Full Review: The NEW California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Update: Scroll to the end of the Eats section (yep, waaayyy down there!) for a mini-review of opening night, courtesy of one of our favorite DFB guest writers, Julie B!

We are headed back to the fifteenth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort today, as we take a closer look at the brand new California Grill!

The outpouring of Disney food fan love has just been astounding throughout the last eight months as we’ve continued to watch the newly re-imagined California Grill take shape. Folks who love the restaurant and its amazing menu have been anxious for news. Would it retain its panache? Would beloved dishes from the old menu make the cut? How would we survive with no Yoshie??

We are happy to report that, if possible, California Grill is even more spectacular than before. We were happy to show you a first look at all that was new after last Thursday’s media event. Today, we’re unveiling more details. If you haven’t already, get ready to make those advance dining reservations. I think you’re going to like what you see.

Menus

Settle in. This is going to be a long one!

Atmosphere

Immediately, as you step out of the elevator onto the fifteenth floor, you are enveloped by the cool vibe of California Grill. You know at once that you’re in for a special experience.

If you weren’t aware of it already, now you know: wine matters in this restaurant. A lot. Wine coolers aren’t dressed up to be anything else; they’re unapologetically part of the decor here. This makes sense, as the restaurant now boasts 1,600 bottles of wine in the state-of-the-art wine display.

You’ll find around 250 wines on the list, with 80 available by the glass. And with more than 20 sommeliers on staff, you are literally enveloped in a wealth of wine knowledge.

Wine, Anyone?

Straight ahead, you’ll find the trademark view of Seven Seas Lagoon. With any luck there will be a spectacular sunset over the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa during your visit like there was for ours.

This area continues to serve as the lounge for the restaurant. You can still score a table here with no advance dining reservation, and the full restaurant menu is available for ordering.

Entrance and Bank of Wine Fridges

The bar area continues to be highlighted by the ceiling’s circular cutout. While the shape is the same, the whole bar has been overhauled with new finishes. Comfortable seating beckons you to relax and have a cocktail or two.

Bar

To quote one of my Disney friends, nothing here is the same as it was! The lights are wonderfully whimsical. While modern, there’s still a retro feel here. In fact, the lights remind me a lot of old pictures I’ve seen of the Contemporary from the 1970s.

Seating Area is Ready for Guests

Tables are set for service. I was glad to see that the [Read more…]

First Look and Review! Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure

After years of watching the progress of Disney California Adventure’s expansion, and in recent months being able to see the tower of Carthay Circle Theater from behind construction walls, it’s so surreal that I have now actually dined there…twice!

*Please note, the lighting inside Carthay at night is so dark. Many of my photos do not do it justice.

Carthay Circle Restaurant Marquee

Carthay Circle Premiere!

Atmosphere

Inspired by the original Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood where Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937, the restaurant is about as close to a true replica as you can get.

The theming inside is true to the period as well. It features fabulous old photos of Walt as well as memorabilia from Snow White. From the moment you walk into Carthay Circle Restaurant, you feel as though you have stepped back in time; back to the “Golden Age” of Hollywood.

When facing Carthay, there are three doors. The two on the left are entrances to the restaurant, and the door to the right is the entrance to the private 1901 Lounge (for which we will soon have a review,too!).  Lovely cast members are there to get the door for you and welcome you to Carthay Circle.

Welcome to Carthay

Upon entering there is a rather large lounge area. To the left is a spacious waiting area to enjoy after you’ve checked in for your meal, and to the right there is a separate room — The Carthay Circle Lounge — where the bar and extra seating is located.

Carthay Circle Lounge

In the lounge, you can get drinks and small bites. No reservations are needed to visit the lounge, and you are more than welcome to [Read more…]