Review: Fantasmic Dining Package at Hollywood Brown Derby

Since launching this blog, we’ve made it no secret that we love Fantasmic. It currently ranks at the top of our Top 11 Shows At Walt Disney World list and we usually make time to see it every trip. Because we love the show so much, we pretty much always book a dining package to view it. Today we are going to take look at the Brown Derby version of that package.

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While many upcharges at WDW are arguably not worth it, we wholehearted recommend the Fantasmic Dining Package to just about everyone. Without the package, you are looking at an hour plus wait most of the time, and that still won’t get you a center seat for the show. Even with fastpass you are looking at a pretty long wait and a side viewing angle.

The only exception to this is nights where Fantasmic is showing twice, where you can get a pretty good spot for the second show without too long a wait. Any other time though we suggest springing for the package.

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Out of the 3 participating restaurants, the Brown Derby is the most expensive, but also the best chance at getting your money’s worth. Up until 2018, the Brown Derby package offered your choice of appetizer, entree and dessert off the pricey menu, making its $63 dollar cost one of the best deals on property.

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If you ordered the beef carpaccio appetizer and the filet of beef entree with dessert and a soft drink thrown in, you were looking at roughly an $80 value for $63. Unfortunately, last year Disney  removed the appetizer from the package causing its value to drop significantly.

That being said, you can still get close to the break even point, and possibly still even come up slightly ahead. With just the filet of beef, dessert and a soft drink you are looking at around $65 value for the $63 cost. That is better than the Hollywood and Vine package which just adds around $7 to the normal cost of the buffet, or Mama Melrose which costs $43 for the package while serving entrees mostly between $20-$25.

As a bit of a side note, the Rivers of Light Dining package at Tiffins still offers all 3 courses and is easily the best value on property.

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That package cost $67 and you could easily order over $85 worth of food, $100 if you choose the $65 surf and turf. The downside to it is that Rivers of Light is no where near as good as Fantasmic. Still, you could theoretically book the package even if you don’t intend to watch the show and still save money. We will have a separate review of that package in the coming weeks.

Getting back on track, lets take a look at the Fantasmic Dining Package at The Hollywood Brown Derby.

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Let’s start by discussing the restaurant itself a bit. The Hollywood Brown derby is a Disney “signature restaurant” located inside of Hollywood Studios. Like most signatures on property, the restaurant offers a pricey menu but great quality. We have never had a meal here that was less than excellent and it ranks at the top of our Top 11 Table Service Restaurants Inside the WDW Parks list.

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The restaurant is based on the now closed chain of Brown Derby restaurants in Los Angeles. The wall are lined with caricatures of various celebrities which creates a fun atmosphere, while still remaining upscale.

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Your meal will begin with bread service.

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The bread is served hot and fresh, but its still far from the best bread on property. Its good though. The sea salt on the butter is a nice touch.

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For our dining package entrees, we both went with the “Charred Filet of Beef: Port Wine Glazed, served with sweet potato silk, wild mushrooms, brussels sprouts and sweetie drop peppers. Not only is it the best value for the package, its also melt in your mouth delicious.

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For mine, I switched out the sides opting opting for roasted red potatoes in lieu of the sweet potato silk.

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We both agreed that our meals were, not surprisingly, delicious.

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The meat was cooked to a perfect medium rare.

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The dessert was a small slice of the Brown Derby’s signature grapefruit cake, along with a banana-toffee tart. I don’t love grapefruit personally but the cake was ok. I enjoyed the tart much more. It was really good.

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Overall, we both really enjoyed our meals. Its disappointing that Disney removed the appetizer from the package, but at least you can still get right around your money’s worth while securing a stress free prime spot for Fantasmic.

As far as the show goes, it was amazing as always!

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We arrived around 15 minutes prior to showtime and get a great center spot, about 5 rows back. One thing to note is that when you sit this close you are likely to get wet from the mist off the water screens. This feels nice on a hot night but if you don’t want to deal with it then I suggest sitting a bit further back.

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My biggest complaint of Fantasmic 2.0 out at Disneland is the removal of the Evil Queen’s cauldron and transformation into the hag. Thankfully its still in the WDW version.

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Unfortunately, WDW’s dragon doesn’t hold a candle to Murphy at Disneyland.

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I recommend checking out our full look at Disneyland’s Fantasmic 2.0 here! Its the best version of the show and shouldn’t be missed if you are ever out there!

Back to the WDW version:

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Some imagination, huh?

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In summary, we definitely recommend booking a Fantasmic Dining Package. Out of the 3 restaurants that offer the package, Brown Derby is our top pick. If you are definitely planning on doing a character meal during your trip, you may want to consider Hollywood and Vine instead as it has a similar line up to Chef Mickey’s at the contemporary, but is a much better experience than that.

Still, in a perfect world I’d recommend doing the Fantasmic package at Brown Derby, and booking a separate character meal at AK’s Tusker house which is one of the best character meals on property.

If you choose to do the Fantasmic Dining Package at the Hollywood Brown Derby, you will not be disappointed! We can’t recommend it enough!

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Note: There is also a $39 “dessert package” offered, but we don’t feel the value is there at that price point. You basically get one alcoholic drink, and a small box of goodies to bring to your seat. For only $4 more, you could book the dining package at Mama Melrose.

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