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Walt Disney’s Club 33

Disney Club 33 LogoSo check it out. A few weeks ago, I get a call from my cat Ronbo and he’s like “Yo DVo, Karen and I are hittin’ up Disneyland and we want you to be our guest. Holla back.” I was like “Yo R-Killa, it’s on.”

Two days prior, I came down with a cold. Not just any cold. The kind of cold that is so serious, yet mysterious, that the doc actually said “Well you definitely have some sort of infection but I cannot determine what. We’ll just give you antibiotics in case.” Whoa hold up. Starting to sound like my mom! But no matter, this was something I couldn’t pass up. A true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A chance to visit the illustrious Club 33 at Disneyland!

You see, back in the sixties, Walt wanted a nice private place he could entertain his special guests and dignitaries. Adorned with original artwork and meticulously designed and engineered by Walt and his wife, Club 33 was completed in 1967, 5 months after his death.

IMG_3563 The Club is still actively run to this day as a members-only club. The current waiting list is 7 to 10 years. The intiial membership fee is very hefty and the yearly maitenance fees are nothing to scoff at either. The Club resides in a unique realm that borders secrecy and those in the know. That is, Club 33 doesn’t go to any lengths to deny or hide it’s existance, but it also doesn’t publicize itself much. Ask ten people who have visited Disneyland before and perhaps the only one who knows what Club 33 is, is the most diehard fan. I must have seen the entrance a dozen times before and never paid any special attention to it. That’s how well it blends in.

IMG_3462 Saturday morning, Ted picked me up and after getting some money from the ATM, we swung by Ronald’s. Ted took the opportunity to give Ronald and I our gifts from Japan. Ronald got a bar of Tofu Soap. You could imagine how jealous I was! After arriving at the park, we met Karen, her cousin, and her cousin’s friend by the C in the CALIFORNIA sign in front of Disney’s California Adventure. We decided to visit Disneyland first.

IMG_3470 The very first thing we saw was a double black and white photo montage of Steamboat Willie. They took small photos of the castmembers and combined them to make larger pictures of a few castmembers and combined that to make the large photo of Willie at the wheel of his boat. And guess who was smack in the middle of all of it? That’s right, Karen! Admittedly, it took me a few tries to actually see the “bigger picture”. Immediately after, we went to Space Mountain. Since the line was so long (45 mins) we decided to get a Fast Pass. Then, it was off to Innoventions!

IMG_3488 That’s right kids. That’s what you get when you cross Innovation with Invention. After a short wait, we went inside and soon were seated. We were all so excited to see ASIMO. Honda has been working a bi-pedal humanoid robot for the past 20 (?) years and let me tell you, it’s amazing. ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. He’s only 4 feet tall and can do all sorts of tricks like human facial recogniztion, walk up and down stairs, and even get down like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Ronald was grumpy the whole time because apparently he’s racist towards robots. IMG_3492 I’ll be sure to tell our electronic overlords about his faltering loyalty when the time is right. We hung out inside Innoventions a little more then off to lunch we went.

We went to whatever land the Bengal BBQ joint is in. I think it’s Adventure Land. It’s right in front of Indiana Jones. But wait, they closed it off. So we had to go to the neighboring land, which I think was Frontier Land. Karen is so smart though. She said “Can we go to the store to shop?” and I said “No, why?!” But she was actually asking the castmember that was doing the pedestrian traffic control. He looked at the other guy and shrugged and said “Sure you can shop.” Then he mumbled “Hey, that’s pretty smart.” So I just shut my mouth and followed her straight through the store to the other side.

Everyone wanted to eat something different. The boys had a bacon wrapped asparagus and all sorts of meaty treats from the Bengal BBQ. Karen got clam chowder in a bread bowl, and the other girls got some kids pack that was in a Mickey Mouse plate. Ted and Ronald continued their new tradition of eating the entire green onion stalk that comes as a garnish. They each had one and suggested I try one too, because it’d cure my ailments. Whatever. While we were eating, Karen collected our tickets and got Fast Passes for Indiana Jones.

We went to ride Pirates of the Carribean. We were also going to visit The Haunted Mansion, but it was closed for rennovation. Oh well. Not really a major attraction for me. Again, we didn’t have to wait in line at all. Karen just told some people inside that she knew some people outside and after a little bit of confusion, we were ushered to the front of the line. Score! She heard a rumor that they were going to be changing the ride in order to update it to the Johnny Depp movies. She asked the ride operator if this was true and he said it was. He was really upset about this and said, “This is yet another example of popular culture ruining tradition!” I felt sorry for the guy. And well, the kids who will never see the original one.

IMG_3516 After lunch, we went to ride Big Thunder Mountain. Along the way, Ted and Ronald wanted to row canoes. Nobody was having that. We also stopped for the petting zoo and I took a picture with a cute little goat. Then it happened. They all saw the Tea Cup ride and wanted to go on so desperately. Since I was so sick, I opted to stay out. As did Karen. So we went to this shaded area and talked briefly about what was going down in the Tee. It’s the cool name for FBT, just like Bu (Malibu), The Burbs (Suburbs), or The O.C. (Orange County). She is quite insightful. So much wisdom in her years. IMG_3508 Tired of waiting, we decided to get a headstart on the Small World line so we walked over to the attraction. We didn’t anticipate two things. One, the guys are SO SLOW. And two, we moved SO FAST in our line. In fact, we actually had to leave the line and go back to the beginning. The second time around, they actually showed up and they jumped the rail. There were some cute ducks there that kept jumping into the water and then back out again as soon as a boat came by. Soon, we were inside and Ronald was as happy as can be.

IMG_3526 We decided that it was time to head on over to DCA – Disney’s California Adventure! We made our way to the front of the park and got our hands stamped. We walked across the courtyard. I saw the big “O” in CALIFORNIA and knew it was time to expoit it for The Vo. Ronald and Ted helped and we got some good shots but they always had strangers in it. Apparently, there were many not-so-original people that thought taking a picture inside of the O was cute and/or funny. Nay!

IMG_3529 The first ride we went on was Soarin’ Over California. I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite rides. Again, there was no rating as Karen busted out or special secret pass. We ended up sitting in the front row, center, center. Yes, that’s right, I said center twice. We were in the center “vehicle” and the center seats. Amazing! The blast of citrus as we flew over the orange groves really helped to clear up my sinuses.

After, the kiddies got hungry. Karen got a cheese corndog and the others all went to the Boardwalk and got chicken fingers and fries. I ate Ted’s fries and had a little carton of juice. Then we rode the the rollercoaster California Screamin’! Man, that thing goes fast and it has a good feel to it. I told Ted that I like coasters like it and Ghost Rider (at Knott’s Berry Farm) that have that certain “feel” to it. I like them even more than the fancy coasters like Riddler’s Revenge. After the coaster, we went to the It’s Tough To Be A Bug show. I thought I had been to it but I guess not. It’s a 3-D show with lots of interaction. For example, they have lots of sound effects and they even spray odors into the audience. I thought it was a lot of fun.

Afterward, we headed to the Hollywood Tower of Terror. But before we got there, we went to the animation store. Karen’s cousin wanted to buy her boyfriend a huge Mickey statue for his birthday but he wanted the Minnie instead. So the rest of the night, we gave her a lot of gried about that. As they were shopping, Ted and I went next door to “Turtle Talk With Crush”. If you recall, Crush is the totally cool turtle from Finding Nemo. He’s a surfer dude. Soon the others joined us and after another ten minutes, we were inside. The wait was pretty long but it was worth it. We got good seats. The show is an interactive experience where the audience gets to talk to the turtle. It’s real-time animation. The actor who plays crush (behind the scenes) does a really good job and he’s super funny. He has a great sense of humor.

During the show, Crush asked the audience what we did for fun at the beach, because his son wanted to know. People gave lots of answers like boogie boarding, frisbee, sunbathe, and swim. Ted told me I couldn’t answer swim. Then when asked for a show of hands by anyone who enjoys swimming, Ted told me I couldn’t raise my hand. I think I got a little bit sicker after that abuse šŸ™

Next, we headed to the Hollywood Tower of Terror. I really did not know what to expect but I did remember a tourist had a heart attack and died from the ride. You know something like that has to be good. Ronald and the cousin’s friend stayed back. Ronald is deathly afraid of heights and he said last time he went on the ride, he cried like a little girl. Hey, I can understand fear and I respect that. I also respect a grown man who cries from a Disneyland ride. If they had a ride called “The Swimming Pool”, I’d probably cry too. So the rest of us went. Again, to the front of the line. But this time, when we got to the front, there was a crowd of people to meet us. And rude people too. Trashy rude people. I don’t like that. We eventually sat in our elevators and the ride operator (tall, average looking, Asian girl) said “Enjoy the ride” in a sort of sinister Twilight Zone sort of way. And off we went. The ride is sort of like Freefall but they mix it up a lot. For example, at the top, the doors open up and you can see outside, over the park. It’s such a neat thrill. I like it much better than Supreme Scream or Freefall. Disney really knows what they are doing.

While we were gone, Ronald was supposed to go get Glenda, who had just arrived outside. She is another of Karen’s cousins. He also was supposed to get Churros but I text messaged him and told him not to since we were short on time. After we got out of the ride, we met up with the others and immediately hauled ass over to Club 33. We were running late! We couldn’t be late! We ended up making it there with time to spare. We met up with Roger and his wife and baby. There was a total of 10 of us. We were surprised to see that there was quite a long line. There was a huge party in front of us. A party of old bitter white people. The cousin’s friend looked a little confused and lost so one old lady said “Dear, are you in the wrong place?” and the girl pointed to Club 33. “No, no dear. That is a very exclusive club. You need a special pass to get in.” Of course she said it very slow and methodically, like the girl didn’t understand English. Growing increasingly annoyed, I yelled out “Yeah, we have the pass. Thank you very much!”. I was going to ask if they allowed minorities to have the pass but I didn’t bother. Karen cut through the line and went to the front and checked us in using the little intercom system. After another ten minutes or so of waiting, we went inside. As we walked pass the large group, still waiting, I heard one of them say “Hey! How come they get to go in front of us?”

IMG_3535 Club 33 is awesome inside. Everything is very nicely decorated and the walls are covered with original artwork (paintings, photos, renderings, etc). Our waitress was named Lisa and she was a cute one. She was funny and joked around alot. They were very accomodating to Roger’s baby who cried off and on. IMG_3540 There are balconies all around and you could go outside and watch the fireworks show and Fantasmic anytime you wanted. They even waited for you and didn’t get upset. For example, they didn’t bring our main courses until after we returned from watching the shows. Most of us ordered their house fruit cocktail which was delicious. Ronald had the always classy Miller Lite in a bottle.

IMG_3543 I had a scallop and risotto appetizer, the New Zealand Rack of Lamb, and Grand Marinier Creme Brulee in a cookie shell. Everything was delicious. The only downside was that I couldn’t taste that well since I was sick. They brought out a wonderful birthday dessert for Karen called the Chocolate Bomb. It was so yummy. Afterward, Lisa gave us a tour of the whole place including all the halls, the backstage balcony over looking the Bayou restaurant (in Pirates of the Carribean), and the Trophy Room. She gave us an opportunity to buy souveniers as well and we took lots of pictures. IMG_3562 And she answered all the questions we had about the Club, the history, and membership requirements. By the end of it, it was already 1:30 AM. We had been there since 8:30. The park closed at midnight so we were given private escorts out of the park. I didn’t think the day could be any better, but walking through a fully lit park while nobody is there, is the coolest feeling.


We got to take pictures in front of the castle and saw what it was like to have Main Street all to ourselves. The rain didn’t really put a damper on things too much. I very much enjoyed it.

Talk about doing something that most people will never be able to. I had the most wonderful time!

See the full Flickr set here.

3 Responses to “Walt Disney’s Club 33”

  • Man, anything falling is always scary. Yah, you just wait till they make a swimming pool attraction. Oh wait, they used to have that. It was called THE SUBMARINE VOYAGE below the MONORAIL. haha! So sad, we didn’t even get to use any of the fast pass tickets…Son of bitch….

  • That was a great entry! It was fun wasn’t it? How you guys are going to top that, I’ll never know.

  • Next time it could be you, Ronald, Ed, and Claire.

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