(3) Indeed [at the risk of a barrage of tomatoes being hurled in my direction], I'm not so sure that halting all non-member-accompanied C33 access wouldn't be a good idea. This despite the fact that I've enjoyed using it for my friends in the past. Why should any non-dues-payer have any unaccompanied access/reservation, the same as a dues-payer? [I also suspect, but cannot verify, that most of the occasional loud, rambunctious, marginally-dressed persons/parties in the Club are nonmembers unaware of/unconcerned with the Rules & dress code.]
As we all consider ways that Club 33 could improve the member experience, I certainly think that making the club a members-only arrangement with no unaccompanied guests (as is the tradition of most private clubs around the world) would not necessarily be a bad idea. This would also allow Disney to greatly increase the number of memberships.
However, I think the problem is that such a move would decimate the business model that Club 33 has had for decades. If the Club becomes members-only with no unaccompanied guests, then I would argue the club is way too overpriced because the meal prices have always been based on the assumption that guests would receive complimentary entrance. The club could simply drop the meal price back down to $35-$50 and make it a members only experience with the current Gold level annual fees. Yet that of course initially would completely decimate the meal revenue and cut the gratuities in half. Thus, with no additional space to expand meal service, it seems this would be unviable unless Disney simply changed the model-- assumed a share of the operational revenue would come from dues and that the dues would cover higher salaries for the wait staff to offset the lower gratuities-- these are all standard considerations at bonafide private clubs.
As it stands now with a $500 lunch bill for a group of 4, I don't think Club 33 would receive sufficient business from current members who have already dropped a couple thousand in annual dues to keep the restaurant open if it were members only, no unaccompanied guests. There are probably only a small number of actual members on a given day who actually dine at the club while I suspect 95% of the tables are all unaccompanied guests.
My guess is someone at Disney Corporate sees the closed waiting list and the statistics of all the unaccompanied diners who are willing to pay big bucks for a special lunch and somehow assumes there is a huge pool of people willing to pay super big bucks in membership dues for the privilege of dining in a restaurant that is already overpriced by about 100% when park admission is no longer included in the meal price. I am convinced this is a faulty assessment.
If I am completely in error, then I would say that Disney Corporate should be graceful-- if the goal is to move the club into a demographic category of members with stratospheric incomes and a real pool exists-- then admit this, make a one time exception, and simply refund old member's initiation fees while they are replaced with those who desire to pay $25K up front. I'd be near the front of the line to volunteer giving up my membership for such an initiative. However, alas, I just don't think there are hundreds of people in the current economy who would pony up that level of initiation fee for benefits currently offered. That in effect shows the emperor's clothes-- the only way to make the $25K Platinum program work, at least in the short run, is to keep the Gold and Silver members participating and thus provide the aura that there is a waiting list of those clamoring to spend $10K a year for use of a restaurant.