February 8, 2010
Hidden in a small alley, past the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean and the Blue Bayou, is a secret little door. It’s easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for; its only visible signage is a small placard on the right with the numbers “33”. Find the hidden panel to buzz yourself in and the door will soon swing open from the inside and lead you to…
(What wonders await behind this door?)
Club 33 is a private club, hidden in the heart of New Orleans Square in Disneyland. Although finding the club is hard, getting into the club is an even more difficult feat – With a wait-list estimated at 14 years and annual membership fees starting at $10K/year, most may never have an opportunity to enter Club 33 unless invited as a guest of a pre-existing member.
This is one of the reasons why I love working for Corporate America.
I’ve had the privilege of dining at Club 33 not once, but twice – my first time being two years ago, when we were treated to a three course dinner for an audit well done and the second time more recently, when I enjoyed a lunch buffet on a lazy Wednesday. Club 33 days are always days of celebration for us. Since a meal in the club also includes a complimentary park-hopper pass for the day, Club 33 means no work and all play, with my coworkers and I running all over Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park like we were 10 again.
Not only does a trip to Club 33 mean nostalgic bliss (…strolling down Main Street…screaming on Space Mountain…spinning in a teacup…), it also means good food. Forget your typical theme park meals of burgers and fries; Club 33 is fine dining, Walt Disney style.
Lunch began with a trip to the cold buffet line, where we loaded up on sliced meats, grilled veggies and cheese and fruit platters. We dug shrimp cocktail, crab claws and lobster tails out of the ice and sipped on lentil and bacon soup. Some of us even ordered a fruity drink or two. (You know, the ones with pineapples and strawberries and god knows what else fanning the rim of the glass? Yeah, those kind of fruity drinks.)
And that was just the beginning.
After the buffet came our entrees. As explained to us by our server, some of the items on the menu have been favorites since the club opened in 1967. We were recommended the pan seared chateaubriand and the Colorado lamb chops; too lazy to choose, my manager and I ordered one each and shared a bite with the other. The lamb was just a touch overcooked, but I loved the apple coffee polenta underneath. The chateaubriand, on the other hand, was juicy and tender through and through.
We started the meal with a buffet, we ended the meal with a the buffet…a dessert buffet that is. With over a dozen sugary goods, my eyes grew bigger than my stomach and I loaded my little dessert plate full of sweets. The meyer lemon cream puff was my favorite, beating out the strawberry panna cotta, chocolate mousse, blackberry mousse and coconut macaroons.
So if you’re ever wandering through Disneyland and stumble upon that little sign and that unassuming blue door, you know now what hides behind it. Maybe, one day, you’ll also get the opportunity to peek inside too. I mean, you know they say…
“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.”
33 Royal Street (in Disneyland)
Anaheim, CA 92802