This is What a $15,000 Dinner at Disneyland Looks Like
If your food budget at Disneyland is $15,000, you have two choices – 2000 giant roasted turkey legs or a sumptuous gourmet dinner for 12. Welcome to 21 Royal. No, this is different than Club 33, the members-only, private dining club. While this is also located in New Orleans Square, it is actually open to the public…for the tidy sum of a brand new Nissan Sentra. And guess what? Totally worth it. If you happen to have a small fortune burning a hole in your pocket.
The 21 Royal experience is truly spectacular. Guests (and sorry, it is limited to 12) are greeted at the Grand Californian Hotel and escorted through the park to an ornate, winding staircase in New Orleans Square that leads to a 2,200 square foot private residence that Walt and Lillian Disney had once hoped would be a place for them to entertain family, friends, celebrities, and dignitaries inside the park. It was left unfinished for years until Disney Imagineers finally resurrected the plans and completed the design. It is refined, it is grand, it is whimsical, it is everything you would imagine a super premium Disney experience to be.
As soon as you arrive, you are welcomed by a team of butlers who tend to your every need throughout the night. And these butlers were ten times better than the ones I have at home. Hors d’oeuvres are served in the living room, cocktails outside in the courtyard. You can wander around and look at the bedrooms, baths, and the enormous patio overlooking the Rivers of America. And, if you get the urge, you can run down for a quick ride on Pirates of the Caribbean between drinks. The hefty price tag does include a one day ticket to the park for each guest.
When dinner is ready to be served, you are lead into the spectacular dining room to a beautifully set table, complete with a personally engraved menu. Your private chefs (both of whom hail from Auberge du Soleil in Napa), and your personal sommelier, greet you and explain the menu to you in detail, down to where the caviar was sourced and how they were inspired to create each and every dish. It is a true story-telling experience. What else would you expect from Disney?
The food did not disappoint, and I am a world renowned food snob (actually self-proclaimed but who’s counting). The menu was creative, the ingredients fresh, and the presentation spectacular. Think golden Osetra caviar, Kobe beef, truffles, and sea urchin. And not one thing served in the shape of Mickey ears. Even better, each of the seven courses is presented with a different cocktail — a beautiful French Riesling, a rich burgundy, imported champagne, and the best tequila cocktail I’ve ever had. Let’s just say it’s a good thing they sent a town car to pick me up.
After dinner, you can relax on the terrace with a nice port, and be treated to the fireworks display from the best seats in the park (make sure you go on a night when they are having the display, it’s not every night). And when you are completely and utterly sated, you are escorted through an empty Disneyland (yes, not one other person is in the park but you, and maybe an occasional street sweeper) back to the Grand Californian where you will leave with memories to last a lifetime. I have never been a big theme park lover, but this was truly magical. Walt would’ve been proud.