Discovering the Magic Kingdom at Club 33

I would like to introduce Joshua Shaffer from face book fanpage Discovering the Magic Kingdom: An Unofficial Disneyland Vacation Guide or on the web at www.discoveringthemagickingdom.com . He had a great experience at Club 33 and would like to share it with all of the Mouze Kateerz readers.
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My name is Joshua Shaffer, and I want to share with you my first experience in Club 33, but let me start off by giving you a little history of The Club. Club 33 is an exclusive club built by Walt Disney after he visited the World’s Fair and noticed the VIP sections for other companies guests. Back in 1957 there was a “lost land” in Disneyland called Holidayland until its closure and subsequent removal in September 1961. This is the area where Walt decided to build New Orleans Square . New Orleans Square opened in July 1966 with the construction of Club 33 continuing after the land’s opening, but it didn’t officially open until 5 months after Walt’s death on December 15th, 1966. Walt had envisioned the club to be the special place to house VIP’s only, but after his death, the Disney Corporation opened memberships to everyone. The problem now is that the wait list is 14 years long, and they haven’t opened up for new members in the past decade until earlier this year. The cost to join The Club is $25,000 and the annual cost to keep the membership is $10,000. So as you can imagine the odds of getting a membership and actually keeping it are very slim. Circulating rumors are stating that there are around 500 members. I’m guessing you can understand my excitement when I received a call from a new friend of mine asking me to join her for lunch in The Club.
 
About 2 weeks before my trip I received a call from my friend inviting my wife, Courtney, and me to join her in Club 33 for lunch. I was so ecstatic. That week was going to mark my 100th day in Disneyland, and I wanted to make it special. Being able to go into Club 33 was going to do just that. We made plans ahead of time to meet outside the green door at 11:30 a.m. The anticipation I felt was so hard to handle. Courtney and I kept seeing people going up to the door to ring the buzzer for a Cast Member (CM) to open the door for their reservations. While standing there, I overheard passers-by commenting on what was behind the green door. Some people knew exactly what was behind the door. Others just guessed or had some outlandish idea of what The Club was. A few people even stopped to pose next to the address, a giant number 33 on the door frame.
 
At 11:30 right on the dot my friend approached. She rang the buzzer and a Cast Member let us in. The CM checked the reservation list and told us to wait for a few minutes to be taken up stairs and asked if we wanted to check our backpacks or bags for pickup later. I opted to keep mine, but Courtney turned hers in and received a ticket stub for it. It was time to go and the CM asked if we wanted to take the stairs or the old fashioned red elevator that Walt had designed after those he saw in France. Our companion took the stairs to the upper floor, but my wife and I opted to ride in the elevator, sharing a kiss on the way up.
 
When exiting the elevator, we were confronted with a prop from the last film that Walt had a creative hand in making, “The Happiest Millionaire” (1967), in the form of a phone booth. The hostess led us past the Club 33 “gift shop,” past the bar (the only place that serves alcohol in Disneyland) and buffet over to our table for four. The server introduced herself and explained how the ordering worked and shared a little history of The Club. They poured us Evian water straight from the chilled glass bottles, and mind you, kept it topped off the entire time. I ordered the “farm raised Texas blackened redfish” and Courtney ordered the “grilled lamb top sirloin.”
 
While the server placed our order, we visited the buffet. Talk about a great spread. There were different types of salads, deli meat trays, cheese platters, fruit bowls, other delicacies which I didn’t even know what they were and mini foods. Walt, as you may not know, liked miniatures, so there were some edibles created to the look like miniature foods. Like little rolls about 1” in diameter filled with meat and a little rose made out of salmon. They were very cute; I didn’t even want to eat them. My friend grabbed a crème brûlée from the dessert bar claiming that they will run out by the time we are ready for dessert.
 
While we waited for our food to arrive, Courtney and I went out onto the balcony to peer out over New Orleans Square. Everyone looked so tiny from so far up. Okay so we weren’t that far up, but still it was an odd feeling to be looking at everything from up there. Some of my friends were walking by the Pieces Of Eight shop and waived up at me. We sat out there for a few minutes soaking in the scenery overlooking the Rivers Of America and watching the pirates singing below.
 
Our food arrived, and we were delighted with the flavor, and the food décor was just beautiful. The wait staff was right on top of things by keeping our waters topped off with iced cold Evian. The server offered us Pirate Punch, a delicious mixture of fruit juices, in a chilled glass with a flashing character clipped to the edge of it. I ordered a skull and crossbones, Courtney a Tinker Bell. The waitress brought us copies of our menus to take home. After we ate, we visited the dessert bar for some éclairs, Mickey mousse, mini slices of chocolate mousse cake, Mickey shaped coconut cookies dipped in chocolate, mini slices of fruit tarts, mini apple pies, some other assortments of sweets, but no crème brûlée. My friend was right; they were out. While eating our assortment of overly sweet desserts, the man behind us asked Courtney if she could take his photo with his girlfriend. She obliged and saw him starting to get down on one knee in front of his girlfriend. Courtney quickly figured out what this gentleman was doing and switched his phone from taking a photo to being able to record him proposing to her. Ahhhhh! Everyone in the room started clapping when she said “yes”, and the pastry chef made them a congratulatory dessert.
 
We were told to check out the restroom as they have a special look to them. All the counter tops, in the men’s bathroom at least, were covered with black marble and the whole design seems to date back to the 30’s. In the women’s bathroom the toilets looked like wicker chairs with a lid that opens. Both of them have a little table with paper towels set up for drying your hands with the Club 33 logo on them. We checked out the “gift shop” which was just a large glass case with monogrammed Club 33 shirts, jewelry, key chains, cuff links and pins. Across the room from the bar was a harpsichord that once belonged to Lillian Disney herself. One of the cast member’s stated that it has to be tuned every time before it is played. In the narrow hallway that bridges over the top on the New Orleans Square walkway there was a table that was used as a prop in the musical “Mary Poppins” (1964). That film is one of Courtney’s favorites, so she just had to pose with it for a photo. On all the walls are original works of art by Disney animator and attraction designer, Marc Davis. We walked through the trophy room that was full of taxidermied animals. Apparently some were animatronic, but none were moving at this time. My friend pointed out the hidden microphones in the chandeliers that Walt intended to use to listen to his guests’ opinions of the place. On the walls are butterflies in shadowboxes from Lillian Disney’s own collection. 
 
We took many photos of our experience in the Club and said goodbye to our server as we worked our way down the red carpeted stairs to the bottom floor and walked back out into the sun lit street of New Orleans.
Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com
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Comments

  1. A wonderful article by Joshua Shaffer. Very well written–entertaining and educating at the same time.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Discovering the Magic Kingdom at Club 33 […]

  2. […] are few places left at Disney that I have never been. One of the few is Club 33. It was Walt’s personal dining hall located inside Disneyland. You must have a membership to […]

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