This past Monday, my mother-in-law took me to the Lunch with an Imagineer as a late 41st birthday gift (my birthday was in August). I actually prefer gifts that are event-related, with nothing to clutter up the house. 🙂
Lunch was at the Brown Derby in MGM Studios (there is also a dinner at Artist Point that sounds interesting). We arrived a little late, so I didn't take photos of the room until after we ate. I also didn't want to take photos of our imagineer, so I just really have food and menu photos.
The lunch had just started when we arrived, everyone had just ordered their drinks. We were in the Bamboo Room, which is a private area off the main dining room. The conversation was a little slow to start – it's was like a dinner party for 7, where noone knew each other (except the person they came with). We had a father/adult son, a mom and her 14 year old daughter (who looked 23, and acted that way as well), and my MIL and myself. Plus our imagineer, Alex Caruthers, who is had the title of Art Director at the Magic Kingdom. He was a last-minute replacement (very last-minute)! It would be nice to be able to choose what type of imagineer you were getting, but I can understand now why they don't.
We received our menus, which were personalized. I was quite impressed that they had printed out the menus with Alex's name on it, since he was so last minute (within an hour or so of the lunch).
There was actually very little on the menu that appealed to me, and I thought the appetizers would be a choice between soup and salad. Instead, it was soup AND salad. And each portion was big enough for a meal. I had thought about asking for a substitution on the appetizer, but figured I'd go ahead and try everything.
The Oyster and Brie soup was very thick. I wasn't expecting to like it, but it was very tasty. However, I couldn't finish it (or really, anything else I had!):
Then they delivered an individual Cobb Salad. I thought this was also a very big portion for an appetizer.
The cobb salad was very neat in that the vegetables were carved up to look like flowers. The way everything was presented was elegant.
For an entree, we had a choice of either a New York Strip, Thai Noodle Bowl with Chicken, or a Black Grouper. Most of us chose the steak. Although one of the group had the Thai Noodle Bowl, and it looked like a family platter – a HUGE amount of food! My steak:
By the time we had our appetizers, there was quite a lot of conversation at the table. I found a lot of what Alex does to be interesting – his work runs the gamut at the Magic Kingdom. His influence at the Haunted Mansion includes the new covering outside the Haunted Mansion (the color and the width is different than previous), new designs on trash cans, designs in restaurants and attractions. As far as trash cans – Alex mentioned that Walt Disney didn't want to have large baskets where one could see trash, so a company designed trash cans for Disneyland where you could put trash in and it wasn't visible. I have a lot of appreciation now also for the budgets they deal with. He didn't give us numbers, but Disney puts a lot of money into things that I wouldn't expect. That would include even having contractors work on air vents, to paint them and re-paint until they looked like the ceiling around them – to keep with the theme (like in the Bamboo room we dined in). He has a lot of pride about working for Disney, which would please anyone who is a huge Disney fan.
Our dessert was the Grapefruit Cake. I don't like grapefruit, but it wasn't bad. I wouldn't ever order a Cobb salad, or the Oyster soup or the cake – but I like that I went ahead and tried everything.
The Bamboo Room, where we dined:
We received a personalized plate:
I would have been happy to give it away if it wasn't signed to me! I mentioned I don't like to get things too much, I have very little stuff – including Disney items at home. I prefer to collect memories. 🙂
I recommend the lunch, it was a great late-birthday gift for me. The last I'd seen prices (I didn't pay for the meal to know if it's correct), it was $60.99 plus tax and gratuity for adults, and $34.99 plus tax and gratuity for children 3 – 9. That included a nametag, lunch (quite an extensive one), the plate, and we were there for quite some time – nearly 3 1/2 hours! I was figuring we'd have about a 2 hour lunch (I don't know if this was unusual, though someone else posted on Micechat that they were there until 3). Our lunch started at 11:30.
I went over to Epcot afterwards, to check out Spaceship Earth. It is close to soft-opening, but not quite as close as some reports I'd seen.
Thank you to Susie for my wonderful birthday gift!