Just a week after officially announcing a major expansion to the exclusive Club 33, Disneyland has revealed the details of what will be changing – not only within the restaurant, but also to the surrounding guest areas.
Beginning this week, Club 33 members have been given access to a preview center to learn about what will be changing when this historic establishment closes for roughly six months beginning January 2014. The details include sweeping changes to much of the Club’s layout and offerings as well as confirm the feared changes to classic areas of New Orleans Square.
Some of the details first emerged at DisneyDose.com, followed by even more sent to me from a Club 33 member.
Here’s an outline of the upcoming expansion:
The Christmas store L’Ornement Magique will become the new Club 33 entrance, opening into the Court of Angels behind it. The existing curved staircase will remain, leading Club 33 patrons up and inside. A glass ADA-approved elevator will be installed as well.
Opaque glass panels will wall off the Court of Angels from New Orleans Square streets – and from park guests passing by. The courtyard will become a Club 33 waiting area with tables and chairs. No roof or covering will be added over the courtyard, leaving it open as it is now.
The famous green door that has marked the entrance of Club 33 for decades will remain, but will no longer be in use for guests entering the restaurant.
Inside Club 33, the Trophy Room will become a backstage area. No new dining area will be created in its place, leaving the main dining room, which will remain relatively unchanged.
Club 33 will be receiving a huge new kitchen, one of the main motivations for the expansion, renovations, and replacement of the Trophy Room.
Existing Club 33 treasures, such as the “Happiest Millionaire” phone booth and “Mary Poppins” table will be relocated to new locations inside.
The existing dining room will be receiving new chairs and china, auctioning off the old items to members. It is expected to have approximately the same number of seats.
The fireplace will be removed from the dining room and a new window will be added.
A new lounge will be built featuring a skylight and bar. It will be open to all membership levels, but operated in a similar manner as 1901 at Disney California Adventure, accessible only to present members and their guests. The lounge may feature a few tables to reserve for full dining.
The design of the new lounge is inspired by the look of Tiana’s Palace in “The Princess and the Frog” in a similar art nouveau style. Salon Nouveau will be its official name, but it will likely be casually referred to simply as the Club 33 lounge, bar, or jazz club. The artwork shown in the preview center is said to feature a look for the lounge that is quite stunning.
Balconies will remain on the dining room, but the lounge will not have balcony access.
Club 33 menus will be receiving big changes, possibly adding breakfast depending on demand. The buffet is being removed from lunch service, said to have been grandfathered in under old buffet rules, which now require permanent buffet setups rather than the portable tables that have been in use.
Club 33 bathrooms will be relocated, though the famous “thrones” will remain.
Construction is expected to move rapidly, with a high budget invested to ensure the Club reopens on time. Hard hat tours may be available to members, pending approval from Disney’s legal department.
During the expansion, Club 33 merchandise will still be available to members at one of the Grand Californian shops. Disney is also working on setting up a website to offer real-time membership updates, planning to open up memberships after the Club renovation is complete, but will still keep the total number of members relatively low.
The whole project is expected to be complete in summer 2014, with work beginning in January 2014. Fans who want to see the gracefully decorated Court of Angels will need to head to Disneyland before the end of the year to have one last look before it’s hidden behind glass walls, available only to those with access to one of the park’s most exclusive areas.