L&L outside Club 33

Laura and Lee's Club 33 Caper

April 26, 1998

On Sunday evening, courtesy of fellow RADPer Judy Lewandowski (and Judy's Club 33 contact), Lee and I had the chance to join Judy and her friends for dinner at Disneyland's Club 33. Club 33 is the exclusive private club at Disneyland - most people don't even realize that it's there. Corporations and individuals pay big bucks for both the initial membership and the yearly dues, but despite that, there's still a waiting list for a membership. The restaurant is located in New Orleans Square right above the Blue Bayou restaurant - this innocent-looking door is the entrance, and then you take the elevator or the stairs to the second floor where the actual restaurant is located.

Our day began much earlier than dinner, though. :-)

We drove up from San Diego that morning, and managed to get parked in the Pinocchio parking lot without too much of a delay, and got right on the tram. The parking situation is still a hassle, but was at least somewhat improved from the last time I was there (Superbowl Sunday - what a disaster).

It was a beautiful day - sunny but not too warm.

We had some time before we were to meet Judy and her friends so we went and saw the Aladdin and Jasmine storytelling (Lee thinks Jasmine is a babe) and rode Big Thunder Mountain, and looked around at the new Tomorrowland. It's looking very nice, though not finished yet - there are still several weeks until the official opening (May 22).

While walking past the teacups, we noticed some of the characters riding with the guests - here's the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit.

We headed over to the hub for our 12:30 meeting with Judy - I had *no* idea who I was looking for, but she had seen pictures of us on our web page and recognized us immediately. We exchanged hugs and Judy introduced us to her friends Don, Dave, and Paulette. They had all arrived the day before, but the lines had been pretty long so they hadn't ridden very much. It was Don's first ever trip to Disneyland, so we decided to head for Space Mountain first so he could experience that. Paulette didn't want to ride it, but went through most of the queue with us. Judy was a little hesitant about doing it, but Tigger and I sat with her and she was brave - and really enjoyed the ride. So did Don.

After we found Paulette and as we were walking out of Tomorrowland we noticed this sign for the "Child Switch Area". Dave asked if that's where you took your child when you were tired of him/her and wanted to try another one instead - and then Lee immediately started wondering where the "Wife Switch Area" was... ;-)

We headed over to Critter Country, but the line for Splash Mountain was over an hour, so we decided to ride BTMRR, but it was down. Sigh. At that point Paulette and Don and Dave decided they wanted to do some shopping and head back to the hotel and rest for a while before our 5:30 dinner reservation, so we said goodbye to them, and Judy and Lee and I went to visit some more attractions. Lines were still pretty long - Sundays used to be relatively uncrowded, but not the ones I've been there in the last 6 months. Oh well.

We decided to go ride Indy - which we all really like. The line was about 40 minutes, but it went very fast since we were having a great time talking to Judy. Tigger and I were on the far right side, and I held him up so he could scare the big snake away - he's so brave. :-)

We decided to see what the Splash Mtn line was like again - this time it was 70 minutes. As you can see, Judy was pretty happy about that - she was looking for an excuse not to ride it. :-) We decided to go see the Country Bear Jamboree instead, and walked right in at the beginning of a show. They are still doing the Vacation Hoedown show - Judy and I both like Big Al and miss his "Blood on the Saddle" song from the original though - but at least we can still see it at WDW. Lee took a nap during the show. :-)

Then we rode BTMRR again - it was running. As we got off, we noticed they were boarding the Columbia, which Lee and I didn't remember ever riding, so we got on board. Our Captain kept up a pretty entertaining running dialogue with lots of jokes and bad puns - he told us the little Indian boy's name was Awatha, and asked us to all say "Hi Awatha" as we passed by...Our first mate, Hawkeye, kept a sharp lookout, but he was neither very "hawkeyed", nor "sharp", and needed a lot of help from us. ;-)

The Columbia is a replica of a real sailing ship, and below deck is set up like the crew's actual living quarters. Sailors must have been really small in those days, because all of the bunks were *tiny*.

As we went by the waterfalls, we noticed a cat over on the old mine train track - just hanging out sniffing different things. Judy was concerned whether anyone knew the cat was there and asked one of the Cast Members on the ship, but he said it was just one of the Disneyland cats, and that they were all over - they keep down the rodent population.

It was getting close to time to meet for dinner, so we relaxed and spent some time listening to the Bayou Brass Band, and then went to the Club 33 door to meet the other three, who were right on time.

Judy had been told to arrive 15 minutes early for our 5:30 reservation, but she rang the doorbell and no one answered. Lee finally asked next door at the Blue Bayou and they said that yes, they always tell people to show up early, but they never answer the door until 5:30, so people are always bugging the hostesses at the Blue Bayou about it. :-) So we waited some more...(From left to right: Judy, Laura, Dave, Paulette, Don)

The door buzzed fairly promptly at 5:30, and we were the first ones inside. Judy and Lee took the stairs, but Don, Dave, Paulette and I rode the old-fashioned elevator - it's pretty tiny, though.

We were seated at our table upstairs - we were the first ones in the restaurant that night! It was so quiet that it was a bit eerie and we were whispering to each other. The table was beautifully set with linen tablecloth and napkins, *real* silverware, and a Club 33 plate at each place setting. But they took the Club 33 plate away first thing, and also took away our wine glasses...for a while we were wondering just how much they were going to take away, and if we might end up eating with our fingers... :-)

Anastasia soon arrived and filled our water glasses with bottled water - she made sure they were never empty all night. Lee kidded her about her name - and asked her whether with a name like that Disneyland casting immediately told her that she would be working at Club 33. :-)

Our waiter, Steve, arrived, and took our drink orders. Drinking alcohol inside Disneyland, woo hoo! :-) "Steve" seemed like such a plain name compared to Anastasia, so we called him Stefan instead.

Don left the table for a while, and Anastasia was right there to refold his napkin and lay it on his chair. We gave him a bad time about that.

Our drinks arrived, and we toasted to Club 33, and to Judy for giving us the opportunity to experience it.

Judy had ordered iced tea, and Paulette served her the packet of Equal with the sugar cube tongs - the tongs were stuck in with the Equal packets - hey, we were in a classy place, right? It wasn't until later that we discovered the sugar cubes... :-)

Stefan brought our menus and told us what the specials were. He said the house specialty was the Chateaubriand - but none of us ordered that. :-)

Dave, Lee and I all had one of the specials - herb-crusted sea bass on angelhair pasta with a creamy pesto sauce. Judy had the other special, roast pork tenderloin with raspberry sauce, and Don and Paulette both had the filet mignon - we were laughing at Paulette because she wanted it *rare* - practically still mooing! I think the word she used when Steve asked how she wanted it was "screaming". :-)

After we ordered, rolls magically appeared on our bread plates - no passing a basket around and picking out a roll that one of your dinner companions might actually have touched...ewwww! :-)

Most of us ordered soup as an appetizer - lobster bisque for Paulette, Dave, and Lee, French Onion for me and Judy, and Don had the house salad (which looked excellent). The onion soup was very good, but Lee and Dave said the lobster bisque was a bit too creamy.

Stefan had to bring Judy a new soup spoon because he had dribbled soup on hers as he carried it out - oh horrors! :-)

Then our entrees arrived - beautifully presented. We made Lee take a picture of each of the 3 dinners. :-) I thought the sea bass was quite good, but Lee got about halfway through his and said suddenly it just didn't taste good to him. Hmmm. Everyone else enjoyed their meals, too.

We didn't have dessert - the other 4 were going to the Fantasmic dessert buffet later, and Lee and I weren't that hungry. We saw the dessert cart, though - it looked pretty incredible, especially that chocolate truffle cake...

I don't remember specifically what our dinner conversation was, but we were having a lot of fun, and Dave and Lee were especially witty. It was a very enjoyable time. The restaurant had filled up completely, and it was fairly noisy.

The big attraction after dinner was much hilarity over the "hidden mickeys" that the plate and wine/water glass impressions had made in the table cloth. We also had to get Stefan to take pictures of the 6 of us, and we had to pose Tigger with Club 33 napkins and a wine glass.

But I think our chief entertainment was the bathrooms...Paulette went to the ladies room and came back laughing and told us we had to go see it and take a picture of the toilet - it's like a throne! So here it is. And then Paulette and Don took Dave's video camera to shoot footage in both the men's and ladies' rooms. Yes, we were really silly. You could tell the staff was used to stuff like this, though - they just smiled.

Judy got a Club 33 watch which is very nice - the *box* itself is quite impressive! And on the way out we checked out the crystal phone booth with a rather impressive old-style phone, and took some more pictures.

On the way out we told one of the Cast Members that we were going to be posting a report on the Internet, and he gave us his email address. Then he called the elevator up for us, and we took a picture of him ushering Don into the elevator. See? Here you are, in living color on the Internet! :-)

Don, Dave, and Paulette rode the elevator down, and we made our exit from Club 33, back into the world of Disneyland. Lee and I were going to hit the road, and the others had reservations later for the Fantasmic dessert buffet - Judy had gotten in line at 6:30 that morning to get reservations for them!

We exchanged hugs with Judy and said our goodbyes, and told her again how very much we'd enjoyed our day with her, as well as the opportunity to experience Club 33. And we had fun meeting Don, Dave and Paulette, too!

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Text and photographs copyright © 1998, by Laura Gilbreath. Feel free to link to this document, but you may not redistribute it in any form without the express written consent of the copyright holder.

Laura Gilbreath, lgil@cts.com
Last updated 4/29/98