Review: New Bakery Items at Contemporary Resort’s Contempo Cafe (Did Somebody Say “Peanut Butter Pie”?)

In our wanderings in Disney World earlier this month we spotted some new goodies at Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

Contempo Cafe has long impressed with the variety of options available in the ol’ bakery case. The main standouts, though, have typically come in the form of cupcakes. After all, Contempo Cafe has been home to a rotating cast of cupcake greats like the Black Forest Cupcake, the Dulce de Leche Cupcake, the always festive Birthday Cake Cupcake and — my personal favorite — the (deeply missed) Chocolate Covered Coconut Cupcake.

Now, for you diehard cupcake aficionados like myself, rest assured that we’ve got one more of those for you today. But we’re also taking a look at FOUR other new items in that case… and a couple of them may tempt you to veer off the cupcake path, at least for a little bit.

So get your sweet tooth ready for a few new gems! But let’s take a super quick look around first, shall we?

Atmosphere

You’ll find Contempo Cafe on the fourth floor of the Contemporary, right next to Chef Mickey’s. It feels like things are always buzzing right around this area, especially since Chef Mickey and the gang are now hosting brunch as well as breakfast and dinner.

Contempo Café Entrance

Contempo Café Entrance

This Counter Service spot featuring hot meals (they still serve up a mean Pot Roast for dinner), baked goods, and grab-and-go items is perfect for having a quick bite before or after hitting the Magic Kingdom, which is within walking distance of the Contemporary. [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: November 18th, 2014

Ready for another trip around the World? We’re heading to three parks and a few resorts to check out holiday treats, gingerbread feats, and new menu eats! And which Counter Service location is now serving up steak? Just read on to find out and see What’s New!

HOLIDAY TREATS

Red and green aren’t the only colors taking over Disney World now that the holiday season has launched around here… hues of blue decorate the festive snacks at this year’s brand new “Frozen” Gingerbread Display at the Contemporary Resort!

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

We tried the Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Read our review and see all the other treats available at the new display here!

Get ready for all your favorite Disney World bakery items (we’re talking Krispy Treats, Candy Apples, and Mickey Macarons) to be dressed up for the holiday season in spots like the Main Street Confectionery, Seashore Sweets, and Big Top Treats.

Holiday Bakery Case

Holiday Bakery Case

Ornament Candy Apples

Ornament Candy Apples

More candy apples!

More candy apples!

Holiday cupcakes

Holiday cupcakes

Red and Green Mickey Macarons

Red and Green Mickey Macarons

And now let’s look into some ways the Parks are getting into the [Read more…]

New “Frozen” Gingerbread Display Debuts at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

It’s time to ring in the season with the famous Disney World Resort Gingerbread Displays!

While displays throughout various resorts are in different stages towards completion, the Contemporary Resort has debuted its brand new 2014 Gingerbread Display themed to (shocker, I know) Frozen!

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

This impressive display brings together current and classic as the Frozen characters are designed in the vintage style of Mary Blair, as is fitting for the Contemporary. And the whole thing (which looks a lot like a Norwegian Stave Church) is set against a pretty familiar looking background. It’s Arendelle meets “it’s a small world.”

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display sign

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display sign

Frozen Friends

Frozen Friends

"It's a Small World" design

“It’s a Small World” design

As always, there are some great fun facts regarding the ingredients that make up this enormous display!

Ingredients!

Ingredients!

And those 14 Hidden Olafs? Just look among the characters to locate a few.

Olaf... and teeny tiny Olaf

Olaf… and teeny tiny Olaf

See the sliver of silver on the bottom left? That’s one!

Directly next to the display is a counter topped with gingerbread selling [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at The Wave… of American Flavors in Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

This morning we’re enjoying breakfast at The Wave… of American Flavors!

Located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Wave is unlike any other restaurant at Disney World due to its emphasis on sustainable eating – many of the ingredients used in the dishes here are sourced locally.

The Wave also has the added benefit of being a mere stroll away from the Magic Kingdom, making this a great and convenient place to start the day when you’re headed into Disney World’s original park!

Atmosphere

You’ll find The Wave on the Lobby Level of the Contemporary. As you enter from the front, you’ll notice a faint blue glow coming from the end of the concierge services desk and to the left.

The Contemporary Lobby Level

The Contemporary Lobby Level

That blue stems from the unique “tunnel entrance” that lights the way to the eatery. Something about this reminds me of the Contemporary when I was a kid way back in the day.

The Wave Entrance

The Wave Entrance

For one of the resort’s more recent additions, the entrance is retro Disney World, and I love it for that. (Does anyone else remember watching Disney movies in a small theater on this floor, by the way, or has my memory stored that incorrectly? I’m more certain of my memories of the Air Hockey table in the old Game Room… .)

After walking through the tunnel you’re greeted at the check-in counter. There is a sign to remind guests that The Wave is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Check-in Counter

Check-in Counter

The Wave Hours

The Wave Hours

We were seated very promptly, even though we arrived prior to our scheduled Advance Dining Reservation.

Upon entering the dining room, the vibe changes entirely. Decor changes from cool blue to warm earth tones, and the theme of “waves” is echoed throughout the chairs at the tables — and even on the ceiling and in the lighting.

Dining Room

Dining Room

Table Seating

Table Seating

Ceiling Lanterns

Ceiling Lanterns

There is little else in the way of detailing, in favor of simplicity. However, the artwork that has been selected brings the focus back to fresh ingredients.

Artwork at The Wave

Artwork at The Wave

Eats

Upon being seated, our server came to greet us right away (and he remained attentive throughout the meal). After walking us through the menu, he invited us to view the breakfast buffet prior to making our decisions.

I’ve enjoyed The Wave’s buffet a few times, so for this visit I chose from the menu for a change of pace. But because the buffet here is noteworthy, I’d like to give you a peek before going into our entrees.

Where lunch and dinner entrees can change fairly frequently at The Wave due having a sustainable menu, several of the breakfast buffet offerings remain consistent. From right to left, the buffet begins with a cold section featuring, among other items, salmon and hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruit.

Salmon and hard-boiled eggs

Salmon and Hard-boiled Eggs

Fresh fruit

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit

Fresh Fruit

An assortment of pastries is [Read more…]

Five Legged Goat Krispy Treat (!!!) and other Festive Snacks make Holiday Debut at the Contemporary!

This must be Contemporary Resort week at DFB, ’cause we’re back at the chic-meets-retro hotel again today! The holiday season is upon us at Walt Disney World! And, as you may know from an earlier post, one of the ways the season makes its presence known throughout Disney World is through some amazing gingerbread creations!

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Tree

At Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the fabulous smell of spiced gingerbread wafts from this 17-foot tall, 6-foot wide Gingerbread Tree.

Gingerbread Tree Ingredient List

The good news is that you can enjoy more than just the fragrance… the Contemporary Resort’s gingerbread display offers plenty of festive snacks available for purchase as well.

Snacks available for purchase

Holiday Treats at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

It seems to me these treats change at least a bit every year, and part of the fun is seeing what’s new. This year’s selection didn’t disappoint!

Let’s start with the most fun (and unique) addition to the line-up. This year’s assortment of snacks includes a Five Legged Goat Krispy Treat!

Five Legged Goat Krispy Treat

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with our five-legged friend… if so, don’t worry. You haven’t spent your life missing out on a yuletide tale of yore featuring a five legged goat ;). No, this fellow is [Read more…]

First Look! The NEW California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Oh my goodness, you guys! We got a chance to check out the newly revamped California Grill last night and IT. IS. AMAZING!

The popular restaurant, which sits high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is the one that started it all. It was Disney World’s first foray into sleek, signature dining.

But even the most contemporary California vibe can become outdated. And so it was time for a little freshening.

Last night, we got a first look at the brand new re-imagined California Grill.

We’ll have even more pics for you later today — and a longer review for you next week! But I couldn’t wait to share these initial pics of the transformation! Come with us and take a look!

New California Grill Atmosphere

The facelift is evident before you ever set foot on the fifteenth floor. The check in desk, located on the second floor, has also received an updated look.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

A new font and background replace the signature cursive. Colorful stripes in warm colors replace the painted tile background.

After a quick trip up in the elevator reserved for California Grill guests, we stepped out into the entrance. A right turn, and we were greeted by a gorgeous, post-storm sunset.

California Grill view

Sweeping vistas have always been a hallmark of California Grill, but they’ve been made even more stunning with the introduction of floor to ceiling windows, which allow for plenty of natural light and incredible, 360-degree views.

California Grill New Dining Room

California Grill New Dining Room

Previously, the space was dominated by bright, bold geometric patterns. In re-imagining the space, Imagineers decided to look to the Contemporary’s mid-century roots for inspiration.

Taking elements from the work of iconic Disney artist Mary Blair, the entire space was [Read more…]

News! California Grill Opens September 9th; Reservations Available Monday, August 26

Circle this upcoming Monday, August 26, Disney Food Fans! That’s the day when we will finally be able to begin booking advance dining reservations for the newly renovated California Grill!

The NEW California Grill!

The signature restaurant, which sits high atop Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort, has been closed since early 2013 as it underwent a complete makeover.

It’s scheduled to open on September 9th, and will feature a new menu — including some awesome desserts!

Sundae Sampler Dessert Trio at California Grill!

Look for the new menu to continue to feature seasonal ingredients, but with a somewhat lighter hand.

While fan favorites like the flatbreads will continue to be around, Chef Brian Piasecki also plans to utilize the wood-burning oven for new dishes. These include Baked Local Prawns with Charred Lemon, and Savory Meatballs with Herbed Orzo.

Read our review of these [Read more…]

New Breads and Desserts Will Debut on the California Grill Menu in Disney World

While we anxiously await the California Grill re-opening at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World (which is looking like late August or early September!), we can’t help but tempt your taste buds with some new menu items!

The NEW California Grill!

For starters, two new breads have been created including a whole-grain sourdough roll and a lavender-infused focaccia.

And there’s more! Pastry Chef Jeff Barnes has created new desserts with a playful theme. “You’re going to see a big change with some new concepts,” says Chef Jeff. “This is our chance to create a new menu with a fresh infusion of California, and it’s coming together nicely.”

Artful dessert presentations include a Sundae Sampler featuring a trio with a Coke float, strawberry sundae, and caramel corn sundae.

Sundae Sampler!

Or you might want to sample [Read more…]

Review: Chef Mickey’s Dinner at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

It has been too long since I’ve taken a trip to Chef Mickey’s in Disney World’s Contemporary Resort!

We’ve shared with you our review of their breakfast buffet. But today, we’re heading there to see what’s new for dinner!

When many people think about a Disney character dining experience”, they immediately think of Chef Mickey’s. This one has it all — the Fab Five, a sprawling buffet of family-friendly foods, regular raucous celebrations, and monorails whizzing by.

But in the past, the food has had a reputation for being a little lackluster. Time to see how things are looking these days… . We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

Atmosphere

One of the coolest things about Chef Mickey’s is its location. You’ll find this well-known character meal at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Chef Mickey's Sign

This place is a stone’s throw from the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, which makes it a great place to stop and eat before heading into the park, or after a long day of rides and attractions.

Once you enter the hotel’s main floor lobby, take the elevator to the fourth floor. Chef Mickey’s is located on the south end of the concourse, right below where the Disney World monorail enters the building. (You can also arrive at the Contemporary via said monorail, of course — in which case you’d take an escalator down to the 4th floor).

The Grand Canyon Concourse at the Contemporary

Head to the central desk to let the hostess know that your party has arrived. You can’t miss it — Mickey is smiling down with his fork and spoon, ready to greet you!

Central Desk Check-In

If your table isn’t quite ready, you can wait until your party is paged in this comfortable seating area. This spot features a view of Bay Lake and the resort’s pool patio — and offers plenty of room for running off excess energy.

Waiting Area

Before you’re seated, your party will [Read more…]

Review: Contempo Cafe at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

One of my very favorite Disney hotel counter service spots is Contempo Cafe at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Offering awesome cupcakes, it’s an ideal spot to stop off on your way to or from the Magic Kingdom. And like Captain Cook’s or Sunshine Seasons, it offers a wide variety of unique and delicious eats.

Let’s head over to the Contemporary for some late night eats!

Atmosphere

The Contempo Cafe is located on the Grand Canyon Concourse of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, adjacent to Chef Mickey’s. While the restaurant has only been open since 2008, there’s an immediate sense of history here owing to its location.

Contempo Cafe on the Concourse of Disney's Contemporary Resort

Monorails have been buzzing through this concourse since the very beginning. And while the offerings have changed — a souvenir book from the 1970s reminds us that the Contemporary was once home to nine restaurants and lounges! — the interior as we all remember it from childhood remains very much the same.

You’ll still spy the soaring, colorful mosaic mural created by Disney artist and imagineer Mary Blair, that serves as the centerpiece to the concourse and a wall to the restaurant.

Mary Blair Mural

While not as large as some of the food court-style food service offerings of the value resorts, the Contempo Cafe occupies quite a bit of space. Because of the soaring ceilings and spacious layout, you feel as though you have plenty of room to stretch and spread out.

Seating is comfortable, dominated by tables and chairs with a clean, modern, almost Scandinavian feel. (Don’t miss the Mickeys!)

Seating Area

Though the area is spacious, [Read more…]