Club 33 is a secret private club maintained in New Orleans Square in Disneyland. The entrance to the club is next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant and is rather unassuming, save for the ornately decorated plaque with the number “33” on it at the doorway.
Only members to the club are allowed access to the restaurant, which boasts a wine list including vintages priced at $1,000+. To get to the restaurant, members can take a lift that is an exact replica to the millimeter of a lift Walt Disney fell in love with while in Paris, or they can take the staircase that wraps around the lift. The restaurant has two rooms: the Trophy Room, and the Main Dining Room, and both are filled with props from classic Disney movies. Hanging on the walls are original hand-painted animation cells from Fantasia, as well as butterflies pinned under glass. The balcony of the restaurant overlooks the Rivers of America, providing excellent viewing for shows like Fantasmic! that take place on the water.
Members get free access to the park as well as valet parking to the entire Disney resort in California. They are also allowed early admission into the park several days out of the week. Six Fastpasses per day are provided to each member in the party of a club member that are usable with any ride that has the Fastpass option. Members are also allowed access to the presidential caboose car on the Disneyland Railroad, the Lilly Belle.
The current waiting list to get into the club is 14 years long, and it is currently closed to new admissions. Individuals pay an initiation fee of $10,450, and a subsequent annual fee of about $3,275. Club 33 only allows 487 members to be apart of the club at any given time.
There is a Club 33 in Tokyo Disneyland, however, members of Disneyland’s Club 33 do not get reciprocal privileges in Tokyo.
Splash Mountain is a ride that has a rather interesting backstory in the Disney franchise, though not many people actually know it. While it may appear to some guests to be a Disney park original like The Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain, it actually has its root in the Disney Animation Studios.
Like Snow White’s Scary Adventures and Peter Pan’s Flight, Splash Mountain is inspired by a Walt Disney animated feature. Song of the South is a 1946 movie that combines live action footage with animation, making it years ahead of its time upon its release. The movie is based on John Chandler Harris’ cycles of Uncle Remus stories that feature Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear. Aside from the original release and subsequent re-releases in theaters, the film has never been made available for a home video release. This is due to the fact that Disney executives consider it to be too easily construed by some as “racist” because of the film’s portrayal of its black characters. Song of the South contains the three memorable songs heard in Splash Mountain: ”How Do You Do?,” “Everybody’s Got a Laughing Place,” and the Academy Award winning “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” This latter song is often used in many Disney medleys, and can be heard in various places in the parks, from Main Street U.S.A. to firework shows.
Below is a compilation of the three songs as they appeared in Song of the South:
Splash Mountain opened in Disneyland in 1989 in an effort to revitalize Bear Country, which was renamed Critter Country in 1988 in anticipation of the ride’s opening. The ride follows the story of Br’er Rabbit’s journey to find his Laughing Place, and is more or less a ride-through of the movie it’s based off of, albeit with some liberties taken here and there. None of the live action elements from the movie are present, although Uncle Remus’ various sayings are posted on signs throughout the ride.
There is currently a Splash Mountain in Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, and Tokyo Disneyland. While the ones in Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland feature a country-western twangy theme, Disneyland’s features a big band jazz style that is fitting due to its close proximity to New Orleans Square. In Disneyland and its Tokyo cousin, Splash Mountain is located in Critter Country; however, due to this land being nonexistent in the Magic Kingdom, it is located across from Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland in Florida.
Doesn’t this just make you want to go to Disney as soon as possible?
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is a unique ride in Tokyo Disneyland’s Fantasyland. It is one of only two attractions in the world to feature a “Trackless” ride system, the other being Aquatopia at the neighboring Tokyo DisneySea. This patented system uses a custom LPS (Local Positioning System) to move the Honey Pots from room to room across the show floor. Since the vehicles are not restricted to a track, they appear to glide magically and are able to do things like interact with other vehicles and “dance” to the music. And as their path is determined by a computer a fraction of a second before the Honey Pots move, each ride offers a completely new experience for the guests.
Though it opened in 2000, Hunny Hunt still sees some of the longest lines in the entire Tokyo Resort, and it’s largely due in part to this LPS technology. Though a Beauty and the Beast ride using this new technology was developed by Disney Imagineers, it has yet to see the light of day. Mystic Manor, Hong Kong Disneyland’s incarnation of The Haunted Mansion set to open in 2013 is expected to use this technology. An unannounced Ratatouille Ride also set to open in 2013 in Disneyland Paris’ Walt Disney Studios Park is also speculated to utilize this Trackless system, although it is unknown if this plan will come to fruition.