Warning: Soooo many photos! Lots of text!
Max and I had an amazing opportunity to attend a dinner at Club 33! We're both HUGE Disney fans and being able to snag the very last 2 spots for this special dinner definitely made us feel so, so, so lucky. It was an absolute dream. Club 33 will actually be closing for renovations at the end of the year until next summer, so we were even luckier to experience the original club before the changes.
This special dinner was celebrating the release of "The Fairest One Of All" by J.B. Kaufmann, an author that was hand-selected by Diane Disney Miller (Walt's daughter), to create a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look into the creation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Each guest was presented with a signed copy! I'll get more into to this later.
We were told in our group forum that park admission would not be included. So, we got some military park-hoppers and headed to Disneyland for some pre-dinner fun. We're lucky to have visited the parks so often that scrambling to get to the parks at opening and rushing to catch all the attractions is not a high priority. We got to the parks around noon (no parking lines or park entrance lines!) and rode the Halloween-themed attractions.
The Dapper Dans, now the Dapper Cadavers, were front and center for Halloween Time at Disneyland. I think we randomly saw them perform a whopping 3 or 4 times throughout the day. Witnessing a small film crew and the Dapper Cadavers perform on the balcony of the Haunted Mansion was a unique treat.
This is my "Hey! I'll be eating here later!" picture.
We didn't stray past New Orleans Square + Ghost Galaxy (Space Mountain). I am 100% A-OK with the early holiday decorations.
One of our traditions is the Flag Retreat. Max really didn't want to do it, but I saw how few people showed up, (notice how they're all cast members?!?!) so I pushed him to do it. Turns out, the gentleman to Max's right, Ernie, was a former Gunnery Sgt for the Marines and he INTRODUCED the concept of the Color Guard marching out to retrieve the flag. I told Max that if he didn't do it, it was a waste of Ernie's efforts. Plus, he needs to represent the younger generation. Most of the time it's retired folks.
How cute is the conductor?
We casually explored Disneyland park for about 4 hours, then took the tram back to the car to change into our fancier clothes. Then we headed back and waited for our group!
We got these special wristbands and did a lot of waiting. Here we found out that we didn't need park admission since we assembled outside the gate and were escorted as a group to Club 33. At least we get really good value out of our military tickets and we enjoyed our casual pre-dinner visit.
We're goin' in!!!!
I've always loved the entrance of Club 33 being hidden in plain sight. However, as part of the renovations, the new entrance will be The Court of Angels :( I found this great fan-site offering many more details of all the upcoming renovations: here
I found a second website with even more information: here In some places, the two websites give contradicting details, but in most places they're the same. Lots of AMAZING and bittersweet changes! I really do hope I get another opportunity to visit!
Max and I chose to sit in the historical Trophy Room. It is where Walt would host his most important guests. Sadly, this room will be stripped down to make way for the new dedicated Club 33 kitchen. I believe the club currently shares the same kitchen as Blue Bayou! If we are lucky enough to dine here again, I will be happy to enjoy a special meal prepared in a designated kitchen for Club 33's exquisite creations.
The Trophy Room is a beautiful, masculine space with dark wood walls and various safari/hunting related trinkets and paintings on the walls.
Our event coordinator's wife made these amazing centerpieces based on the haunted trees in Snow White! They were so creative and even better: economical! The base was a plastic dish with moss and a paper mâché tree! I adored these. I want to have a random Snow White party just to recreate them.
I am a pretty terrible photographer and in retrospect I realize that I focused my attention to the art on the walls and less about the spaces and other details of the club. Here is the small selection of photos I took.
A portrait of what it would have looked like if Walt got to enjoy breakfast inside the Main Dining Room. He passed away before the construction of the club was completed.
Books for all the guests.
This table was featured in Mary Poppins. Many of the items decorating the club were sourced from the Disneys or taken from film sets!
This phone actually operates! Max made fast plans to call his cousin in NYC since he was sure that she could 100% appreciate it. Unfortunately, you can only make free calls to a local Anaheim phone number. We don't know anyone in Anaheim!
Max and I got to ride the glass elevator down to the lobby after dinner. I'm not sure if this elevator will stay or be moved with the renovation, but currently it is technically illegal because there are 2 steps up to get to the elevator on the lobby floor, as in access to the elevator requires stepping up onto a platform. Doesn't help if you're in a wheelchair!
I want all the pirate-y, New Orleans inspired art for my room.
The Harpsichord features a painting depicting the New Orleans Harbor in the early 19th century.
Bathroom pictures! I somehow missed the front door and the "throne" toilets. Above is their paper towels.
Being at this event was such a warm experience. I think the group spent 1-2 hours mingling and exploring the space before dinner. The entire club was reserved for our special event and it felt like we were just having a family party. I think that if Max and I were dining alone, I would feel so self conscious about roaming and invading the other diners' personal space to take photos. It's hard to tell, but our group consisted of approximately 100 guests. All my photos are so empty!
I got the key chain and Max got the gold and silver lapel pins plus a key chain. Before dinner I overhead from our server that the club had stopped stocking merchandise since renovations would be taking place shortly. I wasn't sure if it was true or not. After sharing this information with Max, he was so anxious to get in line to make his purchases before any stock ran out. I just found out now with some light online research that (speculation) the Club 33 logo will also be updated to something more New Orleans-inspired. Now my key chain is even more special to me. It's also cute that I have a partner that is just as obsessed with Disney as I am.
We were fortunate to also experience the buffet! I read somewhere that Club 33 was grandfathered into their buffet system before the main course is served. There's some sort of health code violation about the buffet being served on portable tables and not on a built-in counter. The buffet included fancy seafood and other delicious appetizers like 5 different types of salad, a cheese plate, lox, and roasted veggies. On the right hand side (didn't get a good photo), there was a prime rib carving station, chicken, salmon, pork, couscous, mashed potatoes, and a pasta table where the chefs would sauté the ravioli or bowties into a sauce of your choice! The sauces included were pesto, sundried tomatoes, alfredo, and marinara. I had no plans to follow my diet, but the spread allowed me to consume a mostly paleo meal with the exception of dessert and pasta! Everything was so tasty and fresh.
I love a good dessert spread! The desserts were the most creative portion of the meal. That tiny cupcake had grapefruit frosting! The circular tart was key lime pie and it had a pretty glitter glaze. There was the most delicious, moist pumpkin cheesecake I have every tasted in my life, and the crème brûlèe tasted like a dream. Dinner was finished with a moist and decadent chocolate sheet cake that was baked just for our group from the head pastry chef of Club 33!
For so many years Max and I have looked up longingly at the Club 33 guests lounging on the balcony and dreamed of our chance to get to dine at Club 33. You bet we spent a lot of time out there! Many of the guests in our group had dined at Club 33 before and didn't even bother to step outside! In fact, many of them seemed very nonchalant about the entire experience and stayed glued to their seats. We had a lot of private time and no more than 10-15 people stepped outside total.
Now, I have also heard (more speculation) that the renovations to the main dining room will include removing the fireplace and turning it into a window. Newer, larger windows will surround the space and apparently there will NO LONGER BE BALCONY ACCESS?!?!? If this is true, then thank goodness we spent a lot of time on the balcony!
Max found Burt Mackin, FBI. Any Parks & Rec fans?!?!
I feel like I'm repeating a lot of my emotions and reactions to the club but it was such a dream to be up on the balcony absorbing all the sights and sounds. I heard some of the other guests next to us joking, "We're looking down on you peasants!" in reference to the crowds below. I was sort of upset by that. And it takes a lot for me to get offended. I'm technically one of those peasants. I'm not a member, I don't know any members, and I can't afford to be a Premium pass holder. The only difference was my persistence and luck. I am a huge Disney fan and 1000% appreciative and thankful for the opportunity to visit Club 33. The generous and hard-working folks that organized this event wanted to share this intimate experience with other passionate Disney Fans all out of kindness. They put in their own hours of organization and did not make any money off of the event. It angered me that a select number of other guests were taking advantage of this event and being so obnoxious about it! It just wasn't a nice comment. End rant!
P.S., There was one female guest who smoked a cigarette upon exiting the club, as in right outside the door, and proceeded to drop her cigarette butt on the way out of the park by the Adventureland sign. Max picked it up after her and threw it away. It may have been without any thought on her part - I know the random disposal of butts is an autopilot type deal for most smokers - but GEEZ! You're in Disneyland and it wasn't even a designated smoking area! Have some respect! I managed to find the girl on Instagram since she posted on the #Club33 tag and I strongly dislike the type of person she is based on her photos. She sucks. Anyways, no more negativity!!!
My post so far only highlights the bad guests (it was literally like, 2-3 people). Everyone else was so wonderful! It was exciting to be able to nerd-out HARDCORE on random Disney facts and history and have people share their knowledge as well! I feel like a lot of the time I nerd out about Disney and the person listening to me can only respond with "Oh, that's cool!" It was me and Max's first time meeting all of the other guests and it was a lovely get-together. I felt safe and welcomed. I really do hope we find another event and run into the same people!
Celebrating the author and the book!
The author, J.B. Kaufmann, shared a taste of information in the book and answered some questions from the guests. Sooo much work went into the movie and lots of ground-breaking technology and filmmaking techniques were introduced in its creation. It's easy to forget that the movie was released in 1937 and it's even easier to overlook the work required to make an animated film. It's truly one of the best films in cinematic history.
The book is stunning. The Disney family archived so much information during the pre-production of the film that assisted in the creation of this book. The book was released just in time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and it makes a wonderful coffee table book to add to my collection.
This was a pleasant surprise! I was flipping through some of the pages when the jacket slipped off! It's canvas and the artwork is beautiful.
To close the evening, we had a gift exchange. I received a stationary set of Steamboat Willie cards complete with envelopes and Mickey stickers for the seal. I felt like a winner; I would have loved receiving any Disney-related gift from this exchange.
We were escorted out of the park at 12am! It was eerie not seeing any people and yes, they do keep the music on! Strangely enough, the absence of people made the park feel smaller in my opinion.
Empty parking lot!
Well, now I'm at the end of this post and due to internet issues that took me 20 minutes to resolve, I don't feel like writing anymore! I do hope I come across an opportunity to dine at Club 33 again for the reopening!