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At Disneyland, what is New Orleans Square?

The entrance to Disneyland's private, members-only club in New Orleans Square is marked with the number 33.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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New Orleans Square in Anaheim’s Disneyland Park is a blend of food, shopping and mystery set along the Rivers of America. Whether battling pirates or hunting for ghosts, you are likely to find entertainment throughout this area. The New Orleans section has a few secrets of its own, however, which only the most exclusive guests are likely to ever see.

Unlike Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Frontierland, New Orleans Square was not a part of Disneyland on opening day. Not until new innovations were made in Walt Disney’s research of animatronic technology were the rides of this park area even conceived. In 1966, shortly before the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean, the area became the first new land to be added to the park since its beginning 11 years before.

Two of Disneyland’s most popular attractions live in the New Orleans-themed area: Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. The pirate-themed water ride was the last ride designed in Walt Disney’s lifetime, though it was not completed until several months after Disney’s death. The ride pioneered animatronics technology that brought dozens of pirates, animals and villagers to life. Riders board boats at a dock set in a Louisiana bayou, across from a restaurant. Traveling past the swampy delta, the boats descend into deep caverns filled with treasure, curses, and many scurvy swabs.

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Inspiration for the Haunted Mansion is often attributed to Walt Disney’s experiences in World War I. Popular legend suggests that he built the beautiful mansion to give a home to wandering spirits. The exterior of the house is a well-kept façade, leading visitors in to a mysterious elevator that takes you into the main ride area. After boarding a personal “doom buggy,” guests are taken past a variety of ghostly scenes, including dinner party, haunted attic, and all-out ghost party in the cemetery. Since 2001, the mansion is given a holiday overlay each year, using characters from The Nightmare before Christmas.

New Orleans Square has a reputation for hearty Louisiana-style food. Long lines stretch away from the Royal Street Veranda, where spicy gumbo is sold in French bread bowls. Since 2007, a table service restaurant named Café Orleans has served guests Monte Cristo sandwiches and Creole specialties. Diners can make reservations early in the day for a lunch or dinner spot at the Blue Bayou, an atmospheric locale inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. But what some call the best food in all of Disneyland is not available to the public, tucked away behind a mysterious door labeled “33.”

Club 33 is an exclusive members-only club hidden within the New Orleans Square streets. It was designed by Walt Disney as a hideaway location for super-VIPs and corporate meetings. Currently, there is a five year waiting list to receive membership into the club, along with a $10,000 US Dollars (USD) initiation fee and annual dues of several thousand dollars. Not surprisingly, members receive free admission into the park, but the food at the Club 33 restaurant is not included. Personal service and gourmet food is the rule at the club, although many wonder if it is truly worth the exorbitant fees.

New Orleans Square is an essential part of Disneyland, and often crowded due to the popular attractions. If you want to avoid lines, make Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion your first stops of the day. Even if you have done the rides, the area is well worth a stop for lunch or a rest to listen to the live jazz music that often fills the square.

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Fa5t3r
Post 3

@Ana1234 - I've always just liked the atmosphere of the New Orleans Square. Eating at the Blue Bayou was usually my favorite part of the day when I went to Disneyland with my family. And seeing the old riverboat go past as you were walking just made it seem like you were in olden times rather than an ultra modern theme park.

Ana1234
Post 2

@croydon - What I always found to be pretty cool was how good both those rides were even though they weren't exactly using cutting edge technology. I guess when you manage to make something realistic and worth seeing, it stays worth seeing even decades later.

And they are both very popular, so I don't think either of them is going anywhere. In fact, I read recently that the main problem with the Haunted Mansion is that it's too popular. They actually have a problem with people trying to scatter real ashes in there, because their loved ones have a final wish to be interned with the "other ghosts". Any attraction with that kind of popularity is going to keep going for a long time.

croydon
Post 1

I hope they never remove either the Pirates ride or the Mansion ride. Even though I was a big fan of roller coasters when I was a kid, I still considered both of those to be my favorite rides at Disneyland, and could never choose between them.

I've only been back once as an adult, but they were still just as fun. I'm guessing they probably won't ever take down the Pirates ride because of the success of the movies, but I'd still be worried about the Haunted Mansion. They seem to change the rides all the time and it's already perfect the way it is.

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