Last year, the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa opened up just minutes away from Disney World. But while the hotel has been up and runnin’ for almost a year, its rooftop bar, illume, has yet to make its big debut. That opens on May 27th — and we were able to stop by yesterday for a little preview!
illume is located on the ninth floor (the rooftop!) of the JW Marriott.
Starting May 27th, it will be open from Wednesdays-Sundays, from 6PM-12AM. Keep in mind that this spot is adults only starting at 9:30PM each day.
The eats are inspired by modern Japanese cuisine, and you’ll see that theme reflected in the decor here.
Once inside, you’ll find indoor bar seating…
…as well as outdoor patio seating. It’s more of a lounge set-up, rather than assigned tables, and seating here is first-come, first-serve.
There’s also a fantastic view — when Disney World’s fireworks are taking place, you’d be able to see them from here.
But of course, we came here to try the FOOD. So let’s get tasting!
illume has a pretty large menu — and again, you’ll see that Japanese inspiration reflected in the offerings.
You’ll find small tasting bites…
…and of course, wine and sake by the glass.
Three signature cocktails are highlighted at the bar: the Toki Highball, ILLUMination, and Firebird.
It seems like there’s lots to enjoy here!
Food and Drinks
Inside, there were a variety of grab ‘n’ go tasting samples. Once the restaurant officially opens, these will be plated differently and served from the menu a la carte.
We started off with some edamame!
Then we tried the Damani Poke, which has tuna, soya sauce, and sesame oil. The tuna tasted amazing.
The Watermelon and Crab features compressed watermelon, grapefruit, pickled daikon, and lime-honey vinaigrette…
…while the Me So Earthy Salad was delicious! That comes with baby spinach, shiitake bacon, toasted hazelnut, mandarin, red radish, and miso-ginger dressing.
The Fresh-Rolled Sushi comes with maguro, sake, hamachi, avocado, fried shallots, spicy mayo, and scallions…
…while the Sakana Fritters were so good that we went back for seconds. They’ve got breaded steam fish, capers, red pepper, mango slaw, and lemon aioli.
For dessert, we tried some gelato! The Hibiscus Lemongrass Gelato is that cranberry color, while the Green Tea Gelato is — ya guessed it — green.
Of course, we sampled some cocktails, too! We kicked things off with the Firebird, which has Suntory Haku Vodka, Tozai Saki, and cantaloupe. That housemade cantaloupe juice was so good, and we ended up getting 2 of these. Not to mention, the presentation is stunning. The glass is shaped like a bird!
We also tried the Hibiki Suntory Whiskey (another standout sip)…
…the Toki Highball…
…and the ILLUMination! These were all pretty solid drinks.
Again, all of the dishes we tried were tasting samples. Once the restaurant opens, they will be plated a bit differently, with various portion sizes.
Everything we tried was so delicious and fresh! The views were amazing, and the staff was incredibly kind. If you want to visit for yourself, illume opens on May 27th. Let us know what you think of it, and stay tuned to DFB for more Disney news!
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Would you visit illume? Let us know in the comments!
Disclosure: In nearly all circumstances, Disney Food Blog writers and photographers pay full price for their own travel, hotel, food, beverage, and event tickets. We do this because it’s important to us as journalists to ensure not only that we give you unbiased opinions, but also that you can trust us to do so since we’re paying our own way. On rare occasions, when we are invited by a company to attend a preview as media, and when we choose to accept that invitation, we will always make you, our readers, aware of that situation. Today, we were invited by Disney World to attend their media preview of illume. Note that when we attend events as media we are 1) Not required to review that event/food on any of our channels, and 2) Not required to review that event/food favorably. You can always count on DFB to give you a 100% unbiased and honest review of any event that we attend, food that we eat, or beverage that we drink. You can see more in our Disclosure Policy. Thank you for reading. — AJ