Gold getting squeezed... yes they are. I feel for every one of them whom I have spoken with. I'd love to have them in 1901 with me. This is Club 33 and a Club 33 member is a Club 33 member as far as I'm concerned... silver, gold, and platinum be damned.
Yes, allowing TDA to stick their hands in Club 33's operations allowed me to get in. And we've taken the plunge knowing what's happened to the Gold members, and we're already seeing changes that are slightly disheartening, and putting us on guard. First is the fact we were told that dues would not be increased for several years... given the massive increase for the new "base" Platinum membership. They already reneged on that one... increasing rates by $1000 for the Platinum/Executive and jacking the Affiliate by $500, and adding an initiation fee for Executive accounts who wish to activate further Affiliate (didn't exist the first year). The initiation doesn't bother me too much (keeps the membership slightly more exclusive), but the significant increase does.
That, combined with rumors that they're cutting the number of VIP tours for affiliate members, or eliminating them entirely, without cutting the annual dues for the affiliate, is especially frightening. The VIP tours, being, one of the perks that justifies the cost of membership in that five day-long (8 hours) tours cost well more than the annual dues for both executive and affiliate members alike.
In return for jacking the rates further, we have received the 'privilege' of making reservations for childcare at Pinocchio's Workshop (which we have to pay for by the hour... we just get to make a reservation there although we are not staying in one of the hotels). We also get to have tickets from our allotment delivered to us at the hotel rather than at the guest relations desk if one of the members is in the group. Given most of my visits are made with an ap-holder in tow, both 'perks' are hardly worth an additional 1k. It seems that every new perk they're adding has something to do with the Grand Californian Hotel... are they the only ones willing to 'play ball' with "Disneyland Special Activities" (aka Club 33... that delineation bugs me a little... I joined Club 33, not Disneyland Special Activities)?
What we do have, though, is a promise that "great things are to come." Given the earlier promise not to raise rates, and knowing that TDA is fond of inter-departmental squabbles, I don't put great stock in that.
We still love our experiences, think 1901 is great, love the Club and the service we have received IN THE RESTAURANT ITSELF (the membership concierge seems to be rather disorganized.), the VIP tours are fun, and all the other stuff. Still worth it. But we're watching... always watching... ALWAYS.