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Entries in New Orleans Square (6)

Tuesday
Oct012013

Club 33 Expansion

Disneyland's private "hidden" Club 33 restaurant will soon undergo major changes. To help understand the Club 33 layout and its expansion, we've created some visuals.

The design of Disneyland's New Orleans Square is elaborate, yet small. It's layout is simple, yet it's architecture is complex. The detailed land appears to be made up of dozens of buildings, yet the basic structure of the main square consists of only three main buildings, connected by enclosed bridges. A fourth building sits beyond the Railroad tracks and houses the bulk of Pirates of the Caribbean. Outside the main square sits The Haunted Mansion which is connected to it's show building, also beyond the tracks.

The diagram above shows the current Club 33 layout.

Below we see the space soon to be occupied by the jazz club expansion. Please note: That details of this space (walls, furniture, backstage areas, etc.) have not been publicly released, therefore we present only the most basic structure of the building.

Simple Expansion Summary

  • New Club 33 logo
  • The Club 33 entrance door will no longer be used.
  • Court of Angels will be sealed off on side and the other will be used as the new Club 33 entrance.
  • The glass elevator will be moved but won’t be used day-to-day.
  • A new, more-compliant elevator will be installed and accessed from within Court of Angels.
  • The Trophy Room will be closed.
  • Kitchen facilities will expand into what was the Trophy Room.
  • The main Club 33 hallway will be expanded. 
  • Restrooms will be relocated (unconfirmed).
  • The fireplace will be removed and windows will be added in its place.
  • The decor of the current Club 33 space will be redesigned with a brighter color palette.
  • New decor will be more “New Orleans” and less “Country Club”.
  • A jazz club will be added to space above the French Market and adjoining shops.
  • The jazz club will be called Salon du Nouveau.
  • Salon du Nouveau will exhibit concept art from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”.
  • The decor of Salon du Nouveau will feature dark woods, reds, and greens.
  • A skylight will be included in Salon du Nouveau.
  • A “magic” piano will be added to Salon du Nouveau. This allows a pianist at a remote site to “play” this piano.


Humor me as I share a few thoughts about some of the things we already know.

Club 33 Expansion

Expanding Club 33 is a fine idea, in my opinion. It’s not one of those expansions where they take a small, intimate room and triple its size, making the space noisy and unfriendly. The expansion will take place in a neighboring building, connected only by a hallway and a narrow bridge. One of the most charming things about the current Club 33 is its various rooms of different shapes and sizes. Adding a couple more of these rooms will be nice.

Court of Angels

Closing the Court of Angels to general park guests is a real shame. It was one of the best and most peaceful little environments in any park in the world. It had a way of making you feel that you were the first person to discover its charm. It would be nice if no private expansion took away from any public area. 

Unused Space

We often complain about unused or under-utilized space in the parks (The old Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland land, Motor Boat Cruise Lagoon, Magic Kingdom’s Adventurland Veranda and Diamond Horseshoe, Epcot’s Wonders of Life, and Walt Disney World’s abandoned River County, to name a few). The upper levels of New Orleans Square are prime real estate for fine dining. Those views need not go wasted any longer.

Exclusivity

Here’s a touchy one. I’m not a member of Club 33 and will most-likely never be one. I’d like to be one but there’s that little $25,000 fee that gets in the way. But should a private club like this be cheap? And look at the demand for membership, even at that price. May I make a prediction? If Disneyland ever opens Club 33 to the general public (which I’m sure they won’t), the same fans who cry out against exclusivity will be upset that the Club would be losing its sophistication and hidden nature.

Price

Right now, from what I understand, Club 33 memberships start at $25,000 and are maintained at a price of $11,000 every year after the the initial year.

Consider this... There are different levels of dining throughout Disney properties. This makes sense. Walt Disney World’s Victoria and Albert's Restaurant at The Grand Floridian Resort offers a drastically different meal and dining experience than the Corn Dog Wagon on Main Street. A drastic price difference can be expected. Club 33 is a step up from Cafe Orleans which is a step up from French Market which is a step up from the churro cart. 

Money Money Money

The Club 33 expansion is about money. It just is. People are lined up for years waiting to pay thousands of dollars for the opportunity to pay hundreds of dollars for quality meal in a nice place. Should money be the driving force behind creative offerings like theme parks? I don’t believe so. Should excellent environments and guest experiences come first? I’m one who believes more money will come if you do things in this order. 

What Walt Wanted

Walt wanted a place to wine-and-dine his special guests. He loved showing his park to his friends and associates. But remember... Walt couldn’t easily walk though Disneyland or dine or enjoy attractions without interruption. Park-goers generally knew who he was and often approached him for autographs and such. He enjoyed being among the people but also needed private space. 

It’s unclear, from what I can tell, exactly what Walt would have done with his club. I believe he wanted people to use it when he wasn’t using it. I believe he planned on reserving the Trophy Room for his private affairs while park guest used the other portions of the restaurant. 

Would he have advertised it? Did he want private memberships? I can’t be certain. If the unmarked entrance is any indication, I'd say it was supposed to remain somewhat secretive. I say "unmarked" because, technically, the "33" sign is an address marker, not a restaurant marker.

The Jazz Club: Part 3 of Walt’s 3-Part Plan to Wine-and-Dine

I’ve recently learned a little about Walt’s intentions for the Jazz Club Space above French Market. Supposedly, Walt planned on using what will soon become Club 33’s Jazz Club as an actual Jazz Club. His wine-and-dine plan for special guests would have included:

  1. Visit time in his private apartment above the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance.
  2. Dinning in Club 33.
  3. Live Music and cocktails in the Jazz Club.

Are Walt’s Intentions Relevant?

This 47-year-old dilemma is a tough one. 

One one hand, you might say Walt has been gone for a long time and that things have changed. You might say that since Club 33’s current purpose is so different from its original purpose, Walt’s wishes don’t apply. 

On the other hand, you could say that Walt clearly knew what he was doing and had pure motivations. 

Perhaps the best answers come about when both sides are considered.

Conclusion

It is my conclusion that the announced (and still very mysterious) Club 33 expansion is too complex to entirely dislike or entirely love.

I really like the idea of opening the upper level of the already-connected and under-utilized building next door. I love that the new space will offer a different decor. I love the introduction to more land-appropriate music 

I dislike the idea of repurposing Court of Angels. It is, however, comforting to know the Court will still exist in one form or another (hopefully it won’t be changed too dramatically). I’m saddened to see the Trophy Room go extinct. It’s a little sad to see the beautiful interiors of Club 33 take on new forms. I’m sure the new designs will be tip-top and I look forward to returning to the location.

 

Related posts:

New Fantasyland 1983
Imaaaaaagination
THEN AND NOW: Disneyland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Walt at Disneyland
Walt Disney and the Santa Maria Railroad
A Story About Disneyland Fireflies

 

Thursday
Nov102011

THEN AND NOW: Disneyland [Part 1]

Tomorrowland

New Orleans Square


Frontierland

Main Street, U.S.A.


I do love Disneyland. The Disneyland of today and the Disneyland of "then". All of us here at the blog frequented Disneyland as children more than any other park. I really feel that pretty much everything built at Disneyland up through the end of the 80s was fantastic. Things like this and this weren't added until the early 90s. Tomorrowland '67 was more or less still in tact. And even when they tinkered with the greatest Tomorrowland ever, the changes (like Americas Sings) and the additions (like Space Mountain) were great. Though there have been oh so many changes, there still can be found so much old architecture and other elements of the early years.

 

Related post:

Decades in Review [Part 2]
The Wonders of Nature's Wonderland [Part 1]
THEN
AND NOW: Epcot World Showcase [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Epcot Future World [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Fantasyland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Adventureland [Part 1]
The Wonders of Nature's Wonderland [Part 1]

 

Friday
Jan072011

Vintage-izing Your Park Pics

It seems that every time I take photos of the parks I have high expectations that the photos will look stunning the moment I see them on a large screen.  Inevitably I find myself disappointed at just how booooring the pics turn out. "Golly... these look outright crummy!", I shout. 

I’m no professional photographer and I always expect to need a bit of post-production magic to make the shots look half-decent. But lately I’ve realized something else. The kinds of park photos I can’t stop staring at all come from olden-ages when unassuming tourists used actual film and entirely non-digital cameras. No really, they did. Add to that a few decades of fading hues and we get beautiful and interesting imagery.  Since I don't have one of those cameras and I don't know if stores actually sell film anymore, I'm left with digital pictures and Photoshop.

So here are a few pics I shot (all within the last year) adjusted to look not only much older but much more interesting (assuming you and I share similar taste). To the photography purist, I disclaim: no specific film or process was meant to be replicated here. These are simply supposed to look older and better than the originals. And if they look like they belong on Daveland or Gorillas Don't Blog, then mission accomplished.

So it's really isn't that difficult to do. Old photos generally have less saturated colors.  Often the blacks are not solid black but more brown, reddish, or blue in color. 

How-To

 

Just one of many ways to pull off the effect. Note that there are a bunch of other "vintage" photo styles you can replicate, this being just one. (Video by Mitch).

Originals