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Disney through the eyes of teens
|Adrienne Krock, editor|
At 33 Royal Street in New Orleans Square in Disneyland, there is an exclusive club; one that many of us can only gaze up at with wonder, wishing we could be inside. We can only envy those who have seen the plush furniture, original artwork and crystal chandeliers that were handcrafted by those who created the chandeliers shining in the Los Angeles Music Center. We are amazed by those who are merely on the two to three- year waiting list! Even more amazing are those members who have personal key- cards to enter. That place is Club 33.
Since 1967, Club 33 has been a part of New Orleans Square. Walt had originally planned it to entertain friends and business associates, but passed away before Club 33 opened. Disneyland had 47 park sponsors at the time, and they took a vote. Thirty-three of them wanted to make it a private club. Rumor has it, that is how the club was named. Its street number is 33, but it got its address after it got its name.
The cost for individual membership is $2000 per year, with a $7500 initiation fee. Club 33 is the only place in Disneyland Park that offers alcoholic beverages. If you are a member, you and your guests get into Disneyland for free as long as you eat lunch or dinner at the Club. It costs about $43 to eat at the luncheon buffet, though I hear it is well worth it.
The extremely exclusive club is open only to members and their guests; my friend Sarah and her family were recently invited by a member to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of Sarah's parents. After the lunch, Sarah and I got together to talk about her experience from a teenager's point of view.
Sarah's first impression upon entering the dining room was, "Wow." She said, "I can't even describe to you how beautiful it is in there. I have never been so blown away."
A few things stand out in her memory of that afternoon. Things such as the Italian water poured from bottles. "I can't drink tap water anymore!" she said with a smile. Her glass was never less than half full. As soon as she took a few sips, a server came and refilled her glass. Whenever she left her table, a server folded her napkin neatly for her, just like it was when she first walked in.
The food was wonderful "Whatever you wanted, they would make." One little boy wanted chicken nuggets instead of fish or pork chops, so the cook made him chicken nuggets. There was rice, potatoes, meats, cheeses, a great pasta bar and a huge bread basket.
And what about dessert? Sarah said they had éclairs shaped like Mickey, fresh fruit & chocolate fondue, cheesecake "which was to die for," and much more. "Everything had something to do with Mickey Mouse." The dessert was about the only thing that was Mickey- themed, though. We are guessing that is because it is a nice, more serious place. They also had a huge martini list, but Sarah didn't pay much attention to that.
So what was the favorite part of the experience for Sarah's 6-year-old sister, Leanne? "She would drink her water so they would come fill it up, and the thing about folding the napkins," Sarah said. For a first grader, it was really just another fancy restaurant.
"The food was a bit exotic for her. She'll stick with hamburgers and hot dogs. She had a couple helpings of dessert, though." Sarah said that the food at first did not seem really teenager-friendly, until she found the pasta bar.
The food was not the only cool thing about Club 33. Sarah said that just being there was great. "It was totally amazing, there are chandeliers, and the light is just beautiful. There are windows everywhere! There are balconies that go around that you can go out on, and you see everything. You see the pretty stuff." Having trouble describing everything, Sarah kept going back to, "wow"!
What about the inside? "It was very 'antique-y.' All the waitresses wore white aprons with maid's skirts, [and the] waiters wore suits with tails. It was very Victorian, with pink roses on the wallpaper. That was cool." Sarah said she felt comfortable at the Club. They went at lunch time, so everyone was dressed casually. However, "It's a little intimidating when people come around to pour your drink and don't talk to you. You say thank you and they just kind of look at you." This isn't because they are rude at Club 33, it's just because that's how really nice restaurants are. Have you ever watched an old movie where two people go into an elegant restaurant? That's how it is in the movies, and that's how it is at the Club. There weren't many teenagers like my friend there, but there were lots of babies.
Sarah also loved the bathrooms. "The toilets were like thrones!" (shown above) They were big and fancy. I found it a little funny when I heard that because it's not a remark you hear everyday. Then I saw a picture and decided that the bathrooms really were quite cool. Another thing Sarah really liked was the crystal phone booth and antique phone. "That was beautiful," she said.
When she went back to school, Sarah had to tell her friends about her adventure. Even though not too many of them are Disney freaks, they were impressed.
It sure sounds like Club 33 is an amazing place to go. I was so fascinated by her story, and I can only imagine what it must have been like to actually spend an afternoon at the Club. "It definitely changed New Orleans Square for me," said Sarah. "It made me spoiled."
: The first Disney Store opened in March of 1987 in Glendale, right here in California.
Photos provided by Kevin Yee and Adrienne Krock
I am 13 years old, and a typical junior high student. I live with my mom, dad, and little brother. My family and I have annual passes to Disneyland so we go quite often. I love school, and science has always been a favorite subject of mine. I am in band and hope to be involved in music for the rest of my life.
Right now, my career goal is to become a deejay. In my mind, that is the coolest job in the world! My hobbies include: listening to and playing music, reading, writing, messing around on the computer and hanging out at Disneyland. We have seven cats (four of them found us), a black Labrador, and I have a goldfish.
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