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!

Atmosphere

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…]

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…]

Review: The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

We hadn’t been back to The Wave for a couple of years, so we knew it was time to head back for dinner!

The Wave is a unique table-service spot at Disney, because their menu focuses on local and sustainable ingredients. Because of the ever-changing and seasonal local offerings, they are one of the few moderate table service restaurants I’ve encountered that changes up the menu four times per year. (Usually that’s only allowed for signature restaurants!)

Available for breakfast (which also features a buffet), lunch, and dinner, you won’t necessarily find the same dish here that you had six months ago. That can be good and bad, but it’s always an adventure to stop in and see what’s new!

Atmosphere

Located in the back left corner of the Contemporary Resort’s lobby (just past the concierge desks), you might miss The Wave altogether — except that they’ve dreamed up this groovy light tunnel for the entrance.

This gives you the feeling of heading below the waves for a culinary adventure. (Or it could also remind you of the dearly departed rainbow tunnel from the original Journey Into Your Imagination. Either way, it’s still cool.)

Wave Entry

The atmosphere is modern and contemporary, and the check-in and bar areas look a little “night-clubby,” actually! But never fear — this restaurant is very family-friendly.

Wave Check-In

You make your way around the beautiful and expansive bar as you walk to the dining area. Here, you’ll see more waves in the decor, like the backs of the comfortable bar chairs.

The bar features screw-top wines (more about that later) and fun organic local beers.

Wave Bar

As you enter the sleek dining room, the color palette changes from blue to harvest gold. Waves (amber waves of grain, perhaps?) continue to surround you, even from above.

Wave Dining Room

Although the look is decidedly modern, it maintains a comfortable feel, with padded seats and booths throughout. The finish also cleverly disguises [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.

Atmosphere

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…]

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…]

Guest Review: Contempo Cafe Dinner and Dessert

Join me in welcoming Kayla Lopez with a review of the Contempo Cafe at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort.

Hello everyone! My name is Kayla and I am absolutely ecstatic and honored to be writing a Guest Review on the amazing Disney Food Blog!

Today, I’m taking you guys to the Contempo Café. Why the Contempo Café you ask? Well, I was running some errands and was taking the resort monorail when I decided it was getting late and I hadn’t really eaten all day. So I decided to hop off at the Contemporary Resort to try out this little place to see what all the fuss was about. (About the cupcakes of course.)

Atmosphere

Contempo Café is located right next to the beloved Chef Mickey’s. It is a bit loud in there, so if you’re looking for a quiet place to eat in the Contemporary, you won’t find it here. But I found it rather enjoyable to hear the song they play inside Chef Mickey’s.

Contemporary Restaurants

This quick-service dining area is much smaller than the “food courts” I’m used to at the Value resorts, which is usually where I would stay when I was still a Guest and not a Cast Member. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a [Read more…]

News! Complimentary Beer Sampling at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

UPDATE: Since posting this, we have gotten word that this beer tasting is only for guest staying at the Contemporary Resort or Bay Lake Towers. We’d heard differently from a Contemporary CM before printing, but this word is directly from the manager at the restaurant. Sorry folks!

In a recent comment, reader Bill M. (thanks, Bill!!) told us about a Beer Tasting that happens every Saturday at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! I made some phone calls to find out the deets, and we’ve got ‘em right here!

Visit The Wave’s lounge to sample complimentary beer each Saturday, from 3-4 p.m.. Three certified organic beers by Orlando Brewing Company are provided, making this a great stop on your monorail crawl.

Don’t like beer? While your friends are sipping complimentary brew, order a screw-top wine (ya gotta pay for it, though).

Beer Sampling

While this activity is advertised in the Disney’s Contemporary Resort (and Bay Lake Tower) Recreation Activities Guide, you do not need to be a guest of the resort to participate. Of course, the beer tasting is only open to [Read more…]

Tables in Wonderland: February 2012 Special Event

Tables in Wonderland has announced a special event for February!

The Wave Discovery Dinner

Location: Disney’s Contemporary Resort; Meet at The Wave Main Podium
Date and Time: Thursday, February 16, 2012
6:30 p.m. Reception; 7:00 p.m. Dinner
Dress Code: Casual Evening Attire
Cost: $110.00 per person. Tax and gratuity included.

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Thomas Gaines has been in the wine industry almost 20 years. He currently overseas sales and marketing for Southern Starz Imports in 13 markets across America and the Caribbean and is a key component to their success in bringing amazing wines from Southern Hemisphere to the US markets. Many items are from producers ranging in size of 3,000 cases up to 50,000 cases in production and were not [Read more…]

Snack Series: Contempo Cafe Red Velvet Cupcake

One of our favorite counter-service joints, Contempo Cafe, has perfected another yummo cupcake that I can’t wait to tell you about!

Previously, we’ve shared our reviews of the Apple Spice, Chocoalte Peppermint, Dulce de Leche, and Black Forest cupcakes here at Contempo, and now we’ve got a version of my very favorite cake in the world — the Red Velvet cupcake!

You can find this snack in the bakery case at Contempo Cafe in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World. Just bypass the ordering machines and head right to the cupcakes!

Red Velvet Cupcake

Once again, this cupcake sports the lighter-than-lard frosting common to most Contempo Cafe cupcakes. It’s not as light as a whipped cream frosting, but it is definitely [Read more…]

Tables in Wonderland: January 2012 Special Event

Tables in Wonderland has announced a special event for January 2012!

The Wave . . . of American Flavor’s Discovery Dinner

Location: Disney’s Contemporary Resort; Meet at The Wave… of American Flavor’s Main Podium
Date: Thursday, January 19, 2012
Schedule: 6:30 p.m. Reception; 7:00 p.m. Dinner
Dress Code: Casual Evening Attire
Cost: $92 per person, includes tax and gratuity

Click for Larger Image

The Wave…of American Flavors Discovery Dinners continue in January by celebrating the Central Florida Strawberry season. The Farmer/Chef dinner will feature Lott Farms located just west of Plant City, Florida. Mike’s great strawberries are sold under the Classic label through C&D Produce Distributors.

Menu

Reception in The Wave . . . of American Flavors Lounge
Thompson Farm Pulled Pork Slider with Plant City Barbeque Sauce and Cypress Grove Sheep’s Milk Cheese
Strawberry Tea Poached Beef Short Rib with [Read more…]