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By David Grundler, Past Club 33 Winner
In honor of TheMouseForLess’ contest for reservations to the exclusive Club 33 at Disneyland, we give you this review of the experience from one of Magically Speaking’s past winners of this coveted prize.
On our recent trip to Disneyland, I had the opportunity to treat my wife and parents to a fabulous dinner at Club 33. My twin sister accompanied us on our trip, and offered to watch our kids that evening so that we could have a nice “adult” evening out. I had intentionally asked for a reservation as late as possible with the hopes that my kids would sleep most of the time. Unfortunately they did not, but they were angels nonetheless. Dinner was scheduled at 8:00, and it seemed like time was standing still. Days typically go buy quickly in the Happiest Place on Earth, except for when you are waiting to dine at Club 33.
After a hectic day in the park that involved annual pass processing for my son (standing in that line with a three-year-old boy that cannot sit still, and then explaining to him that we were not in line for a ride. Not fun!), it was finally time to get ready for dinner. I had asked my parents and wife to bring something semi-formal out of respect for the club, and because it would be fun. We left our room at the Disneyland Hotel at 7:15, and we arrived at the infamous green door at 7:45. I had planned extra time to cope with the crazy lines at the bag check due to the Halloween party at Disney’s California Adventure, but it turned out to be not so bad.
At 7:45, I lifted the little brass plate and pushed the buzzer with much excitement, only to have them tell me that they were not ready for us yet. We were asked to come back in fifteen minutes, so we browsed through the shops in New Orleans Square. Apparently, park guests are not used to seeing other guests wearing slacks and a blazer. I had to answer, “No, I do not work here” a few times. Note to those who may be reading this, cast members wear nametags; even the executives.
When 8:00 rolled around, I was back on that buzzer like an anxious five-year-old on Christmas presents. We were escorted inside, but we still had to wait as our table was not quite ready. Once on the other side of the green door, it is amazing how quiet it is. The hustle and bustle and the noise that was just a few feet away were instantly imperceptible once that door shut. We engaged in some idle conversation with the hostess and a couple of other waiting parties as we checked out the lobby. After what seemed like forever, but in reality was about five minutes, the staff upstairs called down for us. The rest of my party decided to take the lift, but I chose to take the stairs.
Once upstairs, we were seated in the corner of the main dining room, next to the door to the balcony. The door was open for most of the evening and we enjoyed the music from New Orleans Square, as well as the Fantasmic! score. Alistair introduced himself as our server for the evening, and explained the menu to us. Let me say now that Alistair provided us with excellent service. In fact, I cannot remember better service anywhere. After examining the menu and ordering some alcoholic libations (what a wonderful treat it is to have a cocktail while in Disneyland), we decided on the Vintner Prix Fixe meal.
Prior to bringing out our first course, we were treated to a little finger food compliments of the chef. I didn’t quite catch what it was, but I did make out “dill cake.” Whatever it was, it was pretty tasty. Our first course was Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing and Olive Tepanade. Quite tasty as far as salads go. Once we were finished, out came our second course, which was definitely the best of the five: Seared Rare Ahi over Lump Crab and a Shiitake Emulsion. I cannot say enough about how fantastic this was. Everyone in our group agreed that this was simply fantastic.
Our third course followed, and was comprised of a Grilled Hanger Steak cooked to order, Pomme Frites, and a Rosemary Hollandaise Sauce. This was excellent, but I would rather have had a second round of the second course. The bar was set so high in round two, it would be nearly impossible to surpass.
The fourth course was a Regional Artisan Cheese plate with fresh peach slices, and for dessert, California Strawberry Tart with Mascarpone and Champagne Sorbet. Dessert was also beyond expectation. Simply divine!
After dessert, we took our time enjoying our drinks and soaking in the atmosphere. We took one last look around, and headed on out for a late night ride on the Haunted Mansion Holiday in semi-formal attire, and then back to the hotel for the evening. I had pretty high expectations for dinner before arriving at Club 33, and those expectations were exceeded in every way. I cannot say enough about the food and the club staff. I would also like to extend the most heartfelt thank you to our host who made the evening possible.