Sunday, August 25, 2013

Celebrating my 33rd birthday at Club 33

Hold on. Didn't I already celebrate my 33rd birthday at Disneyland already? Yes, yes I did, and you read all about it here. But... thanks to a very generous move by a Club 33 member, they offered to make a reservation for me and a bunch of my friends to celebrate!

August 25th was the first weekend where everyone's passes were valid again, so that's the date I picked. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon with temperatures in the 80s and beautiful blue skies. At least that's what we were thinking when we got out of the car. As soon as we started walking around and standing in the sun, we realized that being in dress clothes was going to be HOT! 

At the Main Gate to Disneyland, we noticed they were letting people in through the center instead of the turnstiles. That's new to us, so we waited in just a little bit longer line to go through there. First stop, Air Conditioning! We walked over to the Disney Gallery to look at the art work and cool down a little bit.

Of course we headed back to T's favorite ride, Winnie the Pooh. It's only a 10 minute wait today and it always makes us smile.

I think Theresa said something like "Can we go ride Winnie the Pooh so I can get a treat afterwards?" Something like that. 

So yes, even though we're going to be eating a really rich meal in an hour, Theresa still wanted to get a sweet treat. She surprised me though and got a pineapple spear instead of her usual chocolate and caramel covered marshmallows. Her verdict? Too much chocolate! Next time she's getting her usual. 

At 6:20pm, all our friends met us at the entrance and the excitement was running high. 

 Each of us posed in front of the door for our own special picture.

Finally at 6:30pm it was time to press the magic button. I asked who wanted to be the one to press it and Gene jumped at the chance! After a few seconds, a cast member came to the door, asked our name on the reservation, and invited us in to the lobby. 

The elevator can only hold a few people at a time, so the group split up to head to the second level.

On the way in, we looked through the cabinet with all the Club 33 goodies. 

And they even have the Club 33 Mickey Ears in stock!

We were shown to our table in the main dining room and given our menus.

The table was set with these special Club 33 plates along with a white napkin in a very fancy fold.

Our waiter came around taking drink orders plus asking all those of us with dark pants if we'd prefer a black napkin instead. Fancy.

In case you were wondering about the plates, they're exclusive to Club 33.

We had a great time swapping stories and talking about how lucky we were to be here.

Someone must have told them we were celebrating my birthday, because not long after we sat down, I was brought this button. They even specified it was from Club 33!

Time to eat! The chef started us with an amuse-bouche, a palate cleanser that would prepare us for the rest of the meal. You're supposed to eat the entire thing in one bite if you can to properly combine the flavors. Looks interesting. What is it?
Our server told us it was a spicy pineapple with roasted lobster (and no I didn't mix those two up, I had her repeat it twice) with a pea shoot and crisp potato. To accompany it was pineapple juice infused with guava.
Aww. I do not eat seafood at all! No fish, lobster, crab, shrimp or anything that comes from the water...
But... I figured I would go ahead and try it this time. It didn't tasty fishy at all. Instead I got a strong smoky flavor with a little bit of spice. I did enjoy the juice. Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits.

For an appetizer, I ordered the $32 Squab Breast Country Hickory Pate. It was described as coming with a Comice Pear Compote, Trail Mix “Soil”, Rhubarb Emulsion, Cornichon Relish, and Shaved Potato. It was really tiny but that was a good thing. The flavors were very strong. I had never had a pate before and I can't say I'm a fan of the texture. It did taste very strongly of hickory and the mix of items below it had an interesting flavor and texture.

For my entree, I chose the American Kobe Hanger Steak with a Mine Shaft Blue Cheese Fritter, Yukon Gold Potato Puree, Chanterelle Mushroom & Buttered Corn Ragout. I asked for it rare, and they brought it out mooing. Perfect! I certainly do enjoy a tasty sauce with a steak, and the Buttered Corn was delicious.

We had spent a good 2:15 minutes here up to this point and it was time to go out on the balcony to experience Fantasmic! We headed out to the balcony at 8:45 and got the best view we could.

Looking over all the people below.

The views of Fantasmic from the balcony of Club 33 are fairly obstructed, but still it was fun to be out there with all my friends experiencing it.

Before dessert we gathered on the balcony to take another group photo.

And then I took photos of each group.

Time for dessert! They brought me out a special Mickey Mouse chocolate treat. Mmm.

Three and a half hours after we arrived, the bill came along with mints for everyone. Definitely one of the more expensive meals I've had at Disneyland.

After our meal our server Jeff, who has worked for the club for 30 years, gave us a twenty minute tour. We started by hearing the history of the club as well as the future plans for expansion.

The harpsichord Lillian Disney commissioned for use in the club. Jeff told us lots of little kids have "performed" for the entire restaurant, but they've also had some real musicians like Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, and Elton John play as well.

A table used in the movie Mary Poppins.

We finished our tour in the rumored soon to be gone Trophy Room. This is the room that comes to my mind first when I think of Club 33.

It's the room that has the microphones in the chandeliers and the animatronic vulture that was designed to talk to guests. It was never implemented, but it's still one of the great stories everyone knows about the club.

In the end, we stayed over 4 hours inside the club talking, eating, and exploring. We had a fantastic time spending the evening together and it was a huge treat for everyone to get to go.
We owe a great big Thank You to the Club 33 member who made us the reservation. Thank you! What an awesome experience it was to celebrate my 33rd birthday at Club 33!

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