When I first heard whispers about Disney’s Club 33 I was not sure if it was real or an urban legend. I spoke to people that assured me it was real, but they had never been inside. At that point, even the exact location within Disneyland was even a mystery.
After years of searching and seeking, I found the opportunity! I attended a University alumni fund raiser in 2006. A silent auction item was a certificate awarding the winner a dinner reservation at Disney’s Club 33. The fine print of the auction listing stated that the reservation included entry into the Disneyland park, however the cost of the meal was NOT Included. That was it, there was no additional information or explanation of the auction item just a 4-digit price tag for the starting bid. I was the only bidder.
My birthday was a couple months away and dinner at Club 33 was the perfect way to celebrate! My immediate family and a couple friends made up my dinner party. The entire night was surreal, I had a hard time enjoying the moment, I was so excited!
Every item had a little Disney touch, including the white wicker throne decoration on the toilets in the Ladies Room (the only time I wish I had a photo of a toilet). The dining room was dark wood and we were surrounded by a (non-functional) animatronic vulture, extravagantly painted piano, and fresh flowers on every mantle.
Somehow, I thought I would find the opportunity to go back. After ten years, I am ready to admit that meal may be a once in a lifetime event.
All photos from my 2006 Club 33 Birthday evening are courtesy of my Mother, who realized more than I what a special evening we were in for.
Club 33 in Disneyland is a magical place to celebrate a Birthday! Here are a few more stories of Club 33 Birthday dinners over the last 10 years.
Penny celebrated her 33rd Birthday at Club 33 in April 2016 with her husband and another couple. She was kind enough to share her Birthday memories with me (and you).
“I always wanted to celebrate turning 33 at Club 33!”
Reservations were made through the other couple, not members themselves. As many of these Club 33 stories go, it was made possible by a friend of a friend of another friend!
“My favorite part of the meal was speaking with the waiter about his time working at Club 33. That, and watching out the window the sunset over the busy Disney crowds, all while enjoying a really nice glass of wine.
Club 33 means to me a special spot where Disney guests are allowed a moment to soak in the vintage Disney pace of life, while enjoying a cocktail and amazing food. Each and every Cast Member made us feel special, which sometimes is difficult in “fancy” restaurants.
What I have found, is that the waiters cater to so many different walks of life, that they all begin with same very polite tone, but our table was real and wanted to get to know our waiter and enjoy his company and stories as well. I felt happy making his night more enjoyable too. I loved that we were able to take longer than 30 minutes to eat a meal in Disneyland. It was beyond magical to spend my 33rd birthday at Club 33. To me, it was an experience of a lifetime, regardless of the price tag, it was something I would do again in a heartbeat! I would also, purchase more items in their glass case of souvenirs. I hope more people are able to feel the fairy dust sprinkled on them in such a special spot.”
He said, She said – David and Vy share their Club 33 Birthday stories
We’ve been fortunate enough to visit the Club multiple times, before and after the recent renovations. The most memorable experience for David would be his first visit on December 28, 2012, when I (Vy) surprised him for his birthday. My most memorable visit was for my 33rd birthday this past year (2015).
For David’s birthday, I was able to secure a reservation through a friend of a Club member, who made a reservation on my behalf.
For my birthday, one of my dear friends made the reservation for me.
David: Before the renovation/expansion, it was nice to see a bit of Disney history with the original Trophy Room and the animatronic vulture.
Vy: At the original Club, the most interesting item at Club 33 was the French lift. Since the expansion, the lift is no longer in use and sits in the bar, but we were able to ride it and it was fun to learn that Walt Disney picked it out himself and had it installed at the Club.
David: On one of the most recent visits, I had the Autumn Pumpkin crème brulee with candied persimmons and spiced shortbread. They lit it on fire and it was so much fun!
Vy: I always enjoy the presentation of the different dishes at the Club – soups that are poured in front of you or big reveals of your entrees.
David: Overall, I had a very nice experience at Club 33. Fine dining isn’t something you necessarily associate with a theme park. Is it worth the exorbitant membership fees? Probably not, but if you know someone who can get you in, it’s certainly worth the price of the meal.
Vy: For any Disneyland fan, visiting Club 33 is a definite bucket list item and one that I’m grateful to have experienced. It’s fun to get a glimpse into a private place that Walt Disney had a hand in creating (although he didn’t get to enjoy it himself) and it is like a museum – housing relics of Disney’s successes to artwork and pieces that he hand-selected for the Club– that’s a slice of Disney history you can’t experience anywhere else in the park.
- Club 33 is a private member’s only restaurant located in Disneyland.
- The club was Walt Disney’s idea for a VIP lounge, but sadly was not opened until 1967, six months after Walt Disney’s death.
- To join Club 33, there is a wait list of 10+ years and annual membership costs thousands of dollars (currently reported as $40,000 for corporate membership and $27,000 for individual members).
- The original door was identified with a simple “33” sign, located in New Orleans Square behind the Blue Bayou restaurant.
- The club was remodeled in 2014 to update the original foyer and lounge. The original dark wood was replaced with a lighter, brighter atmosphere, and the entrance is now at the intersection of Royal Street and Orleans Street in New Orleans Square.