Extensive Changes Coming to Exclusive Club 33 at Disneyland

Written by MiceChat Staff. Posted in Breaking News, Disney History, Disney News, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort

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Published on September 03, 2013 at 3:00 pm with 79 Comments

We first ran this article on July 30th, 2013, at the time we heard that construction on Club 33 would start at some point after the beginning of the Fiscal year (which starts in the Fall). While that time table holds, the actual closing of the portion of the club currently used by the members will not happen until January 6th, 2014. The club will close for an estimated 6 months. (UPDATED: September 3, 2013)

Hiding quietly behind unassuming doors near the exit of Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean is perhaps the most exclusive and historic dining experience in any theme park in the world. Club 33 is a members only restaurant which dates back to 1967 and is the only place inside Disneyland park where you can order an alcoholic beverage during regular operating hours.

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Walt Disney wanted a place he could entertain dignitaries and corporate sponsors in grand Disney style. Sadly, Walt never saw this project completed as he passed away before New Orleans Square was complete. However, the entire club clearly embodies the spirit of Disneyland’s founder and his quest for excellence in creating unique experiences. Club 33 is special. Anyone who has ever dined there can attest to the fact that there is nothing else quite like it in the theme park world.

In a somewhat controversial a move, current Disney management is about to transform the club with a massive expansion and renovation. It is expected that sometime after the start of the fiscal year (which begins in October), expansion will begin in areas adjacent to the club. Club 33 itself will close for a 6 month refurbishment on January 6th. At which time, the facility will be dramatically altered and expanded.

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The primary objective of the renovation will be to add a large new lounge in the space above the French Market restaurant (near the New Orleans Train Station).

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The Jazz themed lounge will be similar to the new Club 1901 in Disney California Adventure and will only be available to a subset of club members who have paid for the privilege of having a drink here. The new space will nearly double the overall footprint of Club 33.

But that’s just the start of the club’s transformation. The facility has long suffered from two awkward issues: a kitchen which is far too small, and inadequate ADA access to the dining room (which is on the 2nd floor of New Orleans Square).  Both of these issues will be addressed, but they will come at a price.

To expand the kitchen, the current Trophy Room will be closed to guests and become a brand new kitchen facility.

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Interesting artifacts currently line the walls of the Trophy Room.


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The Trophy Room is frequently used for special events and parties and was famous for having microphones built into the chandeliers so servers could anticipate the needs of their guests, though it is said that the microphones were never actually used. There is also an anamatronic speaking vulture in the corner of the room, also which was never used. The Trophy Room has been used for hundreds of special events and parties over the years and many members lament its passing.

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The current entry area for the club, behind the door at 33 Royal Street (just next to the Blue Bayou and the exit to Pirates of the Caribbean) will no longer be used to gain access to the club. The beautiful glass enclosed antique French lift elevator, which takes guests from the reception area to the dining room upstairs, was not ADA compliant as it requires guests to take a step up to reach the loading platform. Additionally, the reception area is inconveniently located below what will soon become a backstage area. As a result, the new entrance to the club will be built in what is currently the lovely Court Des Anges (Court of Angels). It is expected that the French lift will be moved to this location. It is unknown at this time if this famous courtyard (which has played host to many marriage proposals over the years) will remain open to regular guests once the new Club 33 entry is relocated there. But it is rumored that the courtyard will become the exclusive entry for the club and its members.

If you take your annual family Christmas card photo in Angels Court, you might want to take this year’s photo now.

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The entry room as it is today, the elevator on the right.

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Have you ever wondered what’s at the top of those stairs in the Court Des Anges?

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The Court of Angels stairway leads to several corridors on the right that connect to the main Club 33 rooms. But if you turn left and walk through the corridors, you get to a huge store room on the second level above the French Market restaurant and perfume shop. That is where Club 33 stores all of their wine, champagne and liquor and it’s a large high-ceiling room that fills up that building’s entire footprint. The corridor that leads to this large room also leads to several smaller rooms along the way, and those are used as green rooms for the musicians and performers that have long called New Orleans Square home. This space above French Market, and the adjoining corridors, are what will be used to open up more space for the Club, including the Jazz themed lounge.

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At the top of the stairs is a hallway which leads to office and storage which will soon become the new jazz club.

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The storerooms and green rooms will have to be relocated elsewhere, perhaps just beyond the berm and NOS train station where a mish-mash of old trailers and a small horticulture staging area now exists.

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The current main dining room will likely be spared, at least that’s the hope of club members who would be crushed to lose this beloved and historic room which has hosted stars, dignitaries, Imagineers, Club members and their guests over the years.

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It’s less likely that the makeshift bar in the hallway leading to the dining room will be preserved.

 

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The Disneyland Resort project management group is gearing up for construction on that second level of New Orleans Square for Fiscal 2014 (which actually starts in October), and Disneyland’s Store Operations group is prepping for disruptions to some area stores during that construction. The club itself will not close to members until January 6th and will remain closed for an estimated 6 months.

Have you been lucky enough to dine in Disneyland’s swanky Club 33? Are you excited to hear about the expansion or concerned about the loss of the Trophy Room and classic entry portal at 33 Royal Street?

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  • KellyMcG86

    I’m so incredibly grateful to have been able to dine in the trophy room earlier this year. I had no idea a renovation was planned, so now I will treasure that experience even more so.

    • CaptainCM

      As a guest and former VIP Tour Guide CM, I had the pleasure of dining at the club dozens and dozens of times with VIP Guests, High Level CMs (i.e. John Lasseter and family, Tony Baxter, etc.), and accessed the club with countless other VIP and WIWF tour guests. I have dined in the main dining room, the trophy room, and spent a good amount of time on all of the balconies (interior and exterior), including the “Blue Bayou Balcony.” I also have the direct line to the “Happiest Millionaire Phonebooth.”

      As a CM I “toured” the defunct “Jazz Club” area many times, and always maintained that the space would be better used as a lounge for the Club than the current fenced storage for the club and various merchandise locations (although last time I was up there was pre-Dream Suite, so the Gallery was still open so the merch may be gone now).

      I, for one, am very happy that this expansion has been green-lighted and I am sure this is being done so that the Club can accommodate more members on their roster, which will ultimately distract from the exclusivity. However, I’m an aspiring member myself, so if this opens the door for me to get an individual membership, all the better.

      I am sad to see some of the historic places, such as the Trophy room go. I have a lot of memories in that room, such as the time that John Lasseter forced the Club 33 manager at the time (who, by the way was a huge stickler for the rules) to pour me several glasses of wine. To the Tony Baxter hosted dinner party on July 17, 2005 for the 50th Anniversary. But, they will never ‘really’ be gone as long as the company archive collects the artifacts and takes a volley of high-resolution images. When you think about it several historical parts of Disneyland have regressed to make way for progress. If we let out nostalgic tendencies get in the way in every case, then there wouldn’t be any room for one of Walt’s most closely held beliefs: that “Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

      • zeitzeuge

        Thanks for your response. I found it perfectly stated and I totally agree.

      • dymondlvr

        I was part of the lead team at California Adventure that won a DVD contest. We had a 2 hour lunch at Club 33. It was great. Later I was able to meet a member who was kind enough to get my wife and I in for lunch on our 1st anniversary. She was so excited. What a great memory for her on that day.

  • KDilts24

    Eating at Club 33 is still one of my ultimate Disney dreams and hope one day it can come true. Most of the changes they seem to be making will help guests have a even better experience there. My only concern is using the Court of Angles as part of the entrance into the Club. The Court of Angels has been a very special place for my family and I am sure for other family’s as well. We never miss the chance to take family pictures on those stairs. I truly hope they keep the Court of Angels open to us regular folks so when can continue to enjoy it too. I would love to be able to keep our special Disney tradition alive.

  • While I’ll lament the loss of history when the Trophy Room and entry are demolished, I do think that the expanded facilities and access will be a good addition for the future. The lounge will no doubt be very popular.

    What I’m curious about is what they’ll do for all the club members while the facility is closed for refurbishment. They pay a pretty penny for access.

    • Westsider

      Good question about what they’ll do with the members during the long rehab.

      But the bigger question is… Why is it still called the Trophy Room??? There are no trophies on display, only a bunch of sketches and a few faux artifacts. Walt Disney had it set up as a true Trophy Room, with giant elephant tusks and exotic big game animals killed on hunting expeditions displayed as trophies. Here’s what a real man’s Trophy Room looked like as Walt and his hand-picked Imagineers set it up in 1967. Another round of Scotch while I tell the story of how I bagged that gorgeous gazelle mounted in the corner! http://www.disneylandclub33.com/trophy.jpg

      The slain animals and elephant tusks and true trophies were all removed decades ago in a fit of Political Correctness. It is now just a boring wood-paneled Pretty Animal Sketchbook Room. So why mourn its passing?

    • DisWedWay

      Disney should agree to grant the members free access for the amount of time Club 33 is down and while their membership was active. They can tag on some other perks for the misconvenience as well, like a bottle of Opus One at each setting.

      • DisWedWay

        I’ll take a bottle of 1980 Opus One Proprietary Red. When Euro (Paris) Disneyland opened it was great to eat at the former Cattlemen’s Club and have a bottle for a “give away” price of $60.00 to $80.00, as the locals weren’t drinking a wine combined with California grapes.

  • lionheartkc

    So glad I got to see it before all of this. While I can see the benefit of the changed for various reasons, some of the magic will definitely be lost, from getting access through the special door in the middle of a bustling New Orleans Square and riding the classic elevator, to seeing where Walt entertained in his trophy room. Still, if I get the opportunity, I won’t refuse a return trip, even with the changes.

    I also agree with Dusty. Disney is going to have to bend over backwards to take care of the people who are paying serious money to have access to the club if they are going to shut it down for an extended period of time.

    • Westsider

      Walt never entertained in the Trophy Room, nor did he ever see Club 33 completed or operating.

      Club 33 first opened in May, 1967. Walt Disney’s very last visit to Disneyland property was 8 months earlier in October, 1966 before Walt passed away in early December, 1966. He never visited a completed Club 33 and never saw it operating with guests.

  • phillippfs

    I will double my efforts to get into the club before October. I really want to get into the club and see it before all the changes. I have been on the wait list for a while now and I have dreamed about seeing it. While the expansion may help guests I would be sad to never see the Trophy Room. On a side note if anyone has the ability to make this happen PM me, I would be eternally grateful 8:o).

  • Losing regular guest access to the Court des Angnes would be devastating to me. I really really hope that doesn’t happen.

  • Nonsuch

    The photo following:
    “The current main dining room will likely be spared…”
    Is not the main dining room, but another picture of the Trophy room.

    • Thank you! We’ve fixed that and added a group of photos of the main dining room which were missing from the article.

  • Geezer

    It’s all about money……
    Increasing the size will allow Disney to add names from their long waiting list. The experience will not be the same and I’d much rather see them working on fixing the many problems in the park. Tommorrowland is almost worthless and we’re approaching the 20th anniversary of the last “E” ticket attraction being added to the park.

  • davidrusk

    Nooooo! I finally have a way to get to go to Club 33 next year after dreaming about it for almonst 40 years and they decide to change it. ARGH!! Now I’ll never get to see how it was originally. I’ve looked at that door at 33 Royal Street and dreamed of going through it and now even the door won’t be there. %*%$#(^)@$# But… hey, I’ll be dining at Club 33 next year!

    • I’d imagine that the door to Club 33 will remain, even if it will no longer be used to gain access.

      While the Trophy Room is neat, I always felt sort of cheated if I wasn’t in the main dining room anyway. For me personally, it isn’t a huge loss. But I know that many others feel much more strongly about that room.

      Hopefully I’ll have the chance to dine here one last time before the changes. But am very curious to see the new Jazz themed lounge!

  • drich

    I’m not sure what folks are talking about above with the “long waiting list”. They burned through the entire thing last year when they raised the prices. I received my invitation last summer after being on the list for only a few months, not long after my partner got his after waiting 8 years. The new price of over $35K for the first year was just too much for us to justify.

    While I understand that the club is no longer a separate entity within Disneyland like it has been for most of it’s history, it’s a shame to see all of the changes they are making just to increase the number of guests it can hold and to increase revenue. Part of the magic of the club is how exclusive it is; expanding it will lose some of that exclusivity. Losing the trophy room is also losing a big part of the club’s history. The same is true of losing the entrance, staircase and lift.

    • Geezer

      Thanks….*sips more coffee and wakes up*
      I forgot the effects of the recent price hikes in the membership fees……

    • Gozer the Traveler

      I could not agree with you more. I have been fortunate enough to dine at the Club once and it was an amazing experience, not the least of which was the exclusivity. I’ve always said that you can’t hold on to nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake and I’m firmly convinced that were Walt alive today, there are many things he would have changed by now (*ahem*Tiki Room*) that would have most people flying off the handle if they were even considered. But in truth, there’s no way of knowing what Walt would have done with today’s technology, atmosphere, and clientele. Things change, and no one knew this better than he did. That said, from a nostalgic point of view, I don’t like the changes being made: removal of the trophy room, relocation of the lift, removal of the entrance and relocation to the beautiful Court of Angels. But if I felt they justified a real reason, not just increased revenue at the expense of the exclusivity the Club was designed to envoke, I would gladly be singing a different tune.

      • What’s interesting is that much of the upper level of New Orleans Square was never completed the way Walt had planned, except for Club 33. His untimely death left both his apartment and the Jazz Club unfinished. However, in recent years, the Dream Suite was built and now the a Jazz themed lounge is on the way. Pretty close to what was originally planned after all these years.

    • StevenW

      Club 33 will still remain exclusive, just with a higher price tag.

      The refurshment will add capability for exactly what guests? Less people can afford to join. I assume this means the club will be opening its doors for guests who are not club members.

      I hate to say this, but why are we holding on to the past. Why should history be preserved? The club’s history was already impacted from the change in membership fees. Now, it will be expanded to serve more non-member guests for revenue as if its such a travesty. No it isn’t.

      I dined there once. It was no big deal. After trying it out, I could appreciate it like I would for an old fashion library. Books are going away. Paper is going away. So is the trophy room going away.

      Disneyland should have more premium dining. It seems like people are clamoring for such opportunities. Well, the opportunity for getting in improved without paying the exorbitant fees.

    • LoveStallion

      We weep for the 1%.

    • in2puck

      I agree with you drich…I too was sent an invite last Summer after having been on the list for 6 years. I was thrilled until I saw that they had JACKED up the membership fees by $25,000 and had to decline the invite. I think my heart ripped into 5 million pieces that day LOL
      I don’t see just how much an expansion is necessary if they’re flying through the “wait list”?! Does anyone know if with the expansion they’ll bring down the membership fees or is this an effort to bring in even more cash?? It doesn’t seem like they have a bunch of people banging down the door so to speak. 🙂

  • DisneyDesi

    Kind of funny that the club will no longer be located at 33 Royal Street. Are they going to rename it Club Court de Angels then?

    I thought part of the design of the club was that it is secretive. The nondescript current entrance doesn’t attract too much attention to itself and people passing by have no idea there is actually something behind that door. Moving the entrance to the Court of Angles makes the club seem so grand and draws too much attention to itself.

    • Gregg Condon

      This was my initial thought as well. It can’t conceivably be called Club 33 now if the entrance isn’t at the address 33. Just IMO.

      I had the privilege to dine there a few years ago for our 15th anniversary and it was truly amazing. It’s not something I need to do all the time or even once a year but I’d eventually like to head back once the changes are made.

  • KENfromOC

    I was able to enjoy CLUB 33 twice. The first time was with my sister and Roy Disney Jr.’s son-in-law (at the time), My sister worked at one of the Shamrock Broadcasting stations in the Bay Area and was employee of the year. Her reward was a trip to Disneyland including a suite at the hotel and dinner at Club 33. Of course since we were with a Disney family member, the service was over the top!
    The second time is when I worked for Coca-Cola for a short time. Coke has a corp. membership and even though I was a temp employee, they got me in.

    Overall I think the changes, while perhaps sad in some way, is necessary.

  • sonnyk155

    I think that the lift would be installed in the Court of Angels to be as unassuming as it is now, and most of the Court would still be available for regular guests’ use. Yes? No? Maybe?

    • I think you are right. They could very well keep the courtyard open. Especially since it is a very low traffic area anyway.

      • DisWedWay

        Herb Ryman would appreciate that.

  • Skimbob

    I unfortunately am not rich enough to see Club 33 so they could tear it down for all I care. I think they need to spend more time and money improving the park especially Tomorrowland. I spend a lot of money just staying at the Grand Californian not to mention the money I spend on being a Premier passholder. I know a lot of people who can’t even afford that. I am curious myself what they are going to do for members while this is all happening. They will probably use the Carthay as a poor substitute.

  • DobbysCloset

    I took the “In Walt’s Footsteps” tour as a special treat for my birthday and, being the only one signed up for the session, enjoyed a private tour, which was lovely. Part of the tour was a brief look at the top of the elevator into the Club. It seemed like a chaotic, noisy madhouse in the middle of the afternoon rather than the sedate luxury I’d expected. When Walt’s Apartment was turned into the Dream Suite I was very sad; as an art gallery the Apartment was open to all, and for years I imagined living in it and New Orleans Square in general. Court of Angels was my favorite peaceful place in the park. Sigh…

  • Disneykin Kid

    I was able to go to Club 33 once as a kid. I think the special part of it was the thought that it was EXCLUSIVE, and not something that everyone sees, kind of like a backstage tour. Other than that, it’s probably not that special, or at least not enough to make me think that the membership fee is worth it. But if Disney can make money off the well-to-do, then I’m all for it. As one of the masses who saw it once and knows what I’m missing, it’s not a big deal. Yes the food was good, but my memory is that it was a similar experience to Lawry’s or Five Crowns.

  • lurkyloo

    Gotta say, I’m shocked they’re demolishing the Trophy Room, as it seems to have the strongest connection to Walt possible for a place he never actually visited. I suppose I can’t complain, though, if they’re doing it to install a new kitchen, since I’ve been grousing about the quality of Club 33’s food for years.

    I’ll also be pretty steamed if the Court of Angels goes the way of the Disneyland Gallery and becomes off-limits to regular folks. Now that Carnation Plaza Gardens and the Gallery are gone, it’s one of the last out-of-the-way spots to take a break in the park (though they’ve done their best to discourage that by removing the bench there).

  • zeitzeuge

    I’ve had the opportunity to dine there a number of times, which I’m so grateful for being able to experience. I found the experience amazing to be able to experience the history, look at all the artwork, the incredible service and great food. Sure, there was this wonderful feeling of being able to go to something that’s so exclusive. That being said, after experiencing Carthay Circle, I almost love that as much as I do Club 33. They’re different experiences, just different. I’m glad I never got stuck in the Trophy room, as I would also feel that I was stuck in the corner and not in the midst of the main dining room. For those who haven’t been there, the space is small, the place needs refurbished so bad. Not even sure when the last time any work was even done to the place? I for one am happy with the growth and expansion. Whether or not it stays exclusive or opened up to all for a fine dining experience doesn’t matter to me. I’m sure it does for those who’ve paid for it all these years and could totally understand their frustration. I’ve seen it before, and if given the chance again, I look forward to seeing it after it’s done. 🙂

  • Mondo Mouse

    Wow…what huge news. I count myself extremely lucky to have been able to dine at Club 33 multiple times. My initial reaction is one of sadness as that place has so much rich history and tradition and such a big overhaul would ruin the nostalgia, but at the same time I’m excited to see what it will look like after all the changes… if I ever get to go back! I’m assuming this is a MUCH bigger deal and cause for concern for actual members who’ve been going for years than it is for people like me who by divine intervention were able to dine there.

  • LoveStallion

    They should get all 19th century and, just as the King would allow his subjects to enter his gardens or engage in whatever form of debauchery they chose for a day, Disneyland could let we peasants experience Club 33 just to be nice.

    That said, move the friggin’ Astro Orbiter back where it belongs.

  • pineapplewhipaddict

    I understand about making things ADA compliant and expanding the kitchen etc., but taking away the Trophy Room and potentially taking away the Court of Angels from regular park guests? No. I am not happy about this news.

  • juhlian

    I’m praying it’s still open first week of October I’m going to the park with someone who ah connections and am supposed to be going to the club on the 10/3. While going to the park is always special. I gave up d23 trip to go on this one.

  • daveyjones

    i certainly feel lucky to have dined at club 33 once. i’m not one to gripe about changes to the park like this; at least in this case i feel like i’d “been there to see the original” —the same way i feel about the skyway or the original subs ride or even adventure thru inner space.

    but for those who haven’t been to the club—or will only have the opportunity to do so after the remodel—it’s probably how i feel about the original fantasyland. i was too young to remember it, so tony baxter’s 1983 fantasyland is mine. so too it shall be with club members and guests in the future. eventually this new club 33 will be the only one most people remember.

  • ScottOlsen

    One thing about the drinks in Club 33–the mint julip is strong! I didn’t feel much like going on anymore fast rides the rest of the day, and the Teacups were definately out.

  • bpespiri

    I am not sure I like the changes they are proposing. I understand the kitchen is small and they need more space, but the changes seem too drastic to me. 🙁 I like the Club the way it is! Then again, I wasn’t too happy about the Downtown Disney/DCA expansion years ago and now I love it!!! Only time will tell I suppose…….

  • I have nothing to say about Club 33…I just want to applaud the David Bowie reference on the title! *clap-clap-clap-clap* 😉

    -Doug

  • AvenueJew

    These are all rumors and have been being whispered around between club members for the past month or so. While the club has not officially informed us of what the exact changes are, the rumors are probably mostly true. We were told that they would be sending us club enhancement packets shortly, and I’m sure when they do, someone will post it here.

    One of the other things I was told by the club manager, is they are going to set up a private dining room inside the Dream Suite for club members, and they can reserve the room for small private parties, just like the trophy room. And they can also set up a private dining room on the balcony of the Dream Suite. So all in all, I’m really excited about the new changes, especially the jazz club!

    • mousegirl72

      Hi there,
      I am new to the board and finally am able to post a comment. Do you happen to know what they plan to do with existing platinum members? When we were there in May, a long time cast member said that management would love to phase out platinum members, as they can make so much more $$$ from the current members. Due to the extensive renovations, they are going to have to find a way to finance it, and I am wondering if current platinums will either have their dues raised significantly, or eventually phased out. I am hoping neither of these are the case.

  • Big D

    Makes sense. It’s great for the people who can afford a membership because now there are more spaces available, and it’s great for Disney because they make more money. Just as long as the food quality stays the same. I haven’t had the privilege of dining there (yet!) but I can tell you that the trash packer behind the club was the best smelling trashcan ever so I assume the food MUST be good!

    • DisWedWay

      Thats where the really big and healthy cats hang out in the park at night. I adopted my cat “33” from there. He was a bit spoiled for some time.

  • ChEars

    Thank you for the update! I’m glad I got to see it before the changes. That was a thrill just this year, 2013. I agree with others, and will not miss the trophy room; but only because of the taxidermied animals glaring back – too creepy to eat in that room. Maybe they can place the dead trophy animals in the Disney museum. I hope to have an opportunity to see Club 33 in person after the refurbishment & expansion, especially the furniture.

  • PinkMonorail

    I’ve seen the original club waaaay back when I had a waist. It was terribly dated, but what a treat! We, in fact, ate in the trophy room. Throughout the years there have been changes, and that’s actually a good thing – so long as they keep the SPIRIT of the Club alive. Noe and I had our wedding brunch in the trophy room, so of course I’m sad that I won’t be able to show it to our grandchildren, but yeah…put the Astro Orbitor back up where it belongs.

  • Wren

    Figures, the one time I was able to go to Club 33, is the month they’re starting the refurb

    • Wren, we don’t know the exact date for the refurb. The anonymous writer of this column was only informed “after the start of the fiscal year.” You might still get lucky.

      • AvenueJew

        I can confirm that the refurb won’t happen until January 2014. We were told that the club will be open all thru Christmas for Candlelight and we would be able to make reservations until December 31th of this year. You still have time!

      • Wren

        @Avenue

        I really hope thats true =/, think we were scheduled to go mid october, still waiting to confirm since our friend who’s getting us in was waiting to hear from the Club itself regarding the refurb

  • Haven

    I have never been able to get excited about Club 33. As lavish as it may be, since it is closed to the general public as invitation only, in my mind, it may as well not exist. Oh wait, it doesn’t exist for me, I have never been invited.

  • Circarama

    Well Dusty, with all this news about the coming changes I think it’s about time we put together a dinner party. Lets chat SOON! 😉

  • elly

    The loss of the Trophy Room makes me even more grateful to have dined in there once. I hope at some point Dustin and I will be able to visit again and see the changes for ourselves.

  • rstar

    I think a large part of this move was planned when they began altering the Club 33 membership when they added DCA’s 1901. Expanding the number of members and limiting the free Disneyland gate media and parking perks irked a lot of the current members, most of which may not have even cared about the 1901 add-on.

    So with the better kitchen facilities, extra seating for the expanded membership, and general freshening up of the facilities, it may make for a better experience. My one and only trip there was exciting because I finally got in, and I always wanted to go. (Walt’s appartment and the Lily Belle are next on my bucket list- and easier now to aquire with the pricey Walk in Walt’s footsteps tour).

    The food was nice, but not as good as Napa Rose in my opinion, so hopefully it will get better and quicker with the new facilities, not to mention be able to handle a larger crowd. I saw the old kitchen before the slight expansion of a few extra feet when they built the Dream Suite, and it was pitifull! About the size of a small apartment kitchen!

    But I am worried that the new entrance will take over the Court of Angels, although they have used it for events like the Pirates and merchandise so they may not want to loose that. If that does happend, one more wonderfull detail of Disneyland will be forever lost to the elite VIP. Just like the Disney Gallery into the Dream Suite (which was really never meant for the average guest anyway) and the way Club 33 always has been. And I suppose the mysterious “Door 33” will be no more, and moved across the street.

  • pattimarie

    when we were kids, we used to ring what we believed to be the bell to club 33–next to the sign– and run away. that was fun. i haven’t looked in years to see if there still is a bell. i hope they keep the original street level door and sign, even if it goes nowhere. as some have said here–probably will never get in to eat there myself–but in a way, that makes the imagination of what it’s like there sweeter.

  • bsj1701

    I have been fortunate enough to Dine at Club 33 twice. I had always hoped I might be able to visit a third time. It doesn’t seem that important anymore….

  • vnormth

    I think we should relax about the Court’s access after the remodel: no one feels blocked from the entrance to Cathay Circle and yet the entrance to 1901 is there and is always politely guarded. I think it’s a reasonable guess that the court will stay open the way it is now and only Club 33 members will be allowed to walk up the stairs.

  • TifaOnACloud

    I actually heard about this from a cast member working at the Christmas ornament shop back in March. Apparently that store is actually going to serve as the new check in area. I was wondering whether there was truth to that as I’d heard it no where else.

    I’ve only ever got to poke my head into the foyer on a tour. Though I got to walk through its kitchen once when I went with my wheelchair bound grandmother to tour the Disney Gallery back before the Dream Suite. It was the only way up for her. I have a friend who supposedly was given a grand tour of the place.

  • TimmyTimmyTimmy

    I’m a real Disneyfan. I really care for the parks and the way they are presented means alot to me. But I’m not rich and will never be able to visit a place like Club 33. I think I’d rather see them bulldozer the place and add some attractions that we fans can enjoy. They can do whatever they want with Club 33, it will never have anything to do with me anyway.

    • flyboyhi

      Wow. I haven’t logged in here for a couple years. But, your post drove me to do so. What if families can’t even afford to go to Disneyland – should the park be bulldozed also? Yes, according to your logic. I think you would also want to demolish the dream suite too. You want the club demolished because you are a “fan” but, I am not sure of what part of Disney you are a fan.

      Secondly, the club is above the main access area of the park. it resides above other restaurants and walkways. Its’ existence doesn’t bother the main flow of attractions, shops and other restaurants.

      The club is a special place, and a “holy grail” for some fans to see (ie Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour) The club is part of the history of Walt and the park.

      I don’t look forward to the “changes” but understand that it must happen. Some folks don’t realize that the whole Club 33 concept recently almost hit the cutting room floor. The membership changes were needed to keep the Club 33 concept viable. With those changes and greater expectations the Club then needed an expansion – and a place for Marcel to create.
      (great post by moviela below BTW)

  • Moviela

    If you go back to the original intent of the Club 33, it arose simply because Walt “raised the roof” so many times for the Pirate load area that the space was created. During that time the “neat lines and lettering” boys (architects) proposed a suite for Walt and Roy that included a dining area to accommodate parties larger than the Fire House could bear for their personal and corporate entertaining.

    Walt changed the idea somewhat so the dining area was to be used by park lessees to entertain their guests. It was for business schmoozing and as was the custom at the time, alcohol was all but expected. He and his brother really did not want to allow guests overnight in the park because of all the “hub bub outside” when the park was closed. He did not feel guests of his should see backstage in that manner. He slept (rarely) in the Fire House, and in the bunk on the Mark Twain. Others would be put up at Jack’s (Wrather) place across the street.

    The kitchen was adequate at the time for the intended use, and was in the early days quite often just a finishing area while line cooks in the Blue Bayou did the heavy lifting.

    Membership was small, and staff knew most by name. There was a much more personal level of service than exists today. I had a reputation for corned beef on rye, and it was always ready for me without asking if I made a reservation.

    Those days are gone, and expansion is necessary to handle the increase in membership. The first year fees are not out of line with other exclusive private clubs, and none of them has Disneyland outside.

    If you want a real exclusive Disney club experience, try to wrangle an invite to the Penthouse on the original Animation Building in Burbank.

    • Cyette

      Your comment was so informative, and now I’m hungry for a good corned beef on rye….

      I was lucky to go once as part of a large online Disney fan site, but was too freaked out to really relax and enjoy it. I was much too excited to absorb it all. It felt good to be there and it had rarified air.

      LoveStallion, you crack me up. 🙂

    • DisWedWay

      I remember when Vice Presidents at WED all had memberships to Club 33. Of course there weren’t as many VP’s then as there are today at WDI. The WED VP’s could let WED team members in on their membership which was a real perk to an Imagineer on a low designers salary. That was until outside of Disney Members started to complain, and they stopped this garnered reward. If Disney would allow their retired WED Graduates and Imagineers access at least once a year, as they do park admittance with a silver pass each year that would greatly be appreciated by their Veterans who gave for their company.

  • Serenityc22

    I am truly grateful and glad to have dined in Club 33 this year, before they make these changes- thanks to an incredibly generous and kind fellow mice chatter. Will be interesting to hear about how the new changes are received and then to see how they look.

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  • [email protected]

    I was able to dine there once, in October 2011, as part of the Carolwood Pacific’s annual tour and outing. It was an all-day affair that included a backstage tour of the “roundhouse” (which is actually rectangular) where they maintenance the locomotives and rolling stock topped by the association meeting in Club 33 in the evening. Talk about an awesome day!

    The dinner speaker was from WDI talking about some of the new features then taking place across the park at DCA, specifically the recreation of the “Red Car” trolley line. We were nearly four hours in Club 33 all together. In fact, the park was closed when by the time the meeting broke up and we had to be escorted to Main Street where the tail end of the crowds were leaving.

    The whole experience was a bit mind numbing. The overwhelming sensation of “special-ness” comes from within if you’re a Disney fan. You know about the legend that’s grown up around the place and to be inside is something that sets you apart from other park-goers. I agree with some of the posters above that if you weren’t a Disneyphile, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. The current layout is an odd combination of cramped corridors but long walks to get around. If you didn’t know the history, you’d think it was cobbled together We were packed into the main dining room like sardines, but it may have just been the size of the group.

    It will be interesting to see if the new version can maintain this legendary sense, especially with the change in entrance. As several above have noted, it was seeing that big, ornate “33” on the door and knowing (or imagining) what was behind it that made it so appealing and compelling to those in the know. With a facade that is overtly advertising it, even if you can’t get in, will it still seem so special to the average fan?

    – Jack

  • jcruise86

    Here’s a quote from Andry Casto’s September 2 Disneyland update:

    “It’s spaces like the Court of Angels that allow guests to explore and discover; it’s these little corners of quiet discovery that make the entire Disneyland experience believable. Being able to take an unexpected turn around the corner from the main path into a hidden courtyard makes places like New Orleans Square feel real and lived in. Places like the Royal Courtyard (which was turned into an overflow Pirates of the Caribbean shop in 2006) and the Court of Angels are part of the reason why New Orleans Square feels so authentic and hits such a strong nerve with so many guests. So, while Disney may see the empty space in the parks as opportunities for increased profits, they’d do well to take a moment to consider why the original park designers included these spaces. There’s immense value in these spaces that Christmas ornaments, Pirates of the Caribbean t-shirts, or Club 33 membership dues can never recoup. These spaces are a large part of the magic that Disney endlessly touts in its marketing but so often fails to understand and respect.”

    Hopefully much of the Court of Angels will still be open to all guests, and the Royal Courtyard will just be a nice space with some benches and nothing for sale.

    • StevenW

      No, that’s not what I’m hearing. The whole courtyard is closed to guests. It will be the new reception area for Club 33.

      Why is this post reposted? Where’s the new information?

      • jcruise86

        For the same reason the Gettysburg Address has been “reposted” frequently for over 150 years. Because I thought some might have missed this eloquence in Andy’s update. Vive Castro!

      • The Lost Boy

        This is being reposted to keep the pot stirred.

  • faerla

    I don’t care how they change it (though I’m sad about Court De Anges), I just want a chance to GO. Wouldn’t it be great if Disney offered some sort of AP loyalty plan- like if you have an AP for 10 years or 15 years, you get a one-time invite to lunch? Or even something where you commit to buy for that amount of time- at that point we’re talking about several thousand dollars.

    I keep hoping that on my many trips to the Burbank ER (right across from Disney) I’ll run into John Lasseter and he’ll offer to cheer me up by taking me to Club 33. Here’s hoping…

    • jcruise86

      If I put on my “let’s exploit rich Disney fans” hat (to subsidize new attractions for the rest of us), I’d sat that AP loyalty program is an outstanding idea, Faerla. For each premium pass maintained for ten years in a row, one may purchase a meal at Club 33 for two. And the same for each deluxe pass maintained for 12 years in a row. And a Club 33 meal could be a contest prize like a night in the Dream Suite. And non-dictatorial leaders of nations with over 30 million people would get to eat there too!

      • jcruise86

        And every cast member who has worked at the Disneyland Resort for 15 years or more should be treated to a meal at Club 33 or Napa Rose (CM’s choice) ASAP, and every five years after that.

  • patton45

    can someone provide a link to how one applies, etc for membership to Club 33? Is it just money or do you have to show your patents of nobility too?

    Thx – Craig

    • Just send a letter of inquiry to the following address and they’ll send you a membership information packet:

      Club 33 Member Services
      1600 S. Disneyland Drive
      Anaheim, CA 92802

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