Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge: 11/13 vs. 1/14

When it was announced that Hollywood Brown Derby would be opening a lounge on the side patio of the restaurant, I was so excited. I haven’t been inside the Brown Derby since I was a kid. I honestly don’t remember much about my dinner there (though I do have a picture), and James and I haven’t been able to commit to a meal there — whether it be for logistical or monetary reasons. (We’re more Team Mama Melrose’s people anyway.) But a lounge!

The best of both worlds = drinks, less expensive food, and nice ambiance. I was sold.

I was thrilled that timing was on our side when Katherine and I were in town for the Wine and Dine half marathon weekend. We would get to try something new! And have pretty drinks (something Katherine and I like to do together on a regular basis). So we met up with At Disney Again and his crew on a very warm Sunday afternoon. (Nicole from Sparkly Ever After joined us too!)

Photo by @AtDisneyAgain
Photo by @AtDisneyAgain

For drinks, I ordered the champagne flight and Katherine opted for the margarita one. We decided to share a plate of duck confit tacos. So we drank, and we talked, and then we waited a really long time. Service was pretty slow. The lounge was also extremely crowded. It’s first come first serve seating so if you are planning on stopping by, you have to be a bit open minded about when you stop in. There was quite a bit of strategic hovering going on, and gosh, does that really take away from the cool lounge vibe. (Especially when the family is wearing matching Despicable Me t-shirts.)

When we finally received our tacos, we really loved them and definitely should have ordered more food. (See: major lack of sleep from the night before and lack of food from the day = two unhappy gals.) But who knows when we would have received it? I wasn’t sure who our waitress was because she never came by to refill our waters (it was hot out, folks) or see if we wanted to have another round of drinks. (Another missed opportunity because I probably would have said yes.)

By the time we decided to call it an evening (two people in our company already left because they had someplace they needed to be and their ordered food, which they canceled before they left, still came out long after they were gone), it took forever just to get our change so Katherine and I made friends with some lovely adults from Connecticut who were visiting and very curious about Katherine’s marathon medals and what we did for a living. They even wanted us to stay for another drink. (We probably would have been there all night.)

As Katherine and At Disney Again also said in their recaps of the Derby Lounge, it was the first week of operation and we could be understanding about the place not falling into a rhythm so fast. But still, it was surprising especially since the lounge was off one of the finer restaurants in the parks and, in general, you come to expect high quality services from practically every spot on property.

Still… it didn’t stop me from returning when James and I went down to visit in January.

Let’s give it a whirl, I said to James! We have time. (We had done everything in Hollywood Studios already and we needed a drink.) So attempt #2 was better. The service still isn’t the friendliest, and there was a little girl crying over french fries but we were paid attention to more frequently then my first visit.

I once again had the champagne flight and James tried the Unibroue La Fin Du Monde Ale.

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge in Hollywood Studios January 2014

We had an nice relaxing time, sure, but even after a better go-around we still would choose the Tune-In Lounge over the the Hollywood Brown Derby. (I do like sitting outside though, so it wins in that respect.) The seasoned bartenders and the laidback atmosphere win over at Tune-In.

So will I be back? I’m sure I will be but I don’t think the Brown Derby Lounge will ever be on my must-do list.

What about you? Have you stopped in? I’d love to hear what you thought!

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A book publicist who loves writing about Disney and books, and sometimes Disney books.

5 thoughts on “Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge: 11/13 vs. 1/14

  1. I didn’t have a chnace to stop in on my last visit, when they had just opened- but I think I might try to hit this place on an upcoming trip. Is this a solo-friendly atmosphere, or do you think I’d be better off at Tune-In Lounge if I were by myself?

  2. Matt and I want to stop by again for another chance, but it was packed last visit and we weren’t caring to hang around for a table. On my last solo visit, I just stopped by in the morning for a walk and didn’t feel like waiting until noon for it to open. Maybe soon for pre-dinner reservation drinks!

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