Dinner with the Stars
I decided to talk about a place I've heard an awful lot about from family and friends. Nestled in an unsuspecting corner of Disney's Hollywood Studios is the famous Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant.
I've mentioned before that my family has been traveling to WDW in Orlando since I was young, and since then my mother and father have always found time alone to dine at the Hollywood Brown Derby. In the days leading up to our trip, my mother would anticipate their legendary Cob Salad and fabulous wine list, and romanticize a night away from us kids so they can enjoy their vacation as well. So natural when I was getting ready to head off to FAACC this year, the idea of eating there peaked my interest. WDW has a wonderfully easy way of booking reservations, Fast Passes, hotels, and other activities directly. If you're planning a trip to Disney, I strong suggest My Disney Experience as an essential tool. Within the account you create an entire itinerary for your trip. You have the option to see every restaurant on WDW site from hotels to parks. It makes booking a trip and all the essentials easier then finding content on Facebook. And the best part is, you can literally do it from anywhere since the site is mobile friendly. They've made it so easy in fact, that a few weeks before my trip my partner in crime Steve and I were out to lunch thinking of things to do and places to go while on vacation. Over a cup of coffee and delicious burger, I jumped around the sites restaurant list until my eye and interest was drawn immediately to The Hollywood Brown Derby. After reading the menu and agreeing on how great the food and drinks sounded, we agreed it would be a great place to eat. We made reservations right there in a little café in Ottawa Ontario, and I was able to make all of my food allergies clear without even stepping foot on the ground or even leaving the country. I love the accessibility Disney has created for people with food allergies. The worry of approaching a restaurant cold is completely gone, since they've created the option to inform them previous to your visit, it truly is magical.
Advised to make a later reservation by my mother, we escaped the hustle and bustle of families making their way to the firework show and entered the calm relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant. Immediately I felt transported to 1950's Hollywood the golden age of film. After stepping over the threshold I felt as if I was transported through time. I half expected Humphrey Bogart to be in the corner with Lauren Becall covered in shadows with a cigarette in hand. Immediately I was enthralled, the atmosphere created by the pictures on the walls, the décor and the service was unbelievable. I could understand now why my mother, a lover of classic cinema was so attracted to the restaurant.
Without missing a beat the staff asked me about the severity of my food allergy if I had any other intolerance and if I was carrying an auto injector. A question I had been a few times before, but I was glad to see the dedication to safe dining didn't end with food prep. The staff was on top of everything making sure that everything was safe. Our server, offered to have the chef come speak with me about my choices and tell me what was best to order.
When we spoke with the chef he assured me all the dishes could be prepared safely. He said the only thing I had to be careful of was the bread since it was made off site and in a facility that had nuts and peanuts, and therefore couldn't guarantee its absence of cross contamination. Satisfied with level of knowledge and safety prep in place I decided on a steak dish and the chef returned to the kitchen. As a rule of thumb, I never eat anything that has the chance of cross contamination, event the slightest contact can have serious repercussions so its always best to stay away.
Our server, was not only informed on my food allergies but took time to make sure I had plenty of options outside of bread and dessert. She made me feel comfortable with asking questions and even had me tell her where my auto injector was just in case. So far the Hollywood Brown Derby was living up to its reputation. I was in awe of how prepared they were to deal with my food allergies having endless options and substitutes for food allergies, and gluten intolerance. I never tire of expressing the safe and comfortable atmosphere Disney provides. I never once felt like I was annoying or bothering the staff with my questions, in fact I felt overwhelmed with options that I've never had the opportunity of having before.
Our meal was outstanding, one of the best I've ever had at Disney. Everything was cooked to perfection and the cherry on top was the unbelievable service that came free with it, but I have to admit the best part of the evening was the incredible wine flights available. I've gotten used to desserts not being safe in restaurants, and since none of them were made on site, the chef couldn't guarantee that any cross contamination had happened. I am a true believer in whole better safe the sorry routine so I opted to forgo the dessert and try some of the fantastic wines available in house.
The sheer options available and ability to pick and choose what you want was amazing. I have to admit it was my favorite part of the meal. I strongly suggest if you're of age, can have wine, and have the opportunity to venture to the Hollywood Brown Derby and try some different flights. I was able to try the different wines available in the parks and resorts and even found a favorite.
All in all, The Hollywood Brown Derby lived up to the hype surrounding it. From the atmosphere, to the exemplary service, to the food and wine it was an amazing experience. The ability to be whisked away from the hustle and bustle of the parks and be transported through time to a quiet unassuming oasis of classic Hollywood is something I will never forget. I hope to travel back to the most magical place on earth in the near future and when I do, you can rest assured this restaurant will definitely be on the top of my to-do list.