Well, the proof that recent changes within Club 33 have not been well received have surfaced and the cream atop of the bucket isn't very tasty, in fact, it's pretty darn sour.
When George Kalogridis and TDA initiated the 2012 membership changes to Club 33, there were a lot of raised eyebrows. Most members, including yours truly, were pretty astonished at such a bold cash grab and outright slovenly treatment of gold members. Principle dictated what a slap in the face it was to exclude gold members from the The 1901 Lounge unless they upgraded to platinum, which of course, for most of us, just isn't worth the extra money. It's actually an embarrassment.
Most of us have stood our ground and while some did succumb to the temptation, most did not, have not, and will not.
Now, the waiting list of potential members has been completely wiped out and tossed aside like a coffee soaked paper towel.
If you want to join Club 33, just schedule an appointment, take the tour, talk to the pretty young tour guide, hand over your check for $35K and your card will be in the mail. Just that simple. Just that fast! Boom! You're in.
Gone is the 8 to 18 year waiting list, gone are the unlimited comp'd entries, and to me, gone is the magic. What was once a hidden jewel within the park has become low quality, micro plated jewelry, to be sold at any Main Street gift shop.
As for 1901, we'll I've been in numerous times and it's pretty much empty. I've never seen more than a few guests inside and it's just plain sad.
What's even more sad is that had the original gold members been given access, grandfathered in, the place would be generating serious revenue for the park, more guests would be able to enjoy the place, and gosh darn it, it would sure be a lot of fun. I'd be there dolling out dollars, but I won't pay a ridiculous amount for the privilege.
To George and TDA, I say thanks for the red hand print on the side of my face. The men and ladies who have supported and paid large amounts to join and sustain Club 33 since 1967 certainly deserve better treatment. Remember, you can mistreat guests only so far, but sooner or later, they will not allow such treatment and the cash flow will cease. Seeking out higher paying members may be fine short term, but it will always be the original members who bring in the largest groups of true Disney fans, those who don't mind shelling out $100.00 for a meal barely comparable to Ruth's Chris or even your own Napa Rose! Yes, most of my friends have stopped visiting the club stating the food at Napa Rose is much more creative with a wider selection and more frequent seasonal changes.
And for the love of Mickey, tell the club staff to smile once in a while. Man, the place is like walking into a morgue. Grumpy faces filing by carrying comically sized portions on over-sized plates, it's pretty funny in a most satirical way. The turn over rate of club staff also dictates there is a major issue within which is not being handled by Disney management.
Seems like every time I visit there is someone gone and someone new to replace them. The ol' place never used to be like this.
OK, that's my gripe, sorry it's not all pixie dust and happy smiles, but it needs to be said and I'm certainly not afraid to do so.
TDA needs to restructure their business model of 'making more with less', less being fewer cast members and more being increased prices. That business model has never been successful long term and Walt didn't build the company to see it prostituted in this manner.
I posted this here for a reason, as I want it to be seen and discussed. I'm not content to be meek and discuss this on a Facebook page which most can't locate or have access to.
I'd actually like it to be tossed upon the table of the board of directors and not used as a coaster, but seriously discussed as to how management within the park needs to be addressed and treatment of guests needs to be improved.
And yes, I'll probably renew for 2013 but it's truly with the hopes that things will change and someone will have the gumption to step in and correct the issues. Please, someone needs to grab the reins from George and TDA and get things back on track. Laurels are for decor and winning athletes, not something to ride upon.