October 31, 2010

Club 33

Club 33 is a relief from the bustle at Disneyland, but accessible only by members (individuals or corporate) or guests of members. It's a high price to be a member, involving an initial fee ($10K+, I hear) and maintenance in the form of annual dues running into the thousands, so if you have a chance to go, take it!

An invitation to Club 33 includes a one-day park hopper ticket but requires you to dine at the restaurant that day (or the member will be charged for your ticket). The rules, given to you when you pick up your admission tickets, stipulate a minimum dining charge of a one-day one-park ticket per person ($76), but the menu states a minimum of $72. Either way, you will go well over $100 per person (with drinks) so it doesn't really make much of a difference.

It's been a long time since I've been an Annual Pass holder so I made the most of my day and spent nearly 14 hours at Disneyland/California Adventure. If you decide to do the same, you should mind the dress code and prepare accordingly. For dinner, the rules suggest collared shirts and trousers for the men, and informal dresses or pants paired with a blouse for women. While I witnessed people in suits and cocktail attire, there were also a handful in jeans and short-sleeved collared shirts. I decided to wear a simple slip dress that could go from day to night and had no problems getting in.

I did not have the chance to ring the doorbell like so many people here, probably because I had the first reservation slot of the night. The receptionist popped out and asked for all the 5:30-people and admitted them accord
ingly. The lobby on the first floor is a small room, where the receptionist takes your coat. Take the French lift to the second floor where the two dining rooms are. There's the formal dining room and a trophy room, both with their pros. The dining room has a view over New Orleans Square and a larger space. You can also access the balconies from here. The trophy room has more interesting decorations. Be sure to ask for a tour or just take the time to walk around. The overall space of the restaurant is small so be sure to avoid the busy waiters/waitresses/bussers.

Service, at all Disneyland restaurants, is pretty impeccable and it's no different at Club 33. The glasses never ran empty, the tables were cleared promptly (but you were never rushed), napkins were folded every time you got up, and the utensils were changed accordingly between courses.

For dinner, you had a choice of the Vintner tasting or some a
la carte entrees and appetizers. I did the 5-course Vintner, which changes seasonally, and at that time was "Celebrating the World of Color":

#1 Forest mushroom vol-au-vent, spiced mango cream: I think this was my favorite dish of the night. The flavors of the mushrooms were strong but not overwhelming and the puff pastry provided an excellent flaky foundation.

Mushroom vol au vent

#2 Rock lobster, tree ripened peach risotto, charred asparagus: The risotto was rich and dense with obvious peach flavors. Asparagus wasn't charred per se but it was a nice way to get in your vegetables for the day. The lobster portion was generous and solid.

Rock lobster with peach risotto

#3 Braised Chateaubriand medallions, Maui onion consomme: Sadly, my entree fell short of expectations. It was a little on the dry side and also, I was getting quite full at this point.

Chateaubriand medallions

#4 Cheese: There was a platter of three with accompanying toppings. My favorite was the brie with honey.

#5 I swapped out the lemon raspberry gateau for the chocolate trio (lava cake, hazelnut mousse, pot au creme): The chocolate was very, very rich and though dessert is my favorite course of any meal, I couldn't eat very much of it because I was bellyaching at this point. My choice of the three was definitely the chocolate hazelnut mousse, which was disguised as a bundt cake. The pot-au-creme had a strong espresso flavor and the lava cake was incredibly dense. Perfect for a chocolate lover.

I ended up staying around 2.5 hours at Club 33; I really wanted to watch Fantasmic from the balcony but the trees block most of the view. Overall, the dinner was memorable and I would love to come back and try the lunch buffet.

Club 33 (unofficial website)
1400 S Disneyland Drive
2nd Floor
Anaheim, CA 92802