Inside Disney's Exclusive $100,000 Club 33
Updated: Jul 26
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Enter Through The Secret Door At Disney World
Ah Disney. The undisputed kings of creating a domestic vacation so extraordinarily expensive that it's generally prohibitive for standard American families. And all that just to stand in line for three hours in the Orlando heat/Anaheim heavenly climate of the Disney Parks just to watch a bunch of animatronic dolls sing a song at you about how small the world is. Usually, you'll head to Disney and stay in one of their resorts that costs anywhere from $250-$2,000 per night, and then head into the parks at over $110 per ticket per day.
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You'll pay for expensive dinners, stand in line a bunch, want to pass out from heat stroke and then collapse on the air conditioned bus back to the airport. When you get home, you post a picture of yourself in Mickey Ears in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom on Instagram, declaring your trip a success and reading all of the "omg so jealous" comments your friends leave.
That's the standard trip to Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World. However, as with everything else in life, the wealthy people have it much, much better than you. If you have some serious cash to burn, Disney can be an entirely different experience. And I'm not just talking about a little bit of cash. This is generational wealth. Welcome to Disneyland Park's Club 33, the pinnacle for all Walt Disney fans.
What Is Disney's Club 33?
With the original located in the center of Disneyland's New Orleans Square, Disneyland's Club 33 is a super exclusive, mysterious club that's part of an invite-only series of lounges located throughout Disney World parks that contain fine dining, exclusive merchandise in dedicated gift shops, alcoholic beverages and New Orleans-style decor throughout. It's an area of the park hiding in plain sight with an upscale dress code, dedicated cast members to service your every need, and a place for club members to escape the general public.
History of Club 33
Club 33 was reportedly the dream of Walt Disney himself. In his dream for the original club, he wanted an upscale and private club of the park in order to entertain VIP guests and host business deals, so he got the ball rolling on the club. Unfortunately, he passed away five years prior to the completion of the area, which has now led to speculation about why it's called "Club 33."
According to "The Richest" on YouTube, the 33 could allude to the number of original investors that allowed Disney to build Disneyland in the first place. It could also be an homage to the 33 original members of the club that voted for the club continue development after Walt's death. Either way, his dream seems to be realized with this ritzy, upscale, inaccessible bar and lounge areas of the royal street.
How To Get Invited to Disney's Club 33?
There are several rumored ways that people get invited, mostly dealing with being a celebrity like famed member Elton John, but you can email Disney at Club33@WaltDisneyWorld.com. Assuming your email actually makes in into a monitored inbox, be prepared to wait. And wait, and wait.
The Club 33 Membership Waitlist
The wait list is reportedly "in the thousands" and some members have reported waiting up to 14 years for entrance to the program (unless your name is Tom Hanks or something). But let's say you're actually as special as your mom told you when you were a kid and they call you back. Then you have to stump up the initiation fee. "How much?" I hear you ask as you pull out your wallet and we watch the moth fly out.
What Does Club 33 Membership Cost?
Well, it's unclear. Members have reportedly paid anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 for their initial membership fee, and then an annual fee between $12,500 and $30,000. However, if you'd like the experience of Club 33 without being bent over a Mickey-shaped barrel, one brave member has started an anonymous Instagram account chronicling what it's like to live the high-life in the most magical place on that part of the earth.
What Do You Get for Your Membership Fees?
First, you get a pair of golden Club 33 Mickey Ears, just so you can rub it in the face of the proletariat.
Seriously, what a slap. "Thanks for the $100,000, now here's your pair of $20 exclusive Club 33 Mickey Ears" says the person behind the front desk who is likely getting compensated in college credit. Anyway, you also get a few other nice amenities.
According to AllEars.net, you get annual passes to Disneyland (or the other parks where you're a member of the club), as well as 50 day passes for friends and family and some VIP park tours that treat you as the only park guest. That's pretty cool. You also obviously get access to the lounges I mentioned above. There's also the chance to visit the Disneyland "Dream Suite" off of Main Street, which was apparently a custom designed apartment by Walt Disney that wasn't built until 2008. It has also now stopped accepting guests, making it about as useful as a chocolate coffee pot.
2023 Update: Club 33 Is Open To The Public!
Way back in 2021, when I originally wrote this article, there was very little information regarding the elusive Club 33. They had strict rules around social media, guest passes and generally joining the club thanks to the 10+ year wait list. Well, now the Mouse is opening its doors to the public.
Since Disney has been run by the corporate equivalent of a coked-up racoon for the last three years, revenue at the parks bottomed out. Basically, previous CEO Bob Chapek used the park revenue to fund the streaming business, and squeezed the life out of the parks in order to do that. In doing so, he alienated quite a few park goers, built a hotel that immediately crashed and burned, and he now has the esteemed honor of adding "former" to his job title after Bob Iger pulled a Hitman 3-level surprise by reinstalling his drapes in the corner office.
So Disney needs to reclaim some revenue (and good will) from their Parks division, which means eeking out a bit more cash from Club 33. This translates to Club 33 now being considered a high-end restaurant at Disney with a reservation system to get your chance to eat at the exclusive club.
Once you clear the reservation system, you will be charged a dining fee of $1,000 for a party of up to six people. This does not include the food and drink that you'll actually eat when you get there, so buckle up for that.
The Bottom Line
Look, Disney is the absolute champion of squeezing every last dime out of its patrons, and this is no different. They're just now catering to clients with a lot more dimes in them than most. They also have what's referred to in the investing world as "pricing power." If you don't like it, you can't go somewhere else for the same experience, so they can charge whatever they want. Case and point: the new Disney Star Wars hotel whose per night cost will make your eyes bleed. Club 33 is one of those situations where, if you have to check the price tag, then this probably isn't for you.
Side note: this club is so popular, it's now available in Tokyo Disneyland, Disney Shanghai and Disney World. Jesus.
Related: Investing In The Walt Disney Company
Want the full walk-through? Check out this video from The Richest.
What do you think of Club 33 Disney? Would you join if you have unlimited money? Let me know in the comments below, and don't forget to sign up for my email list by clicking this link!