Disneyland Social Clubs are welcoming gang members. Sort of. Forever fans of the Happiest Place on Earth have begun organizing themselves into various social clubs that are inspired by old school motorcycle gangs. These non-menacing, hard core fans aren’t threatening anyone’s enjoyment in the least. Their drug of choice? Limited edition Disney collector pins.
Presently there are over 20 social clubs. Some clubs are named after popular Disneyland rides, such as the Hitchhikers (named for the hitchhiking ghosts of the Haunted Mansion), and The Jungle Cruisers (named for the safari themed Jungle Cruise). Other Disneyland social clubs have more generic names, such as The Hidden Mickeys, The Wonderlanders, The Main Street Elite (the largest and most visible gang), and Walt’s Misfits. The first acknowledged social club is known as The Neverlanders, who boasts a gang of over 30 members ranging from ages 2 to 63.
In true Disney form, these social clubs are merely there for the fun of it. Their attire mainly consists of “gang” jacket, actually a denim vest, which identifies their affiliation. The vests themselves are quite impressive, fashioned after Hell’s Angels, but far less menacing. They feature the member’s name on the front with their favorite Disney character and the aforementioned collector pins, either to show off or to trade.
What does it take for one to become a member of the Disneyland Social Clubs? It varies from club to club. At the very least one must be a true Disney fan. Not surprising, the rules are fairly simple and could have been written by dear old Uncle Walt himself. Be courteous and respectful to other social clubs, their members and of the park itself. Sounds simple enough. Other requirements for membership include the ability to attend meetings at the park, which could be hard if you live outside of California. Once a potential member has been chosen they are given a trial period to see if they click with their fellow members. No hazing allowed. After the trial period has ended and they are officially inducted into their club they receive their patches.
Disneyland Social Club members are truly the happiest people on earth and love to share their passion for Disneyland. The clubs don’t discriminate when it comes to race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. And they are a tight knit crew, staying in touch with one another via Facebook and Instagram where each trip to the park is well documented.
Of course, there are always the party poopers. Some find the “gang” members to be intimidating. Others speak of turf wars in online chat rooms. But the members themselves will tell you that it’s all just rumor. They are more than happy to offer explanations, saying that they are all great friends and it’s a fantastic way to enjoy the park. Social Club leaders go out of their way to express their appreciation for the other clubs.
Disneyland Social Clubs welcome their gang members with open arms. There is a true sense of belonging here. Their vests are their suits of armor. They represent fellowship, commitment, and above all, fun. It’s what the happiest place on earth specializes in, after all.
By Mary Kay Love