17-year-old Gavin Doyle loves all things Disneyland, so when he had the opportunity to go to its members-only restaurant Club 33 after its recent revamp, he couldn’t say no.
“One of our good family friends became a member,” Doyle told Tech Insider. “You’re incredibly lucky if you get invited to go — I used to walk by [the Club 33 entrance] hoping someone would come out so I could get a glimpse into the lobby.”
Club 33 is not only one of the most exclusive dining experiences in Disneyland, but in all of California. Named after its location at 33 Royal Street in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, Club 33 serves a six-course tasting menu of French and New American food and is decorated with antiques chosen by Walt Disney and his wife. It’s also the only Disneyland restaurant to serve alcohol.
The restaurant and club officially opened in May 1967 after Walt Disney decided he needed a place to entertain visiting donors, dignitaries, celebrities, and politicians.
Though he died five months before the club was completed, Disney would have loved the final product. There are a rumoured 500 members on the roster and over 800 people on the waiting list hoping to be invited to pay a $US25,000 joining fee and a $US10,000-a-year membership fee. It’s hard to get on the list, but every once in a while, enough spots will open for Disney to send invitations to new members.
Lucky for Doyle, he knew a family friend who was a member and offered to take him to the secretive restaurant for a second time. He shared the photos on his website DisneyDose.com as well as with Tech Insider.
Keep scrolling to see what it’s like inside.
Curious Disney lovers can find Club 33 in New Orleans Square, right by Frontierland and on your way to the Haunted Mansion.
The club entrance is 'hidden' from the average Disney goer thanks to the colour 'no-see-um-green.' The paint colour was designed by Walt Disney to blend into the background.
Club 33 at Disneyland has been recently renovated to include the Court of Angels staircase, which Doyle said upset a few Disney fans. 'It was this incredible stair to nowhere,' Doyle told TI. 'There was this huge uproar -- people couldn't believe they were going to block off this area for the club.'
Doyle was lucky enough to visit Club 33 not once but twice -- before and after its recent renovation.
Inside the reception area is a French elevator Disney had specially made for the building. Since it's no longer up to code, it was turned into a booth -- though some fans weren't too pleased it was remodeled, according to Doyle.
Also in the reception area is a vulture on a grandfather clock. 'When Walt Disney first planned the club, he had a vulture in the trophy room and in the chandeliers there were microphones so that he could listen to guest conversations and then have the vulture talk back from the clock,' Doyle said. They abandoned that plan pretty quickly, but the vulture still remains -- and talks to guests!
The walls of Club 33 are lined with paintings -- Doyle said they made the theme 'The Princess and the Frog.'
The main update to Club 33 was its lounge, Salon Nouveau. The entrance is through a wine cellar with hundreds of bottles.
The lighting in the lounge is lower than the dining room and there's a stain glass panel in the ceiling.
It makes the club feel even more exclusive. Some of the themes in here are the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'The Haunted Mansion.'
Now let's make our way into the dining room. Doyle said when you visit Club 33, you're surrounded by other mega Disney fans.
All the art has to do with Disneyland and the tables are adorned with white table cloths. It's very fancy.
The menu in the dining room is 'very expensive,' Doyle said, and has six different courses, including dessert.
'It's changed a lot,' Doyle said of the renovation, but added that the experience was still top notch. 'It was one of the best meals I've had in my life.'
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