Saturday, May 2, 2009

Disneyland's Club 33

Disclaimer: This post is about my magical experience at Disneyland's Club 33 this week, and might be just a little too much detail for a non-Disney fan. I just wanted to capture all the details before I forget them, so feel free to come along for the ride....

The adventure begins at some point in the afternoon as we wander through Disneyland's New Orlean's Square, and past the doorway marked only with the address "33." Other than the sign, and an inconspicuous intercom box inside the doorway, there is no indication of what lies beyond the door. I got so excited the day before that I, naturally, did a web search and did some reading about it.

We are told to arrive early for our 6:15 reservation, but then are asked to wait until then before we are invited inside. Let the picture taking begin! We took individual photos of each member of our party by the sign, and then again as we stepped inside.

The staff was very accommodating of our obsessive photo-taking, which is great, since I'm sure this is the only time I will every be walking through this door! The ground floor lobby includes only the hostess desk, the staircase and the lift to the second floor restaurant. We take another photo here, as we are informed this is a popular photo spot - I'm guessing they see a lot of starry-eyed first-time visitors!

At the top of the stairs, there is a smaller dining room to the right, which is directly over the Blue Bayou restaurant entrance. We are walked to the left, and down a hallway which I later realized takes us over the street below, to a larger dining room which overlooks the Rivers of America.

The ambience is impeccable. The room has high ceilings, gorgeous dark wood crown moulding, a beautiful fireplace, and fresh flowers. The staff is friendly, and indulgent of our savoring the experience of eating at the one and only Club 33, giving us plenty of time to take in our surroundings and ponder the menu before we order. The table is set for a multiple-course meal with dishes that were designed especially for Club 33.

The menu is divided into two choices: a pre-selected 5-course meal of the chef's choosing or a la carte selections for appetizer, main dish and dessert. Jeanine and I both opted for the 5-course meal, and it was amazing!

-- * --

1. Romaine Lettuce Salad, Balsamic Caesar Dressing

2. Seared Rare Ahi, Garden Carrot Risotto, Jalapeno Mousse

3. New York Steak, Roasted Fingerling Potato, Freestone Peach Reduction

4. Regional Artisan Cheese

5. Valrhona Chocolate Creme Anglaise Barr, Hazelnut Nougatine

-- * --

I think my favorite part of the meal was the Seared Ahi, which literally melted in my mouth. So delicious! Although, it's hard for a dessert lover like myself to admit that anything was better than the beautifully prepared chocolate creationg that ended my meal! Besides the fact that everything tasted wonderful, the presentation was beautiful and being such a visual person, that only added to my enjoyment.

Jeanine was presented with a special birthday creme brulee dessert, complete with a glowing Tinkerbell. (I just realized as I posted this photo, that the chocolate design on the edge of her plate says "Birthday," further proof that every detail was perfect.)

The entire meal was a relaxing, unrushed experience. It was hard to believe at times that this oasis, a beautiful, quiet delightful restaurant, was right in the middle of what is usually one of the busiest areas of the park. I had no idea how much time had passed while we enjoyed our meal until we stepped outside just before dessert to see the view from the balcony to find Disneyland was empty... the park closed at 8:00, and was empty and quiet.

And then, although nothing about the evening was rushed, it was over too soon. Because the park was closed, we are escorted from New Orleans Square through Adventureland and back to Main Street USA. This was the most surreal part of the experience, walking through an empty Disneyland, the memory of a dinner at Club 33 fresh in my mind.

This was an experience I will never forget. Given the chance, I would go to Club 33 again, although truly, I feel I've been lucky beyond my wildest imagination just to go once.

***This post is especially for my friend Chris, who loves Disney way more than I do. If lightning strikes twice, and I am lucky enough to go to Club 33 again, I hope that it is with you.***

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  1. Love all the pictures and detail - I keep re-reading if only to experience vicariously! :)

  2. What an exciting experience! I've never heard of club 33 before, so it must be quite the exclusive place!