Guest Review: California Grill at the Contemporary Resort

Today, we’re welcoming Alex F. with a signature dining review. Alex takes us with her to the top of the Contemporary Resort for dinner at the California Grill! Let’s go…

I have been to Disney World over 20 times and I have always wanted to write a review. So, finally I decided that on my latest trip, I would take pictures and review California Grill at the Contemporary Resort. I hope that this review is helpful and enjoyable!


California Grill, a signature dining restaurant located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort, features unique views through the walls of windows and the two observation decks.

While dining here, you can either have close up aerial views of the Magic Kingdom from one side of the dining room, or distant views of Epcot and Hollywood Studios from the other (you can see Spaceship Earth, the Swan and Dolphin hotels, and even the Tower of Terror).

Table by the Window with Magic Kingdom View

To access the California Grill, you must check-in on the 2nd floor to the right of the escalators. Years ago, you were able to simply go straight upstairs and check-in, but that has all changed. Now, once you have checked in, you can head over to a special elevator just for [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 8, 2012

Beauty and the "Beast" Mosaic in Be Our Guest Restaurant

We hope your holiday was filled with lots of great food this week! The big food news this July 4th was the confirmation of the California Grill closure.

Of course, we enjoyed seeing a new cupcake unveiled for the holiday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Did anyone see other holiday treats around the parks this week?

Disney Food News

In this week’s food news for Disney fans…

We’ve got more food news (including menu info for the new DCL Remy’s brunch, a new policy for Top of the World Lounge…plus LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

DFB Podcast Episode 6 Now Available

We’re pleased to announce that the sixth episode of our brand new podcast has been released! You can catch it over on

In this episode of the Disney Food Blog’s DFB Podcast, we cover the latest Disney Food News, discuss two delicious Disney steakhouses, answer a few listener questions, and reveal the answer to our Episode 5 trivia question (as well as give you a brand new trivia question)!

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

On to the Round-Up

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups consumes some fun mocktails!

Designing Disney visits the Toad Hall restaurant at Disneyland Paris. Wow!

Daveland shares beautiful photos from the Blue Bayou Restaurant in Disneyland.

Disney History shares a vintage interview with Walt Disney explaining why [Read more…]

News! Temporary Closure in 2013 for Disney World’s California Grill

Chef Brian Piasecki reveals a few details of the upcoming renovation of the popular California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World!

This high-end restaurant offers exquisite cuisine and top-notch fireworks viewing, but we’ll have to find another signature spot to dine for the first half of 2013! According to the DisneyParks Blog, we finally have a solid date for the restaurant’s closure that we reported earlier this year.

California Grill will close in early 2013, and re-open in the late summer. Save us a spot at this window table! ;-)

Great view from California Grill

Menu and Other Updates

While the menu will undergo some tweaking, a fresh, seasonal menu with top-of-the-line sushi will continue to be the main focus of the kitchen.

The continued use of creative flavors and techniques will allow chefs to [Read more…]

Guest Review: California Grill at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

Join us in welcoming guest author Corey Patterson with his first review on the Disney Food Blog. Corey starts off at the top of the world with his experience at the California Grill. Take it away, Corey!

Location, location, location. Every one knows these are the three most important aspects in a successful property. However, in the case of California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the food outshines even the outstanding location and takes top billing.

For a few years, I had heard that if I couldn’t eat dinner at Victoria and Albert’s (which is on my bucket list), then California Grill was a great alternative. So, when I attended a recent conference in Orlando, I made sure that eating at the top of the Contemporary was on the agenda.

And, I must say, after my first Cali Grill experience, I would wholeheartedly agree with the high praise.


As we arrived at the Contemporary Resort, we were a little unsure of how to get to the restaurant. But signage and friendly cast members quickly pointed out the reception desk on level 2. We checked in and were whisked away in the elevator to the 15th floor at the top of the Contemporary Resort.

Check In Desk

I purposefully made our reservation at California Grill at 9:20 so that we were sure to be there during Wishes, but I was still surprised to see the restaurant so busy at that late hour. I most likely underestimated the crowds for the week and really shouldn’t have been shocked since WDW is getting busier as summer approaches.

Since we made a reservation, we walked right in and didn’t wait more than 10 minutes for our table (which was enough time to grab something from the awesome bar!). A very nice young lady named Sam greeted us when our table was ready and made it a point to explain everything about the restaurant (such as the location of the Terraces and the restrooms,) and even slowly walked us by the open kitchen on the way to the table so we could witness the magic happening there.

Open Kitchen

While Sam was wonderful, we were a little disappointed when we learned [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: May 6, 2012

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Cheers to the new Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar (cheese) and updated Tutto Italia Ristorante (cheese) in Epcot’s Italy pavilion! We got the chance for a sneak peek at the Grand Opening, and it was (cheese) awesome!

Be sure to check out our photo tours and pics of the new menu items! (Did I mention there’s cheese?)

Disney Food News

We’ve got more food news (including Four Special Dining Options on Mother’s Day Sunday May 13 at Disneyland) on our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

Facebook E-Book Sale Starts Tomorrow!

To thank you for following us over on Facebook, we’re throwing our first ever Facebook e-Book Sale this week!

Starting tomorrow — Monday, May 7th, 2012 — we’ll begin the new e-Book sale on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page.

Follow us over there for details on the sale AND for a link to our brand new Disney Food Blog Store website!

On To The Round-Up

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups visits the Tea Caddy in Epcot’s United Kingdom.

Little Lion Baked Goods makes Avengers Cake Pops. enjoys poolside dining at the Maji Bar while staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village.

Running at Disney shares a post-race meal at Epcot’s Rose & Crown.

Main Street Gazette suggests a child-size breakfast option at Sunshine Seasons.

Mouse on the Mind investigates bread service options at Disney restaurants.’s Steve Barrett found a food-related Hidden Mickey.

a Mouse and a Dream dines at Disneyland’s Plaza Inn!

News! Disney Restaurants Closing For Renovations in 2012 and 2013

Update: Hoop-Dee-Doo will now remain open in Fall 2012.
Update: Bistro de Paris will remain closed through early December. New name for Bistro de Paris will be “Monsieur Paul” — a fitting tribute to Chef Paul Bocuse!

There have been a lot of updates about restaurant closures lately, and I wanted to share the latest information we have so that it’s easier to make (or cancel or change ;-D) your Advance Dining Reservations.

Bistro de Paris

In today’s news, the Signature restaurant Bistro de Paris in Epcot’s France pavilion will be closed for renovations starting July 1, 2012, and lasting until the end of October.

Bistro Dining Room

According to emails being sent out to guests, Advance Dining Reservations are being moved to Chefs de France.

This closing is possibly due to the Epcot France bakery expansion about which we’ve previously reported. The French bakery, Boulangerie Patisserie, is slated for many changes, including an updated menu, expanded kitchen, and more.

Cape May Cafe

Cape May Cafe in Disney’s Beach Club Resort will be closed from [Read more…]

Disney Food For Families: Teachable Moments at Disney Restaurants

Learn from the Chefs at Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table

My 15-year-old daughter was recently invited by a classmate’s family to a super swanky dinner event at a super-duper swanky restaurant in New York City.

When she was telling me about it the next day there was a lot of “who wore what” and “what was on the menu” discussion. And then she said this to me, “Thanks for taking us to Victoria & Albert’s. I knew what to expect at the dinner last night because we had been to V&A’s.”

After I got over the shock of such an overt expression of gratitude and politesse from a teenager, I allowed myself a brief moment of parental pride. My plan to use Disney restaurants as a manners training ground had worked!

Using Disney Restaurants as Manners Boot Camp

I understand that using Victoria & Albert’s as etiquette boot camp is a bit over-the-top, but the concept could be applied to any signature restaurant at Walt Disney World. Before I get going, let me say that while of course you can (and should) teach manners at restaurants in your home town and at your own dinner table, the Disney signature restaurants are an ideal learning environment for adult behavior.

The Disney signature restaurants have all the elements of posh and polite, PLUS all the elements of easy-going and family-friendly. The restaurants put you in a position to succeed, with no fear or threat of derision or embarrassment if you don’t. The Disney signature venues are the perfect stepping stone on the path to civilized behavior.

Here are some things your children can learn and practice at a signature venue: [Read more…]

Risotto Around the World

Ah…time to talk about one of my very favorite side dishes EVER!!! Risotto is often overlooked, but the creamy savory goodness that is risotto could easily take center stage in a dish (and does in some of these highlighted below)! Disney chefs have mastered the art of making this slow-cooked yumminess — rice patiently mixed with flavorful broth — and whether it’s mixed with meat, fish, or vegetables, risotto doubles as as a sophisticated recipe and mouth-watering, comfort food.

I was looking through our Disney Food Blog Flickr group and saw so many gorgeous photos of risotto that I simply had to do a post about this dark horse side dish. (Of course, I’ve added a few of my own photos as well…;-D.)

Let’s take a tour around the world…

Butternut Squash Risotto from Artist Point

This butternut squash risotto topped with pork belly is easily in my “top 5″ risottos in Disney World. Offered at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge, the hint of sweet from the squash and tartness courtesy of the cranberry drizzle create amazing (and memorable!) flavors. Sigh. I miss it.

butternut squash risotto

Dungeness Crab Risotto with Blood Orange Sauce and Pea Shoots; from Artist Point

This ample portion of risotto is mixed handsomely with crab creating a decadent appetizer. (Looks amazing!!!) Dishes at Artist Point tend to change seasonally, yet Dungeness crab seems to be used in many dishes — like these crab cakes we highlighted earlier this week!
(Photographer: Roger Weeks)

Dungeness Crab Risotto

Mushroom “Risotto” (in reality this is white corn, but I love that they made a “risotto” out of it), served along side Seared Bison with, Turnips, Chestnuts, and Pinot Noir Juniper Emulsion; from California Grill

This striking presentation from the California Grill has a slight [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 19, 2012

New Temporary Italy Kiosk in Epcot

Viva Italia! The temporary Italy kiosk in Epcot is now serving up some tasty eats including ravioli — along with glasses of wine!

Disney Food News

We’re serving up the latest foodie news this week!

For more delicious food news, stop by our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

On to the Round-Up

Carmi’s Art Life World Check out the Mickey Retro Kitchen Series — it’s miniature Japanese collectibles!

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups visits the lounge at the California Grill. Cheers!

MousePlanet stops by Germany’s Biergarten in Epcot!

Burger Invasion (c)Yesterland analyzes how to get the best values with your Disney Dining Plan credits at counter-service restaurants in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Yesterland takes a look back at the Burger Invasion in Disney California Adventure.

Kevin Kidney reminisces about a long-lost mural from the Plaza Pavilion and welcomes the new Jolly Holiday Bakery to Disneyland.

Main Street Gazette pays tribute to the Cobb Salad at The Hollywood Brown Derby.

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Flatbreads

One of our favorite pastimes is looking at your photos submitted to the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza! While they make us really hungry…please send more! ;-)

The Disney Food Pics of the Week this week feature flatbreads! Flatbreads (also possibly known as fancy pizzas) can be found at many of Disney’s table-service and quick-service restaurants.

First up, a tempting Mushroom & Arugula Flatbread from Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Looks gorgeous!
Photographer: Kelly Tressler

Mushroom and Arugula Flatbread

And the flatbreads from Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko are always delicious! Check out this [Read more…]