Earlier today, news that Club 33 was coming to all four Walt Disney World parks was announced. My gut reaction was excitement. Even if I never have the chance of being able to enter such a place, the prospect of the club being at Walt Disney World excited me. I thought how incredible it was that this piece of Disneyland history, tradition, and legacy would now be shared with Walt Disney World. I’ve actually publicly stated on YouTube videos and other articles that a Club 33 in Walt Disney World would be a great idea. Then I re-read the line that this opportunity would be available “later this year,” and the realistic side of my brain kicked into gear. Suddenly, I was worried. Later this year isn’t that far away, and construction for an entirely new lounge would take awhile.
Club 33 is something so iconic in Disneyland history that if Disney doesn’t completely hit a home-run by creating an east coast version, there is going to be a large number of upset Disney fans. After hearing that the east coast Club 33 would be available “later this year,” I am concerned that Disney is going to reuse old spaces and lounges and call them Club 33 lounges. There is a legacy and tradition behind this club, and I am worried that Disney could skimp out by remodeling something like the The Plaza Inn Restaurant into “Club 33.” I care deeply about Disney history, legacy, and tradition. This isn’t a place that I’ll be able to afford a membership to, but I still want Disney to do it right.
My concerns could be completely nonsensical, and Disney could prove my worries to be pointless. I hope that that is true. This isn’t meant to bash Disney or say with certainty that they are going to mess this up. All I am saying is that they could mess it up, and if they do they are messing with their own history and legacy, so the stakes are high. The Club 33 name is synonymous with elegance, exclusivity, and Disney history, so as long as Disney doesn’t dampen that history I’ll be happy.
Disney is out to make a profit. There is nothing wrong with that, but Disney fans and potential members of Club 33 aren’t stupid, and if they realize that Disney has just slapped some paint and a Club 33 logo on an old lounge, it isn’t going to go over well.
Walt Disney World cast members don’t have as strong of a reputation as Disneyland cast members, and Club 33 service is meant to be top notch. I am sure they are planning on it, but Walt Disney World casting better be prepared to bring the best, brightest, and the friendliest to these new Club 33 lounges. The standard for service has been set very high, and anything with the Club 33 name and logo has to match, or surpass that standard.
In the description of the new lounges it says that they will be themed around Walt Disney and his wife Lillian Disney’s “worldly adventures,” and that theming sounds promising. There is hope that with a strong theme, good locations, and healthy budget for construction that Walt Disney World’s Club 33 could be something spectacular.
While I do think there is reason to believe this project is a little rushed, I truly hope it lives up to Disneyland’s Club 33. For a successful east coast Club 33 to exist, Disney has to at least try to create one. I am genuinely hoping it is amazing. Walt Disney World has the resources, the creative ability, and the know how to create a stunning east coast Club 33, but now they just have to follow through.