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Dinner at Club 33!

There is a special place at Disneyland called Club 33. Many park guests walk right past the entrance, a doorway marked with the number "33" on Royal Street in New Orleans Square, without even knowing that the club exists. Unless you are a Club 33 member, the only way to visit the private club, which houses an upscale restaurant, is to be invited, and so I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to go inside.

Then one day, my good friend, Peter, asked me, "Have you heard of Club 33?" And then, "Would you like to go there?" A few days later, he told me that we had dinner reservations at Club 33!

And so, on Sunday, November 6th, 2011, I did something I never thought I'd do. I tossed high heel shoes and dressy clothes into my Mickey backpack, and headed to Disneyland.

Peter and I arrived at the Disneyland Resort at about 10:30 in the morning and checked in at a Guest Relations booth just outside California Adventure theme park. A pleasant Cast Member asked for Peter's name and ID and issued us the complimentary Park Hopper tickets that are given to guests of Club 33. We then set out to enjoy our favorite rides at California Adventure and Disneyland. By the time our reservation time drew near, I already felt like we'd had a full and wonderful day.

The sun had already set when we stepped up to the storied Club 33 door, my high heels clicking on the pavement. I was glad that we had stopped by earlier that day to take our obligatory "door photos." We'd traded cameras with two ladies who had just finished having Sunday brunch at Club 33. We took photos of them, and then they photographed us in front of the door. The ladies asked if we'd ever been to the club. "We're going tonight for the first time," I told them. They told us how wonderful it was and wished us a great visit.
Now that it was dark, the holiday lights and decorations gave a magical glow to Royal Street. Peter lifted the little gold plate covering the intercom and pushed the button. Once Peter provided his name, we were welcomed inside.

I immediately noticed the French lift, the centerpiece of the lobby. The hostess invited us to take the lift upstairs. She willingly took a few photos of us standing inside it, and then she closed the doors and sent us up.

Through glass walls, we watched the lobby disappear and the upstairs come into view. When the lift stopped, another hostess opened the doors and welcomed us to Club 33. We were immediately led through a hallway, past the only bar in Disneyland, and into the Main Dining Room.

We were seated right by one of the balcony windows. Lighted Christmas decorations hung on the balcony's iron railing. Both of our chairs faced the elegant dining room. In front of us were Club 33 plates that held beautifully folded white cloth napkins.

One of the servers, Chase, introduced himself. He would be taking care of us until our server, Patrick, returned. Chase bought us drinks: a sweet, delicious apple martini for me and a dry martini with a little black swizzle stick with a gold Club 33 logo for Peter. When he took our orders, he didn't seem to mind when I asked for the crème brûlée dessert, instead of an appetizer, before my Chicken Breast Cussion Pot Pie.

Patrick arrived, bringing us each a small plate holding an amuse bouche "compliments of the chef." Patrick described what would be our first taste of Club 33 cuisine. When I heard that it contained lobster, I was hesitant to try it because I am not a fan of seafood. Peter, a seafood fan since childhood, who had ordered the Viking Village Day Boat Scallop as his appetizer and the Alaskan Line Caught Sablefish as his entree, gave the amuse bouche his blessing, so I took a bite. The tiny strips of lobster in a fluffy lemon whip, nestled in a puff pastry shell, were tasty. I enthusiastically finished the entire bite-sized morsel.

Our "appetizers" arrived shortly thereafter. I savored my absolutely perfect crème brûlée which came with a tiny glass of fresh berry sauce and a crispy lemon wafer. Both of us had cleaned our plates when Patrick appeared with our entrees. My pot pie looked like a cute mini bread loaf and tasted like the best chicken pot pie that I can imagine, with tender chunks of white meat chicken and vegetables. Peter thought his sablefish was great and finished every last bite.

When it came time to order our final course, Patrick recited a list of dessert options. I wanted to end my meal with something chocolate and there were two chocolate dessert choices. I asked Patrick for a recommendation, and then enjoyed the Chocolate Trio, a plate of three different chocolate treats, which I would describe as a wedge of a miniature chocolate layer cake, a little chocolate-coated popsicle, and a rich chocolate truffle. Peter enjoyed the strawberry rhubarb compote.

And then our meal was over. Patrick bought our check.

It was almost time for the first performance of Fantasmic!, a musical special effects show over Rivers of America. I asked Patrick if we could watch the show from one of the Club 33 balconies. Patrick said that the view was mostly obstructed by large trees, but that we were welcome to try.

Peter and I put on our coats, and a server opened one of the many doors to the balcony for us. We stepped into the night air and took in the view of New Orleans Square from above. Large crescent-moon-shaped Santa ornaments hung in the trees. Garlands, decorated with multicolored lights and shiny balls, were strung along the iron railings. Colorful Mardi Gras beads hung all around us.
Fantasmic! started, and Peter and I found a corner of the balcony where we could peer, between the trees, at the show. Although Patrick was right, the view wasn't technically perfect, I enjoyed peeking at the characters, water effects, floats and boats, and the fireworks from our little spot above New Orleans Square.

After the show, we admired the details of the balcony decorations up close. Our favorite detail was the many unique Mardi Gras beads, including ones with alligator, frog, and crawfish charms.

We finally stepped back inside the club, and, as we walked toward the lobby, we admired some of the art and antiques along the way. Aaron, who I later learned was Club 33's night manager, noticed our interest and took the time to show us some of the highlights, including a two-legged table from the movie, Mary Poppins; a hand-painted harpsichord; a phone booth with panels of beveled glass from the movie, The Happiest Millionaire; and the Trophy Room, the second dining room.

About three hours after we arrived, we made our way to the staircase leading down to the lobby. "Would you like to take the lift?" one of the Cast Members offered.

We stepped into the lift one final time and watched the lobby come into view as we descended. After saying goodbye to the Cast Member in the lobby, we walked out onto Royal Street.

The second showing of Fantasmic! was just starting, but we had other plans. In our fancy clothes and shoes, Peter and I walked straight to my favorite ride in the world, Indiana Jones Adventure, and rode it two times in a row. It was the perfect way to end our day!

I did this in November 2011 in Anaheim, California, USA.


Jen is also known as J.W. Lynne, a best selling author of eleven novels. Her works include:

THE UNKNOWN: Eight kidnapped children wake up in a mysterious world full of secrets.

ABOVE THE SKY: A strict society is hiding shocking secrets.

: Ten families are locked in a bunker to take a simulated trip to the moon.

KID DOCS: Teen doctors learn what it really means to practice medicine.

WILD ANIMAL SCHOOL: A girl falls in love at an exotic animal ranch.

IF I TELL: A teen wonders if her father is a serial killer.

WHAT HE DIDN'T TELL ME: A traumatized girl meets a boy with a horrible secret.

Besides reading books and dreaming up stories to write, Jen's favorite activities are singing along to musical theater soundtracks and hiking in California's beautiful parks.

Check out Jen's books on Amazon!

You might also enjoy:

Jen's Disney Bucket List

Jen's Disneyland Bucket List

Jen's videos from Club 33: