Rich’s Comments: This was a wonderful experience. The food, wine, stories, and table mates were all wonderful. Kate MacMurray is very personable and was extremely entertaining as she told the history of MacMurray Ranch (Fred MacMurray purchased the land in 1941), the climate that affects the grapes in Sonoma (including invasive fog), how each wine was made, and other fascinating stories and recollections.
After dinner, we got to meet Kate, talk to her about her father and her wines, get some pictures taken with her, and have our menu autographed.
I would definitely do another Winemaker Dinner. It was the highlight of this Disneyland trip.
Kathy’s Comments: Kate MacMurray is so very charming. She’s the kind of person who makes you feel like she’s totally absorbed in whatever it is you are saying. She has a real gift for that as well as storytelling – no wonder she’s also a screenwriter.
One of her dad’s best friends was Walt Disney and she shared some of those stories, as well as mentioned that so many of the Hollywood stars depicted in pictures on the walls decorating Steakhouse 55 were regular guests at her father’s dinner table.
While absorbing the atmosphere, I couldn’t help but notice it had a very local, southern California flavor. Unlike WDW, where most who go to the Food & Wine Festival are from out-of-town, this festival, like Disneyland, is quite local-centric and people seemed so surprised we would come in for this event – all the way from Las Vegas.
It did feel more like a California winemaker’s dinner and not so much a Disney winemaker’s dinner – a very southern California – a very “OC” event – people were dressed up, eager to impress. I can say this because I grew up here and know the people well – and it felt wonderful to be gathered back into the fold – to make that connection again. But I would be curious to know how Disney fans from other parts of the country would feel here.
But this event – and others to come – was big on schmoozing so you have to be comfortable with that to enjoy the event to the fullest. It felt very much like a cruise – social interaction, exchanging of email addresses, pics, etc. And, ironically enough, it paid off for us at the next night’s event and our reputation seemed to be growing…
Some asked if wine snobs would like this event. Well, the room was full of knowledgeable wine connoisseurs who had their own wine cellars, enrolled in classes, toured wine countries in Europe, etc. I wonder at what point you become a wine snob. We enjoy wine, and are eager to add to our knowledge, but I hope we don’t come across as snobs.
And while we’ve done Sweet Sundays at both parks and will comment on the differences later in the report, we haven’t done a winemaker’s dinner at WDW and it would be interesting to compare them. Is it a totally different vibe, or was I being too sensitive to the OC flavor – like inviting new friends to your home to introduce them to your family, wondering all the while what they’re going to make of it.
But Rich noticed it, as well, so we’re eager to see how it plays out on the other coast.