Saturday, November 26, 2011

Club 33: Disney’s Bohemian Grove

Shepard Ambellas
November 12, 2011

The original concept of such a VIP club on Disney grounds that would serve alcoholic beverages and cater to the elite with an entry fee of an astonishing $7500 was spawned during the 1964 – 65 World Fair in New York.

Walt Disney sent a team to scout and gather information on what people would be interested in in terms of a theme park concept on the east coast, during the process the team ran across VIP rooms giving Walt the idea for what is now known as Club 33.

Club 33 has a mystic to it and over a 10 year long waiting list for wealthy clients to attend.

The Club originally had a total of 33 corporate sponsors at Disneyland in 1966-1967 at the time of conception. The following are the original sponsors according to Wikipedia:

3.Bank of America
4.Bell Telephone
5.C & H Sugar
6.Frito Lay
7.General Electric
8.Global Van Lines
11.Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.
12.Douglas Aircraft
14.Hills Bros. Coffee INC.
16.Lincoln Savings and Loan
17.Monsanto CO
20.Ken-L Ration
21.Aunt Jemimas
22.Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe
23.Spice Islands
24.Chicken of the Sea
26.Sunsweet Growers INC
27.Swift & CO
29.United Air Lines
30.The Upjohn CO
31.The Welch’s Grape Juice Company INC
33.Western Printing and Litho CO

The club is surrounded by masonic influence and symbolism. The unofficial Disney Club 33 website reads like something out of a Bohemian Grove ritual;

Quite often, your first experience at Club 33 can be, well, a bit overwhelming. A myth, a phenomenon, a whisper from guests passing by the anonymous door, the club is surrounded by mystique.

Speaking from experience, my initial visit to the club was a little stressful. When to show up, correct attire, what to say when going through the door, proper etiquette, an endless list of worries. I was very conscientious of embarrassing the member who signed us in. Needless to say, in a matter of minutes the worries passed and a wonderful time was at hand.

I have been asked by several soon-to-visit guests, the same questions which I also endlessly pondered. To assist, here are my general impressions and answers. Please understand, these are based upon my own experiences.

When to arrive at the park:

Arrive at the park at least one hour earlier than your reservation time. An hour should allow enough time to park your vehicle, ride the tram, visit Guest Relations, enter the park, and thusly walk to the club. Unless you have an annual pass, you will be required to pay for parking. Actual club members do not.

Where to go first:

If you do not have annual passes to the park, the first place to visit after parking is Guest Relations. Guest Relations is located East of the entrance to California Adventure, behind the concrete wall, near the lockers. Tell the cast member you have reservations at Club 33, your name, and number in your party. They will have a list of club visitors for that particular day. After checking your ID, the cast member will hand you your guest passes to enter both parks.

Time to arrive at the club:

The club prefers that guests arrive (at club 33) the time of their reservations. Frequently the club is busy and if they are clearing tables or making special arrangements, they may ask that guests wait outside or in the foyer until their table is prepared. The club does not like to keep their guests waiting, so this request is certainly understandable.

If you do arrive early, the club requests no sooner than five minutes.

Allow yourself and your guests enough time to walk through the busy park. Major holidays may experience heavy foot traffic.

How to get inside:

Located in the doorway of the club is the famous brass speaker box. Simply lift the small door below the speaker and push the button.
Your host or hostess will ask your parties name. Answer with your correct name and number of guests. You will hear a small click, at which point you may enter through the door.
If your reservations are at the initial opening time of the club (11:OOAM for lunch, 5:00PM for dinner), and you’re early, there will be no answer when you push the speaker button. Please do not worry. When the club is ready, they will answer the door. They normally do not open early, preferring a routine schedule. A small line usually forms at the door, so waiting patiently pays off as guests are seated in order of check in. Please allow the staff time to make the preparations and process the check ins.

Once inside:

You’re now inside Club 33. The host/hostess will greet you and ask if they can take your hat and coat. Once situated, the host will call upstairs via a special phone and inform the maitre’ d your party is present. There is normally a small wait time of perhaps three to five minutes while preparations are finalized upstairs. Please be patient.

Stairs or lift:

Once preparations are complete, you will be informed that your table is ready. The host will ask if you would care to take the stairs or the French Lift. Most guests take the French Lift, it’s very nostalgic.

Lounge Alley:

Upon arrival on the second floor, you will meet the Disneyland Club 33 maitre’ d. You will now be escorted to your table. Your waiter/waitress is introduced and your meal begins.

The Club located at; 33 Royal Street New Orleans Square Disneyland has a creepy overtone to it and many masonic references.

A second Club 33 is now open on Tokyo Japan.

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