Stories Behind the Scenes

Club 33

From: Heather

I have just recently stumbled accross your website in hopes of finding a good website for my research paper I am doing on Club 33. I read the stories section and figured that I would send you a story that I believe you will truly enjoy about Club 33. Being that our family is a member of the club, I cannot describe to you how many times I have been there. Ever since I was little, my dad would take me to Disneyland once a month or sometimes once a week since we were members and my dad and I both had year round passes. He would take me to Club 33, each time we went and I thought that it was just a restaurant. But as the years passed, I realized that Club 33, was so much more than a club/restaurant. Now that I am older, I have come to appreciate the Club and its many joys as well. My dad is also friends with Fess Parker. We both own our own vineyards (except Mr.Parker owns a vineyard, winery, hotel, and restrant) and my dad does business with him sometimes. I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Parker, and he enlighten me more on the club. Mr. Parker also happens to have lifetime passes to the Disneyland park and is also a member of the Club as well.

From: Robert Paisola 04 MAR 06 Hello my friend. I wanted to tell you and your readers that I am currently inside the Disneyland Resort staying at one of the hotels on the property. It is amazing!
Yesterday afternoon at about 11:00, I went to the main entrance of Club 33 (see photo). It is exactly where the others have described it, and I had the pleasure of having my picture taken in front of the famed club, which I am attaching for your readers.
One of the most significant and important things is that I was able to speak to the Director of the Club that handles all of the reservations. As far as I know, this is the first time that this has ever been published.
Her name is Sue and she is THE MAIN PERSON that the member (or the members liaison calls to set up the reservations for the members.
I work for a very large and very popular company and one of our members of the management team were to have set up a lunch for us upon arrival, and to my surprise, the staff had mis-communicated with Disney, thus, we were not able to dine.

From: Jeff 16 OCT 01

During the summer, my girlfriend and I visited the sight of the famed, yet little known entrance to Club 33. We were standing outside, looking up into the Club (The drapes were open because they were cleaning after a dinner). As we were looking up, a cast member approached us and asked us what we were looking at. We told the nice woman that we were trying to catch a glimpse of Club 33. She was surprised we even knew about the club so she began to explain the extent of the club; how it's second story was above the door, and how it proceeded all the way down to the balcony in front of New Orleans Square. As she was explaining to us the layout of the club, a man, looked like a host, entered the door next to the address "33." My girlfriend, having read many stories about the club walked over to see if she could get a glimpse of the club. As she did, the man asked us if we wanted to go inside! We couldn't believeit, we were sure he was going to let us look just inside the door, and then tell us to leave. Not so. A few interesting facts come from the stories he told us, besides pointing out the stories about the animatronic vulture and the chandelier microphones. He explained that the public never saw Walt Disney smoking, in fact it was well hidden that he was a smoker. In the trophy room, there is a picture of Walt, laying on a couch next to an ashtray. This is the only picture that depicts Walt's habit. Others used to exist in the club, but they were removed. Another interesting fact came from another gentleman who told us that one of the pictures in the trophy room is completely fabricated. A picture shows Walt standing outside the first true Disney Studios on Hyperion Ave. In the background is an ad/cell of the first animated Disney movie ever made (however, not 1st released) "Plane Crazy." The reason the photo is fabricated is the fact that "Plane Crazy" was not made at the Hyperion studios, it was created by Disney years earlier. It was "Steamboat Willie" and "Snow White" that enabled Disney to start his empire at Hyperion. If you look closely at the photo, you can in fact see that the picture grain of the full photo is different from that of the people standing in front of the building, in fact the "Plane Crazy" picture is almost not visible because it is so different. Our tour concluded by the host taking our picture inside the old style glass elevator (which we were told was removed from Walt's private residence and relocated to the club). We thanked the man profusely and left Club 33.

From: MIKE Y. 13 AUG 00

Here's a real fun thing to do if you ever get in to CLUB 33. Make sure you take your alcoholic beverage and walk out onto the balcony. I myself was just a BUD. You feel you got something on the rest of the visitors at the park its a pretty weird feeling thats the only place you can have an adult beverage and beleive me you can through back a few, the staff doesnt mind. I am not a member but I know someone who is and the way us common folk ( like myself ) get in, is that you pick - up your disney passport ( ticket ) at guest releations out front as a guest for CLUB33 under the person who's the member. You get free admisson for the park but you must attend the club 'cause thats where you pay! And guess what the price is for the wonderful food? That's right its about the price of admission to the park. But the food is out of this world and for the several times i've been there its just basiclly folk like me, nobody special

From: Lynne Shapiro 28 JUN 99

In 1984, I belonged to a ladies' club that sponsored a children's theater group, and one of our fundraisers was lunch at Club 33. I was late meeting our group, so I had to go to the sales window outside, then they had to call in to confirm that, yes, I was a member of this group, then they gave me a temp. passport to get in. You do NOT want to walk the Park with high heels and a dress on! I rang the bell, and they asked via intercom who I was, then they checked my ID's when they buzzed me in. I was really tempted to "liberate" a glass, but I chickened out. The buffet was excellent, and to have a couple of glasses of wine above Disneyland seemed to be the living end!! Since I was already in, after our luncheon I went home, changed clothes, then went back for the rest of the day!

From: Francis Gary Powers, Jr. 06 FEB 98 When I was growing up, my father, U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, would take the family to Club 33 for lunch when we visited Disneyland. He passed away in a helicopter accident while working for KNBC News in 1977 when I was twelve. I have very fond memories of my childhood and I cherish the ones with my father, especially at Disneyland.

The Club 33 member that used to make the reservations for my father, as far as I assume, was a family friend or a colleague from Lockheed, KNBC, etc. Unfortunately, my dad made the arrangements so my mom does not know who he went through and I was too young to realize that eating there was such a privilege.

Whenever we as a family went to Disneyland, I had to wear slacks, dress shoes and a dress shirt. When I went with friends, I wore whatever I wanted too. Of course when I went with friends, I didn't visit Club 33. I never understood why I dressed up when we went to Disneyland with dad until I was older and started to better understand my father's contribution to our country and history. Unfortunately, after his death, it was too late to ask my dad any more questions. C'est la Vive.

It's been twenty-one years since my father passed away and even longer since I visited Disneyland. I moved from LA to Washington, DC in 1992 to pursue my Masters Degree in Public Administration. In 1996, I founded the Cold War Museum to help educate future generations about the Cold War.

The Museum currently has a mobile display about the U-2 Incident and my father that travels around the country promoting interest in the creation of a permanent museum.

I met my girlfriend, soon to be fiancée, three years ago in Virginia and will be visiting LA this year between X-mas and New Years to show her where I grew up and introduce her to my friends. I am trying to find a place to ask her to marry me and I thought of Club 33 as an ideal setting. I called Club 33 to see about making a reservation but discovered that it was a private club. I called my mom to see if she new the family friend that use to make the reservations for dad, but she did not. Hence, why I am writing you this letter. I would sincerely appreciate it if you could forward this letter to a Club 33 member that might be interested in honoring this request.

I know that this is an unusual request, especially coming from a stranger, but I am hopeful that you will do this favor for me. If you have any questions or would like to talk with me personally before you make a decision, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at the

Cold War Museum P.O. Box 178 Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 273-2381

From: Nicholas G. 01 MAR 99

When first arriving at Disneyland we went to the location of club 33. After a friend snapped a picture of me at the door next to the 33 sign, a man and a little boy tried to open the door to the club. I told him you have to lift the lever and push the red button. He did so, and the door unlocked. I stood in amazment as he walked in with his son, and grabbed the handle to the door and walked inside. There was a lady dressed in all black sitting behind a wooden desk, a staircase, and an old elevator that looked like it would be too small to hold a person in a wheelchair. The man and his son were told that this wasn't the entrance to the Blue Bayou. When the girl turned her attention to me, I simply asked where the nearest restroom was. I have to admit that the crazy thought of bolting for the stairs did cross my mind.

From: Dave 12 JUN 98

My experience is as follows: The room is a nice size and the buffet is fairly large. I received a pen and didn't know the significance till now. There is a little place to sit outside of the windows where you get a great view of the place. I watched one of Disney's Fantasia performances and was impressed. You can see the fireworks and the tubes in the back where the pyrotechnics is done.

From: Scott Davis 12 JUN 98

I have dined there on a few occasions. I was engaged there, and once took a tour of the club. On the night of our engagement, we had dinner at the club and were scheduled to see Fantasmic on a private balcony in the Gallery. We were running late, so our waiter said he would take us a secret way to the Gallery. He took us through the Trophy Room, through the kitchen, and out to a small balcony on the backside of the building that took us to a door which led to straight to the Gallery. This door is at the end of the Gallery hallway, usually with a velvet rope in front of it. On another occaison, A friend who worked there gave me a tour of the Club. He told us about the sound room of Walt's for listening to the guests. Not only could Walt listen, but he could talk to the guests through the crow above the Trophy Room door. Various animals in the room are also audio-animatronic. They turn them on every once in awhile to make sure they still work, but it isn't a common thing. The door to the sound room isn't through the Trophy Room, but before you go into the room. It would be on your immediate right if you came out of the elevator. Through that door, the sound room is on your right and is no bigger than 5 ft. by 10 ft. All of the sound equipment has been removed and is now just an office. However past the sound room door is another door that takes you out on to the balcony of the Southern Mansion facade behind Blue Bayou's dining area. There was a few instruments up there for the jazz band that was playing earlier... Thought you might find this interesting...

From: anon 30 MAY 98

Most people don't know about it but there is a Club inside Disneyland. It is called "Club 33." The entrance is along New Orleans Square on the same side as the Blue Bayou entrance. It is a single black door with the number "33" above it. It was founded by Walt Disney and in their meeting room there is an animatronic bird that Walt would use to talk to his guests. If you are lucky you could be there when their meeting gets out. I was. The members are incredibly well cultured. They were obvious, they wore all black with black umbrellas and some of the women even wore authentic fur stoles.

From: chernabog 22 APR 98

I recently got back from the Heritage Festival in Anaheim. While there, we went to Disneyland for a day (I don't think that it's possible to go to California and not hit Disneyland). Because I'm into Disneyland history and trivia, I was designated the tour guide of our group of friends. While there, I showed them the door to Club 33. Bobbie, one of the guys in the group, ran up to the door and rang the doorbell. Then he took off like a shot. We all decided to follow him, and sat back to watch, the door opened, and a trio of people just walked in. One of them came back out to call a fourth person, so I ran up and asked them if they were members. They said that they were. After they went in, the door shut. Later that day, we walked by the door again, and it was partially ajar. A couple of us walked in and were looking around. We took off when we heard someone coming. I remember seeing the stairway and the elevator. No doubt about it, the club does exist.

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