Monday, July 06, 2009

Club 33

The walk is shorter than I think it will be, and we arrive at the Club 33 entrance right at 2:00. Okay, maybe 2:01.

In our two days in the parks at Disneyland, we’ve walked by this door or at least looked its direction at least a dozen times. Now, at last, it’s our time to push the button. We’re the lucky guests who get to enter this time!

I step over and swing open the little brass door on the panel beneath the speaker mounted in the door frame. (Actually, the upper one – there’s a second identical speaker box mounted lower for those with disabilities.) With quite a bit of excitement, I push the red button.

Nothing happens.

No voice comes from the speaker. There’s no audible buzz, or chime, or anything else. No fanfares of trumpets welcoming us. Niente. This I wasn’t expecting.

We wait a minute, perplexed, and then I push the little red button again. Still nothing. I go to the lower speaker box and push its button. No better.

Then the door opens, and a female cast member takes my name, and then tells us that another family just arrived before us. She’ll be back with us once they are upstairs. Okay.

Club 33, as I recall, is mostly on the second floor, with only a small reception lobby behind this door on ground level. I’d read that when you check in, you enter the lobby while the reception CM telephones the maitre d’ upstairs to confirm that a table is ready for you. Only with that confirmation is your party sent upstairs.

So we cool our heels outside the door for a couple of minutes. My mom has pulled a lacy jacket out of somewhere to add to her outfit. I get a picture of her and Becky in front of the “33” sign.

Shortly thereafter, the door opens again, and we are invited in. Yay! I imagine the jealous looks of hundreds of average, non-Club 33-invited parkgoers on Royal Street burning into my back as my family and I pass into the reception foyer.

It looks just like the pictures I’ve seen online ( Dark wood, Victorian styling, mirrored wall on the left, bust in the corner, stairs with brass handrails, French lift in the middle, reception desk at the right. Elegance everywhere.

The cast member informs us that our table is ready for us, so we can go right upstairs with no delay. That doesn’t leave us any time to really look around and enjoy being in the foyer, but I’m sure greater pleasures await us upstairs. My mom and I head for the French lift – I’d want to try it even if my asthma wasn’t a factor! It’s not very roomy. Four skinny people could maybe ride it at the same time.

While the majority of our group climbs the stairs, the cast member reaches into the lift, pushes the second floor button, and closes the inner and outer doors by hand. The lift starts up immediately when the doors are closed.

It’s not the faster elevator – those taking the stairs beat us to the second floor – but it does the job. The maitre d’ greets us and shows us into the adjoining room straight ahead. I recognized it as the Trophy Room, one of the two dining rooms (along with the Main Dining Room) at Club 33.

There’s a large round table with ten place settings waiting for us in the corner. As we take our seats we feel surrounded by luxury. The Trophy Room is not large – in fact, there are only three tables set up in here, another large round one like ours and then a long rectangular one with seating for fourteen which is currently unoccupied. The walls are dark wood, with a wealth of historic pictures on the walls. We could spend an hour just looking at everything in this room alone.

A full place setting, with custom Club 33 china, silverware, crystal goblet, and folded linen napkin is at every place. We’re given a large single-page menu for our entrĂ©e selections – appetizers and desserts are on a buffet for lunch. Our assistant server fills our water glasses with chilled water from a bottle.

We’re actually here!

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