Disney is turning this obscure theme park attraction into a movie: What is Club 33?

Plans are underway for a movie based on Disney's famous Club 33 but just what is this unique exclusive spot in the Disney parks?
Lesley Ann Warren Visits Disneyland
Lesley Ann Warren Visits Disneyland / Handout/GettyImages

Another Disney park mainstay is about to get its own movie. It’s just not the one you’re expecting!

Disney has been trying for years to make films based on their famous theme park attractions. It’s fun to think how folks in 2003 were convinced Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl would flop off the idea of no one wanting a movie based on a theme park ride. Instead, it was a monster hit that spawned a franchise.

However, Disney’s attempts to replicate that success haven’t matched up. Jungle Cruise was successful but there have also been bombs of The Haunted Mansion (twice) and Tomorrowland. There are plans for ones on Space Mountain among others. 

Now, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Disney is planning a movie based on Club 33. Darren Lamke who helped co-write the Shazam movies is writing it with Deadpool & Wolverine director Shawn Levy, Dan Levine and Dan Cohen are producing through 21 Laps Entertainment. The script is set to be based on a fantastical story.

The story centers on "Kim, a young aspiring detective living in present-day New York, who receives a mysterious invite to the highly secretive Club 33. In this case, it’s a magical and exclusive dining club that exists outside of time and space. The club’s members are the greatest and most iconic members from the past: geniuses, royalty and history-makers. When a murder is committed moments after her arrival, the patrons look to Kim to solve it. Kim, who, despite her brilliance, can’t seem to get out of her own way, must rise to the occasion and find a way to capture the criminal amidst the greatest minds history has to offer."

That sounds like an intriguing mix of murder and fantasy but also a question: What is Club 33?

The history of Club 33

This is a deep dive for Disney as Club 33 first opened in Disneyland back in 1967. The idea was an exclusive club set above Pirates of the Caribbean, which Walt Disney planned to use for the various celebrities or politicians visiting the park. Walt died before it opened with the club (so named for the “33 Royal Street” in New Orleans Square) opened in his honor. It was notable for years as the only place in Disneyland that served alcohol.

Over the years, the club has grown in attention with a fun following. The original version is modeled after classic New Orleans with gorgeous dining rooms, a first-class kitchen, lounge, libraries and more. There’s also touches like an AA vulture watching people.

Club 33 has expanded to other parks as Tokyo and Shanghai have versions on Main Street while Disney World has versions in each of the main parks. Membership is exclusive with members expected to pay almost $70,000 just for the initiation and then $20,000 a year afterward. Thus, it’s no shock these members get a special treat (especially given photography inside the club is banned). 

Disney choosing this for a movie seems an offbeat choice. The plotline actually makes it sound closer to the old Adventurer’s Club at Pleasure Island in Disney World (which would make a great film) with the fantasy elements. It could simply be Disney taking advantage of Club 33 not being so mainstream to create an original tale. 

So far, the movie is only in the planning stages, so it’ll be a while before it reaches theaters. Yet it shows that there’s seemingly no part of Disney lore too obscure that the company won’t try to turn it into an IP.