The California Grill holds a special place in my heart as it is where I got engaged. Even prior to that it has always been one of my favourites as it has the best views of the Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon.
California Grill is at the top of the Contemporary Hotel on the 15th floor and offers high quality food with amazing views. My mother-in-law ordered a steak and she is still talking about how good it was. I enjoy getting the sushi to start and one of their desserts. Regardless of what we order watching the fireworks from the top of the Contemporary is always one the highlights. For more information on the new Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort follow our links here to read more about that hotel.
Food and Drink
We often go for dinner so we can watch the fireworks at the end of the night therefore I am more familiar with that menu. The menu is extensive which means everyone can find something they like from seafood to steak. We have tried a few of the appetizers. There is a variety of hand rolled sushis which is not commonly seen on menus at Disney. The chefs do a great job having fresh high quality ingredients which make for delicious sushi. We also enjoy the selection of Farmhouse and Artisanal cheeses. It came with a little card describing all the cheeses that were included.
For an entree, my husband has tried a variety of steaks and has been extremely happy with the cut of meat and how well they cook it. He likes his medium rare and it has been spot on every time. Last time we went I enjoyed the Colorado Bison Loin. It was served with a potato Gnocchi that was amazing.
If you are interested there is a small lounge/bar section where you can enjoy a cocktail or beverage while you wait for your table. They also have an extensive wine selection from California as the name of the restaurant would imply.
All the servers, host and chefs we have met have been extremely helpful and knowledgable. They have been able to accommodate a variety of food allergies different members of our party have with out any hesitation. The servers know the menu extremely well and have great recommendations. We have celebrated our anniversary there a couple times and they always make it special with a cupcake or a different treat.
Location and Atmosphere
The California Grill is located 15 stories up at the top of the Contemporary Hotel. They have special elevators just for the restaurant. To access the elevators go to the second floor where the conference rooms are. There is a table and a host who will assist you.
In 2013, the California Grill was refurbished to give it a fresh new look. It has a modern feeling with lots of natural light and open space. Often you will find couples or small groups of adults dinning here. The price is not as inviting to families.
As previously stated we thoroughly enjoy watching the fireworks at the end of the evening. You can either watch from a balcony outside or form your table. The music is played through speakers both inside and out. If you have time after the fireworks you can stay and watch the Electric Water Pageant on Bay lake.
Value & Dining Plan
According to Disney this is a three dollar sign restaurant ($$$) and will cost between $35-$59 per person. However I find that to be the cost of the entrees alone. When you add the cost of drinks, appetizers and desserts it is often much more expensive.
If you are using the Disney dining plan this will cost you two table service credits.
This is a signature dining experience and does have minimum dress code requirements. Men are expected to wear khakis, slacks or dress shorts and collared shirts. Women must wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses or dress shorts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition.
Every time I have visited California Grill I have been exceptionally happy with the food, service and views. We understand and plan for this to be one of our more expensive meals on our trip. This is particularly popular restaurant where you will need to make reservations in advance so head on to the link below and setup your reservations for the next time you are at Walt Disney World.