, open-air elevator took visitors to the second floor. After the 2014 redesign and renovation, the entrance location changed. The antique elevator was removed and turned into a booth inside Club 33. It’s an extremely tight fit, so it’s more on display for nostalgic reasons. Legend has it that Walt and his wife were in New Orleans when they spotted an elevator Walt had to have for Club 33. When the hotel wouldn’t sell it, he had his Imagineers design one with updated safety features.

Walt Disney Never Visited Club 33 After It Opened

Credit: Natala/Shutterstock.com

While Walt Disney was the mastermind behind Club 33 and designed what he envisioned for his exclusive retreat, he never got to enjoy it once it officially opened. Club 33 opened its doors in June 1967, but Walt Disney passed away in December 1966.

Walt Disney Included an Animatronic Vulture to Talk to Guests

Credit: @disneyland33member

The original trophy-room design at Club 33 differs from what you’ll see today, but there is still plenty of memorabilia and concept drawings from the original vision for Club 33. Perhaps the most interesting difference is the animatronic California vulture Walt Disney wanted in the trophy room.

The original concept included someone in a sound room who would listen to diners’ conversations through wired microphones and then the vulture would talk to guests while they dined. After the redesign in 2014, the original trophy room was turned into the kitchen. Today, the once motionless vulture now sits perched in the main lobby area, flaps his wings and even says a few words to arriving guests.

There Will Soon Be Club 33 Locations at Four Different Disney Theme Parks Resorts

Credit: @jamahbags

Club 33 started at the original Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Since Disney’s global expansion, a new and even more exclusive Club 33 opened inside Tokyo Disneyland. It’s in a different park location, but like the original Club 33, it’s the only place inside Tokyo Disneyland where you can purchase alcohol. Membership in the Tokyo Club 33 seems to be primarily limited to corporate sponsors and other corporations. And, privileges are not reciprocal, so even if you have a membership to the original Club 33, you can’t hop on a flight to Tokyo and dine at the Tokyo one.  

The third Club 33 cracked its doors in conjunction with the grand opening of Shanghai Disney in 2016. If you have $9,000 to spend, you can take a 12-day Adventures by Disney tour to Hong Kong and China, where you might have an opportunity to experience dinner at Shanghai Disneyland’s Club 33. While it’s not a guarantee, some previous guests reported a surprise dinner at the exclusive restaurant.

The number of Club 33 locations is going up once more as Walt Disney World is opening a Club 33 in each of its four theme parks.