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!
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!
The atmosphere here is little changed from the Concourse Steakhouse. The classic tile mural by Disney legend Mary Blair still overlooks the concourse.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
After you decide what you want, you go to five ordering kiosks (all touch-screen) and make your selections.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
There is also several “Stations” around if you just want a quick beverage or snack.
The Self-Serve Bakery is also convenient if you just want a quick sweet treat or bagel to go.
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.
What I really like are the self-serve stations! There is a small condiment station with lettuce, pickles, onions and tomatoes.
You will also find a soft-serve ice cream dispenser and a frozen novelty freezer case.
You’ll find a self-serve beverage station with hot coffee, chocolate, and sodas. There is even a specialty coffee station.
Disney even provides microwaves and toasters for your convenience.
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.
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?