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Guest Review: Contempo Cafe

Welcome Bill Iadonisi with a review of the Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary Resort. Bill shows us all the modern features of this convenient, quick-service location. Take it away, Bill!

Disney’s Contempo Cafe, located on the former site of the Concourse Steakhouse at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, has been open since November 15, 2008.

Atmosphere

Although I really enjoyed the Steakhouse, this new Café is a wonderful replacement. In fact it makes more sense to have a table-service eatery (Chef Mickey’s) and a quick-service right next to each other. The Grand Canyon Concourse is always bustling with foot traffic, and since the Monorail station is right above, it’s a perfect place for guests to grab a quick bite or beverage before hitting the parks!

Contempo Cafe Entrance

View of Cafe

The atmosphere here is little changed from the Concourse Steakhouse. The classic tile mural by Disney legend Mary Blair still overlooks the concourse.

Mural

It can still get quite noisy (especially during the busy times) due to the foot traffic, Chef Mickey’s, the Monorail and the Outer Rim lounge.

The dining area seats 114 guests; it is brightly lit, thanks to the huge glass window walls on each side of the resort, and the cavernous interior of the resort makes it spacious and comfortable.

Seating Area

Green, Red and Almond floor tiles along with the Teak wood tabletops and chair backs in honey maple (all with a nice three circle Mickey) give the eatery a “contemporary” look and feel. (I know; I had to say it!)

Table and Chairs at Contempo Cafe

There is a large crescent-shaped counter against the back wall if you can’t find a table during the busy times — great for singles or couples who just want to eat quickly and go.

Counter Seats

Ordering Process

The most unique aspect of the eatery is the way you order your food.

Instead of giving your requests to a Cast Member, you will encounter two electronic menu boards (In Full Color!). Along with the listed menu, rotating pictures of the fare gives you a glimpse of what’s cooking. Just a quick note, the prices are not on the menus.

click image for larger version

click image for larger version

After you decide what you want, you go to five ordering kiosks (all touch-screen) and make your selections.

Ordering Kiosks

Instructions

Here is where the prices are revealed.  Another nifty aspect of the system is that when you order something, say a burger, the screen will give you choices of different cheeses, or any other item, depending on the different accompaniments that might come with the meal.

Just remember, if you add anything, the price will change accordingly. Once your order is completed, you get your receipt, give it to the Cast Member at the Pick-up window, and receive one of the beepers to let you know when your order is ready.

Eats

The food here reflects a healthier side that Disney is slowly incorporating into its counter-service and Table-service menus. You will find wonderful hot and cold sandwiches, tasty and healthy salads, flatbreads and pasta. The menu closely mimics the fare offered at my all-time favorite counter-service restaurant: Sunshine Seasons in the Land at EPCOT.

I always love Disney’s salad offerings and today I ordered the Chicken Chop Salad. This salad is nicely presented with an abundant amount of white chicken meat, tomatoes, cucumbers, black beans, corn and a very tasty buttermilk-avocado dressing. And since I love raw onions and tomatoes, the aforementioned condiment station had just the extras I wanted.

Chicken Chop Salad

Joining me for lunch were good friends John and Mark. Both men ordered the cheese and pepperoni flat breads. Both of these offerings filled the plate and were crispy, thin-crusted. The sauce was very flavorful, and did not have that “Jar” sauce” taste so prevalent today.

Flatbreads

Other items on the menu that I have sampled in the past are on par with today’s selections. If you love seafood, the Spice-crusted Mahi-Mahi sandwich will hit the spot. This nice-sized sandwich comes on a soft Kaiser roll and is topped with a very flavorful Citrus-Apple cole slaw with choice of green bean salad or house chips. The chips come out hot and crispy. The Mahi-Mahi is done just right with a perfect blend of spices. I also recommend the soups of the day at lunch.

I have not yet sampled the breakfast menu, but I just might make that a whole separate review! And there is a menu, of course, for the kids.

All in all, we were very pleased with all aspects of the eatery. When we arrived (about 12:30pm) it was not that busy, so there was very little noise. The Cast Members working the registers and at the order pick-up are there for any assistance if needed with the ordering kiosks. (They are very easy to use!)

Pick Up Order Window

There is also several “Stations” around if you just want a quick beverage or snack.

Snack Options

More Snack Options

The Self-Serve Bakery is also convenient if you just want a quick sweet treat or bagel to go.

Bakery

Don’t forget to sample the Dulce de Leche cupcake or the Black Forest cupcake if you have a sweet tooth!

Black Forest Cupcake at Contempo Cafe

Dulce De Leche Cupcake

You order your beverages, coffee, and soda from the cashier, and the items are refillable. A hint: I always order a small beverage, it’s a bit cheaper and you can refill it as many times as you want.

Beverage Station

Self Serve Coffee

What I really like are the self-serve stations! There is a small condiment station with lettuce, pickles, onions and tomatoes.

Fixin' Bar

You will also find a soft-serve ice cream dispenser and a frozen novelty freezer case.

Frozen Novelty Bars

You’ll find a self-serve beverage station with hot coffee, chocolate, and sodas. There is even a specialty coffee station.

Specialty Coffees

Disney even provides microwaves and toasters for your convenience.

Microwaves and Toasters

You will find for a quick-service restaurant, the beverage selection is quite extensive, and beer, wine and some specialty drinks are also offered.  These you will find in the “Market” station.

The Market Area

Market Items

Beer and Wine

Overall

You never feel crowded even at busy times, and you can still wave to the passengers on the Monorail as it pulls into the station (another classic part of dining here!).

The prices are standard for a Disney Counter-service eatery, and the portions are more than enough for the typical eater. And it is VERY conveniently located; especially if you are in the Magic Kingdom and want to take a quick walk or Monorail ride for something different.

Fresh tasty fare, convenient location and a comfortable seating area make this is a great place for lunch or dinner, especially if the parks are super busy.

Restaurant is open: 6am to 12am
Accepts the Disney Dining plan, but not Tables in Wonderland or DVC (Disney Vacation Club)
Reservations not accepted

Have you been to Contempo Cafe? What are your favorite menu items?

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12 Comments

  1. I owe the staff at Contempo Cafe a huge thank you–last October during a visit to WDW I was struck with a HORRIBLE stomach flu (it was so bad I had to walk out of a meal at Le Cellier, so this was no joke). The folks at Contempo really worked with me to get me some food that I could tolerate–plain rice, chicken soup, etc. The stuff wasn’t on the menu, but they made it happen. They were just part of the excellent Contemporary Hotel staff that helped us out during that disaster!

  2. Liz says:

    I love the COntempo Cafe. We’ve eaten there several times and enjoyed everything we’ve had on the menu. It’s also a nice spot to relax after a long hot day at the parks.

  3. Catherine says:

    On our last trip in Feb 2010, we ate breakfast at Contempo Cafe. VERY delicious, especially the big potato wedges and biscuits. A great atmosphere and very cool with the computerized ordering !!

  4. Emma Godbold says:

    Great review! Setting looks spacious and bright, lovely atmosphere. Would like to visit here if I wanted a break from a crowded MK at lunchtime. Love the idea of touch screen ordering, I always panic when I get up to a server and have to make my choice quickly as there’s a hungry queue behind me!!!!

  5. melisa sue says:

    BLT is our home resort, and I just love Contempo Cafe. It’s the perfect place to go to heat up leftovers or grab a quick snack. It’s so conveniently located.

  6. AFoodie says:

    Wait, so you don’t know the cost of your food until you’ve already ordered? What if you’re trying to control costs? How do you know the price of what you are ordering?

  7. Cookie says:

    We spent a lot of time at the Contempo Cafe on our recent trip during the D23 Scavenger Hunt and D23 40th Anniversary event. We tried many of the items since we didn’t want to leave the resort during the event (and food available at the event was priced so high!) and ate there a good number of times. We were pleased with the quality and amount of food we received and enjoyed the refillable drinks, since many times we were just hot and tired. Then we could take our drinks with us, either to the next event or to our room at BLT. We highly recommend the Cafe for parents with finicky eaters who need a variety of options or people who need a quick meal or snack after a busy day in the parks. It also is a good way to start your day so that the first thing in the park is not a request for some kind of food. We especially enjoyed interacting with Stanley and Caroline, 2 of the Cast members.

  8. BRiTMiCK says:

    We ate here for dinner last trip and lived it. In fact the cafe was the final thing that tipped my hubby to decide we have to stay here next trip. However we also had breakfast here and were less keen – the eggs were like a plastic mass and the potatoes were cold. I’d definitely do dinner again though and give breakfast at least one more try.

  9. Beth M. says:

    We stayed at BLT May 1-7, 2011 and fell in love with Contempo Cafe. We used our TS credits there several times. My favorite was the marinated beef flatbread with the caramelized onions and arugala. It was divine! We also tried all 3 of their specialty cupcakes: strawberry, dulce de leche and black forest. Dulce de leche was our favorite. My son called it the “two Mondays” cupcake because he confused the Spanish word for milk (“leche”) with the Spanish word for Monday (“Lunes”). We loved BLT (this was our first stay) but we will be back in part because we loved this counter service so much!

  10. Jeff C. says:

    I love the Contempo Cafe – it’s a sleeper favorite of ours for lunch or dinner. We’ve eaten there often, and I am always amazed at how fresh things taste.

    I usually go for the flatbread pizzas, and can attest to the great, fresh taste.

  11. Debra C. says:

    My all time favorite item at CC is the honey lime grilled chicken sandwich with the house made chips. I’ve talked about it so much that when I organized a Spring Break trip for my school (we stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge) the entire group went there for dinner the first night. Everyone enjoyed the food (and these were finicky middle-schoolers.) I found out later that several of the chaperones took their groups back there more than once due to requests.

  12. Bill Iadonisi says:

    Hi all. Sorry about not acknowleding your comments earlier, but I just returned from vacation. Everyone seems to agree that the Contempo is a wonderful alternative to the busy parks eateries, and much like the Kona Cafe, is a sleeper! I cannot repley to BritMick’s comments on breakfast since I have not tried it yet. One must remember that no matter what restaurant, or where, someone will have a bad experience. Never let that color your judgement, unless it is a continuing occurance. I dine at Disney 3 to 4 times a month, and yes, there are times I have received a meal that was less than I expected, but on returning the same item was spectacular! We all have an off-day. Again I thank you all for taking the time to respond and give me your feedback! See you all next review!

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