Review: California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

On my recent visit to Walt Disney World, my husband and I made it a goal to carve out time for a date night at California Grill.

If you love signature dining at Disney World, then you probably know the Grill well. Perched atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the spot has Disney history on its side. After all, Top of the World, which originally occupied the fifteenth floor, dated all the way back to Disney World’s opening. California Grill opened as its replacement in 1995, and brought with it a new emphasis on market fresh ingredients and California fusion flavors.

It was more than just another new Disney restaurant. It, along with Victoria and Albert’s, paved the way for a more refined dining experience at Walt Disney World.

My recent experiences have been a little uneven, however. (Even California Grill isn’t immune to the Disney restaurant curse of inconsistency.) So it’s always good to check in on an old favorite. After all, this was our first visit after the departure of Chef Brian Piasecki, so we had to see what was happening in the kitchen. And that view makes it easy to take a chance with the Grill.

Let’s head to the second floor.

Atmosphere

Why the second floor you ask? Because if you want to go California Grill, your journey begins here. You’ll check in at the podium before you’re escorted to the elevator that takes you to the fifteenth floor.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Once you arrive, you’ll step into California Grill’s sleek environment. [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: August 18, 2016

We know, we know… Back-to-School time is fast approaching (and in some spots, it’s already arrived!). But the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer aren’t quite over just yet, so we’ve still got some summer celebrating to do!

And, hey, the coming of Fall isn’t so bad, anyway. Not when we’ve got our very favorite autumnal event coming to the first stop on our tour in a matter of weeks. That’s why we’re kicking things off at Epcot to see What’s New!

Epcot

Food & Wine Festival Coming Soon!

The 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival will be here before we know it! Sure signs of its return are starting to appear around the park…

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Coming SOON!!

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Coming SOON!!

… as in, like, literal signs ;) . Even the Miniature Train display in the Germany Pavilion has received its annual decorations!

Train Display in Germany

Train Display in Germany

Train Display in Germany

Train Display in Germany

Have you checked out the full list of Booth Menus to start strategizing your noshing plans yet?! It’s never too soon… the Festival starts on September 14th! [Read more…]

NEW: Turtle Cupcake at Contempo Café in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Time to head over to Disney’s Contemporary Resort for this new cupcake!

August’s cupcake at Contempo is a Turtle Cupcake featuring everyone’s favorite kid turtle, Squirt! Radical, Dude! 

Contempo Café is known for its totally awesome cupcake selection! The Café, if you’re not familiar, is the counter-service restaurant in the Contemporary Resort, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the Grand Canyon Concourse near the popular character buffet, Chef Mickey’s.

The restaurant has great options like Cajun Seared Mahi and Chicken Alfredo Pasta — and you can’t miss the amazing Pot Roast! And breakfast here features one of our favorite giant Mickey waffles, because it’s served with salty caramel bananas foster sauce.

But today, we’re going to focus on this month’s Squirt cupcake – sweeeeeet!

Turtle Cupcake

Turtle Cupcake, dude!

[Read more…]

Review: Cherry and Banana Cupcakes at Contempo Cafe

CUPCAKES! Isn’t looking for special cupcakes at Disney World as fun as hunting hidden Mickeys?!

If you agree, you’ll certainly have some fun options this summer! It seems like every visit to the parks comes with a fun new cupcake find. And today’s find comes from one of our go-to resort spots that we can always depend on for a fun treat: Contempo Cafe in Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

For a short time, we can delight in not only one, but two new cupcakes! We haven’t seen anything quite like these two seasonal treats, and we’re excited to share them with you!

First up: the Banana Flip Cupcake! This beauty is a vanilla cupcake topped off with a mound of banana buttercream icing.

Banana Flip Cupcake

Banana Flip Cupcake

[Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: July 19, 2016

It’s high temps and good times in Walt Disney World this summer season! We’re spotting plenty of frosty summer sips to help you beat the heat, along with all sorts of new restaurants to stop in and take an air-conditioned breather.

And if we’re talking about new restaurants, there’s only one place to start this round of What’s New, and that’s…

Disney Springs

Latest Additions

I know — it’s as though the openings are never-ending at Disney Springs! The Grand Opening Summer Celebration is ON for this dining, shopping, and entertainment district!

Disney Springs

Disney Springs

Can you believe it? What once seemed like a never-ending transformation of what was once Downtown Disney to Disney Springs is now complete (though we still have a few more spots to welcome in the coming months!). [Read more…]

Review: Outer Rim Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

It’s time to head over to the Outer Rim Lounge for a classic Disney Cocktail!

The Outer Rim is your main, standalone watering hole at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. While there are also lounges at both of the Contemporary’s table service restaurants — The Wave and California Grill — this is the spot to go to when you’re meeting friends, or just taking a load off.

Since this is in a busy part of the hotel, you often see people hanging out here just to take a breather or to wait for someone. It’s a popular stop on the famous Monorail Crawl!

There are some serious ways that Outer Rim differs, however, from its counterparts located on the Monorail Crawl Line. We’ll take a look at those in a minute. But first, let’s have a look around.

Atmosphere

Heading to the Outer Rim? Then you’ll want to take the elevator or escalator to the fourth floor Grand Canyon Councourse.

Yes. You've Arrived.

Yes. You’ve Arrived.

You won’t have any trouble finding the Outer Rim. While one end of the Councourse is given over to retail shops, the other end houses Contempo Cafe and Chef Mickey’s. Outer Rim is located directly across from Contempo Cafe, and is completely open to the rest of the concourse. [Read more…]

Review: The EAT THIS NOW Churro Cupcake from Contempo Cafe

I know! It’s been a banner week for Disney Cupcake fans!!

Recently, I had to share with you the “man, this sure does taste a lot like strawberry” Watermelon Cupcake at the Contempo Cafe.

But today, I’m back to tell you about one so good that I broke a DFB rule! Read on to find out more. :-)

Churro Cupcake

So, there’s plenty of reasons to love a Churro, right? I mean, what’s not to love about fried dough that’s rolled in cinnamon sugar? The soft inside against the crunchy outside texture makes this one of our DFB #OnTheList favorites. It’s true churros can be found more often in Disneyland, but we love the nods we’ve seen to it on the East Coast as well.

I mean, in both DL and WDW, we’re encountering a whole subculture of Churro-topped treats! There have been Churro Milkshakes, and we’ve even created our very own Churro Sundae. The Churro Funnel Cake at Hungry Bear is now on the full time menu (YAY!). And who could forget the Churro Ice Cream Sandwich?!?!

Churro Cupcake and Mickey!

Churro Cupcake and Mickey!

I’d like to argue that a Churro alone is plenty. But this cupcake took it to a Whole New Snack Level. And that’s what makes this one so special. [Read more…]

Review: Watermelon Cupcake at Disney’s Contempo Cafe

Lovers of Disney Cupcakes — this one’s for you!

I just returned home from a family trip to Walt Disney World, and you better believe I had to check out all the new eats in the pastry case at the Contempo Cafe.

This counter service location, conveniently located on the Magic Kingdom Resort Monrail loop at the Contemporary Resort, takes extra care to keep things fresh and new. And that’s especially true when it comes to cupcakes. We loved the recent Star Wars Cupcake we enjoyed there.

During my most recent visit, I came away with two fun new cupcakes to share with you — the first one is up today!

Watermelon Cupcake

What says, “Hellooooo, Summer!” better than watermelon? And so, the pastry team at the Contemporary kicks off the busy season with this beautiful Watermelon Cupcake.

It’s super cute, right? Piped Pink Buttercream swirls around the cake’s crown, and the Green Sprinkles give that perfect color contrast that announces the theme here.

Watermelon Cupcake

Watermelon Cupcake

I also love the Chocolate Chips that mimic watermelon seeds, and the White Chocolate disk on top lends a Contemporary flair. (Get it? ;-D) [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: May 13, 2016

Are you ready for another trip around the World? We’ve got lots of new eats, treats, and Gaston-themed Feasts coming at you for this round of What’s New (along with a peek at a lot — and I mean A LOT — of stuff to come!).

We’re kicking off our latest jaunt at the most Magical of All Kingdoms…

Magic Kingdom

A recent visit to the Magic Kingdom revealed changes and additions — both big and small — to Counter Service spots all over the park.

Greetings from Magic Kingdom!

Greetings from Magic Kingdom!

But the one that might just take the cake (CUPcake, that is!) is the new Donald Duck Vanilla Cupcake at the Main Street Bakery! [Read more…]

Best Disney World Cinnamon Rolls

Nothing hits the spot quite like that decadent treat, a Disney Cinnamon Roll. Whether you’re enjoying one of these mammoth pastries for breakfast with your coffee, or as an afternoon snack, it’s been one of my favorites forever!

It’s unfortunate that some of the very best ones, like the Main Street Bakery Cinnamon Roll and the Sticky Bun at Kouzzina, are no longer available.

Best Disney World Cinnamon Rolls

But there are still so many delicious options available out there! Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites, and then you can share with me which ones you like the best. [Read more…]