Guest Review: Brunch at the Top at California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Guest Author AM Appleby returns to share her California Grill Brunch at the Top experience at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Brunch is offered every Sunday from 10AM – 1PM. Cost is $80 for adults and $48 for kids ages 3-11.

California Grill, located atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is well known for fine dining and spectacular views. A divine spot for sushi, steak, and fabulous cocktails, the restaurant began serving brunch in February for the first time in its 20-year history.

Considering the reputation of California Grill, I didn’t even glance at the menu before booking an Advance Dining Reservation. I thought brunch would be top notch, and had high hopes that I wouldn’t be disappointed.


Upon arriving at the Contemporary Resort, we were directed to Valet Parking where a Cast Member was waiting to greet us. After a quick trip to the second floor check-in desk we were whisked away in a private elevator to the 15th floor. We walked towards the abundant light streaming in through the enormous windows, admiring the view beyond, and were given complimentary mimosas (and a children’s mimosa — or “faux-mosa” for my seven-year-old daughter) at the bar.

Complimentary Mimosas

Complimentary Mimosas

The spacious room was fairly quiet, with charming music being played on piano and double bass. [Read more…]

News (Updated): Ultimate VIP Tour Experience for the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Now Available

It’s SO CLOSE now, my friends…

Food and Wine Festival Updates 2016 Info Graphic SquareThe 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival begins September 14th!

That means the Ultimate VIP Tour Experience for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival is bookable now! Similar to the 2015 Package, Walt Disney World passholders, DVC Members, and Chase Disney Visa Cardholders can book the Ultimate VIP Tour Experience for a 15% discount!

As in years past, the Ultimate VIP Tour Experience for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival offers a combination of VIP experiences, special events, and terrific opportunities to learn from Disney Chefs and other Festival notables.

Your special Food and Wine Festival experience lasts ALL DAY LONG, and includes all of the following:

  • Your day begins with the Wonders Retreat at the Festival Center, where you’ll enjoy a celebrity chef hosted brunch from the best seats in the house.
  • After a break and a brief time to shop, you’ll return to the VIP Lounge for a hosted beverage demonstration featuring acclaimed wines, spirits and craft beers from around the world.
  • Next, you’ll venture to the Norway Pavilion to set sail on the newest attraction in the World Showcase—Frozen Ever After.
  • Then, it’s time to explore the Global Marketplaces! Disney Chefs will greet you and introduce you to the endless selection of bites and beverages while you taste 3 of the Festival’s most popular pairings.
  • Your next stop will be at the newly reimagined attraction, Soarin’ Around the World.
  • Afterwards, a certified Cicerone will lead you through a sampling of the Festival’s signature craft beers. Another delectable chef’s pairing will follow.
  • Post pairing, you’ll head to the America Garden Theatre to savor a glass of champagne and then rock out to the Eat to the Beat Concert Series from your priority seats.
  • When the concert comes to a close, you’ll have time to explore the Festival on your own.
  • If you choose to stay through the end of the day, you can watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from a reserved location.

More details:

  • The 7-hour experience begins at 9:00 AM on the following Fridays: September 16, 23, 30; October 7, 14, 21, 28; and November 4, 11, 2016.
  • The cost of The Ultimate Day at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival experience is $399 per Guest, plus tax.
  • A 15% discount is available for Disney Vacation Club Members, Annual Passholders, and Disney Chase Visa Cardmembers.
  • See artists performing during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.
  • View celebrity chefs who will be presenting at the What’s Cookin’ With… brunch during the Wonders Retreat. (See our list of who will be appearing each week on our Food and Wine Festival Special Events Page)
  • Theme park admission is required and is not included with the cost of the VIP Tour.

For reservations, please call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687.

Please note that terms and inclusions in the package are, of course, subject to change.

Ready to Plan for Your Epcot Food and Wine Festival Trip?

The DFB Guide to the 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available! This 250+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever.

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Order your 2016 edition today! Don’t miss a moment of the fun!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a 20% off the cover price!


SAVE 30% Off Everything in the DFB Store With Our Labor Day Sale!

NOW is the TIME!!! The kids are back at school, there’s the promise of a nip of Fall in the air….and YOU’RE READY TO PLAN A DISNEY TRIP, RIGHT?!?

Well, just in time, we wanted to pass some special savings onto you!

DFB Labor Day Sale-03

Save 30% Off of Everything in the DFB Store. EVERY. THING.

We are celebrating Labor Day with a little something for everyone — 30% off of EVERYTHING in the DFB Store! Just use code 30SALE at check out!

We have a wide range of individual Guides and money-saving Bundles to meet your every Walt Disney World food planning need. Let’s take a closer look!

DFB Guides

2016 book cover dfb guide

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining covers every single facet of Walt Disney World Dining. From restaurants, to snacks, to using the Disney Dining Plan — it’s all there, and it takes us more than 500 pages to give you all the details! And our companion Snack Guides and Special Event Guides go even deeper, providing details on virtually every snack available in the Parks of Walt Disney World.

Today, we offer a full family of DFB Guides to help you plan your trip. Our Guides include:

Each Guide is updated annually to ensure you have the very latest information! And today, you can receive any or all of these invaluable e-books for 30% off with code 30SALE at check out! And don’t forget to check out our Money-Saving Bundles — More Stuff for Less Dough! They’re all 30% off, too!!!

go to shop

(Pssst — These are 100% backed by a MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE for any reason at all! So your safe to buy!) As always, thank you SO MUCH for your support of the DFB Team!

What NOT to Do at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

If you’ve been hanging around here much at all, then you know that we love the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tips

And what’s not to love?? In 2016, we’ll have two full months to Dine Around the Promenade at Marketplace Booths, take in Special Events and Demos, and generally soak up this culinary immersion.

So we focus a lot on things you Must Try! (Grown up frozen drinks!!) and things that you Can’t Miss! (Parisian Breakfast!!) But what about the “Don’ts”?

With 20 years of Food and Wine Festival experience under our belts, we think we know a thing or two about having a good time at F&W. ;-) So today, allow us to share our list for the Mistakes We’d Like to Help You to Avoid as you plan your visit to this year’s Festival!

Put on your stretchy pants and comfy shoes, and get your DFB Food and Wine Tray ready. Time to head in!

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Book Events

There’s a reason that we tell you to be on the phone first thing bright and early on the day that Special Events, including Seminars and Demonstrations, open. These events sell out quickly — especially the ones featuring celebrity chefs.

All isn’t lost, though, if you didn’t book the second the phone lines opened. You will be able to book some events, especially the Low-Cost daily seminars and demos, right up to the time of the event.

Wine View Lounge Cheese Station

Wine View Lounge Cheese Station at Party for the Senses

Still, it’s best to plan ahead. So if you haven’t already done so, call now and square away those reservations. It’s one less thing you’ll need to worry about when you arrive. [Read more…]

Countdown To the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Sale!

It will be here before you know it! We are just TWO WEEKS away from the start of the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! But it’s not too late for you to take advantage of some special savings on the DFB Guides

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Logo Official Disney

We have so much fun providing you with all there is to know about Disney Food. Because there’s one thing we’re passionate about: making sure that you enjoy the best Disney trip ever, every time.

And that’s especially important when it comes to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. With so much to do, see, eat, and drink, it can be hard to keep it all straight! And that’s where we come in. :-)

So as we continue to countdown to opening day, we are happy to bring you special deals on some of our most popular DFB Guides and Bundles.

DFB Guide to the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book SAVINGS

The DFB Guide to the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival was written to give you everything you need to know about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in one handy volume — and we mean EVERYTHING!

With more than 250 pages and tons of bonus items, it offers all of the information that you need to make the most of your Festival visit. Learn more about the DFB Guide to the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival here. [Read more…]

Don’t Miss Out! Join the DFB Newsletter and Stay in the Know!

Wow! It is amazing to think of all the new stuff happening in the world of Disney Food right now!

DFB Newsletter

With new signature dining options at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, plus more excitement to come when Rivers of Light debuts, we’re on high alert. And Pandora, The World of Avatar is just around the corner…

And there has been a dizzying amount of activity at Disney Springs, with so many new openings. And with the relaunch of Planet Hollywood Observatory and Paddlefish, plus The Edison coming soon, there’s more to come.

And please — don’t even get me started about our watch for news out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Star Wars? Toy Story? Can’t wait!

So there’s never been a better — or more important — time for dedicated Disney Food Fans to be clued in to the very best source for all of your Disney Food News.

And that’s why you should join the DFB Newsletter today!

But I’m a daily DFB Reader!! What could I possibly be missing in the DFB Newsletter?

Lots! It’s simple: there’s SO much happening at Disney. And sometimes, especially when it comes to breaking news like Free Dining Offers or Brand New Restaurants or Special Events, it’s important to get the news as soon as possible. And that’s where the DFB Newsletter comes in. [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tip: Make Your Own Custom DFB Food and Wine Fest Tray!

If you’ve visited the Epcot Food and Wine Festival before, then you know what a hassle it can be to get from Marketplace Booth to a Table (or Trash Can Top or Bench or Wall) without spilling your dishes and drinks.

That’s why one of my best tips for you is to bring your own tray to make the journey easier!

Yep — we know they sell these little jobbies…

Food and Wine Fest Tasting Plate

Food and Wine Fest Tasting Plate From a While Back

But to be honest, that’s just not enough real estate when you’re sampling more than one dish…plus drinks.

Any tray will do, of course. But why not take the opportunity to show your team spirit with a Disney Food Blog Customized Food and Wine Festival Tray?

Your Very Own DFB Food and Wine Festival Tray!

Whaaaaaa?! So how do you set about making this marvelous thing? It’s easy! First, grab a DFB Food and Wine Festival Tray Sticker, like so:

DFB bumper sticker-001

THEN, acquire a basic cafeteria tray (we won’t ask any questions how you go about it) and slap the sticker on the tray. DONE. [Read more…]

Grand Launch! DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom & Hollywood Studios Snacks 2016

After lots of fun research and delicious taste-testing, we’re happy to announce that the 2016 DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks e-Book is now available!


And to help us celebrate, you can get the new Guide for 20% off the regular purchase price for a limited timejust use code SNACKS16 at the check-out!

With over 380 pages of tempting snacks, the DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks is part of our DFB Guide Snacks Series!

As always, you will enjoy an instantly downloadable PDF guide with comprehensive information and advice on well over 340 delicious snacks that you can enjoy at the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios parks in the Walt Disney World resort.

The DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks e-Book includes:

[Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: 3 Reasons to Bring Your Kids to the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

You may think that you couldn’t possibly enjoy the Epcot Food and Wine Festival with kiddos along for the ride. But we think you totally can!

Food-and-Wine-Guide-Cover-2016 (1)

While the festival is certainly a food lover’s paradise, there’s no reason that you can’t enjoy a day there with the younger set, too. After all, Epcot is first and foremost a theme park, so even during the Food and Wine Festival, you’ll find plenty of exhibits and entertainment geared toward the small fry.

We love coming up with strategies that help you to enjoy eating your way through Walt Disney World, no matter who’s along for the ride. So if you like what you see here, be sure to check out our 2016 DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for even more great tips on managing the event with kids along.

In the meantime, check out these suggestions for making the festival fun for everyone in your party!

Attend a Culinary Demonstration or Other Special Event

If you have kids that are interested in what happens in the kitchen, consider checking out what Culinary Demonstrations are available at the Festival Center for the day. Kids are permitted to attend these events with a ticket (but aren’t served alcohol, obviously). We think it’s great fun, especially for older kiddos in your party. Who knows? A future chef may be born!


Culinary Demo Featuring Chef Kevin Dundon

If your budget allows, you may even want to check out the brand new Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It! Hands On Workshops. New in 2016, these events take place once a day, and offer guests the chance to get in on the action of exploring and creating. [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tips: What to Expect on Peak Booking Days

Are you ready? The countdown is on, and early booking will open for the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival in just a few hours!

That means that you and (and several thousand other people) will be calling Disney, trying to get into the Low-Cost Events,  Culinary Demos, Beverage Seminars, and Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It! Workshops of your choice!

What else does that mean? Well, this is a great example of a Peak Booking Day for a Disney event.

You may be wondering: What’s a peak booking day? It’s anytime that you can expect a high volume of guests calling at the same time to book events. This goes for early booking days for certain groups, regular booking days, days for booking where a new restaurant or experience is announced, and days that offers of Free Dining for the Disney Dining Plan are announced. And experience has taught us that all the things are probably not going to go smoothly.

Free Dining Offer?!? Be Prepared for a Wait

Free Dining Offer?!? Be Prepared for a Wait

With that in mind — and the fact that forewarned is forearmed — we want to share with you just what you can expect when it comes to peak booking days with Walt Disney World as well as some suggestions that may just help you to be successful (and keep your blood pressure down). [Read more…]