Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Disney Dining Review: Dining with an Imagineer

One of the reasons we love running Disney is because of the many ways we can celebrate our achievements.  Many times that includes eating some fabulous food.  In 2013, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to dine with an Imagineer during a special Disney dining experience: Dining with an Imagineer. 

First, it should be said that this is a very difficult reservation to get!  You need to be ready to make the reservation 180 days prior to your desired date.  I would also recommend having a back-up date. The reservation is limited to 10 people total.  We planned it as a celebration for the Monday of the 2013 WDW Marathon weekend and chose lunch at the Brown Derby. 

We arrived at the Brown Derby early and were given our official name-tags.  Once our entire party was there (3 small parties--it feels very exclusive!), we were escorted to a back room where we were given personalized menus.  The menu is limited for this experience, but you get all the signature Brown Derby options (including the Cobb Salad & Grapefruit Cake).  Soon after being seated, our Imagineer arrived. 

Part of the current project
It was a very casual meal, and our Imagineer told us all about his experiences working at Disney World.  He talked about projects, gave hints for some future projects, and answered all our Disney-Geek questions.  My favorite was his current project: the interactive queue for Thunder Mountain Railroad, which we were able to see a little of on that trip.  Since then, every time we visit that ride, we feel like true Disney insiders. 

At the end of the lunch, you are given a personally signed plate (ours have a top-shelf in the living room place in our home), a personalized menu, recipe cards for the classic Brown Derby dishes, and memories of an experience only a few will ever have. 

So, what's my final verdict?  First, I personally was getting very, very sick during this meal (it was followed the next day by a trip to the urgent card, antibiotics, fever, and my first "Disney sickness" experience, not at all related to this meal... just got really unlucky).  For that reason, I know I didn't enjoy this as much as I could have, so I'm dying to go back!  So... now to the real final verdict.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  Not every time, but I would guess that each time you go it's a different experience.  Would I recommend it to others?  Depends.  What?!?!?  "I thought you loved it" (I can hear your thoughts).  First, it's expensive.  That alone I know will be tough to some travelers, and I truly believe that you need to prioritize what you want to do to fit your budget.  Second, it's a long experience, so if you're there for a limited time or are concerned about getting to all the thrill coasters, this may not be at the top of your list.  Third, and probably most importantly, this is a true Disney Geek experience.  It is not for the casual Disney fan; I just think it would be lost on someone who is not somewhat obsessed with Disney and the intricacies that go into each and every part of the parks.  But then again... if you're not obsessed, you're probably not going to even know about this!  And with that thought... you're probably not even reading this blog, so for all of you, definitely put this on your Disney To-Do List before it goes away. 

A favorite Disney souvenir

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