Disneyland’s most exclusive experience
Last month, Mark and I were lucky enough to pay a visit to Club 33, the members-only restaurant inside of Disneyland. It’s considered one of the most exclusive Disneyland experiences, as you need to be a member or know a member in order to gain access. Disney’s pretty hush hush about the whole thing, but rumors put the Club 33 membership at $60k upfront, plus $15k a year on top of that (not to mention the 15+ year waiting list). Suffice to say, we are not members – just happen to know people with connections.
This was my fourth time visiting overall, and 2nd time since the big remodel a couple years ago. But whether it’s your first time visiting or fiftieth, Club 33 always retains its surreal, dreamlike quality.
The club itself is located inside Disneyland’s New Orleans Square area, and once you’re inside you overlook Pirates of the Caribbean and the Rivers of America. The entrance used to be at the green door right next to the Blue Bayou, but they’ve since moved the entrance to a pastel blue door, closer to the New Orleans Square bathrooms.
When you have a reservation, you just ring the doorbell and a Club 33 cast member will ask for your name, confirm your table, and let you inside. Like magic.
The Club 33 door opens up onto the Court of Angels, an enclosed area with a fountain and some seating. I’m a longtime Disneyland goer, and this quaint, quiet area used to be my favorite place in New Orleans Square. It’s a bummer they’ve blocked it off for Club 33, but it sure was nice to be able to see it again.
(Please excuse the smattering of poor quality iPhone photos sprinkled through the post. I tried to be discrete when I was snapping pictures, and that often meant resorting to the handy-dandy iPhone.)
Le Salon Nouveau
The Club 33 remodel in 2013 introduced huge changes to the club. As I mentioned before, the entrance is an entirely different location, the club layout has been heavily tweaked, the “33” logo was changed to be much more cartoon-y, and Walt’s iconic “Trophy Room” has been removed altogether. Some of these renovations were met with outcry from Disney purists, but a lot of them have really added to the ambiance of the club.
Take, for instance, Le Salon Nouveau. This is a massive lounge area, located just beyond a mighty impressive wine cellar. It’s outfitted with a massive, bustling bar, comfy booths, plush couches, and a live music set-up. It’s a members-only area, meaning you need to be a member or physically have one in your party in order to enter. It’s also a part of the Club that doesn’t require reservations, so members can pop in and out any time they’d like.
This was my first visit to Le Salon Nouveau, and I have to say it was probably my favorite part of the entire Club 33 experience.
Fun fact: Club 33 members get 24 Fastpasses each time they enter the park. They’re good for any ride that accepts Fastpasses, at any time (granted, they expire at the end of that day). Talk about fabulous perk! Of course, given the price tag, I would expect nothing less.
Another fun fact: Le Salon Nouveau makes the best cocktails. Bold statement, but I promise it’s not an exaggeration. This was their monthly special, the Knees on a Bee, and it was practically perfect in every way.
One not-as-fun fact: in the corner of Le Salon Nouveau sits this sad reminder of Club 33 as it once was. This tiny little booth was the old French elevator compartment that lifted guests from the ground floor to the restaurant itself back in Walt’s day. It was a fabulous part of the old club aesthetic, and it’s a shame they couldn’t figure out a way to keep it functioning in this new version.
If you walk back through the wine cellar, out of Le Salon Nouveau and through the lobby, you come to a long hallway with floor to ceiling windows that look out on New Orleans Square.
Le Grand Salon
Just past this hallway is the main dining area, now called Le Grand Salon. It’s the only part of the club that’s retained most of it’s original structure. The interior has been updated to a brighter look, but otherwise it’s the same as it’s always been.
We were seated at a table right next to a set of doors that led out to the terrace. While we were waiting for our food, we were encouraged to walk outside, snap photos, and enjoy the peaceful balcony ambiance overlooking the hectic park below.
Onto the food… dinner is a fixed price of $120 for 5 courses. Guests choose from about 3-4 choices for each course, along with wine pairings if that suits your fancy. The meals are small, tasting portions, with high quality ingredients.
That said, you can likely find comparable options at Napa Rose, especially since the two restaurants share the same executive chef. Of course, you’re dining here for the ambiance — for the “holy-moly-we’re-INSIDE-Disneyland-right-now!” — so I wouldn’t say this is at all a notch against Club 33. Just know that in this case, the cool factor of the club itself far outweighs the meal you’ll have there.
We started off with the amuse bouche…
First course for me: scallop.
First course for him: beef carpaccio.
Second course for him: spring apple salad. Significantly less photo-worthy asparagus soup for me.
The bread was to die for! Everyone got a slice, but I could’ve eaten an entire loaf.
Third course: roasted pheasant (for him).
Third course for me: Skuna Bay salmon.
Main course for me: Veal Osso Bucco (SO tasty).
Desert course for me: lemon bar that tasted like key lime pie (AMAZE).
Desert course for him: chocolatey chocolate.
Plus a box of truffles for each of us on the way out.
Dinner took about 4 hours, and after we’d finished eating we leisurely walked around the Club a bit more, taking photos, ogling merchandise, and listening to the pop-pop of the nightly fireworks from outside.
This creepy looking vulture is a holdover from Walt’s original Trophy Room, a masculine dining area where the walls were lined with dark wood and animal busts. I’d had Christmas dinner in the Trophy Room with my parents and sister in 2012, just before it closed for the renovations, and it was a wonderful experience. Very quirky, very old school glamour. Google “Club 33 Trophy Room” if you’re interested!
Lastly, a blog about Club 33 wouldn’t be complete without a look at the iconic bathrooms. Dare I say they’re more picturesque than the club itself!? The women’s room is all velvets, dainty pinks, and victorian elegance.
The men’s room just screams I AM MAN, HEAR ME ROAR. It’s full of dark mahogany, ornate detailing, bookcases, and beautiful details all around. When Mark showed me these photos I was blown away. I don’t think I’ve ever been jealous of a men’s bathroom, but hey – first time for everything?
Overall, we were at the club for about 5 hours, and I’m so very grateful for every second. As a bona fide Disney nerd, I relish every opportunity to experience new-to-me parks and perks, restaurants and rides. And while Club 33 isn’t technically “new-to-me,” it’s such a novel setting that you can’t help feeling like a kid in a candy shop every time you step foot inside. Here’s hoping we’ll be back soon!