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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79 Comments

Comments for Extensive Changes Coming to Exclusive Club 33 at Disneyland are now closed.

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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. :)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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…….

  11. 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

  12. 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!

    • 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.

  13. 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!

    • 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.