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Review: California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Dining atop Disney's Contemporary Resort at the California Grill is an amazing experience for far more reasons than just the spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom at night.  This is truly one of the Walt Disney World Resort's Signature Dining Restaurants.

California Grill: The Experience

From the moment you are seated at this rooftop restaurant you get the sense that you are dining somewhere special.  I have to admit that with all of the rave reviews of this restaurant that I had heard prior to my visit, I was actually skeptical if it could really be that good.

Location. Location. Location.  Being on the rooftop of one of the first Resorts at the Walt Disney World Resort has its privileges.  The views are amazing and the restaurant certainly catches your attention.  The setting is family friendly, but also is fine for that special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon night to celebrate.

California Grill: The Review

Being a skeptic, I came into this initial encounter with the California Grill believing that there was no way that this restaurant could live up to its hype.  The menu itself seemed "too simple" to validate the high prices.  It was going to be a tough sell to convince me that this restaurant was worthy of the prices it charged and would provide a "Signature Dining" experience.

The first difference we noticed was our server. He was pleasant, but has was also incredibly knowledgeable about the menu and most importantly, the extensive wine selection that the California Grill is known for.  There is an amazing wine list, but it is overwhelming for most guest to navigate themselves.

Our waiter listened to what we kind of wines we liked and helped us decide upon a Rombauer Vineyards Zinfandel that we really enjoyed.
California Grill Heirloom Tomato Flatbread

The appetizer list is daunting to say the least.  Our waiter guided us with recommendations leading to the Heirloom Tomato Flatbread.  The menu description was simple and straight-forward, the presentation was nice, but not over-the-top, What cannot be stressed enough is how incredible this unassuming appetizer tasted!  U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E!!!  The flavors that we enjoyed were amazing.  What sounded overly simple had incredibly complex flavors that really worked well together.  What I perceived initially as a boring choice for an appetizer produced mind-blowing results.

The other sharable appetizer that we tried was the Dragon Roll from their acclaimed Sushi menu.  The Dragon Roll is made up of Spicy and Tataki Tuna, Shrimp Tempura, Avocado, Dragon Sauce, Hijiki-Shirataki Salad.  This was another amazing dish of incredible flavors to enjoy  It is hard to stress how the flavors enjoyed in this dish differ from a typical dining experience, but typical it was certainly not.  This was another incredible dish that exceeded expectations.

It is almost hard to proceed onto entrees after the great appetizer and sushi offerings that can be found at the California Grill.  We both tried the Oak Fired Filet of Beef with Heirloom Tomato Risotto, Baby Vine Tomatoes, Tiny Basil, Tomato Butter.  Again this is another winning selection at the California Grill.  Tender beef, cooked perfectly that was well presented.  It is hard to compare this to the appetizers, but it did not disappoint and was thoroughly enjoyed

Like many people that visit the California Grill we had a special occasion to celebrate.  This led to a complementary dessert with a placard in chocolate from the California Grill.  This Vanilla Crème Brûlée did not disappoint and capped off a wonderful dining experience.

The only thing that could "plus" this experience even more was timing the dinner to conclude with the Wishes fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.  There may be no better place to view these fireworks other than on Main Street USA facing Cinderella Castle.

Whether you are dining with your family or your significant other the views from the California Grill and the outdoor viewing platform of the Magic Kingdom are an amzing way to finish your day at the Walt Disney Word Resort.

California Grill Review Summary

I have to admit that I was thoroughly impressed by the California Grill.  I came into this dining experience expecting to enjoy it, but feel I paid Disney prices for a "good meal  Instead I came away with one of the best dining experiences of my life.

Of course, I cannot (and most people including Disney Cast Members I talked to cannot) afford this experience on a regular basis , I came away feeling that I had a great, memorable dining experience

At the end of the day, isn't that what we are all looking for?

The California Grill lives up to the hype!  If you are looking for an incredible Disney Dining Experience, this is the place!

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