Monday, April 25, 2011

And now.....Club 33....

OK, so Easter Sunday was our dinner at Club 33....a highlight for our stay here in California and, in truth, one of the primary reasons that the girls (Johanna & Kimberly) decided to join us here at DisneyLand----not that I'm sure they don't both love spending time with us (*wink*), but because we invited them to share the experience and they knew, like we did, that it was not a chance that comes along all that often (or possibly ever again)!!

So, before I go too far into talking about night at Club 33, I should give a little background on what it is and how we came to be invited to eat there....... Club 33 is a private restaurant----very high end---that is located within DisneyLand park here in California.  It is not open to the public.  The club's history is that it was a special dining room that Walt Disney himself had constructed so that he could entertain VIP guests to DisneyLand there personally.  It has remained a very exclusive private club with an extremely prestigious and limited list of members who can eat there or sponsor guests to do so----and apparently over the years has served many important guests from celebrities to visiting dignitaries to American political figures like Supreme Court Justices, Senators and current/former Presidents of the United it's a pretty prestigious place.  By all accounts, it is one of the most exclusive Disney experiences available in the world.  People who are honored enough to be members of the club are a very select group-----and there is apparently a waiting list that is years and years long to become a new member.  All of this adds up to the fact that the place is truly steeped in history, mystique and pomp & circumstance----and it's something that not even all Disney aficionados even know about...much less ever have the opportunity to experience!!

The four of us at the entrance to Club 33 in DisneyLand.
So how on god's green earth did little old Erik & Jason (& Johanna and Kimberly) get invited to eat there?  I mean....I like to think that we're a pretty special foursome in our own right...but I certainly don't consider myself at the top of too many VIP lists! LOL  So how did it come about that we got to experience something so exclusive and so special?  Yet another wonderful effect of the community we've built via the DISBoards!!

As we were preparing for our last big trip (the Med/TransAtlantic cruise over September 2010), we were, of course, getting to know our fellow cruisers on the DISBoards.  Well, as chance would have it, I met a really wonderful couple named Marc and Michael online who were in the process of retiring to Mexico (lucky devils!) and who were long-time Disney fans, as well.  We emailed back and forth several times...and they helped with providing lanyards for our fellow cruisers and although that trip was so busy that it flew by and we didn't get to spend much time with them, we did have at least one really lovely lunch with them aboard the ship.  They are truly a sweet and wonderful couple-----and Jason and I hope that one day we'll be together that long and be able to retire and relocate to a warm climate and take fabulous Disney vacations just like them!!  Anyhow, they also happen to be among the elite few people in the world to actually BE members of Club 33....and when they heard that we were planning on being in DisneyLand for a few days this year before our cruise....they offered to get us a reservation at the Club!

This was, obviously, a chance not to be passed we accepted their gracious offer.

So now to talk a bit about our experience:   Club 33 is kind of an upscale place and so it was an excuse for the four of us to wear nice clothes---not formalwear....and not even probably as fancy as the outfits we'll likely wear for dinners aboard the ship...but certainly nicer than we would normally wear to a theme park dinner while at a resort!!  The setting is also just stunning----nothing like you'd expect to see in a theme park either.   Here are some pics of us outside the club at its non-descript entrance:

Here is a picture of me ringing the bell to be let in.  They aren't kidding when they say it's not open to the public----it's not extremely well marked and anyone who wasn't looking specifically for it could easily overlook it....and in order to get in you have to be buzzed in!
Once inside the lobby, you're met by a very formal looking lobby with an antique old elevator and a nice receptionist:

You are then escorted upstairs to the dining area.  The tables are impeccably set, of course, and the entire place just has both a very old-world (think ornate drapings and an antique-looking harpsichord) and very formal atmosphere:

We were served primarily by a very nice cast member named Louis, but there were two others who helped him with wine pouring, serving food, keeping glasses filled, etc.  Eating in Club 33 is a special experience and the staff knows it....and so they definitely treat you as such!   Johanna & Kimberly were particularly able to connect with our serving team because they're both wine people and were able to talk a lot about where the wine came from, etc.  (Jason and I don't drink so that all flew right over my head.....but that's OK! LOL)

So, the food?  Really wonderful.....especially if you're into fine dining. Now----those of you reading this blog who know me & Jason very well are probably thinking to yourselves:  "Fine dining?  Erik and Jason?  Doesn't Erik usually order off the children's menu on the cruise ship?  Isn't he super finicky about food?"  And, of course, the answer is yes.....I do and I am...

.....Nobody would ever put the word "foodie" and me in the same thought.   I don't really eat much red meat (because I will only eat it VERY well done and it's hard to get it cooked that way in most places)....I won't eat meat that is still on the bone OR that I've seen on the bone....I won't eat seafood of ANY kind (my golden rule is the following "If it won't drown, then I won't eat it!!")...and there is a laundry list of ingredients and vegetables that I won't touch, too:  mushrooms, sweet potatoes, olives, asparagus, artichokes, capers, etc.  So with all those restrictions, as a general rule....the "fancier" a menu is, the less likely I will be able to find anything to eat on it!

Note:This is NOT the menu I ate. Just a pic.
So, I must confess, before we even went to Club 33 I had already told Jason, Johanna & Kimberly that I fully expected that we would go and have an expensive dinner where I couldn't or wouldn't eat anything on the menu but was there for the experience really and then would grab a hot dog on the way out of the park!! LOL Well, will wonders never cease-----I found an entire 5-course dinner (and so did Jason) to eat at Club 33 and not only was it not that hard.....I actually enjoyed it & left the restaurant full!!! I had a lovely spinach and bacon salad, followed by a roast duck breast (this was supposed to be a fish course but they replaced it with the duck....and I didn't actually eat the duck but there was a lot of fruit and a cranberry (I think) reduction on the plate that was delicious....and Johanna and Kimberly ate my duck for me!), a boneless braised pork dish (how lucky was I that the recommended dish that night was not only a dish that came with no bones but ALSO had been braised-----a cooking process that takes overnight apparently....guaranteeing my meat would not be undercooked!!! LOL) with mashed potatoes and broccolini (and Jason didn't want his broccolini, so I had extra of that), followed by a cheese course (I cleaned that plate right off and ate Jason's gorgonzola because it was too strong for him) and finishing with an amazing dessert (it was a fruit and chocolate yule log but I can't remember anything else except that it was YUMMY!!).    I'm sorry I don't remember my exact menu better and I didn't take pictures of every course....but I didn't want to feel like a total tourist pulling my camera out ever time a new plate arrived! LOL

All in all......our trip to Club 33 was very, very special.  We had an amazing time.  We ate some amazing food (and, yes, even finicky Erik ate it-----and ENJOYED it!!)...and we got to experience a "something-very-special-Disney" that very few people get that made it all the more worthwhile.  We all had an amazing time.....and we couldn't possibly say thank you enough to M&M for making it possible!!


  1. Thank you for sharing. A few years ago on a special tour we were actually taken inside Club 33, got pictures in front of the beautiful elevator and had a great "history lesson" from our tour leader. What an incredible gift to be able to eat there :-) Are Kimberly and Johanna on the Alaska cruise also?

  2. Oh my! Club 33 is beautiful! Thank you for the inside look at this exclusive venue!

  3. Hey Judy,

    No, sadly the girls are not on the cruises with us. Johanna actually left yesterday (although she lives in San Francisco so we are seeing her on Friday when our repo cruise stops there overnight) and Kimmy leaves later today. Seeing them this weekend was just another bonus of this little pre-cruise trip!

    --Erik & Jason

  4. So glad you had a good time!! Louis is a GREAT server - we love him! And the vintner's menu is always a great choice!! Great to see the pics, too!!!

  5. Your dinner sounded wonderful and yes, I was thinking, "What on earth is Erik going to eat?" I could picture the entire night by the way you described it - it was like you were right in my own living room. Club 33 looks beautiful!

  6. SO jealous!! This is tops of my bucket list!

  7. That looked like a fantastic experience. What a wonderful gesture from Marc and Michael. - MagicMe (aka Melodie)