The Contempo Cafe has consistently been one of my favorite spots for better-than-average counter service meals.
What you find here is quick service, no advance dining reservation required. But the fare is anything but fast food quality.
It had been a while since I’d enjoyed a meal here, and since that last visit, they’d added a Lobster Roll that was getting rave reviews from readers!
Recently, on a very quick visit to the World, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to check out all that’s new at the Contempo — and to see if I still consider it a must-do stop.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Contempo Cafe, well, you’ve probably seen it before, and you just didn’t know it! It occupies primo Disney real estate right next to Chef Mickey’s on the Grand Canyon Concourse in Disney’s Contemporary Hotel.
That’s the area that you whizz by when you’re traveling on the Monorail en route to Magic Kingdom. See?
Because the Contempo shares space very literally with a bunch of other stuff, there’s not really any “atmosphere” to it. This is an open floor plan.
While the area can feel quiet and deserted at times in the middle of the day and late in the evening, at other times it can be very crowded. And LOUD. Seating is basic and fairly comfortable…but this isn’t a place that’s meant for lingering. So you won’t find cushy booths or secluded spots. It’s an all-business — eat and go — kinda place.
But that’s no reflection on the food, which we’ve enjoyed time and again. With unique entrees and desserts, we always find something to rave about here. And it’s currently home to my I-must-eat-this-every-time-I-go-to-Disney-World dessert. More on that later! Let’s see what’s new here during this visit.
One major change from our last review is the way you order. Remember those fancy self-serve kiosks that were all the rage in Walt Disney World counter service spots for about five minutes? Gone. You are back to talking to real live humans again when it comes to ordering. (You can still use the self-serve kiosks during breakfast and lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant, though.)
I was glad to see that one of my favorites, the Beef Pot Roast, was still available. But I had in mind to try something a little different. You can choose from a list of Signature Entrees.
A selection of Flatbreads, Salads, and Kids’ Meals round out the offerings.
After you make your main selections, it’s worth your time to take a look into the Pastry and Bakery Cases. The Contempo always has a fantastic array of Cupcakes as well as other sweets!
Beyond the pastry case, browse the bank of Grab and Go fridges for drinks and pre-made foods.
Beer and Wine are available, but you’ll also find Uncrustables for the kiddos and various cold accompaniments, like Cream Cheese.
Bottled Water, Sports Drinks, and Juices are also available.
A selection of pre-made Wraps, Salads, Sushi, and other better-for-you selections means that you can eat something fairly healthy, even if you’re in a hurry to catch the next monorail.
Kids’ Beverages, Yogurt, and Salad Dressings round out the offerings.
Beyond the Grab and Go, there’s Soft Serve Ice Cream and a cooler for Frozen Treats.
Once you’ve made all of your selections, you can check out at the registers.
And when your number comes up, you’ll either pick your prepared food up at the window near the Pastry Case or they’ll bring it out to you (that’s something they’ve been trying here lately).
Time to grab your drinks and condiments! If you aren’t using a Rapid Fill Mug, you’ve received a disposable cup to collect your drink. The choices are standard Disney. Choose from a variety of Fountain Drinks.
But there’s also plenty of hot choices. There’s always fresh Coffee.
And there’s Hot Cocoa and Iced Tea as well.
There’s a standard selection of Twinings Tea for hot tea. You’ll also find condiments to fix your drinks just the way you like them as well as straws and lids.
And I always have to share a picture of the Microwave and Toaster with you guys! They are alive and well at the Contempo, and ready for all of your warming and toasting needs. 🙂
Beyond that, you’ll find lots of sauces and other condiments for saucing things up. I love that I can always find chopsticks as well! You know. Just in case the mood strikes. (Or I’m eating sushi.)
It’s not all fancy stuff, though. There are plenty of basics, too.
So my pager went off, and here comes my food!
We chose the Lobster Roll of course. This is a classic interpretation: Lobster Salad on a Toasted Roll. It comes with a side of House Made Potato Chips.
The Lobster Salad was lightly dressed with a Mayonnaise-Based Sauce and fresh Herbs. Very pretty, and delicious — SO. MUCH. LOBSTER. But this one will set you back. It’s Contempo’s highest priced entree at around $17.
We also opted for a Disney counter service classic — the Meat Lover’s Flatbread. It was topped with Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Nueske’s Bacon, and Mozzarella Cheese.
This was very good. Flavorful toppings and base, and that crispy crust that you expect from a flatbread (versus the doughy mcdougherson pizzas they have at WDW counter service spots). I loved that the meats were all nicely crisped, too!
But I left plenty of room for the huge Contempo Cafe Peanut Butter Pie! Oh lawdy, my friends, you MUST eat this. MUST. Specifics: Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Filling on top of a layer of Vanilla Custard. But it’s basically license to eat a huge ball of peanut butter cookie dough. And if you’re like me and would love to be eating a big huge ball of peanut butter cookie dough pretty much all the time, then this is for you. Don’t share it.
The Contempo Cafe continues to impress. I love this spot for better than average fast food. But that’s the case for several places in Disney World, honestly. I think what sets the Contempo Cafe apart is its location.
This is a seriously convenient spot to stop for a snack or a meal if you’re anywhere remotely close to Magic Kingdom. It’s within walking distance of the Park. And of course, you can hop a monorail and get here even easier.
But there’s also a sense of history here. Sure, the Contempo itself hasn’t been around all that long. But the Contemporary sure has been. And anytime I’m there, I’m reminded of all those trips through that concourse on my way to the Happiest Place on Earth, looking at the Mary Blair Murals…searching for that five-legged goat…
So. Nostalgia + Great Food. What’s not to love?
Are you a fan of the Contempo Cafe for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or TREATS? Leave a comment below and tell me what you love about this spot!