Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bucket List: Club 33

In my last post, I mentioned that my 2013 mantra was to "Get it Done", referring to all the things I've wanted to do but, for whatever reason (mostly laziness), have made excuses not to do. This concept is something that I've been working on for months, even during last year while making good on 2012's mantra of "Make it Happen." A big part of my "Get it Done" plan is to work on my Bucket List.

In case you've been living in a well in the ground, a bucket list is a list of all the things you want to do/accomplish before you die, or (in more morbid terms) "kick the bucket." Often, a bucket list comes into play after somebody has received life altering news, such as discovering they have terminal cancer. That kind of eye opener really changes how you view the world and how you want to experience it, spurring you to go after your dreams like you've got nothing to lose.

We can all take a lesson from the people who really embrace life and live every moment to the fullest, to not take anything for granted. In that vein, I think, when it comes to bucket lists, why wait? Don't wait for tragedy to strike and give you a reason to go after what you want. Do it now and when your time comes (hopefully after a very long and fulfilling life), you won't have any regrets.

As an inaugural bucket list post, I wanted to get the ball rolling with an amazing experience I had last June. I've been absolutely remiss in my blogging, especially that it's taken me well over 6 months to report back on my incredible dinner at Club 33. (For a detailed history on Club 33, please visit this site.)

I remember hanging out with my best friend many, many years ago, Facebook stalking people (naturally), and coming across an old friend from high school who had posted pictures from her own visit to Club 33. We were blown away, realizing for the first time that plebeians such as ourselves could ever merit an entrance to the most exclusive restaurant at Disneyland. Club 33 jumped to the top of both of our bucket lists that day. For most Disney aficionados, a visit to Club 33 is the crown victory of all Disney experiences.

It was my greatest pleasure to be able to make that dream come true for myself and my best friend. I happened to have worked for a major corporation that owned a membership to Club 33 and once I discovered that exciting little piece of news, it was all I could do not to beg my boss for a reservation. (Truth be told: there was some begging.)

But you don't really care about this, do you? You just want to get to the photos of one of the most exclusive venues in all of California. (Fair warning, the following is photo-heavy, slightly out of order, and not of the greatest quality, I'm no professional photographer, but you should get a decent idea of how great Club 33 is.)

On opening day in 1955, Disneyland patrons came wearing their Sunday best, including high heels for the ladies. It was my best friend's dream to wear heels on Main St., USA just like those who came before us. Another box checked for unique Disney experiences.

It was my singular goal to ring the door bell at 33 Royal St. There was another party who arrived when we did and the hostess was gracious enough to let the other party in first, then humor us as we rang the bell. Goofy, but that's how I roll at Disneyland.

The view from our table, overlooking the River of America, and the french elevator that takes you up to the dining areas. You could also take the stairs, but I recommend the elevator, which was a replica of one Walt himself saw while on a trip to France.

A bit of the dining room and the decor, very classy.

The greatest people you'll ever meet.

As of June 2012, there were two menus: the Vintner menu, with specific courses, or an open menu that you could choose from. We all went with the Vintner menu, without the wine, and the chef even made special accommodations for my best friends, who are vegetarians. The staff at Club 33 will go out of their way to make your stay as magical as possible.

My dinner was absolutely delicious. Everything was cooked to perfection; I even willing ate seafood and liked it! I do not think you could go wrong with anything on the menu, but I really enjoyed everything that was served on the Vintner menu. I highly recommend going that route, as you get a little taste of everything.

Club 33 is the only restaurant at Disneyland that serves alcohol; having a cocktail was definitely a requisite part of the evening. We were also given complimentary shots on the house, and although none of us are big drinkers, we definitely appreciated the special gesture. Also, we decided it was prudent to have second desserts as the dessert menu is beyond decadent, it's obscene with deliciousness.

The ladies room at Club 33. I really couldn't resist taking photos in here. Nor absconding with a handful of monogrammed Club 33 hand paper towels. No shame here.

On the walls you'll find original concept art from Mary Poppins, The Happiest Millionaire, original photos featuring Walt Disney, as well as concept art for Sleeping Beauty's castle. There are also original prop pieces from the films, such as the table featuring the two vases under the castle artwork, which is from Mary Poppins, and the phone booth, which is from The Happiest Millionaire.

These are photos of the Trophy Room, a separate dining room, meant to resemble a gentleman's lounge.

Through door #1 leads to my favorite ride of all, Pirates of the Caribbean. Next time you're on the ride and are passing by the Blue Bayou restaurant, look up at the balcony to where the wicker chairs are. That door you see? It leads straight into Club 33!

After dinner, we were able to go out onto the balcony and watch Fantasmic! and the fireworks, as well as people watch. Having spent years on the ground and looking up at those balconies, wondering how I could get up there, I feel very accomplished having made it after all.

We had an amazing server, Chase, who made our night so special by bringing us Club 33 swag and tolerating our paparazzi-like tendencies (we unashamedly took photos of everything). Our night would not have been as amazing if it weren't for him!

After several hours (and trust me, we dragged it out for as long as possible), we eventually had to bid adieu to Club 33. With pretend tears, we said farewell, but not goodbye, as we will definitely be figuring out another way to once again enjoy the magic of Club 33.

(*Photos provided by myself and Kimberly Williams)

10 comments:

  1. I love everything about this! That was definitely a magical experience and huge check on my bucket list. You're the bestest pally ever and I am so thankful for the opportunity you provided for me.Thanks my bestest friend, here's to many more bucket list experiences in our futures! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great pictures the two of you took. One day your dad and I will get to go to club 33.

    Mom

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  3. Methinks your Mother is overly optimistic.

    Your main street pix in heels are great. Just like a couple of cuties from 1955. I know. I was there @ D Land in "55!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anything is possible... There are some club members who like to spread the Disney magic!
      Email me at robertL@fastframe.com

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