Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review: Club 33 at Disneyland

Disneyland Club 33 Logo
Mike and I decided to celebrate meeting our debt payoff goal by heading to the Happiest Place on Earth. A wonderful perk I get to take advantage of through my company is the use of our Club 33 membership. Aside from being the only place at Disneyland where you can buy alcohol, Club 33 is an exclusive members-only club hidden away within the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland.

Club 33 History
According to the History Sheet included with the menu, Walt Disney created Club 33 to be an elegant place to "entertain dignitaries and others in a quiet, serene atmosphere with superb cuisine and distinctive decor." The club includes original artwork by Disney artists along with an extensive antiques collection. Sadly, Walt Disney died six months prior to the club's official opening.

Club 33 Location
As you exit the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, turn left and walk down the street towards the Blue Bayou restaurant. Just past the restaurant, you will see a nondescript door at the address 33 Royal Street. A gold buzzer is located to the left of the door with a "33" insignia next to it.

Club 33 Interior
Once the hostess confirms you have a reservation and lets you inside, you are ushered into a beautiful wood-paneled foyer. In order to reach the second floor dining area, you can either take the stairs or use the French Lift (definitely go in the lift). As the lift doors open, another hostess greets you upon your arrival and whisks you away to your impeccably set table. Mike and I were lucky and got a table right by the window where we could look out over the French Quarter and Tom Sawyer's island. Insider info: If you have enough klout, try to get a late dinner reservation so you can watch one of the evening shows from the club's outdoor balcony.

Club 33 Food
The food is absolutely amazing!! At lunch, all of your courses are buffet style with the exception of your entree. The buffett includes an amazing selection of lobster tail, crab legs, shrimp, grilled vegetables, cheese and charcuterie tray, salads, fruit, soup and bread. Your entree options include filet mignon, pork chops, fish, pasta trio, salmon and chicken. Our waitress told us that the filet and pork chops are the most popular (Mike and I both went with the filet). But wait, there's more - a dessert buffett!! Filled with cupcakes, brownies, fruit tarts, cookies, pies and cakes, this is one of the better spreads I have seen. My absolute favorite - two graham crackers filled with a rich brownie, homemade marshmallows and dipped in chocolate.

Club 33 Meal Cost
At lunch, the minimum cost per person is $72. After incorporating tasty alcoholic beverages into the mix just because we could (ride the big roller coasters BEFORE you eat!), the total price of our meal was $240 including tip. At first glance, this seems like a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a meal. But keep in mind that your entry to Disneyland/California Adventure is free when you have a Club 33 reservation. If you and a friend purchased Parkhopper tickets, you would be spending $105 each, plus you are going to need to eat while you are in the park. So your total spend for the day could easily meet or exceed $240. For the same price I got a Parkhopper ticket and an amazing meal.

Club 33 Membership
Rumor has it that the waiting list for memberships is currently closed because there is an approximately 14-year wait.

Club 33 Dress Code
For lunch, the dress code is fashionable casual attire. This means no cutoff, tank tops, swimsuits, bare midriffs, sweatpants or flip flops. Walking length shorts are acceptable as well as jeans as long as they are not faded or torn. Dinner dress code is evening casual attire. Men may wear collared shirts and slacks, and ladies can wear an informal dress or pants with a blouse. Shorts are not allowed for dinner reservations.

Overall Experience: A+
Club 33 should definitely be on everyone's bucket list. For about the cost of two Parkhopper tickets, you get entrance to the parks PLUS an excellent meal with excellent service. If you have a contact who can get you a reservation, absolutely do it! It makes your Disneyland experience that much better.

Have you or someone you know been to Club 33? What was your experience?

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