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Old 08-13-2013, 02:27 PM   #1
LizLemonade
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Is Dine With an Imagineer right for us??

Hello,

My friend and I currently have reservations for the Brown Derby Dine With an Imagineer. I've been reading a bunch of reviews, and I'm starting to wonder whether this is right for us. My friend was a cast member for a few years after college (as a Great Movie Ride & Backlot Tour guide) and we both work in the family entertainment industry now. (Incidentally for Disney's two biggest television competitors, but we promise we will be leaving our corporate allegiances at home for a week, haha!)

I've read such mixed things about this lunch - it seems like some people have an incredible experience with an enthusiastic Imagineer, and some people get a bored intern. I know better than to expect Joe Rohde, but do you think it's too much of a gamble that we'll get someone who, well, kind of does what we already do for a living? My goal with this lunch was to learn more about park, resort, and/or attraction design from someone in the trenches... not necessarily the general behind-the-scenes of the family entertainment industry since we get that in our day jobs.

We both love Disney World and have never lost our sense of childlike wonder at it all, but I can't help but wonder if we'd be, well, too jaded for this particular event. Especially since it's not cheap.

Any advice would be appreciated! FWIW, I've never been to Brown Derby, so that may be a factor as well.
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:43 PM   #2
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There is no way to know what the Imagineer who joins your lunch does until you arrive there. You will not necessarily get one in design.

They do sign up for the job, so if you got a "bored intern" it was someone who signed up for it, not somebody they grabbed and said "go do this lunch and talk to some guests."
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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Thank you!

I should clarify part of my question: Besides designers, what other types of Imagineers generally do this lunch? I know there's no way of knowing who we'll get before we go, I guess I'm trying to figure out our odds and whether it's worth a gamble for that price.

From what I'm reading it sounds like only one or two people have had a genuinely bad experience with their Imagineer, and I'm hoping that resulted in those cast members not doing this event anymore!

And hey, if nothing else... grapefruit cake.
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:23 PM   #4
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I think you all will enjoy it!

I did it in April, and had an Imagineer in the print media area. She was in charge of doing things such as new menus (designed the menus for BOG), signage, and other things around the park you take for granted.

At first I was a bit disappointed it was not a more "exciting" department of Imagineering. But the more we started talking, the more I learned about what goes into that aspect of the World. It was very enlightening!

The conversion did not stay on just that topic. We asked about some of the rumors (cars land, star wars, etc) and many of the other departments of Imagineering. Her husband also works for Disney in another area, so she had a lot of insight and could elude to, but not confirm, some of the truth in the rumors

I would not hesitate to go again as you know each time it will be a different Imagineer!
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Old 08-13-2013, 04:00 PM   #5
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Interesting, thank you!

See... your situation is exactly what I was potentially concerned about, simply because I myself am a graphic designer - I do a lot of signage design for, um, the slime-centric company that competes with Disney.

That said, I LOVE the idea of getting to talk rumors!!! (For personal curiosity and love of WDW, just to be clear.)

I think we'll probably stick with it. Absolute worst case scenario, we have a nice lunch at the Brown Derby.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizLemonade View Post
Hello,


I've read such mixed things about this lunch - it seems like some people have an incredible experience with an enthusiastic Imagineer, and some people get a bored intern. I know better than to expect Joe Rohde, but do you think it's too much of a gamble that we'll get someone who, well, kind of does what we already do for a living? My goal with this lunch was to learn more about park, resort, and/or attraction design from someone in the trenches... not necessarily the general behind-the-scenes of the family entertainment industry since we get that in our day jobs.
DH and I did this for the first time last April, and loved it.

Sometimes it actually works out when the imagineer you get works in an area you're familiar with. DH and I are both attorneys now, but DH used to be an audio engineer (my claim to fame is he worked with aerosmith - though we're both too chicken to go on the RnRC!), and I have anthropology and museum studies degrees. Turns out the imagineer we got works in two main areas: 1. he helps choose the sound and music for attractions and park areas, and 2. he curates all the museum exhibits, like the ones at the epcot countries and inside the great movie ride. So, I kind of felt like we had the inside track on areas of interest to us both - we were able to ask good questions about both parts of his job. The hardest thing was not monopolizing the conversation with him. When he found out we were interested in the audio side of things, he told a really hysterical story about the guy who recorded the monorail announcements recording an update and in the middle of it saying things like "i have to go to the bathroom" in the monorail voice.

Since you mentioned interns - he did have a trainee with him. She started in the college program and now was a full-fledged imagineer doing project management. She wanted to volunteer for the lunches so he brought her along to see if she'd like it. It was cool to get a second perspective, especially from someone who was newer to Disney and had "come up through the ranks". She was really enthusiastic and personable, and seemed really touched when everyone asked her to sign their plates (the imagineer at your lunch will sign a disney plate for you). So, apparently they do "vet" their potential lunchtime imagineers.

Both of them also had a lot of info on other things happening, and although they couldn't tell us much about certain projects, there was a bit of wink-wink, nudge-nudge going on (ahem, cars land and star wars land). They also asked our opinions on certain things, like how we liked the new park maps that were oriented north instead of from the park entrance (oddly enough, all the older folks liked the new north-oriented ones and all the younger folks liked the old ones), and what we thought about parking and the entrances at DHS (which we hate, and told him so, and I recently saw a thread on the rumors board saying they will probably be changing parking there when they build new stuff, so I guess that's why he was asking).

This was seriously one of my favorite things I've ever done in about 18 trips to DW. And the food is good, too.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:36 PM   #7
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These are terrific reports, thanks for sharing. This sounds like something DW and I would enjoy.
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:51 PM   #8
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Yes, thanks for sharing! Now you got me excited to do it again.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:08 PM   #9
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Sorry! This is a duplicate post. Mods- Please delete this one. Thank you!!


Yes, thanks for sharing! Now you got me excited to do it again.

Last edited by LizLemonade; 08-14-2013 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:16 PM   #10
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Great report. Thanks much.

I did the lunch at Brown Derby some years back, it was great also. Back then the price included a signed commemorative plate, now that costs $75 additional. I do have the dinner one at Flying Fish scheduled for my upcoming Dec. trip.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:40 AM   #11
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Great report. Thanks much.

I did the lunch at Brown Derby some years back, it was great also. Back then the price included a signed commemorative plate, now that costs $75 additional. I do have the dinner one at Flying Fish scheduled for my upcoming Dec. trip.
From what I have read the plate is still included at HBD but costs $75 at FF. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.

With that being said, thanks to those who shared their experiences. This has been on my Disney Bucketlist for some time and I can't wait to have our own experience in October.
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:53 AM   #12
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I was just going off the Disney site here, but then again, we all know how accurate Disney's websites are. It looked like the 'purchase' applied to both. In any case, the plate is a nice touch, though not sure worth $75.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/di...-an-imagineer/

Quote:
Satisfy Your Appetite – And Your Curiosity

Discover unique insights into Disney parks and Resorts as you enjoy lunch or dinner with a Disney Imagineer. Savor a delectable, 4-course meal at one of 2 Disney restaurants:

The Bamboo Room of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant, available at lunch

Flying Fish Cafe, available at dinner

To commemorate the occasion, you can also purchase a souvenir plate that’s personalized by the Imagineer.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:53 PM   #13
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From what I have read the plate is still included at HBD but costs $75 at FF. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.

With that being said, thanks to those who shared their experiences. This has been on my Disney Bucketlist for some time and I can't wait to have our own experience in October.
In April we got the plate for free at the Brown Derby lunch. Maybe someone has more recent info, but that wasn't too long ago. The plate is cute, but no way I'd pay $75 for it.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:49 PM   #14
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In April we got the plate for free at the Brown Derby lunch. Maybe someone has more recent info, but that wasn't too long ago. The plate is cute, but no way I'd pay $75 for it.
I came here to see details of the Lunch at Brown Derby as we are scheduled for a November lunch. I don't care if I get the plate and this is the first I heard you have to pay for it. Well if I have to pay for it, I won't be getting one.
I didn't want to be insulting but with both my husband and I going I wasn't sure I wanted 2 plates anyway, and the biggest reason I was looking here

If we are given the plate, can it be shipped to our resort like when we buy things in the gift shops, or do I have to carry it all day in the park???

I was hoping if they wouldn't send it back to the resort from the BD then I could buy something in a gift shop and ask them to send it back to my room and include the plates in the bag.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:45 AM   #15
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DH and I did lunch at the Brown Derby in December a few years ago. We had a great time. I don't remember exactly what our Imagineer did, but our group had a wide ranging discussion. We're going back this December to do it again.

It was the first year they didn't do the Lights of Winter at Epcot. It was interesting to find out that the Imagineers didn't know about that change until it occured - and they weren't happy that it was gone.

The food was excellent as well. I'm sure you'll have a great time.
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