It’s fair to say (and perhaps an understatement) that for many Disney fans, a visit to Club 33 is a highly sought after experience. Some people may dream of one day getting tickets to attend the Super Bowl to watch their team play, but not us. But for us deep-rooted Disneyphiles, dining in the exclusive club tops many bucket lists right alongside spending a night in the Dream suite. Here’s an overview and review of visiting Club 33, along with a few tips if you happen to find yourself lucky enough to enjoy this amazing venue!
Perched above the streets in New Orleans Square, Club 33 is a not-so-secret members-only club. It was envisioned by Walt Disney himself, but unfortunately Walt died just 6 months before the club opened and was never able to enjoy it. Walt wanted a place where VIP guests could experience fine dining and be entertained in a quiet, elegant atmosphere away from the crowds of the park. With a limited number of memberships available, Club 33 has a reported wait list of hundreds of people stretching on for many years. If you are patient, and with a little pixie dust, you may just have the privilege of purchasing a membership. According to a number of sources, as of late 2016 this will only set you back a rumored $50,000 for the initial membership fees and around $15,000 in annual dues! If you’re like me and this is out of your price range, then the only way to find your way into the club is with an invitation by a gracious member.
Walking down Royal Street past the Blue Bayou you’ll eventually stroll past an unassuming unmarked blue door on the left hand side. There’s not much to indicate what’s there except a small 33 logo etched in the glass above the blue door frame and a small doorbell beneath a bronze 33 logo on the left. If you have a reservation you simply push the doorbell and wait for the attendant to answer.
Tip # 1 – Dress the part
If you’re arriving for lunch then resort casual attire including shorts are fine. Basically you’re okay with most things you’d wear in the park. Just no tank-tops, cut-offs, swimsuits, bare midriffs and any other beachwear. For dinner the same restrictions apply, but also no shorts. Pants and quality jeans are good to go, as well as collared shirts for the gentlemen. The ladies can wear an informal dress or pants with a blouse. And of course – no shoes (i.e. flip flops) no service. If there is a time to dress up in Disneyland (besides Dapper Day) then this would be it!
After verifying your name and reservation the hostess will open the door and bring you into the reception area. This leads into the Court of Angels. It wasn’t all that long ago this area didn’t have a door and walls. The Court of Angels used to be open to the public and you could sit on the steps of the spiral staircase and take a quiet break from the crowds. While I miss those days, the area is beautiful, quiet, and serene, and now serves as a holding area for club guests while waiting for your table.
Tip #2 – Say Cheese!
Take the obligatory staircase photo in the Court of Angels! It’s one of the more recognizable spaces and a popular spot to take photos of your group. Rightfully so, because it is after all a pretty fantastic location for a keepsake photograph. After entering the Court of Angels the hostess offers guests a cool beverage. This offering was spiced apple cider. Tasty and refreshing!
When your table is ready, a cast member will come down the staircase to escort your party upstairs. You’ll be given the option of taking the staircase or the elevator. I say do both! Take the elevator up and the staircase down on the way back. Lunch is a four course experience and will set you back (as of late 2016) $80.00 per person. Dinner per person is $105 for five courses or $120 for six delicious courses. Once you’re ready to order, each person will need to select all their courses. One nice option is there was some flexibility to mix and match the courses if you prefer. For example, you could select 2 appetizers and skip the salad or soup.
TIP #3 – Cheers!
Club 33 is the only location in Disneyland that serves alcohol! They have an excellent wine list and a full cocktail menu. If you are one to partake in adult beverages, be sure to enjoy a handmade cocktail or glass of fine wine with your meal. It should go without saying to not go overboard; enjoy a couple of drinks but stay classy folks. My personal favorite is a sidecar and if you’re wondering, yes… They make it practically perfect in every way!
TIP #4 – Look around!
Get up and take a look around! Look at the amazing art displayed, and this may sound odd, but be sure to visit the bathrooms! There is a lot of beautiful, one of a kind art displayed to see throughout the club, and the bathrooms themselves are a sight to see. Well appointed and upscale, especially the ladies’ powder room (so I’m told). My 10 year old daughter went gaga!
Everything I’ve eaten at the Club has been wonderful and prepared perfectly. All the others at the table have always been in hearty agreement. This is one of those times where you may want to order different things than the person you’re with. That way you can sample a bite of different things off each others plates!
TIP #5 – Take your time
This could be a once in a lifetime event, so don’t rush, and try to fully enjoy the experience. After dinner be sure to check out the balcony, and you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase items from the merchandise stands at the hostess stand upstairs. There are a few exceptions for merchandise which are labeled for members only – the club member has to be present to purchase those. Be sure to take advantage and purchase a few souvenirs. Any of the Club 33 merchandise is exclusive here and can only be purchased while you’re a guest inside the club.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but on the way out you don’t have to rush. You can take more photos in the Court of Angels or just sit and enjoy the quiet serenity a little while longer.
TIP #6 – Be good
If you’ve been lucky enough to be invited then you should be aware that your conduct inside the club can reflect on the member who was gracious enough to get you in. You should be on your best behavior. I’ve never had an issue taking photos here and there, but be sure to not go too wild and respect the privacy of other guests.
If you happen to be dining in the evening, and are in the club when the park closes, you get one other rare opportunity. A stroll through an empty Disneyland (at least Adventureland) escorted by a Club 33 cast member.
All in all, my experiences in Club 33 have been wonderful and as expected, unbelievably magical! The cast members have always been extremely friendly and helpful – just as you would expect from Disney service. The food has come out exactly as anticipated and are without exception the best meals enjoyed in the park. If you have an opportunity to dine it’s absolutely worth the time and price for any special occasion (even if the special occasion is dining in Club 33).