This week Disney made the official announcement to Club 33 members that the exclusive restaurant located in New Orleans Square will be closing for a big expansion lasting several months. Club 33 as it has been known for decades will forever cease to exist as of January 6, 2014. The last available day for reservations for Club 33’s dining areas will be January 5, 2014.
In a letter to members, Disneyland Resort president Michael Colglazier outlined some of the details behind the upcoming changes, though the rumored specific changes to Club 33 itself were not addressed.
After considerable planning and coordination, we’re pleased to let you know that soon we will begin the much-anticipated expansion of Club 33!
Award-winning Imagineer Kim Irvine is leading the expansion efforts, working from Walt’s original vision for the Club, and building on the artistic foundations laid by such Disney Legends as Dorothea Redmond and Emile Kuri. Kim and her team, with creative input from throughout Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and Walt Disney Imagineering, have been working diligently to embrace both the past and the future in the design elements of this expansion.
Though not specifically mentioned in the letter, staff at Club 33 has been of some of the changes that will be taking place, having talked with Kim Irvine already.
The iconic entrance and foyer of Club 33 is also said to be moving to Disneyland’s quiet Court of Angels, also relocating the Parisian elevator Walt Disney had his Imagineers painstakingly recreate after seeing one in France. (He tried to purchase it from the original owners, but they weren’t willing to sell it.)
The famous Trophy Room will become a backstage area, as the restaurant is in desperate need of its own kitchen, having shared it alongside the Blue Bayou deep within New Orleans Square for many years.
In fact, much of the current Club 33 will be changing, leaving only the main dining room resembling the way it has been.
Reaching out beyond Club 33’s current balcony boundaries will be a new upstairs lounge area, which may include jazz performances. Some scaffolding will be erected in regular guest areas in New Orleans Square during much of the expansion project.
Many of the service staff at Club 33 will be temporarily reassigned to the Carthay Circle restaurant at Disney California Adventure during the transition, which is expected to be completed some time during the summer of 2014.
In the meantime, Club 33 members will have opportunities to preview the upcoming changes as well as enjoy other experiences, also outlined in Colglazier’s letter to members.
From now until the grand opening, we are planning design updates, tastings, menu concept presentations, and other special events designed especially with you in mind. These exclusive, Club Members-only events will kick off with a special evening with Kim Irvine who will be able to share, in her own words, the incredible enhancements that are part of this expansion.
A preview center will open to Club Members on September 9 featuring renderings and early details of the upcoming expansion. During the expansion process, members will also be allowed access to Carthay Circle Restaurant dining along with other special occasions.
I took the photos above during a recent visit to Club 33, knowing it would be my last before the major renovations take place. As its closing date draws closer, expect a more in-depth look at the classic Club 33.