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Club Expansion
Currently Underway

Updated July 10th, 2014

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The Expansion

 The recent expansion of the club has truly been an undertaking of great complexity and dedication, executed and crafted exclusively for the enjoyment of the members.

To help preserve both the mystery and mystique of the revised club, our site is being restructured to serve as an archival data base, documenting the wondrous history of Walt's special club. At this time we feel it is best to limit the amount of information posted within this web site and in time, perhaps expand to best serve both the members, their guests and those of us who consider the park our home away from home.

If you are not currently a member of the club, there is little doubt you'll want to be once you see what Kim Irvine and her design staff have planned.

September 3rd, 2013 marked a most exuberant day in park history.

Park President Michael Colglazier formally announced that the long awaited expansion plans for the club were set to begin on January 6th, 2014.

 January 5th, 2014 was the last day to dine within these most venerable and historic walls. The January date allowed the club to remain in full operation throughout the 2013 holiday season and for this, well, we're all very grateful. The holidays are simply not the same without a joyful gathering at this magical venue.

The club will celebrate it's grand re-opening on July 18th, 2014.

                                           

Exterior Images of Le Grand Salon              Exterior Images of Le Salon Nouveau

The project is being headed by Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine and much of her work is based upon the original design concepts of Dorothea Redmond and Walt Disney Studio Set Designer Emile Kuri.

While the club was under construction, The Hollywood Room at The Carthay Circle Restaurant was made available for members to utilize, while Platinum and Executive Members may continue to enjoy The DCA Lounge.

We're all very excited about the expansion, as this will truly be the fulfillment of Walt's original vision.

During the expansion project the club plans on conducting a series of exciting Members-only events, designed around new menu selections, wine tastings, and other special occasions. This is truly inspiring news! One such event was recently hosted on March 8th, 2014, inside Studio 17, located within Disney's California Adventure.

Expansion Concepts

A new logo has been designed and was recently revealed to members on March 8th, 2014.

During the expansion, specific portions of the club will be wrapped in custom printed canvases so as to maintain 'The Magic' of New Orleans Square.

Click here to view the exterior during the expansion.

Please understand that the expansion has been in the development stages for several years. The work which is now underway has been carefully thought out and the enjoyment of the members was at the forefront of the planning. Members have been given the opportunity to see the concept drawings and discuss them with Disneyland personnel. In keeping with the exclusivity of the club, we will give you just a 'tasting' of what you might expect.

The Entrance

The original door, located next to the Blue Bayou, will remain exactly as it is currently situated, however,  the door will no longer be functional.

The actual entrance will be through what is currently the tiny gift shop, which previously sold Christmas ornaments and misc. gift items, directly across from the crystal shop.  The arched portico leading into The Court of Angels will be artistically sealed.

A hostess station will be located inside the entrance where members and guests are met with a welcoming  smile and then escorted into a beautifully re-designed Court of Angels. 

A new ADA compliant elevator is being installed within The Court of Angels. The new conveyance will feature a larger capacity, allowing smaller parties to remain together. The design of the elevator will be in keeping with the traditional architecture of vintage New Orleans. The original French Lift will be kept at the club but will not be functional due to ADA regulations. For historic reasons, it will remain on premises.

Maitre d's Station & Lobby

The maître' d's station will be located within the lobby, which was the covered exterior walkway between the original club and the large storage room above The French Market. This entire area will be enclosed and decorated beautifully within, featuring a custom chandelier, stained glass and period appropriate pieces. Many of the current historic pieces within the club will be retained and utilized once again.

The hallway leading from the maitre' d's station into the Main Dining Room will be widened slightly and adorned with beautiful hand painted murals. The beautiful murals are being hand painted by select Disney artists and you may rest assured, they are truly stunning. Many one of a kind works will adorn the club, making it not only a delight for taste and olfactory senses, but also of site and tactile splendor.

Executive Chef & Kitchen

Bringing a new perspective and flavor sensation, we are quite sure that members are pleased to extend a most sincere welcome to Executive Chef Andrew Sutton. Designing a menu with a distinctly New Orleans flair, Chef Andrew is very excited to present his highly creative offerings. Utilizing a cavalcade of both traditional recipes and contemporary fusion, members and their guests are in for a rare treat.

Click here to learn a little more about Chef Andrew Sutton

The Trophy Room is going to be removed and the original  kitchen will be expanded to where the original French Lift is located today. This will allow Chef Andrew Sutton to create a highly diverse menu and give him the exclusive location he's needed to truly stretch his wings.

Le Grand Salon

The Main Dining Room has been re-named 'Le Grand Salon' and will experience a new, elegant and more open look with the removal of the fireplace, replaced by large windows. The flooring is being updated, replaced with a large diagonal checkerboard design and the tables and chairs are being updated, reflecting a slightly lighter, more elegant setting. The style will be something similar to the high end restaurants of New Orleans. The design will continue to be based heavily upon French influence, but not quite so dark and heavy as current decor reflects.

Le Salon Nouveau

When news of the enhancement project were but whispers amongst a few fortunate members, you would frequently hear the name 'Jazz Lounge' being mentioned. Most certainly appropriate for any venue located within New Orleans Square, this new addition has been formally named 'Le Salon Nouveau'.

The success of The DCA Lounge located within The Carthay Circle Theater reproduction in Disney's California Adventure proved that members truly enjoyed this concept.
This concept is being taken one step further and trust me, it's a very big step!

What was once storage above The French Market, will soon fill with the sounds of music and laughter as guests enjoy fresh appetizers and hand crafted specialty beverages.

The beverages, by the way, deserve their own paragraph.  A select team of food service managers were sent to New Orleans with direct orders to discover what makes 'The Big Easy' so unique in the way of food and beverages. Discover they did and you may certainly rest assured you'll be very grateful for each and every step they took on Bourbon Street and surrounding parishes. Walt Disney always said that the smallest details can never be overlooked and the new menu and beverage selections will reflect exactly that which Walt would have insisted upon.

Featuring a beautifully hand carved wooden bar, tall ceilings with vintage style skylights, dark wood, a grand piano and plush seating, this room will prove beyond any doubt, that Kim Irvine understands exactly that which Walt, Emile and Dorothea had in mind. I have absolutely no doubt that members and their guests will utilize this wonderfully appointed lounge extensively and will probably ask, 'Why did Disney wait so long?'

Many of the design concepts for Le Salon Nouveau were taken from Tiana's Place, the beautiful restaurant featured in Disney's The Princess and the Frog.
Here is an interesting, hushpuppy size bit of trivia you might enjoy. When Disney Animators were working on The Princess and the Frog, they visited Disneyland's  French Market. Many of the design concepts for Tiana's Place were drawn using the French Market as an excellent source of classic New Orleans architecture. Of course, this eventually went full circle when Kim and her talented crew set to work designing Le Salon Nouveau. One might say they brought the downstairs up, but in a much more more grandiose style. Artistic architecture influencing animation and such animation re-influencing architecture. Walt would have been very proud.

The Music

Recorded by some of the most gifted and sought after recording artists, The Jazz Lounge is going to feature an extensive collection of music, all with it's heart and sole coming out of New Orleans. Disney Imagineers have hand selected a wonderful variety of jazz music and have actually gone so far as to design specific tracks for each area of the club.
Le Salon Nouveau will feature a slightly bolder sound, much of which will be played for members on a custom made reproducing grand piano. Not a player piano, as you and I may be familiar with, but a greatly enhanced version, which can actually be recorded upon by each musician. It is commonly called a 'replicating piano'. This state of the art piano has the capability of recording not just the basic music note or strike of the hammer, but also hold the key in any position or duration. The result is an exact reproduction of what the recording artist has played.
Imagineering has worked extremely hard to perfect the ambiance of the club by actually having this wondrous instrument brought into their sound/recording studio whereupon select artists have recorded the music.  This stunning mahogany Disklavier will soon take it's appropriate place in park history.

The music for Le Grand Salon will be somewhat softer, enhancing and accentuating the ambiance for fine dining. The music may change based upon either lunch or dinner.

The below image (less overlays) is courtesy of Google Earth and is not an official representation of the expansion project. The colored overlays assist in understanding the final expansion goals, based upon currently available information.

The following image is not an official nor licensed image, but instead, serves as a representation of the projected expansion plans.

 

 

The musical and culinary heritage of New Orleans lives on within

A special note to our more nostalgic Walt fans: Many of us who have enjoyed the Club and this web site are not just fans of Disneyland, but are fans of Walter Elias Disney himself. His brilliance, even to this very day, is still impacting our lives and inspiring entire generations to never accept mediocrity or anything less then perfection.
The expansion has some people questioning the alteration of such a historic and well loved venue.

This is something we're all thinking about but I personally feel, like Walt did, that Disneyland will never stop growing and with time will grow even more beautiful. The expansion of the club is the fulfillment of Walt's true vision and while he may not be with us to direct the designers and help the carpenters sink the first nail, we must be grateful that those who are doing this work are those who were inspired by him. Walt's vision lives on through the eyes and talents of these wonderfully gifted people.

 

 


Early Concept Drawings of the Royal Suites

The following artwork was designed for the potential expansion long before this current undertaking, utilizing Walt and Roy's apartments above the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. The apartments have since been converted to the Disney Dream Suites.

 

 


Note:
Currently the gallery above "Pirates of the Caribbean" has been converted to a suite for guests staying within the park during the Year of a Million Dreams annual event theme. 

The following paragraph is courtesy of Cythina, friend and Disney enthusiast:

"The suite's name is the "Dorothy Redmond Suite" named after one of Walt's favorite concept artists.  She was responsible for the Cinderella concept art (the originals are featured in the "Cinderella Suite" in WDW) and for the mosaic mural in the breezeway at Cinderella's Castle in WDW.  It's possible the expansion could continue after this year as information about the continuation of the "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion hasn't been issued for next year."

If you have walked through the prior gallery, you could definitely see where the initial design and architecture matches that of the club. The gallery proved to be very bright and open. The small patio located near the South/East rear doors of the gallery would provide a wonderful location to enjoy a cup of coffee and dessert. 

Originally, the gallery was designed to be used by Walt Disney as his personal apartment. Hence the location next to the club. The upper floor of the firehouse at the entrance of Main Street served as Walt's apartment during the initial construction and early years of Disneyland. The gallery was never thusly converted due to Walt's passing. 

 

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