Disneyland is known for many things. There are rides like It's a Small World and Splash Mountain, the insanely delicious Dole Whip, the cartoon characters come to life, and all the indisputable happiness of the Happiest Place on Earth. And now, it's becoming known for its social clubs.
Yes, there are Disneyland social clubs, and they can be more exclusive than Club 33.
In Disneyland social clubs, membership is not a free-for-all. In fact, it's highly controlled and regulated.
Every group has its own process in place for accepting new members. Many have "an apprenticeship and invitation system." There are typically applications, waiting periods, evaluations, group votes, and, if you're accepted, probationary periods.
The whole point of the Disneyland social clubs is for members to feel like they belong somewhere. The clubs give them a place to commune with others like them - who also happen to love Disney.
Given this inclusive, civil atmosphere, most clubs enjoy a friendly relationship with one another. When they inevitably cross paths at the park, they might stop to talk and trade pins. But "mostly when we see another club, we just wave," said one member of the White Rabbits.
The Disneyland social clubs all take their names from certain park attractions, from one of the park's many themed lands, or from a specific Disney character. Prominent club names include the Tigger Army, the Neverland Mermaids, the Jungle Cruisers, the Hitchhikers (named after some Haunted Mansion ghosts), and Walt's Misfits, named after Granddaddy Disney himself.
The names aren't meant to be disrespectful. Quite the contrary - they are intended to be an homage to all things Disney.
The clubs also focus on charity work. Most clubs are involved, to some extent, in charitable and humanitarian causes. They participate in smaller acts of kindness, too, like picking up litter at Disneyland and even helping out families who are visiting the park.
A member of the Wonderlanders told the OC Weekly:
If you see trash, pick it up. If you see a family that's having trouble - a mom taking a picture of a dad with kids, and then the dad taking a picture of the mom and kids - help them out. That's a magical moment they can remember for the rest of their lives, and it doesn't take that much effort. One of the girls we sang "Happy Birthday" to came up to me afterward and said it was the best birthday she had ever had. It's awesome that we get to do that for someone, that we get to make magic.