Club 33, Remodeled

imageI had the pleasure of visiting Disneyland’s Club 33 back in 2013. It was on my bucket list and a friend of mine – through his connections – got us in the door. I thought, “Finally!” And then they remodeled. By the time I wrote about it, my experience was already outdated.

Luckily, I scored another invite. Same connections, new celebration.

Originally, you entered an unassuming door marked 33, just next to The Blue Bayou. It took you into a very small red foyer, then up the stairs to a corridor. It was a tight, dark space with not much room to spare. It added to the mystery, but it wasn’t what I considered grand.

imageNow you enter a larger doorway several feet away from The Blue Bayou. If you are on your way to the train station, the entrance is still on the left but just before you get to the rear caricature stand. It is a single blue-gray door with ornate side panels and a beautiful fixed glass window above. It leads you to an outdoor courtyard that looks like the elegant patio of a French Quarter mansion.

The sweeping staircase takes you to the real entrance on the second floor. Beautiful glass double doors and decorative tile work act as your welcome mat. There is now a spacious, brightly lit foyer with a chandelier dripping above. It is clear that Club 33 now has its grandimage entrance.

The dining room is the same. Dimly lit with high ceilings and dark wood paneling, the space is beautifully elite. The table settings continue to look regal and the gold detailing glows in the soft lighting. The menu boasts Lobster Rockefeller, Beef Tartare, veal sweetbreads, and petit angus Filet Mignon. The chef, as before, served an amuse bouche and sorbet was served between courses.

The expansion of the kitchen engulfed the old Trophy room and the hallway bar is also gone. The bathrooms are now opposite the new foyer. They are larger than the previous restrooms and more elaborate. There is indeed a place to rest with an inviting chaise lounge and nearby vanity – I almost took a load off, but didn’t want to ignore my friends. Very serene with that feeling of old money.

imageThe new wine lounge is dark and intriguing, but sadly is a members-only experience. Two of our dinner mates attempted to enter – both were kindly asked to exit. From afar, it appears there are large chairs for slow, relaxed sipping.

While I was impressed by the upgrades, one not-so-small detail disappointed: the price. At over $100 per person for the “basic” five-course meal, I nearly choked reading the menu. Wine pairing is available for an additional $35 per person. There were more meal options before with varying costs. In total, I believe our first meal at 33 cost about $150. This round was just shy ofimage $300 after a glass of wine each and the tip. Like my first visit, the food was great but it didn’t blow my mind. Our dinner party of six agreed that Steakhouse 55 still wins as best meal in the Anaheim resort.

Overall, the club maintains its 19th Century Crescent City inspiration, as Lillian and Walt had originally directed. The color blue still dominates the venue and there are ornate details throughout the spaces. You will find “33” above the doorways, in glass, embedded in imagebeautiful mosaics, and even designed into the carpets. The famous harpsichord remains and the old animatronic vulture from the Trophy Room hangs out by the foyer door. He used to delight visitors with poignant comments and if you wait long enough, he still occasionally speaks up.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to see this exclusive club in its latest design. Given its high-end price and my not-so-special status, I suspect I won’t be dining here again any time soon. As one who loves the whimsy of Disney, Club 33 still remains a major highlight in my travel life.

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