DFB Reader Questions Answered: Dinner and Fireworks Timing at Magic Kingdom

It’s time to delve once more into the Disney Food Blog Reader Questions Mailbag! We’re pretty sure that if one of you is asking about something, then many of you are probably wondering the same thing. :-)

Today, we are featuring a couple of questions that are all about how to ensure a good dining game plan to view Wishes at Magic Kingdom.

Wishes at Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant and Fireworks Viewing

Our DFB Reader asks…

When should we make our reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant so that we have sufficient time to enjoy our meal, and so we are on time to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes?

The long and short answer for this? It depends! Note that you won’t be able to see Wishes or the Parade FROM the restaurant, so dining first and then finding a viewing spot out in the park is important.

When you’re making a dinner reservation for Be Our Guest Restaurant (or any other dining location) and you’d like to view the Electrical Parade and Wishes, it’s important to check park hours to find out when each of the events are taking place on that [Read more…]

Tomorrowland Terrace Parties: New Year’s Eve Details

Our Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Disney World has introduced a new way to celebrate New Year’s Eve — dessert and dinner parties!

On December 30th, Fireworks Dessert Parties will be held at 7:30pm and 10:50pm. On December 31st, the party will be held at 10:30pm. Adults: $39.99; Kids: $21.99. You can see photos from our Wishes Dessert Party (and others!) on our Wishes Dessert Party page.

Even better, a Dinner and Dessert party will be held [Read more…]

Guest Review: 1st Anniversary Dinner at California Grill

This blog has allowed me to meet so many talented and dynamic individuals, one of whom was kind enough to put together this guest blog about one of my favorite spots, California Grill! Kristen Heptinstall, of Southern Web Girl, visited the Contemporary Resort’s top floor with her husband a while back. Take it away, Kristen!

Hi! I’m Kristen. My husband Brian and I live in Birmingham, Ala., where I work as a Web editor and he works as a chef.

Brian and I returned to Disney World the last week of April 2010 to celebrate our 1st anniversary. On our anniversary, April 25th, we celebrated by going to the Magic Kingdom for the day — a bonus was that MK was on Extra Magic Hours that day and open until 2 a.m.!

We decided to have our anniversary dinner at our favorite signature restaurant from our honeymoon in 2009, California Grill at the Contemporary Resort.

(Note: We have been to 2-credit signatures Jiko, Narcoossee’s, Citrico’s, California Grill, and Hollywood Brown Derby, but have yet to go to Artist Point, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Flying Fish or Victoria & Albert’s. So we’re about halfway there. Whoaaaa livin’ on a prayer!).

We left MK in the evening, changed at our resort, then returned to the Contemporary. Storms were threatening, and it had been overcast all day, so I was checking my iPhone constantly for radar [Read more…]

More Dishes From California Grill

The Disney Food Blog took you to the California Grill back in April 2009, but we’ve returned since then and we’ve got more pics for you! :)

Located on the top floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the California Grill is one of Orlando’s most outstanding restaurants. It’s well known for sushi, wine, market-specific menus, and that fantastic fireworks show that happens right outside!

The Eats
We began this evening with our customary cheese plate (I can’t pass up a good cheese plate!), and California Grill doesn’t disappoint. The cheeses will change seasonally, and usually range from mild and buttery to a strong blue cheese (my favorite is the Monte Enebro, which you’ll find on other Disney World cheese plates as well). You’ll often find a variety of sources as well, from sheep’s milk to goat’s milk to cow’s milk. The plates also come with several sweet accompaniments. As you know, the honeycomb is my absolute favorite, but on this plate the candied nuts and sweet apples also were delicious.

California Grill Cheese Plate October 09

California Grill Cheese Plate October 09

Cheese Plate Listing -- Click for Larger Version

Cheese Plate Listing -- Click for Larger Version

Also for starters, we wanted to sample the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pesto, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Basil, which is probably one of the most [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for Fireworks Viewing: Part I

One of the most enjoyable ways to spend an evening is with dinner at a great restaurant followed by a beautiful Disney fireworks display. The best way to spend an enjoyable evening is to have the great dinner DURING the fireworks display!

There are several Disney restaurants from which you can see either Magic Kingdom’s Wishes or Epcot’s Illuminations. Here in Part I of our “Restaurants for Fireworks Viewing” series, we’ll look at restaurants from which you can see Wishes.

Wishes is the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks display. It usually takes place at 9:00PM, but can be earlier or later depending on time of year and the MK’s schedule of special events. The Wishes soundtrack is piped into the restaurants, so hearing the accompaniment to the fireworks will not be a problem.

BEST RESTAURANTS FROM WHICH TO VIEW WISHES

‘Ohana
‘Ohana, one of the two table-service restaurants at the Polynesian Resort, has arguably the best view of Wishes from any restaurant. With a wall of windows facing the castle, directly across Seven Seas Lagoon from the Polynesian, the view of Wishes is head-on — just as you’d see it on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom (only farther away).

'Ohana Sign

See that blue spot in the middle? That's the Castle from our 'Ohana table.

See that blue spot in the middle? That's the Castle from our 'Ohana table.

The second picture isn’t the best — the castle looks a million miles away — but trust me that it’s a great show from ‘Ohana. Definitely worth booking. And speaking of booking, you’ll want to book a reservation about 30-45 minutes prior to the scheduled time for Wishes. When you arrive at the podium, request a “Fireworks view” table. They cannot guarantee it, but they’ll do their best. If you happen to be seated in one of the few tables from which you can’t see the fireworks, you’re free to move during the show to stand in an area of the restaurant offering a better view.

Also, note that if you don’t get a reservation for around fireworks viewing time, the Polynesian Beach is another great spot to view Wishes.

‘Ohana is a casual dining establishment; standard park-wear is acceptable here.

Narcoossee’s
Narcoossee’s, in the Grand Floridian Resort, sits over to the left-hand side of the Magic Kingdom. Several window tables offer a great view of the Wishes fireworks show.

View of Castle From Narcoossee's

View of Castle From Narcoossee's

Narcoossee’s also has an outdoor viewing area along the railing outside of the restaurant. This will offer a great view if you’ve not yet been seated at your table. Again, book a reservation about 30-45 minutes prior to the scheduled start time for Wishes.

Narcoossee’s is a bit fancier than ‘Ohana; you might want to dress up a bit.

California Grill
California Grill, on the Contemporary Resort’s 15th floor, is often thought of as the quintessential Wishes viewing spot. The restaurant offers its outdoor viewing deck in addition to the views from the wall of windows in the restaurant.

California Grill Sign

View of Castle from our California Grill Table

View of Castle from our California Grill Table

That said, California Grill isn’t my favorite location for Wishes viewing, as the vantage point is strongly to the right of the castle. As a result, many of the fireworks launched from a mile or so behind the castle are skewed and don’t appear as they would when watching the show from directly in front. However, California Grill definitely has my vote for best food of the three!

Note that if you can’t book a reservation around fireworks time (these fill up fast) but get a reservation at some other time that evening, you are welcome to return to the 15th floor observation deck to view the fireworks at their scheduled time. Also, James comments below that the bar at California Grill has non-reservation seating, so you might get lucky with a seat at the bar if you hit the Contemporary at the right time. (This seating is first-come, first-served.)

California Grill is another Disney signature dining location, so it’s pricey…and dressy.

OTHER OPTIONS FOR RESTAURANT WISHES VIEWING

While these three are clearly the front-runners in dining reservations, you can also see glimpses of Wishes from Magic Kingdom’s Plaza Restaurant, Crystal Palace, Casey’s Corner, and Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station.

Interesting “views” of Wishes can be had from Cinderella’s Royal Table in Cinderella Castle and Pinnochio’s Village Haus in Fantasyland. While the fireworks are exploding above your head (not necessarily in your view, of course), you can see the flares being released from the tops of Magic Kingdom buildings around you. You won’t be able to truly experience Wishes, but it’s a unique view for anyone who has an interest in pyrotechnics, engineering, or fireworks in general.

Restaurants in the Magic Kingdom from which you can see very little — if any — of the Wishes Fireworks display are: Liberty Tree Tavern, Tony’s Town Square, Columbia Harbour House, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, El Pirata y El Perico, Pecos Bill’s Cafe.

Check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” in our series!

Magic Kingdom Wishes Dessert Party Announced

A new dessert party for fireworks viewing!

9/18 Update: The Wishes Dessert Party has been extended through the end of the year 2009! Pricing is slightly higher, at ~$24 for adults and ~$14 for children.
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“From June 23 through August 28 a new nightly celebration at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station will include exclusive viewing for Wishes fireworks and a self-service dessert buffet featuring a wide range of sweets and beverages.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE. The price is $17.99 for adults and $9.99 for children ages 3-9.”

Here are some great photos from one of the first dessert parties in June (thanks to MyDisneyMania).

The party begins an hour before Wishes, and reservations are limited to only 35 people per night! (thanks to @GajitMan for that info).

According to WDW-DINE, dining plan is not accepted for this party, and there are no Tables in Wonderland or Annual Passholder discounts noted.

Update from some readers who’ve booked:

  • Be sure the names match on your credit card and the resort/dining reservations.
  • Party is selling out quickly. Entire weeks are already sold out. Do call soon to get your spot!

According to SRSounds, the party will go on rain or shine (as it’s under cover). So, even if Wishes is cancelled, you still get dessert!

Thanks to @xxliz28xx over on Twitter for the news!