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disadventurer
04-26-2010, 08:49 AM
Hi Everyone!! Just wanted to give you an update of our Lunch with the Imagineer. Our lunch was on April 14th at DHS. It was held at the Brown Derby; specifically in the Bamboo Room. We arrived at approximately 11:15 am, checked in at the podium at which time we were given red name plates just like the kind CMs wear. While in the waiting area, DS and I were approached by a warm and super friendly CM who told us we were selected as the "Family of the Day" to open the Brown Derby!! It took us by surprise to say the least!! After being escorted outside, we had our pictures taken under the Hollywood Brown Derby awning together. Next up, stylish Derby hats to wear, and, in addition, I was given a wild, red feather boa to wrap around my neck while DS cut the red ribbon and officially opened the Hollywood Brown Derby. While stepping into the restaurant, we were showered with Mickey Mouse confetti on the way to another table for more pictures. We were then given some history of the restaurant and brought into the private Bamboo Room where our Imagineer and the others were seated. Phew!! That ceremony was in addition to our wonderful lunch. The CMs gave us a special souvenir program with all the pictures included--what a way to start out!! It only gets better from here....

Our lunch was hosted by Jim Durham, VP of Resort Development, Walt Disney Imagineering. What a down-to-earth, friendly, visionary guy who is Disney all the way. He loves his job and was proud to share his ambitious undertakings with all of us. He sacrificed his delicious lunch to tell us all about Castaway Cay and how it all began. He had wonderful aerial shots of the island which demonstrated that Mother Nature can create a beautiful venue which we can enhance and share. I even learned that a deadman is not the same as a dead man!! He asked if anyone had ever taken a Disney cruise and he received a unanimous "No." Surprising!! Now cruises have never appealed to me as I love to have the freedom of the car, the plane etc.--I don't like that trapped feeling. Surprisingly, he said he once felt that way, but not any longer. Have you seen the pictures of the Disney Dream? It truly looks so inviting!! Elevated, see-through water slides go over the deck edges, separate adult, teenager and children areas are available onboard--truly, something on board for everyone. Believe me, I think he sold DS on the cruise by offering the separate teen areas--a vacation within a vacation for that age group!! Maybe, someday, I will take his suggestion and try the 3-day cruise; or, better yet, send DS to check it out!! Castaway Cay has bikes, snorkeling, parasailing, a beautiful beach, and even food available. Castaway Cay reminds me of the poster I bought for DS with Walt Disney, the Castle and the swamp and states "VISION."

Personally, as a child of the 70s, I always wanted to stay in Disney's Treehouses. Well, guess what--in the fall of 2009 they opened up again. Coincidentally, on our flight down, Southwest’s April Spirit magazine (page 78) featured the new and improved Treehouses as well as Mr. Durham's vision of recreating something, which is what brought us to Disney in the first place—another one of life’s circles. Who would have ever guessed we would be having lunch with him in a couple of days!

Let me break for lunch. Asparagus Soup, Cobb Salad, Filet Mignon and Crème Brulee--doesn't get any more delicious than that foodwise!! I must also mention the superior service we received. But, The Brown Derby is my personal favorite, so no extra cajoling needed there. Truly, the icing on the cake as they say!!
DS had a question for Mr. Durham which he wasn't sure about and said he would find out and email us. We just received his email the other day. I believe his background, listening skills, follow-through and especially his love of Disney will carry the company and all of us who love Disney far. Hope to see his name on a Main Street window someday.
Would I do this again?? In a heartbeat. Was it worth the cost?? You bet—every penney!!
Lunch with the Imagineer just confirms what we love about Disney!! Can’t wait to try it again. Thanks for all the inspiration, Mr. Durham, wherever you are!!:wizard::wizard:

Symans3honeybees
04-26-2010, 09:21 AM
Thanks for sharing!!

tallen429
04-26-2010, 09:21 AM
I'm glad to have read a review of this meal, thanks! I'm very happy to hear you enjoyed it so much.
I had booked it for DH only during our upcoming trip, but after thinking more about it I cancelled. Now I'm glad I did. I doesn't sound anything like what I thought it was and no offense, it sounds like it was a very expensive sales pitch for the DCL.

Still, all that matters is that you had a good time. :flower3:

disadventurer
04-26-2010, 10:18 AM
Yes, we did have a wonderful time and would definitely do it again. If you are truly interested in this, there are other threads with different Imagineer experiences--you never know who you will get. Hope you have the opportunity to read what others have said.

Have fun and hope you enjoy your vacation with your family!!:goodvibes:goodvibes

MelanieC
04-26-2010, 06:29 PM
Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a unique and interesting experience. I've always thought about doing it.

AliceinHalloweentown
04-26-2010, 06:44 PM
I'm glad to have read a review of this meal, thanks! I'm very happy to hear you enjoyed it so much.
I had booked it for DH only during our upcoming trip, but after thinking more about it I cancelled. Now I'm glad I did. I doesn't sound anything like what I thought it was and no offense, it sounds like it was a very expensive sales pitch for the DCL.

Still, all that matters is that you had a good time. :flower3:

You get a different imagineer every time, you know.

When I went, I got the head of graphic design (signs, etc.) at the Studios, and we had a lively conversation about many things in the world of Disney, including a mutual dislike for the giant blue Mickey hat.


OP- glad you had a great time!
We had a blast on ours, too!

staugielady
04-28-2010, 10:21 AM
I want to book this lunch for my daughter, who is 15 and dreams of becoming a Disney Imagineer. Is this a good opportunity for her to ask questions of the Imagineer on how to become one?

gibbersome
04-28-2010, 12:01 PM
Thanks for the review. I looked into the Disney Dream Cruise and didn't find anything that appealed to us (early 20s couple). Plus, the gf has bad motion sickness!

AliceinHalloweentown
04-28-2010, 01:18 PM
I want to book this lunch for my daughter, who is 15 and dreams of becoming a Disney Imagineer. Is this a good opportunity for her to ask questions of the Imagineer on how to become one?

Yep! When I was 14, this is exactly why I asked my mom to book the lunch.

I had a great talk with the imagineer and the other couple that was there. (We were booked with 5 people, but I was really the only Disney fan in my family)

disadventurer
04-28-2010, 01:27 PM
I want to book this lunch for my daughter, who is 15 and dreams of becoming a Disney Imagineer. Is this a good opportunity for her to ask questions of the Imagineer on how to become one?

That is exactly why we booked it. It's the luck of the draw on who you will get. It was fun to hear how our Imagineer got his start and went from there. He majored in architecture in college.

Imagineers come in all shapes and sizes though. Artwork, rides, animators, etc. It was fun to learn something new and how Disney is constantly evolving. Hope to do it again sometime.

Our imagineer appreciated the questions from my DS14 and was happy to answer them. He even responded back to a question by email, as he wasn't sure about something. I felt he wanted to engage everyone--no matter the age. Under 14, though may be restless.

Have fun and hope you have the opportunity to try it.:goodvibes:goodvibes

disadventurer
04-28-2010, 01:39 PM
Thanks for the review. I looked into the Disney Dream Cruise and didn't find anything that appealed to us (early 20s couple). Plus, the gf has bad motion sickness!

Cruises do not appeal to me either, I'm a landlubber for sure, but it was fun to learn how Castaway Cay got its start and the way the water slides were designed to actually go over the sides of the boat. Wow what a concept!!:goodvibes:goodvibes

Make sure to check out the other threads of lunch/dinner experiences with an Imagineer is you feel this is something you might be interested in.:goodvibes:goodvibes