On this day in 1955, Disneyland opened for the very first time. And while Florida's Disney World is back up and running despite the raging pandemic, California's Disneyland remains temporarily closed.
As such, it's the perfect time to take a virtual tour around a lesser known element of the Happiest Place on Earth—the Disney Social Clubs. There are currently over 200 of them, and due to their enthusiasm for biker vests and tattoos, outsiders commonly refer to them as the "Gangs of Disneyland." (NB: They do not like this.)
Ranging in size from small family packs to crews with over 100 members, the social clubs are comprised of Disney-adoring misfits with an appetite for spending time with like-minded fans on their favorite rides. While also looking tough.
Because they often so closely resemble actual biker gangs, the clubs have been the source of some controversy, with wholesome parents at the parks alarmed by their appearance. Truthfully, the most annoyance they're liable to cause is during one of their "ride takeovers"—pre-planned excursions to one specific ride, with the goal of filling every available seat with a club member. (Hardly the stuff of nightmares.)
Roxy Tart, who heads up a social club called the Bangerang Babes, moved from the Bay Area to Southern California specifically to be closer to Disneyland. “Your club is like your immediate family and the other clubs are like your extended family," she told the Brought to You By... podcast in 2019. "Almost everyone in the social club scene was an outcast and then we found each other… When you walk into Disneyland, you’re transported… It doesn’t matter where we’re from, if we’re rich or poor, male or female or whatever, it’s a place we can go and we all feel like little kids.”