Walt Disney World has no shortage of special events for guests looking to level up their vacations, but few are as distinctly Disney World as the Highway in the Sky Dine Around.
This bespoke dining event is a progressive dinner that begins with drinks and a bright and flavorful appetizer and ends with fireworks and (more) drinks. The “in the Sky” part? That’s the Walt Disney World Monorail which serves as your carriage for the night. It’s onboard this iconic vehicle that you’ll be taken to all three of the Monorail loop Resorts: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
The progressive meal showcases flavors and presentations unique to each Resort and their restaurants, including The Wave…of American Flavors, Kona Cafe, and Citricos. And it all winds down with a reserved viewing location for Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks spectacular.
The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
But let’s go back to the beginning: when you arrive at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to enjoy a light appetizer and drinks at The Wave…of American Flavors’ lounge.
Highway participants have a reserved lounge in which to enjoy their introductory eats and drinks. Yes, the lighting is really that blue and that moody. But it’s part of the fun of the lounge!
The appetizer here on our visit was Spring Pea Bisque with Truffle Oil, but keep in mind all of the drinks and food served at all spots can change some depending on when you visit.
To accompany the springy bisque: the Discovery Island Fizz. This drink is made with St. Germain, Hendricks Gin, cucumbers, and strawberry. This was a refreshing drink that didn’t compete with the simple flavors of the soup.
One drink and a light soup down, we board the Monorail en route to the Polynesian!
Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Our next stop was Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort for heavier food items from Kona Cafe.
The space here is set up with small tables and chairs or hightops with stools. The views are beautiful, and while the event is not in the restaurant proper, guests still have plenty of island vibes to help them relax.
Table settings include flower leis to drive home that island vibe…
…along with a napkin, cutlery, and chopsticks.
The drink served at the Poly was a Tropical Mai Tai. This was a fruity and slightly sweet drink that complemented the savory eats.
Here there was a non-alcoholic offering, too — in line with a Shirley Temple and served with a cocktail umbrella.
The Dine Around dishes at Kona were served as a trio of small bites.
The first was Swordfish with Ginger Beurre Blanc and Cabbage Slaw. The flavors worked well, and though it’s a small portion overall, the swordfish was a generous size. The slaw added some brightness from a vinegar-based dressing.
The second fish dish on the plate was Tuna Poke with Avocado Cream and a Prawn Chip. This dish lands you squarely in the islands with a combination of fresh tuna and cubes of mango.
The richest item on the plate was the Island Spice-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin. Served with roasted potatoes, the beef gets an added layer of flavor from a miso demi.
For those diners who don’t fancy seafood, there was a second plating. This one keeps the beef but loses both fish preparations.
Instead, there’s a stir fry of chicken and noodles with some veggies.
And completing the trio is a light fruit salad with popping pearls.
Bellys growing full, it was time to take a short Monorail ride over to the Grand Floridian!
Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian
The meal continues at Disney’s Grand Floridian, which always lays out the marble tile for guests. 😉
Citricos is an oft-forgotten Signature restaurant that typically wows with vibrant flavor combinations.
We were seated in a private area of the dining room and met with a simple and clean table setting.
The stop at Citricos began with the restaurant’s bread service.
The main course here is served as a duo with accompanying sides. There’s no skimping on richness here, despite the smaller portions.
The Braised Short Rib is a stand-out, served atop smooth mashed potatoes and topped with fresh greens.
The Florida Red Snapper isn’t much to look at, truthfully, but the freshness of the fish and the braised greens is a staple of Citricos.
For those not eating seafood, there was a second preparation with two pieces of beef rather than the snapper.
Our entrees at Citricos were accompanied by our choice of a glass of red or white wine.
Garden View Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian
The next stop was just downstairs in the Garden View Lounge where it’s typically tea time.
But this stop was all about that Cheese & Charcuterie Course! This course is accompanied by a thorough menu explaining each component.
Each guest received a glass of champagne to accompany the course.
This was a fairly straightforward course from a visual perspective, and each component was delicious. There was plenty of toasted bread, and though this was a smaller-than-average charcuterie, it made a big impression.
As night time set it, it was time to head back on the Monorail for one final trip to the Contemporary!
Desserts and Viewing at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The night winds down back at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where a reserved viewing area on the fifth floor serves as the culminating event of the Dine Around.
Beverages here include hot tea and coffee, ice water, canned soda, and some additions like Kahlua, Frangelico, and Bailey’s for the grown-ups.
There were three desserts during our Dine Around, and diners could select whatever they liked.
Naturally, we had one of each. Why even dessert party if you’re not trying one of everything? 😉
The Key Lime Bars were creamy and tart, balanced well with a thick base of graham cracker crust and topped with tiny mountains of meringue.
The bright Strawberry Shortcake was a flavorful play on the quintessential treat. The lightness of this was welcome after several heavy dishes during the other courses.
The richest of the three desserts was the Organic Chocolate Flourless Cake. Served as a pyramid, it was dense and rich but, to be honest, we preferred the two fruity options!
Of course, the real treat at the end of your Highway in the Sky Dine Around is the spectacular view of Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks show.
But for good measure, you’ll also take home a pair of sweets: a truffle and a cordial.
With 5 courses and drinks behind us, we were pleasantly full after our evening around the Highway in the Sky!
The Highway in the Sky Dine Around is a fabulous experience. Guests are able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Monorail Resorts and get a taste for what each brings to the table culinarily. Each stop is treated with care so that guests feel like they’re really getting some special treatment. The amount of food in the progressive meal was satisfying, and the drink pairings made sense and are a big part of the value.
That said, for $170 per person, this is likely out of reach for most guests. And those who do shell out the cash for this truly lovely and memorable experience probably won’t do it more than once or will reserve it for the most special of occasions. And if you’re not drinking those paired cocktails and wine? It’s likely not worth the price unless you’re in it for the overall experience. Which we totally get because there is something pretty cool about being chauffeured by the Monorail and treated to top-notch service along the way.
Some things to note about the experience: guests must be 12 or older to participate, and there is a dress code. Essentially this means no flip flops, swimsuits, hats, torn clothing, or offensive language or graphics. Khakis, dress shorts, and nice shirts are fine. Valet parking is included with the Dine Around; parking is at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where guests check-in for the experience at The Wave.
No Disney Dining Plan credits are accepted for the Highway in the Sky Dine Around, and the event will be held in rain and cold weather. Click here for more details or to book your own Highways in the Sky Dine Around experience.
Note that some changes have occurred to the lineup during the Citricos refurbishment.
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Have you enjoyed the Highway in the Sky Dine Around? Or will you add it to your next Walt Disney World Vacation? Let us know in the comments!