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EDITOR: Andrea Kirk
2 THINGS I'VE NEVER DONE AT DISNEYLAND UNTIL NOW: CLUB 33 AND LILLY BELLE PRESIDENTIAL TRAIN CAR
By Abby Abanes
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When it comes to Disneyland, I've been there my fair share. I've done, been on and seen most of, if not all the attractions Disneyland has had to offer; however, on one Sunday in December, I was able to experience two things that are usually not available to the general public. The first, of course, was Club 33, a members-only restaurant that is in New Orleans Square. Thankfully, one of the Assistant Organizers of my dining group, Pleasure Palate, was a member and was able to bring a group of us in for lunch. Believe me, it wasn't free, but it was worth it and the cost covered the meal plus park hopper tickets for both Disneyland and California Adventure.
Club 33 runs completely separate from the Disneyland Park and in fact, you've probably walked past it a number of times and not have even known what was behind the plain blue door unless you were told. Located in New Orleans Square, look for a doorway with an oval black, silver and blue "33" address plate. Once there, look to the left of the door for a silver voice box. Lift the handle, speak and if you have the reservations, the door will magically open to you.
Once inside, you have the choice of an elevator or stairway to make your way to the second floor.
When you've stepped onto the second floor, you will be in the Gallery where the centerpiece is an oak telephone booth with beveled lead glass panels that was in the Disney movie, "The Happiest Millionare."
To your right is the Disney Room, one of two smaller dining rooms inside Club 33. It's also known as the Trophy Room because when Walt was still alive, that's where he'd put hunting trophies, native spears, plumes, stuffed animal heads and other similar items that he'd get as gifts. You can see pictures of what the Trophy Room used to look like by clicking here. Current photos are below including an animatronic California turkey vulture which was designed to talk to guests while they dined. The actor, hidden in the sound room would control the vulture and listen to guests' conversations through microphones that used to be hidden in the dining room lamp fixtures. Unfortunately, the vulture is now silent.
Around the corner from the Gallery is Lounge Alley, the hallway that leads to the Main Dining Room and includes the bar and the buffet area for both dining rooms.
Apparently, the Main Dining Room had undergone a revamping, replacing lighter woods panels and furniture with darker woods. It was also nicely decorated for the holidays with fresh flowers and a Christmas tree while table settings had black, white and gold china with the Club 33 logo stamp.
So when it comes to lunch at Club 33, each guests chooses an entree and are served a complimentary glass of champagne or apple cider, which is available just for the holidays. After making our choice, we were directed to start our meal with all-you-can eat soup, bread and cold appetizers. Also throughout the meal, Mickey and Pluto would pop in to pose for photos with guests and this only happens on Sundays.
Once we've had our fill of our starters, our entrees started arriving. Although there were 6 different entree choices on the menu, our group stuck with three of them. My choice was the Pan Seared Chateaubriand with Parsnip Potato Puree and Cabernet Demi-Glace along with Baby Tomato Shallot Salad and Blue Lake Beans. It was cooked just right and was certainly a generous serving.
A few went for the New Zealand Grouper with Senate Bean Ragout and Hickory Tomato finished with Pancetta Bacon Gremolata.
The rest ordered Colorado Lamb Chops with Creamy Corn Polenta and a Gorgonzola Reduction along with Steamed Broccolini and Baby Carrots.
Afterwards, it was time for the Dessert Station where some people actually got one of each. I stayed with just five. The Coconut Macaroon Cookies were my absolutely favorite and I was almost tempted to stuff a few handfuls in my purse, but I somehow restrained myself.
At the end of each meal, guests used to be presented with personally engraved match books. When No Smoking came into play, the match books were replaced with miniature notebooks. Unfortunately, the machine that used to do all the engraving hadn't been working for awhile, but it was still a nice memento of our time at Club 33.
Throughout Club 33, there were also prints from Disney artists as well as beautiful furniture. Fresh flowers also abound.
I thought it couldn't get any better. After all, dining at Club 33 is an uncommon thing in itself, but it actually got even better. Simply, we were able to get a ride on the Lilly Belle Presidential Train Car. The Lilly Belle is a private railway car that was originally used for Disney VIP guests. Click here to read the entire history of how the Lilly Belle came to be and why Emperor Hirohito and his wife were the first to ride the Lilly Belle. See a hidden Mickey and find out how to get your own ride on the Lilly Belle here. For now, I hope you enjoy the photos below. First, here are exterior shots.
Check out these interior photos.
Finally, passengers could also get a special ticket memento that VIP guests originally had to use to get access to the Lilly Belle.
By the way, 2 more additional things I've never done at Disneyland was visit the California Adventure Park and that being the case, this was my first time seeing the World of Color Water Show. Check and check.
Finally, Disneyland is definitely the place to be for the holidays. Take a look at all the lights below.
Overall, I had a fantastic time. Between Club 33, the Lilly Belle as well as my other experiences, I truly was in a Magical Kingdom and thanks so much to DJ for everything he did and how he put it all together! Also, I'd like to wish everyone Happy Holidays! :-D
1313 S. Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 90803
Club 33 www.disneylandclub33.com (unofficial website)
If you’d like to read more about my tasty travels around town, click here
or if you’d like to join my dining group, Pleasure Palate, click here!
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