Mission: Dine with and Imagineer
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  1. #1
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    Mission: Dine with and Imagineer



    Dine with an Imagineer is a lunch dining experience where you literally get to share a meal with a WDI employee.

    The event takes place at the Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios. It is a group, not individual, event. We were seated with 2 other families of 4, plus our Imagineer host. Upon arrival, you are handed custom engraved "Disney" nametags with your names on them, and escorted to the Bamboo Room. If you've ever cut through the patio seating at Starring Rolls, you've walked by this room and probably never noticed it. This was a nice touch, as you are isolated from the rest of the restaurant.

    I had expected a very scripted presentation, but true to it's name, it's literally a pleasant meal with an open Question and Answer session. The Imagineers take turns rotating the lunches, and our Imagineer today was Diego Parras. Disney provides you with a biography as part of your souvaniers (which I will elaborate on later). It reads:

    "Diego Parras is currently the Media Relations and Broadcast Manager for Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) Florida. His responsibilities include the organization and delivery of daily internal/external communication pieces used to inform and educate fellow cast members and clients. Diego's responsibilities also include partnering with Walt Disney World Broadcast programming and Advertising on the development of domestic and international Television shows. Some of these shows include: Modern Marvels: Walt Disney World - History Channel, Everest: The Experience - Animal Planet, Expedition Everest: Journey to Sacred Lands - Travel Channel, Building a Thrill Ride - The Science Channel, Wald Disney World Christmas Parade - ABC, Extreme Home Makeover - ABC, American Chopper - Discovery Network, Daniel Cook Show - Disney Channel, Disney's Sweetest Pastry Competition - Food Network, ESPN, Colgate Country Showdown, Buena Vista Television and the Children's Miracle Network.

    Diego has been with the Walt Disney World Company for eighteen (18) years in a variety of roles. Prior to his WDI position, Diego was an International Broadcast Marketing Manager for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. This role included developing and maxmimizing opportunities with media, promotion and distribution opportunities with internal and external partners, which in turn increased exposure of Walt Disney World television specials worldwide. Diego also managed production of WDW international third party television specials, which also included legal agreements, negotiations, script creative and development, post-production and final approvals."

    The conversation opened with everyone introducing themselves and the Q&A began. Many questions were asked, and as I stated, it was free form, so many questions evolved from other questions. The whole event had a very conversational feel.

    I'll touch on just a few.

    1) What do you recommend for someone interested in becoming an Imagineer?

    His response was very simple. Reach for it. There is no specific trade or course of study that will qualify or disqualify you, and Imagineering has such a broad scope of applications that pretty much any discipline is not only welcome, but is sought out.

    Most Imagineering jobs are actually posted on the Disney Jobs website, and can be applied for by anyone. He did recommend that if you apply, you should remember that thousands of people are also applying, so you should try and do something to help make you stand out, as opposed to the standard resume alone.

    He did say that while it is easier to move laterally from within the company, because of the social networking benefits, Disney doesn't limit the positions to those who are currently employed by the company.

    2) Where is WDI based?

    Though there are field offices all over the world, WDI's primary operations are based out of California.

    3) What was your favorite project?

    His answer, in short, was all of them. He is currently working on the Fantasyland Expansion (in fact, he was heading there for a media tour after lunch), and was very passionate about it. Before working on the Fantasyland Expansion, he spoke fondly of spending time in Germany working on the Dream and Fantasy development and construction.

    4) Are there plans to expand or upgrade the Monorail / Imagination Pavilion / Backlot Tour Area?

    For all he said he didn't know, or "didn't know" (with an obvious wink and nod to his NDA with respect to the Backlot Tour). Hrm, wonder what they have in mind for that property?

    5) And the burning question of the day. Does WDI pay any attention to online forums or blogs like TalkDisney for ideas or feedback?

    An emphatic no. He did say that all of WDI does think it's fantastic that there are communities online of Disney fans who are passionate about the work that they do, and it's wonderful that all the details are appreciated. That's why they do it!

    That being said, when I asked this question I revealed that I am active in this community, and he made a comment along the lines of "posting a poll on the forum to collect questions before coming here". That is exactly what I did! Hrm...maybe he had a lucky guess? Or maybe they do check? Who knows!

    The menu options are limited to two 2 appitizers (you get both, a small Cobb salad and Potato Leek soup), one of 3 entrees (most everyone got the Beef Tenderloin Filet with Mushroom Risotto or the Thai Noodle Bowl), and one of 2 desserts (Creme Brulee or Grapefruit Cake).

    The cost is 60.99 per head, but for budgeting you should include the tax (7.93) and the automatic 18% gratuity that is added to your bill (21.96). The Dining Plan is not accepted. Though a bit steep on the price side (especially for a larger group, mine was a party of 2), the food is wonderful and when combined with the overall experience, worth every penny.

    While kid friendly (I took a 7 year old), I wouldn't recommend this for younger children. I think 10 plus is right, and if you have a teenaged Disneyphile who still looking towards his or her future, I think this is a perfect addition to your trip.

    At the conclusion of the meal you are presented with a commemorative plate (picture attached) and a small leaflet that has your Imagineer's bio in it and your picture (they snap a photo of the whole table). The Imagineer hangs around for a bit to answer last minute questions, and they will sign your souvanier plate.

    The whole event lasts about 2.5 - 3 hours, so be sure to keep this in mind if you put this in your schedule. You can reserve it by calling 407.WDW.DINE.

    Dine with an Imagineer was a wonderful experience that I would highly recommend for anyone who is interested in peeling back the curtain and getting to know a bit more about the men and women who help make dreams come true!


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mission: Dine with and Imagineer-nametag.jpg   Mission: Dine with and Imagineer-plate.jpg   Mission: Dine with and Imagineer-bio.jpg  
    Last edited by englanddg; 09-04-2012 at 09:17 PM.
      
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  3. #2
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    Re: Mission: Dine with and Imagineer

    Great Mission: Disney Assignment Report englanddg!

    I really enjoyed reading it - and thanks for posting.

    Love the name badges. I want one!

    Sounds like a great experience. Something I'd love to try myself one day - even if the Imagineers don't look at websites like TD!


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    Thank you for the report. What a great experience that must've been!


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    Loved reading that report! I definitely want to do this one day. I love the souvenirs, too.

    Great job, englanddg. That's the first Mission Disney report we've ever gotten while the reporter was still on WDW vacation!


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    Well you convinced me. I am going to sign up for this experience our next trip!!


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  7. #6
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    Loved your report! I would love one of those name tags!


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    Re: Mission: Dine with and Imagineer

    It sounds like a great experience! I'd love to try it, maybe in a few years when my kids are older. Thanks for the great report!


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    Re: Mission: Dine with and Imagineer

    Tomorrowland Expansion? Did he mean Fantasyland Expansion or will there also be a Tomorrowland Expansion?


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    Re: Mission: Dine with and Imagineer

    Quote Originally Posted by HannahLeigh View Post
    Tomorrowland Expansion? Did he mean Fantasyland Expansion or will there also be a Tomorrowland Expansion?
    Good catch. I updated the report.


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    Quote Originally Posted by englanddg

    Good catch. I updated the report.
    I noticed that too but it says Fantasyland first and then TomorrowLand larer, so I figured you meant Fantasyland. It's still like that though.



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    Quote Originally Posted by englanddg

    Good catch. I updated the report.
    Hahaha. I got all excited for a Tomorrowland Expansion.

    Sent from my iPhone using TalkDisney


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  13. #12
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    Re: Mission: Dine with and Imagineer

    Quote Originally Posted by Racheln View Post
    I noticed that too but it says Fantasyland first and then TomorrowLand larer, so I figured you meant Fantasyland. It's still like that though.
    Gah! I typoed twice! Both are updated now.


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    Awesome report, I would love to do this!



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    Great Report. We were considering this experience but may wait or just send dh and dd7 who is very interested in dining with an imagineer. dd2 would probably be more of a distaction from enjoying it myself. thanks for the age recommendation.


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    Re: Mission: Dine with and Imagineer



    Quote Originally Posted by snkasweet View Post
    Great Report. We were considering this experience but may wait or just send dh and dd7 who is very interested in dining with an imagineer. dd2 would probably be more of a distaction from enjoying it myself. thanks for the age recommendation.
    You are welcome, and it was my pleasure. I think you are right, a 2 year old is way too young. It's a very quiet and intement experience.

    My DD7 enjoyed it, but probably won't remember it in a few years. Then again, I didn't really prepare her for it either. Honestly, for the best value, I'd wait a few years, even if your 7 year old is enthusiastic about it. In general, I think there are better ways to spend ~190 bucks for two people where one is 7 then this (like La Nouba, for that cost you can get front row seats). Once they get to reasoning age (10+), or as my mother calls it "the Age of Not Believing", they are ready for this experience.

    That being said, each kid is different, so if your's is set on it, I'm sure she'll have a blast. We did!


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