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  1. #376

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachane View Post
    In fact I'd like to see D23 Disneyphiles enjoy a treat there more than I would Exxon...Excesses of this are what I see the new comp/year limits as curtailing, and I think that's a good thing. Sending a friend to the Club should be an occasional special treat, not a de facto membership.
    You are very kind in your desire to share Club 33 with those who do not have a membership. It is great that your passion for Disney can be shared with others via a unique experience such as dining at Club 33. Assuming you find value in the membership, it is clearly a reasonable expenditure for you.

    My argument is not against members such as yourself, but against the management of the club (and those higher up at the corporate level who refuse to provide honest information) who continue to sell an experience as one thing, only to change horses mid-stream. Again, if they won't allow you to do the same, it seems to be a very unbalanced relationship. There is nothing wrong with Club 33 or Disney corporate allowing tours of or meals at Club 33. Just as you want to share the experience with others, they are well within their rights to do so. Just tell me the truth about it and let me make an informed decision so I can decide if the membership is worth the asking price.

  2. #377

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    I mean look at the steam trains.... just how much of a percentage of total ride counts do you think they represent vs the rest of the park? Yet they are treated far differently then their actual return or draw.

    Some things are just more sacred... right or wrong.
    Got it, but your analogy isn't the best.

    The steam trains, AKA the Disneyland Railroad, is one of the very highest capacity attractions in the park. (If not THE highest if the Pirates crew is having a bad day)

    With four trains running on a busy day, the steam trains can carry upwards of 3,000 people per hour. That's the same as, or slightly higher than, Pirates of the Caribbean. And Pirates is one of the highest capacity "ride" attractions in the entire global Disney empire. The steam trains get a lot of attention because they were Walt's toy, but also because they are a massive people-eating attraction that is responsible for moving people around the property in addition to the huge hourly ride counts and high satisfaction ratings they get in surveys.

    A better analogy for the Club 33 Membership would be equating them to the Fire Truck on Main Street USA. Even then, hundreds more people ride the Fire Truck in its 7 hour day than go to Club 33 for dinner.

  3. #378

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Westsider View Post
    A better analogy for the Club 33 Membership would be equating them to the Fire Truck on Main Street USA. Even then, hundreds more people ride the Fire Truck in its 7 hour day than go to Club 33 for dinner.
    They are not paying $200.00 per head to ride. It is not a large division of the resort and it is not a huge cash cow for the company (not yet, but wait and see what happens this year). It is just something that we are passionate about. We understand it not for everyone, that is why we try to restrict it to this one little thread.

  4. #379

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by DLFreak71 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong
    but this isn't the first time they've sold seats for a dinner at C33
    I could swear back in 2002 they sold dinner at C33 for the HMH party.
    It was part of the highly priced package, but I'm fairly sure dinner was served there.
    I attended the 2003 HMH event. The top tier was priced at $2250 and included dinner one night inside the HM (catered by C33), and lunch the next day at C33. There were maybe 40 people or so in attendance.

    ---------- Post added 02-12-2012 at 05:14 PM ----------

    It seems generally settled upon that new C33 members will have to pay $10,000/year for membership, and this includes access to the new lounge in DCA. Although some people keep mentioning a $40,000 initiation fee, I haven't seen any references that make this authoritative. Has there been any official announcement as to the new initiation dues, or un-official word that can more or less be relied on, beyond speculation?

  5. #380

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDry View Post
    I attended the 2003 HMH event. The top tier was priced at $2250 and included dinner one night inside the HM (catered by C33), and lunch the next day at C33.
    Thanks!
    Couldn't remember if it was 02 or 03 (just remember I couldn't afford top packages either year)
    Quote by Al:
    To that end I'd like the Internet community to join me in reminding the Disney company that "it all started with Walt." As you can see below we've created some T-shirts, plus a few simple graphics that you can copy and paste into your websites to let folks know how you feel.
    -Al Lutz



  6. #381

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    Lightbulb Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDry View Post
    It seems generally settled upon that new C33 members will have to pay $10,000/year for membership, and this includes access to the new lounge in DCA. Although some people keep mentioning a $40,000 initiation fee, I haven't seen any references that make this authoritative. Has there been any official announcement as to the new initiation dues, or un-official word that can more or less be relied on, beyond speculation?
    I called the Club office and asked about that. The Platinum initiation fee is $25K, which does not include the first year's $10K dues. So for a new individual member to join at this time would be a total of $35K.

    The pregnant question is whether these substantially higher membership fees will be reflected in any increased benefits or services. The office hinted to expect these, but with no details.

    I recently suggested to Manager Jeannie that the Trophy Room be converted to a members-only (no unaccompanied nonmembers) lounge, wherein members could just drop in casually [no reservations] for a break, drink, perhaps light snack during the day. This would make C33 a bit more like a private city club, utilize the mostly-unusued TR, and make a few extra bucks from the drinks & munchies. I understand the suggestion was liked, and forwarded up the totem pole for consideration.

    C33 might also increase its off-site events, such as special trips to the Disney or other studios, evenings at other exclusive places such as the Magic Castle, perhaps something at the Disney Family Museum in SF, and so forth.

    One thing I don't think C33 could do is negotiate reciprocal privileges with other private clubs around the world (something many private clubs do). Here the problem is simply C33's limited capacity.

    Water under the bridge now, but I think Disneyland missed a bet by transforming the old Disney Gallery into the little-used, overlarge "Dream Suite". I think they should have expanded C33 into it, creating a larger lounge, bar, and dining environment, reservable meeting rooms (as some airline clubs have at airports), perhaps a cozy theater. This would also have enabled C33 to increase its membership & reservation size without overwhelming reservations. [I understand that the unconnected C33 at Disneyland Tokyo is something like this, and I think that our original should at least keep up with the Joneses.]

    I confess somewhat selfishly that I would like to hog the Lilly Belle back into being a C33 member-only vehicle, but obviously that era is past. I used to think of it as a sort of mini-C33 traveling around the Park. I don't feel quite so my-footballish about the DLRR engineer or Mark Twain cockpit perks (also now open).

    Platinum seems to be moving in the direction of some Resort-remote perks such as the 1901 in DCA and concierge lounges at the hotels. That's another good direction to go, although I wish they'd included us Gold & Silver ragamuffins as well.

    Generally my attitude is: Keep making suggestions about changes you'd like to see; don't just throw water balloons about those you don't like. I really wish that C33 had an official membership Forum or YahooGroup in which Management also participated, so that we could all talk about these things more collectively and openly. As it stands, the only intermembership communication seems to be media such as MiceChat, which is haphazard at best.
    ______
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  7. #382

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachane View Post
    I don't feel quite so my-footballish about the DLRR engineer or Mark Twain cockpit perks (also now open).
    I can speak from experience on the Mark Twain wheelhouse (a 747 has a cockpit, a steamboat has a wheelhouse).

    That wheelhouse courtesy has never been a Club 33 exclusive. I have worked the Mark Twain for years, and in my time there I have worked with Mark Twain Cast Members who have worked there since the 1960's. They can speak with great wit about this wheelhouse practice dating back to Walt's day.

    Riding with the captain in the wheelhouse was always a courtesy extended to anyone deemed worthy or lucky enough to be asked. Pretty girls have always been an easy target, but VIP tours, or various interested parties who seem polite and fun have been invited up to the wheelhouse for decades. Again, all pre-Club 33.

    Here's a blog with a pre-1958 (you can tell as the dock is Mark Twain only, no Columbia yet) picture of the Mark Twain about to leave on a cruise, and the captain has invited up some guests to join him in the wheelhouse. stuff from the park: Disneyland Steamship Company

    According to the old timers at the Mark Twain, after Eisner arrived in the 1980's and Mrs. Disney removed a lot of her personal belongings from the Club in a fit over her son-in-laws dismissal, some new Club 33 manager got the bright idea to put in the Club benefits brochure the instructions that you could show your Club ID at the Mark Twain turnstile and get to ride up in the wheelhouse. The Mark Twain CM's, being a wisened bunch, immediately came up with hilarious games to play on these Club 33 folks. There would often be "training" that prevented guests joining the captain, or another fictitious guest who had already asked to be up there on that trip, and the Club 33 person flashing their membership card at the turnstile would be rebuffed.

    This exact scenario plays out to this day, especially with a few regular Club 33 members who still think that this "perk" is something exclusive to them. They flash their card at the turnstile with a haughty flourish, the CM stifles a weary sigh, and then explains that, gosh darnit, there's already someone picked to ride with the captain on this next trip. Can you maybe come back in an hour? Then the real fun begins, and the Mark Twain crew scrambles to secretly find a group to take up there ASAP without the Club 33 member noticing. (There's even a sly hand signal given from dockhand to deckhand to captain to help this take place).

    In the late 1990's, with Paul Pressler and Cynthia Harriss re-inventing the Disneyland operation, managers were given quarterly bonuses for improving key metrics like Guest Compliments. Pressler divided the park up into a dozen competing "small business teams", and the race was on to get as many Guests to write a compliment for Attractions CM's. The Rivercraft Small Business Team, as it was then known, knew they literally had a goldmine with the Mark Twain wheelhouse, and the mandate came down from management that the boat was to never leave the dock without guests joining the captain in the wheelhouse. The trick worked, and the compliments poured in for the Mark Twain, ensuring the management team always got a nice quarterly bonus check. Meanwhile, managers of less glamorous rides like Autopia grumbled that those Rivercraft managers were getting unfair bonuses due to the Mark Twain wheelhouse visits.

    Pressler's paid bonuses for managers went away in the 2000's, but the importance of a Guest Compliment is still a key driver for management types. They've lightened up on insisting that there is ALWAYS a guest group with the CM up in the wheelhouse, but the Mark Twain/Columbia Lead and the managers are usually keeping an eye out as the boat goes past to make sure the captain has some guests up there. And when a Club 33 member flashes their card at the turnstile, like they are trying to gain admittance to the United Airlines Red Carpet Club at the airport, there's often some real fun to be had.

    Many times the Club 33 person is perfectly polite and fun and the invitation to join the captain is extended to them just as it is to anyone else who fits the criteria. But there's also a short list of infamous Club members who act as if they own the boat and the water it sails on. For those folks, it's often a "training day" and the wheelhouse is off limits. Can you maybe come back in an hour?
    Last edited by Westsider; 02-12-2012 at 07:50 PM.

  8. #383

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    Smile Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Westsider View Post
    ... Many times the Club 33 person is perfectly polite and fun and the invitation to join the captain is extended to them just as it is to anyone else who fits the criteria.
    O.K. "wheelhouse" it is. My confusion arose because the person up there steering [well, "tracking"] the boat [or is a paddlewheeler a ship?] is called the "pilot", not the "captain". Unless of course the captain is also doing the piloting, I suppose.

    Whatever that thing on the top is, when on 2/12/98 I followed C33 guidance, showed my card, and asked if my friends and I could ride up there, we were treated very graciously, and the Pilot/Captain gave us a fascinating history lesson about riverboats during the trip. At the end he presented us all with "Honorary Pilot" certificates, dated that day and signed by Walt as "Commodore" (an interesting time-warp phenomenon in 1998). It was an altogether delightful experience.

    I'm sorry to hear that some C33 members abused their membership, and equally sorry to hear that some Cast Members would think that a mischievous or deceptive response would be appropriate in such situations. If C33 were putting out erroneous information about the MT to its members, perhaps one of the MT CMs should have mentioned this to the Club?
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  9. #384

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachane View Post
    I'm sorry to hear that some C33 members abused their membership, and equally sorry to hear that some Cast Members would think that a mischievous or deceptive response would be appropriate in such situations. If C33 were putting out erroneous information about the MT to its members, perhaps one of the MT CMs should have mentioned this to the Club?
    Cast Members should always be respectful of the guests and I think the same should apply for the guest respecting the cast member. Sadly, the obnoxious club 33 member is exactly who they now wish to cater to. They will strip down all benefits from the membership and seek out those who will proudly display their membership card on a lanyard for all the world to see much like a peacock displaying his feathers. For this group of members, it is not about having real benefits, but having their ego stroked so they feel more important than others. They are perfectly comfortable having nothing more than a green badge marking them as "special".

    As i said before, many concerts are selling individual tickets for $750.00 or more and calling it a VIP experience when it really does nothing more than get you into the venue an hour early for an "exclusive shopping experience". That does not make me anyone a VIP, it simply marks them as a fool with money. I want real benefits and in the absence of real benefits my money will stay in the bank.

    This does not apply to everyone and certainly does not apply to Rachane. I am simply pointing out that these types of customers are increasing in number. Disney loves customers with deep pockets who are easily placated with fancy titles such as VIP or Member even if the program is stripped of any real benefits. I feel for those who joined Club 33 during the time it was meant to be a truly unique experience where membership gained you something (other than access to a hotel concierge lounge). I think what is left of the Club 33 experience will continue to be eroded by this group.

  10. #385

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachane View Post

    I'm sorry to hear that some C33 members abused their membership, and equally sorry to hear that some Cast Members would think that a mischievous or deceptive response would be appropriate in such situations. If C33 were putting out erroneous information about the MT to its members, perhaps one of the MT CMs should have mentioned this to the Club?
    The last time the Club made a batch of new members several years ago and one Club 33 member in particular made a HUGE scene on the dock when he was told the wheelhouse was in use for the next trip (and the member wanted the CM's to kick the other Guests out so he could go up there instead), two of our managers went back to the Club 33 offices to speak with the manager there.

    This was back when Club 33 offices were in the Pirates show building, just behind the first waterfall. They've since moved back to the Westsider Grill building. Anyway, our two managers went back there to talk to the Club management about calming their members down and getting their facts straight that the Twain wheelhouse is open to every park guest who asks and NOT just a Club 33 member perk. Our managers came back to the dock laughing and told us about the conversation they'd just had with the Club.

    Basically, the Club management knows full well that the Mark Twain wheelhouse and Lilly Belle rides are open to pretty much anyone who asks, but they like putting it in the membership rules brochure as a listed benefit. It's a free thing the Club has been throwing in there for several decades and they play it off like it's some sort of negotiated benefit that only a Club member could have. But it costs them nothing but the ink to put it in the brochure, and many of the Club 33 members still haven't really figured it out. This was especially true back in the 1980's and 90's before the Internet, but there are still some new members who think it's some sort of super-cool members-only thing that they just paid for.

    A bit of a scam, sure, but a funny one. Especially for the Mark Twain crew.

  11. #386

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    Cool Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Westsider View Post
    A bit of a scam, sure, but a funny one. Especially for the Mark Twain crew.
    It doesn't sound to me as though that incident were particularly funny for either the MT crew or the misinformed C33 member.

    While I do remember that the three "special rides" were mentioned in the membership materials back in the 1980s, none of them is in the 2012 Rules brochure, and offhand I don't know when they were removed - possibly as a result of the unfortunate incident you recounted.
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  12. #387

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Fellow Disneyphiles, thanks for all the information on this thread and others. I called yesterday to check on my C33 wait list status and had a very disconcerting conversation with the cast member. Good news is that I will be getting a call the 'first or second week in March' after waiting more than 7 years to be extended an invitation. Bad news is the new pricing (25k/10k & 40k/10k) and the spin they are putting on the benefits. Some changes were were blamed on prior member abuses and I was given the hard sell on the value of the new benefits.


    In general it is a huge disappointment to have my dream of joining C33 shattered by the new pricing and arguably diminished value. C1901 is a 58 person max 'airport lounge' style venue. 'Concierge services & room upgrades' as well as 'VIP tours' are nice but just fluff. She admitted that limiting comp passes would allow for increased membership but refused to give even a target number. So what I heard was triple the costs, significantly more members, reduced comped passes, and some window dressing to make it sound worthwhile. Am I silly to think it is a completely different Club than it was when I joined the wait list? I'm jealous of those who were fortunate to witness the glory of what C33 was...


  13. #388

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by MouseNuts View Post
    I called yesterday to check on my C33 wait list status and had a very disconcerting conversation with the cast member.
    Welcome to MiceChat! I am sorry to see so many people coming here to discuss these horrible changes to Club 33 but we are happy to welcome you to the group.

    1) Wait list is now GONE....over. No such thing as a 14 year wait list. If you have been on it for 7 years and will be receiving the invite (I believe you 100% on this) they will quickly run through the remaining list this March.

    2) Club 33 is still blaming the changes on its own members and yet we finally learn the truth to this...increased membership. Just what I have said all along.

    3) New benefits are just "fluff". Again, everything they offer (even the dining experience is available on a limited basis via D23) is now available to the general public without a costly initiation fee or annual dues. How this warrants an increase in pricing is beyond me.

    4) Club 1901 looks beautiful, but it is a small lounge. I have had the plans for this lounge for some time and I have emailed them to several people. It looks nice, but the much larger lounge and full service restaurant is available next door to anyone with no membership fee required.

    The bottom line is that they can't tell you how many new members they will have. Aside from wanting to keep this number confidential, they didn't plan for this type of response. For all of the surveys they do you think they would simply listen to their customers and properly gauge demand. There will be very few people who accept at these prices and with these limited benefits. Club 33 mistakenly believes these die hard Disney fans can be blinded by smoke and mirrors and will pay at any cost. The mere fact that so many Disney fan sites and enthusiast forums exist (analyzing every small detail) should tell them this would not be the case.

    Sounds to me like you got a time-share presentation for a Club 33 membership. As others have correctly pointed out, this is exactly the customer they wish to cater to. Someone who has big bucks, will only visit the club a few times per year (and not send lots of guests unescorted, they need room for the D23 crowd) and someone who will find value in services such as room upgrades and planning services. This is no longer the local customer.

    This is only phase 1. You will see, come later this year you will be able to call Club 33 and on the same day buy a super expensive membership that really gets you nothing more than a few premium annual passes and a few dinners per year in a restaurant.

    Phase 2 will be to strip the grandfathered members of all benefits until they either upgrade or resign.

  14. #389

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneynut View Post
    Club 1901 looks beautiful, but it is a small lounge. I have had the plans for this lounge for some time and I have emailed them to several people. It looks nice, but the much larger lounge and full service restaurant is available next door to anyone with no membership fee required.
    But, it seems to be exactly the kind of thing that you were hoping was done with the trophy room: a drop-in lounge where members could just show up, relax, and possibly mingle with each other. That would be a totally different atmosphere than the lounge section of a regular in-park table service restaurant that's open to the public.

    And as for the size, 58 is eleven more than the capacity of Trader Sam's. Now that place is tiny, but I could imagine a lounge 23% bigger than Trader Sam's that's only open to members and their guests being big enough.

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    Re: Club 33 Membership Changes for 2012

    Still wondering how membership gets increased with this huge increase in membership fee and annual dues, along with the number of current membership lapses (one or two on this thread alone).
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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