Showing posts with label special dining events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label special dining events. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dine with an Imagineer - dining experience at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney's Hollywood Studios

There are a number of special dining events at Disney world (the Wishes Dessert party for example) - but one of the most difficult to reserve is the "Dine with an Imagineer" experience.  It's difficult because it's not held every day - right now it's just Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  It's also only at one place (right now - for lunch at Hollywood Studios - but sometimes during the busier months, they do early dinners at the Flying Fish by the Boardwalk).  And.  There are only 8 guests.  Elusive is putting it mildly.
My 14 year old daughter Katie not only wants to be an engineer - she wants to be a Disney Imagineer!  So.  I thought this would be the perfect middle school graduation gift for her.  Only to find that every opportunity on our almost 2 week trip was full.  I even looked at staying longer.  Or even changing our dates just to do this experience!  (And no, my "clout" as a travel agent did nothing for me!)  But.  I was quite persistent.   Checking almost daily for two months.  Yes.  Two months!  And finally.  My tenacity paid off, and I managed to get lucky.  I wonder how many minutes after someone released their reservation was I able to snatch it up?!

And then, I was so excited that I got the reservation, my whooping and hollering did not allow it to be a surprise graduation gift.

We planned our day with much glee.  We spent the morning as a family at Hollywood Studios.  We rode Toy Story Mania.  We rode Rock 'n Roller Coaster.  We drew some characters.  And when our time was drawing near, my younger daughter and my husband embarked on their own adventure of conquering all four parks in one day.

When we checked into the Brown Derby we were each given personalized name tags (you can see my excited graduate with hers here)

and as soon as everyone had arrived, we were escorted as a group to the private "Bamboo room" in the back of the Derby.  (If you ever eat at Starring Rolls - the Bamboo room is behind those blinds by the outside tables!)

We were each given personalized menus.  There was a soup and a salad course.  Then we had three options to pick from for our entrees and two options for dessert.

While we perused the menu, our imagineer introduced herself to us: Cathy Carver, the principal interior designer for Walt Disney Imagineering.  Initially I was concerned that Katie might be bored - she really, really wanted to meet someone that designed rides - but I think she was quite taken with some of Cathy's projects.

Let me tell you some of what she has done:  She designed the Cinderella castle suite for the "year of a million dreams celebration" - and when she was given the task, they had to accomplish it in record breaking time of only 6 weeks!  After hearing that she designed the suite, I just knew she had to be responsible for the rooms we were staying in at Port Orleans - the Royal Rooms - and she confirmed that she also designed those.  She designed the room we were using for the lunch - the Bamboo room; she did the main building at Kidani village and the Sanaa restaurant; Captain Cooks at the Polynesian; the Emporium on Main Street; and many more projects.

She also had a hand in the new "Be our Guest" restaurant that will be opening as part of the Fantasy Land expansion - but she was very very closed lipped on any details about it!

While she told stories and answered questions, we had our amazing lunch.

Everyone started with the Asparagus soup with jumbo lump crab:

I wasn't too sure about this.  I like asparagus.  But I only like it grilled - not mushy.  But this was fantastic.

Next was the classic - the Cobb Salad.  The presentation for this is gorgeous!

Katie said this was the best salad that she had ever had.  I thought it was great - except that I wish I had read carefully and asked for it without bleu cheese.

Next up was our entrees.  I had the: "filet of beef glazed with a red wine reduction topped with a cabernet and roasted shallot butter over white truffle forest mushroom whipped potatoes."

Again - absolutely delicious!

Katie ordered the: "Coriander-dusted grouper, cauliflower risotto, pea tendrils, crunchy sunchokes, and a yellow tomato coulis."

Katie's reason for ordering this was she wanted to get something different from me (I have trained my girl well - we could both try each - and we could share more information with you!) - and she LOVES risotto.  She really liked her meal!

And finally, it was time for dessert.  I decided to try the Derby's specialty of the Grapefruit cake

and it was okay.  I am not a fan of grapefruit - and it has a very strong grapefruit taste.  But I am so glad that I tried it.

Katie got the vanilla creme brulee with dark chocolate dipped biscotti - which she deemed perfect - but was way too full to finish.

Now let me say just a few words about the service.  We go out to eat.  We go out to eat a lot at Disney.  I have had fantastic service both at Disney and at home.  But I don't think I've ever had the caliber of service that we had in the Bamboo room.  It was completely impeccable - and I can see why our servers were chosen to help out with this experience.

As our dining experience ended, we were each presented with a small plate that was signed and personalized by Cathy Carver.

We LOVED our "Dine with an Imagineer" experience - fantastic talk with Cathy Carver, amazing food, superb service!

So...what about you?  What kind of imagineer would you like to meet?  For more Disney related posts, be sure to check out Deb's Focused on the Magic!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Special Dining Events: Wishes Dessert Party

Last November we took the opportunity to go to the Wishes Dessert Party in the Magic Kingdom.  This special dining event takes place at the Tomorrow Land Terrace restaurant.

You check in an hour before Wishes is scheduled to begin and your family is assigned a table.  Our family name was on a cute name card marking our spot.  After we got settled, we headed for the dessert buffet.  There are A LOT of options.   From cookies and brownies to beautiful chocolate covered strawberries to tarts and cheesecake and mousse and even cannoli.

After we enjoyed perhaps a bit too much sugar, we gathered along the rail and were able to see Tinkerbell come down the wire right over us, signaling the beginning of the Wishes Fireworks show.

It was really nice to be able to see both "The Magic, Memories, and You" and "Wishes" from a covered and seated location.  No dealing with crowds on Main Street.  No waiting for hours to get that prime spot.  You do get a great view.  A nice seat.  And yummy desserts.  Prices range from $15 - $35/person.  When we went in November - just before Thanksgiving it was about $27/adult.

Have you done a dessert buffet before?  Do you have a favorite night time show at the Magic Kingdom?

(Many thanks to my friend Shannon for sharing some of her dessert pictures!)