Dining with a Disney Imagineer is available at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. As far as I know, this is the only place you have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with an actual Disney Imagineer! For my husband, our oldest, and me, this was the highlight of our trip!
We booked this experience in October of 2012 and immediately upon arrival at the Hollywood Brown Derby, we were checked in an received our very own Walt Disney World name badges. Hayes was already in his glory. His face says it all! This experience is recommended for those 15 and over, but as an overachieving science geek, foodie and Disney expert, he was the perfect guest even at age 11. We knew he would enjoy a four-course gourmet meal and have thoughtful, reflective questions for whomever our Imagineer would be.
We were seated at a table in a private dining room with 9 other Disney geeks, given a souvenir menu and met our Disney Imagineer. We were lucky enough to be dining with Bernadette Mosher, or Bernie as she liked to be called. Her position at the time was Director of Creative Development Services. We heard all about her work solving the challenge of making Spaceship Earth a reality, as no one had been able to construct a complete geodesic sphere prior to EPCOT being built. She talked about the development of Disneyland Paris, where she was the lead Imagineer for the Haunted Mansion and the Grand Canyon Diorama. She had a lot of great stories to tell and was very engaging!
The end of our meal came all too soon, but we were each given a souvenir plate, autographed by Bernie, as a keepsake of our experience, as well as a photograph, our name badges and the menus too. But the best take away for our family was the conversation! We were inspired and awed by the stories we heard and Hayes was ready to sign up then and there to work for Disney (aren't we all?)!
If you are wanting to book this experience, you need to reserve Monday, Wednesday, or Friday at noon. I recommend booking on your 180 day mark, as I wasn't able to find any seats available at the time of this writing! The cost is roughly $60 per person. As of this writing, the Disney Dining plan is NOT accepted for this event. Currently only the Hollywood Brown Derby is participating in this program. In years past, other restaurants were included, but that appears to have gone away.
I'd love to hear your experiences with this Disney dining experience too! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!