Edit 3:

And I'm out. Thanks for all the questions. 99% of you were awesome.

I saw the request a few weeks back and finally have a free evening. Lets do this.

For those of you that have never heard of Club 33 see: Club 33 Wikipedia article

To answer some of the questions that I saw posted on the request and to get a few facts out there:

  • I've been a member for 10+ years but the membership has been in the family for 30 years.
  • It's $25K up front plus $10k a year.
  • Is it worth it? As a logical expense, no. I keep the membership in memory of my parents, who loved 33.
  • They don't really tell us how long the waiting list is, but it's rumored at 14 years. They let a bunch through earlier this year when they opened 1901 (private club in California Adventure).
  • They changed the rules this year. When I took people to dinner previously, park entrance was included with dinner. Now it's separate. A lot of other luxuries have changed this year too.
  • Minus the alcohol, dinner will run most guests $150.
  • 99% of the diners at 33 are guests and you'd be hard pressed to pick out a true member in there most days.
  • No, I wont make any redditors reservations, sorry.

Ask away.


I'm off to bed. I'll try to answer a few more in the morning.

Edit 2:

My wife says I have "30 minutes to finish up" with my "online friends". I saw her open up pinterest though so I think we're good for at least 2 hours.

Comments: 582 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

Landowned234 karma

Club 33 is nice, but what about the more exclusive Pen 15 club?

iamaclub33188 karma

This member is about to do an AMA: Pen 15

for90freedom141 karma

I understand that you keep the membership in the memory of your parents. But I am not not understanding the gist of the club. You spend 10,000 a year to eat fancy dinners?

iamaclub33227 karma

There are other perks: valet parking on a private lot, automatic upgrades when I stay at a Disney property, reserved seating at things like Fantasmic, private car on the Disney train, visit the wheel house on the boat, immediate fast passes, special events, make reservations for friends/family, etc. It's also served me well entertaining professional guests.

I know what you're getting at and I agree that it's pretty hard to consider it a financially sound investment.

hairy_cock109 karma

Have you ever stayed at the Grand Floridian? My father used to be a top executive at Disney and we would stay there a lot.

iamaclub33436 karma

Many times. I bet I've run into Hairy Cock Senior a few times.

khedoros129 karma

For that kind of a price tag, how often do you take advantage of your membership? Is it difficult to get reservations, as a member?

iamaclub33171 karma

I only ate at 33 four times in 2011. I tend not to go unless I'm taking someone that's never been. So as you're hinting at, I don't get my money's worth - but it's not the value I'm after, it's the family tradition that I'm trying to keep going. I think I will actually use the new club called 1901 (which is for members only) in DCA more then I do 33. At least there I don't have to deal with pictures being taken non stop.

Reservations can be extremely hard to get during the busy times of the year, especially for dinner. You can't simply call up on a Tuesday and ask for Saturday night reservations. You better book things months in advance.

WhySoCurious50 karma

So when you went there to dine last year, did you also spend a day at the park? Or do you just take your guests there for dinner and peace out?

iamaclub33101 karma

If my guests want to spend a day in the park, I usually meet them there in the evening. After dinner we can usually hit a few rides and I can show them around if still need be.

I can usually have a 7:30 dinner and still hit 6 rides thanks to the immediate fast passes.

whyso37 karma

Why do you wish to continue the tradition?

iamaclub3390 karma

I guess due to the sentimental value. It was such an enjoyable place for my parents.

zenofire23 karma

Do you look forward to taking your children? (if you have/ will have kids)

iamaclub3324 karma

Yes I do. I don't share my same views with them about the degrading of the experience. They didn't experience the old club much, so they don't really know any better. To them it's a fun experience that we participate in a couple times a year. They all go a lot more then I do.

KungFuHamster19 karma

How many servants do you have?

iamaclub33119 karma

2 kids - they count right?

[deleted]11 karma

Is there any way I would be able to have my parents and I rushed through the membership process? Or do we have to wait the 14 years as you said.

iamaclub3326 karma

Someone else asked if you could bribe your way through, and I'm not sure anymore. Years ago, yes. Today, probably not. On the other hand, make a donation to the correct non propfit or university and you can probably have a member in your pocket - which in many respects is just as good.

IHaveTeaForDinner11 karma

The new 1901 club is members only? So would you go alone or do you know other members?

Curious as I'm sat in a restaurant on my own after devouring a rather large steak. Not a very good steak though....

edit: Darn it phone I edited this a few hours ago and apparently didn't register. Anyway below op says you get four members on your membership.

However it still stands, with such an excursive membership would you still go alone?

how far is it to travel to?

I know if I was paying 10k for an exclusive restaurant I'd travel quite a way to eat there. There's probably a formula for that. distance/cost of travel * quality of food...or something...

iamaclub3324 karma

They just have to physically be with a member. Club 33 I can call a head and make a reservation for anyone and I don't even have to be there for them to enjoy the dinner. At 1901 I have to physically walk them inside and get my card scanned.

1901 is great. It's not all that big (basically small rooms), but because it is members only, its the one place in the park where you can sit in piece. 33 on the other hand is a mad house during most weekends.

opisthrobbingcock115 karma

Can you just give me the $10K/year instead and I'll cook for you 4 times a year?

iamaclub33172 karma

Will you let me pay a couple hundred for each guest at the meal as well? If so, I'll have my people talk to your people and we'll make this happen.

[deleted]26 karma

Instead of paying for an annual pass why not just give me the money instead! You can have as many piggyback rides as you'd like and I'll sing whatever disney song you want during the ride!

Yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for meeee

iamaclub3334 karma

If you dress up as Tinker Bell (or maybe a slutty pirate when I'm drunk) we can make this work.

wilkropp106 karma

Does the food live up to the clubs reputation of exclusiveness? What other famous members have you run in to and maybe one cool experience?

iamaclub33180 karma

The food was worth the price 5+ years ago. Now, in my opinion, is over priced. It's fancy and creative food but there are better places to eat in the area. I always tell people to go for the experience, not the food.

There use to be a lot more celebrities dining in 33. I've spoken to Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks one on one while in the club - in fact I think I met the Hanks son that did an IAMA a few days ago. I don't have to tell you guys how down to earth Mr. Hanks is. I've seen Jack in the club more then a handful of times. You'll see celebs every once and a while, but I tend to give them their space.

Most of the cool experience are long gone. In my opinion the "magic" is dying off. The moments that stand out in my mind, that I've taken advantage of due to my club status, have actually occurred outside of 33. For instance upgrades to the Roy suite on their cruise ship or even something as simple as a behind the scenes tour of pirates.

wilkropp47 karma

It's a shame the food is overpriced, but I'm glad to hear the experience is still worth it. The story of one on one with Tom Hanks sounds awesome!!

If I might ask though, what makes you say that the "magic" is dying off?

iamaclub33104 karma

Now the service is just "good" instead of unmatched. Much of the old timers (Walt and Roy included) were very keen on extreme quality control and extreme customer service. Now it's just like dining at any other nice restaurant in the park.

OceanBtreathes51 karma

If it means anything, the waiters and bartenders that I've met below deck for Club 33 were some of the nicest people I've ever met. They seemed to genuinely love their jobs and weren't afraid to talk to a lowly 'fast food' employee (I work at a grab-and-go food shop in New Orleans Square). Can I ask what exactly has downgraded the level of service to you?

iamaclub33221 karma

I dont doubt it. My gripe isn't with the staff, I love them actually. My problem is with the management. Ask around about how some of the old time waiters were forced out. Luckily some of them are still around. You'll notice a big difference in the level of service and etiquette from them compared to the new staff. It's not the fault of the new staff, they haven't been properly trained in fine dining (which is what 33 used to be). I probably sound like a pompous ass even saying this stuff, but I'm not. In fact I don't really care how the tea is placed on the table, but I KNOW Walt would have. The reason Disney is so special is because of his unique vision. That vision has been forgotten, which makes 33 feel different.

Ihaveastupidcat17 karma

Can you expand more on the behind the scenes tour of pirates? Where did you go, and what did you see?

iamaclub3346 karma

This was prior to the reopening and we walked around the inside with the lights on. They showed us the mechanics up close and some of the behind the scenes stuff like boat repair and storage. You know the people dancing and singing behind railings or in windows? It's just the upper body with some mechanical base as a lower body. It's obvious when you think about it, but I guess the entertainment value had always blinded me from the obvious before.

thedisapprovingbear18 karma

I've been told about how silhouettes of Mickey Mouse's head are hidden in various places of the parks. Were any interesting ones pointed out to you?

iamaclub3356 karma

"Hidden Mickey", there are too many to even start naming - literally thousands. They're everywhere. In the carpet, in the stones, in the railings, in paintings, in rides, etc, etc. You'll completely skip over them unless you're actually looking for them.

SpectreRSG10 karma

Is that the only ride you've seen behind the scenes? I'd love to see the workings of the haunted mansion and even ride space mountain with the lights on...

iamaclub3323 karma

Done one of those :P Space Mountain is a horrible ride with the lights on!!! The thrill in that ride is the surprises that the dark brings. Actually the lights on had nothing to do with 33. They flipped them on for some maintenance as we started the first portion of the ride. From my understanding, it's not a unique experience.

33 sometimes will do events for new rides where we get to see behind the scenes but I tend to not participate in these due to living out of state the majority of the year.

chaord4 karma

What if he is Tom Hanks trying to stay anonymous answering to two AMA requests at the same time?</conspiracy keanu>

iamaclub337 karma

The whole "I'm Mitt" thing was actually an attempt to throw chaord off the scent.

ChermsMcTerbin92 karma

I just want to say...I've been to every Disney park around the world, I was on the maiden voyage of the Disney Magic, been to Disney at least once a year since I was born, my mom found out she was pregnant with me at Disney World and she was wearing Minnie Mouse socks when she gave birth to my littler brother. This is the ONE thing I have not done at Disney parks and I appreciate that you treat it the way you do.

iamaclub33114 karma

Sounds like you have Disney in your veins. Next time you're on the Magic, try to sneak your way into the concierge level buffet with the Captain. Odds are better then anywhere else to meet a 33 member. That or go knock on the Roy/Walt suite :P If you give me that song and dance in person, it'll be hard for me to turn you away.

Njector75 karma

I've been taken there as a guest. It was pretty cool. We managed to go before the recent rule change. My girlfriend and I and my parents were lucky enough to go. Here's a picture of the souvenirs. Club 33 Souvenirs

iamaclub33100 karma

Quite possibly the most stolen pen in the world... The pen is handed out to sign your check. They are commonly taken as souvenirs.

heyjesu36 karma

Really? lol I presumed that they handed them out since they gave us more pens than we used credit cards for and they were still in a plastic packaging...

iamaclub3328 karma

It's a joke. They didn't use to give them away and it was always joked that they were the most stolen pen in the world. Now it's like the chocolate, please save them as a keep sake.

TheBeardedNerd52 karma

I just went to club 33 last Sunday for the first time. And i couldn't agree with you more about the food. i was not impressed with the food. But I'd do it again just to be above new orleans square.

iamaclub3340 karma

I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the food, but I can't say I'm surprised. I hope you get to enjoy another sitting there soon.

2percentright46 karma

After reading the wiki page I'm curious.

Since it's so Damn expensive for membership why is everything falling apart and not being repaired?

Like the door card reader.

Granted you may not know but what's your professional opinion?

Edited: Car to Card

iamaclub3369 karma

Change in management and business practices. Walt's old crew continued to maintain his high standards long after his death. Those standards have been pushed aside for higher profit. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great experience, but to those of us that have been around for more then 10 years, there is a noticeable difference in the service style.

i_can_verify_this44 karma

Who are you? are you someone special or just a random guy with family that got a membership?

iamaclub3363 karma

The second.

waterdevil1943 karma

What's your profession? If you don't mind my asking.

iamaclub3354 karma

I'd rather not say, but it's nothing too interesting.

Danbert1_043 karma

When you get this membership, how many of your family does it cover? For example, if you are married and have x amount of children, does it apply for everyone in your family?

iamaclub3350 karma

The new membership covers 4 people - not everyone in your family. You can pick up annual passes for additional family members.

Danbert1_023 karma

Do they discount the annual passes for additional people? (merely speculating that you know the answer to this, of course)

iamaclub3326 karma

Yes, you can purchase additional annual passes at a discount.

soproductive35 karma

please tell me annual passes are included in this membership...

also, where does the food rank? can you compare it to certain fine dining restaurants to give us an idea? Is it on par with something like Mastro's or something of the like? better? (I cant imagine anything better than some gorgonzola mac n cheese, garlic mashed and a nice medium rare filet from Mastro's though!!)

iamaclub3340 karma

You get 4 annual passes included.

In my opinion, it's not even on the same scale as Mastro's. Thinking about local foods to that area, I'd say the filet at 33 is more on par with Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, just at double the price. You do get unique palate cleansers and interesting deserts that are more on the creative side - which does set it apart from something like Brennan's. If you want to have a great "food" experience, save your money for another dinner and just race through more of the theme park. If you're a big Disney fan and want to enjoy 33 once, the price is worth the experience and memory.

supercruiser30 karma

Aside from the animatronic vulture, are there any other "Walt style" gags or attractions in there?

Also, I've been employed by Disney in the past, and one of my first questions when I got hired is how can I get to 33. Someday I hope to get in there.

iamaclub3394 karma

The styling inside is very Walt, even though some of it has changed over the years. The Trophy Room (vulture) is really the only "gag" I can think of off the top of my head. Another interesting "feature" he put in was a elevator that comes up from an underground garage just one store down so he could get VIPs in and out of New Orleans quickly and easily without crowds.

Working for Disney isn't a bad start for getting in, but that alone wont get you in. If it gives you any hope, I've treated a two different casts members to lunch in the club after some exceptional service they rendered to my guests. Keep spreading that pixie dust and maybe someone will notice.

supercruiser15 karma

I always figured there was an underground garage there, looking at the sat view, I have a feeling I know exactly where you get in.

Ive since moved on in my career, but I worked at the studio in Burbank in the Art Dept (my badge said Imagineer, but it was just standard studio stuff). One of my former professors was a real Imagineer, and knows a few big names at disney now. I think its time to give him a call.

iamaclub3316 karma


packpeach30 karma

Is there a dress code or is it something you and your guests do after a day in the park wearing whatever?

iamaclub3362 karma

You can enter the club in casual clothing, but no swimsuits, tanks, short shorts, etc. I generally ask my guess to wear a collared shirt or similar for women. They get a little more strict for dinner reservations, but still pants and a collared shirt work. If you dine for dinner on a weekend, business casual will be the norm, but you'll probably see a few in full suits.

coalshinconfidential26 karma

So many changes are being made and it seems as though Walt's influence in the park is fading away. I feel as though if Walt saw this place today he would be very displeased.

You obviously have a different perspective in the park being raised as a special guest, and you've Club 33 being different compared to 10 years ago, but what about the park in general? Do you see any major changes that you like or dislike?

iamaclub3342 karma

Of course. The attention to detail is fading quickly in the park. Maintenance and repair is slipping too. 20 years ago, something would be repaired the next day if the part was handy. Now things go for weeks before their replaced. If you ever meet an original Disney employee, ask them how often they saw a light bulb out.

coalshinconfidential19 karma

Thanks for replying! This is the first AMA I've ever contributed to so the reply means a lot.

I'll tell you something, Disneyland is a place of inspiration for me. I'm not one of those people that "enjoy the magic" but I see this place and think, "One man put his career, reputation, and money on the line for an idea." The parts of the park I enjoy most are the parts that he was alive to contribute to, but I've seen in the last couple of years those parts being considered less important. It just makes going to the park very difficult for me.

iamaclub3318 karma


Cmdrfrog24 karma

I'm turning 33 next weekend and I'm a huge Disney fan, and wanted to celebrate at 33. It's been almost impossible to get an invite. Do you know of any special tricks for someone trying to visit once?

iamaclub3328 karma

Ask around, not with your Disney friends, but in a professional setting. The executives at the big brands have access to reservations. Also, check Craigs list if you're willing to pay for the opportunity.

ohmyjustin13 karma

Please do not suggest Craigslist or anything like that. :( It's against the rules (or so I've heard from my extensive [sort of] research) and their membership can be revoked.

From what I understand, a lot of previous members and people on the waiting list removed themselves from the club after the recent price change, so that's why many were accepted. I'm sure Disney was going to increase the membership because of 1901 in DCA and with their new system, but there was definitely an effect caused by price/perks changes.

My questions: do you have kids to pass this down to? Do you think they'll continue the tradition? Why did your parents become members?

iamaclub3313 karma

Yes, there has been some turnover, which in my opinion is a good thing. From what I've heard, most of the turn over was from the corporate memberships.

I do have kids to pass it onto if we decided to keep it that long. I'm giving it another few years to pan itself out. My parents became members because they loved Disney Land and were given the opportunity to join.

Beast_in_peace24 karma

Fuck the new changes to the Club policy, right? I just went two weeks ago (for the first time in a year or so) and was blown away that park entrance is no longer free. The food was incredible that day though (which seems to be rare as of lately), so I was pleased none-the-less.

Question: Have you been in the California Adventure 33 lounge yet?

iamaclub3323 karma

Yes, in fact I've spent more time in 1901 (California Adventure lounge) in 2012 then I have 33. If you just want to sit with friends its a great place and never too busy because you have to physically be with a member to get in.

Mg25716 karma

I know you said you won't get us redditors a reservation but would you have any advice on how you get one? This would be an awesome experience to try, but I wouldnt wait 14 years for only a slim chance. I always gets so jealous when I see people on the balcony looking down on us little folk lol. I'd be willing to pay a few hundred just to say Ive eaten there.

iamaclub3328 karma

Pay a few hundred you will!!!

Check Craig's list. Some members, especially the corporate ones, have been known to charge a hefty price tag to take guests. Alternatively, if you know any executives in the big well known brands in the US, ask them. Fewer and fewer corporate accounts are joining, but I'd have to assume it's still the majority of the reservations.

archpope16 karma

Unfortunately, Craigslist is the reason for those changes to the guest policy. My landlady is a member, and she was not happy with the 2012 changes at all. She asked about it, and she was told that it was people were selling reservations. She also thinks it's unfair to punish everyone for the sins of the few, and is hoping they'll change the policies for 2013.

iamaclub3319 karma

Yeah, it's a shame, but I get it. The one positive to the change is there will be less people in 33, especially corporate members. A 150 dollar meal just turned into a 250 dollar day.

jointheredditarmy8 karma

Can you buy your way in with a lot of money? (a membership, not just being able to go as a guest)

iamaclub3315 karma

To be honest, I'm not sure. I guess it wouldn't surprise me too much. If nothing else, a lot of money donated to the right places (USC art program comes to mind) would at the very least get you access to existing members that would probably call and make reservations for you.

ericeric1001015 karma

Do you feel most of the people eating there are just guests from another member? What happens if no members make a reservation for a certain night, do they let regular Disneyland/Resort guests in?

iamaclub3331 karma

95+% of the guests are not members. This is possible because I can make reservations for you without joining you for dinner. I have never seen 33 empty and cant imagine a circumstance where members wouldn't make reservations. Most weekends are booked up weeks, sometimes months, in advance. If there were no reservations, they would probably close for the evening. They would not let normal guests in.

1901, the club in DCA is empty many times, but to enter there you're required to be with a 33 member.

HumbleBeast13 karma

Are you rich? Do you use your parents money to retain the family tradition?

iamaclub3370 karma

We are well off. As the magic wears off, and I do it more and more for their memory, I do remind myself that much of our wealth is thanks to them and this is how they'd want their inheritance spent.

Pdiego2313 karma

I've seen on tv on how back in the day they'd have a talking bird speak to the guests. There's a guy listening to through mics, and talk through a microphone. Did you get to experience this, as a kid, before they eventually stopped doing it?

iamaclub3314 karma

Yes, think of it as a personalized Enchanted Tiki Room. That room, the Trophy Room, is generally used for private parties.

chewieconcarne10 karma

What kind of work do you do to afford an extra 10k a year?

iamaclub3327 karma

While I make good money, I consciously pay the dues each year from some inheritance that was left to me by my parents.

kencole5432138 karma


iamaclub33105 karma

What till you find the hidden Mickeys I put in the White House.

fiver4209 karma

is this it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVIye2e8HS0 and is the microphone thing true? lol I expected it to look more...well disney.

iamaclub3318 karma

Thats it. Mic story is true, but they no longer work.

touguideminnie25 karma

Actually, the microphones never worked. As Walt passed away before the whole project was complete.

I work in guest relations- And am also a Walt in walk Disneyland tour guide

iamaclub3320 karma

I've been corrected. She would know - it's basically her job to know.

TheMF9 karma

The wikipedia article says

"Corporate members pay an initiation fee of $27,500, and individual members pay $10,000 in addition to annual dues, which are about $6,100 or $3,500, respectively. Initiation and dues may change annually."

That makes it sound like corporate member are 27,500 up front and 6,100 annually, while individual memberships are 10,000 up front and 3,500 annually. That's different than what you say.

Is the wiki wrong? Where do the 6,100 and 3,500 come from?

iamaclub3314 karma

Platinum membership is 25k and 10k a year. Not sure where wiki got their source on that one. Here is another:


Qlinkenstein9 karma

How is the artwork? Any statuary or paintings that are good, unique, etc?

iamaclub3318 karma

There is artwork everywhere. There are a few statues around. Probably the most memorable statue is the woman from lady poppins in the stairwell. A lot of Walt's collection was in 33, but has since been removed.

Detlef_Schrempf8 karma

So comparable to other prestigious restaurants you've eaten at, how is the food?

Can you name top restaurants you've been to that its better than?

Have you ever been disappointed by meal or service? If so, what happened ad what did you do?

iamaclub3320 karma

I can't name any restaurants that I would consider "top" that Club 33 is better than. For comparison I ate at Daniel and Ramay at the London last month while in NYC.

I have been disappointed by both the meals and service at times. The services isn't poor by any means, but it has degraded from original standards. Simple fine dining etiquette is overlooked by some of the new staff. They don't know any better, that's all. The new management is satisfied with being the tourist trap instead of the fine dining get away that many of us remember and love.

If there is a problem with the food, I generally try to enjoy it anyways and error on the side of my taste buds being off that night. On rare occasions I've sent meals back if there was a blatant error, one steak that was supposed to be medium rare but came out well comes to mind. I have to assume something like that was a mix up because I'm sure Marcel is checking his food on the way out.

I don't want to give off the wrong impression. The food is good and the experience is great as well. It's just not what it use to be. If someone told me to take them out for a 200 dollar meal, I'm not taking them to 33 unless I know they're a die hard Disney fan that will get a high of the experience.

Lick_The_Blade8 karma


iamaclub3327 karma

30 years ago it was very special. I was still a kid then and probably didn't realize how special it was. I'd say that the magic really wore off for me with my parents passing, but even more so in the last 2 or 3 years as management has changed.

ghostFaceKillah1877 karma

What does the 33 stand for?

iamaclub3323 karma

There are a couple theories depending on who you ask. The best answer in my opinion is that the number had significance to Walt. 33 is the highest level in Freemasonry, which Walt and many of the original members were. There was also 33 original corporate sponsors to Disneyland, and 33 was Walts vision of how he wanted to wine and dine the sponsors and important people that made Disney possible. I think the unofficial yet official stance by Disney is the later answer.

nitratesdontphaseme5 karma

how/why did your parents initially become club 33 members? also, will your membership get passed down to your kids or other family members?