The expansion of Club 33 is underway and it’s left me wondering what’s to become of my beloved New Orleans Square. The E-ticket staples are there to stay, sure, but what of the blissful charm one finds walking through its cozy streets? Last year saw the demise of many long time park goers’ favorite nook, the Court of Angels, sacrificed for a new entrance to the Club. More recently, a second floor walkway has been added for the expansion, connecting the crystal shop and the perfume shop.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing to bash Club 33. I have had the privilege of dining there on three occasions and really enjoy its atmosphere. Members certainly pay their dues and deserve value added to their membership. I just find myself confused at the changes. It’s beginning to feel like we’re swapping cozy for claustrophobic under the guise of “improvement”.
The portrait in the picture below hangs in the staircase of the current entrance to Club 33, featuring the original Royal Street Bachelors. The guitarist on the right is Ernie McLean, who used to sit and play at the entrance to the Court of Angels. That was always one of my favorite things to do on trips to Disneyland. I’d find my way to the back of New Orleans Square and listen to Ernie play a set. As beautiful as Club 33 is in its entirety, this is my favorite part. I don’t know what the plans are for the current entrance but I truly hope this portrait finds a similar place of honor and distinction when the Club reopens.