Club 33 is Walt Disney’s Privet Members Only exclusive club in Disneyland located above the Blue Bayou Restaurant in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Walt had it built as a place to entertain VIPs, family and friends in the park. He also opened it up to paid membership. There are several stories about how Club 33 got its name. One story says it was because there were 33 investors that helped to build Disneyland. Another story is when Walt was asked what he wanted to name his privet club he did not like any ideas he or his team had so he then came upon the idea of just naming it after the “street address” that was marked on the door, 33 Royal Street or Club 33. Walt did not get to see Club 33 because he died before the building was finished.
Club 1901 has a simple explanation for its name. 1901 is the year Walt Disney was born. It is as simple as that. That is the reason the Disneyland Resort gave for the clubs name in all press releases about this new club/expansion of Club 33. This is perfectly reasonable as the décor of the club and the entire reason for the club is to honor Walt Disney, the man behind the company.
Club 1901 is an extension of Club 33 and is located in Disney California Adventure on the first floor of the Carthay Circle Restaurant. It is only open to those with the Platinum Level Club 33 Membership. Unlike Club 33 you do not need to make a reservation nor do you need to purchase a meal to go in. 1901 is more of a lounge that does serve some food along with drinks. It is not as expensive to eat there as it is at Club 33, which is mainly a restaurant. 1901 has the feel of a 1930s era privet club/lounge where you may have found Walt and his animators relaxing and talking shop after a day of work.
As with Club 33 entrance is through a simply marked door. It does not have a sign saying Club 1901 or any other huge marker. It simply has its “address” 1901 next to the door. There is a card key reader where you can put your membership card to the reader to enter but that is hardly necessary as there are “bellhops” at the door guarding the door so no “regular” guests just open the door and walk in. The entrance is at the front of the Carthay Circle building to the right of the entrance to the Carthay Circle lounge and restaurant. On the ground in front of the door is a very small (smaller than a dime) Hidden Mickey.
The entire area is homage to Walt Disney. There are pictures of Walt, his family, friend and animators from the early years on all the walls. There are some memorabilia, such as old plush Mickey & Minnie in a glass on display case. Some of the extra magic happens in several of the pictures hanging on the wall. One is a picture of Walt looking at a piece of paper; Mickey is animated coming out of the paper. Another has Walt drawing Mickey and Mickey comes to life. As you are sitting relaxing in 1901 if you look over by a door you see Walt’s shadow walking past. You might even see his shadow pause and look around the room checking on his guests.
The very friendly and ever smiling bartender is always attentive to the needs of the guests in the room but is never hovering; just like Club 33 those serving are there but never obtrusive. Our bartender came over and asked if we would like to see something interesting and fun. Even though none of the guests in the lounge had ordered a drink requiring an ice sphere he showed us all how he made them. It was quite interesting and fun to watch. Here is the video of him making the ice sphere.
While we were sitting there relaxing a group came into the room and sat at a sitting area right next to ours. We could tell they were having an important meeting so we decided to be extra polite and move further away granting them the privacy needed and deserved. Several had Disney ID along with another ID. We kept glancing at the people in the group and realized we knew recognized at least one person. Bob Gurr was enjoying himself talking with the group. As the group left several came over to us and apologized for “chasing us away from our spot.” We assured them they did not. We moved out of courtesy to them not because of anything they did. We did not wish to eavesdrop on them or have our conversation interfere with their meeting.
To sum it up 1901 is a relaxing safe haven in the controlled or nearly controlled craziness of the park. It is small and intimate yet elegant. It is not so overdone that you feel unable to relax and be yourself. Items you can not touch are placed high enough to be safe yet low enough to be seen. Everything is to be looked at and photographed.
If you would like to follow the adventures of Gold Mickey (Blake’s pal) feel free to like his Facebook page.
Along for the adventure were 3 of the 4 Walt’s Basement Traveling Ambassadors, Mickey, Piglett and Pooh. You can follow their adventures with the members of Walt’s Basement either on the Walts-Basement.com forum or their Facebook page.
My pal Playful Pluto was also there at Club 1901. He has his own Facebook page where you can follow his antics: