There’s nothing quite like dining on top of the world while you’re at Disney World. On our most recent WDW vacation, we had the pleasure of dining at California Grill. So, what was our verdict? Is dinner on top of the Contemporary worth it?

As we were staying at the Contemporary Resort, it was a quick elevator ride to the 15th floor, where the restaurant is located. Our request of a table near the windows had been granted, so we were able to enjoy some of the best panoramic views of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. From the Polynesian Resort to the Grand Floridian to Cinderella’s Castle, California Grill offers the best views while dining at Disney World.

 


View of Magic Kingdom - California Grill - Contemporary - Disney World Dining

 

View of Grand Floridian - California Grill - Contemporary - Disney World Dining

Let’s move on to the real reason why we were there – the food!  Shortly after placing our order, the bread basket – featuring focaccia and sourdough bread – was brought to our table.  The winner here was the lavender focaccia bread.  Don’t be afraid to request a refill with only the focaccia bread like we did.

When we were here in December, we ordered the Dragon Roll which was delicious.  We decided to order it again on this trip but noticed something that never happens at Disney – the price had decreased by $4!

 

Dragon Roll - Californian Grill

Dragon Roll in December 2013

 

Dragon Roll Smaller Portion - Californian Grill

Dragon Roll – Spicy and Tataki tuna with shrimp tempura, avocado, chili soy glaze, and spinach salad $25 (May 2014)

Ah, now I understand why it went down in price – decreased portion size!  Regardless, the Dragon Roll was fantastic – the tuna had a great color, extremely fresh, and better quality than your local sushi joint.  This sushi roll is nicely complimented by eel sauce so don’t forget to request it when ordering.

Next up the entrees.  The first entree was the Oak-fired Filet of Beef.  Again, we had loved this when we were here in December (notice a trend – we find something good and stick with it).  Up until we went to California Grill, our favorite filet on property was at Le Cellier but the California Grill version wins in our book.  The filet was perfectly cooked and is complemented by the tomato risotto.

 

Filet of Beef - Californian Grill

Oak-fired Filet of Beef – Local Tomato Risotto, Baby Vine Tomatoes, Petite Basil, Tomato Butter- $49

For our second entree, we decided to pick something new – a big step for us!  We picked the Pork Two Ways, and did not regret our decision.  There are two generous pork tenderloin medallions accompanied by unctuous pork belly as well as sides of goat cheese polenta and homemade applesauce.  The combination of the pork tenderloin plus the polenta and applesauce worked perfectly.  Plus any meal that includes pork belly is a winner in our book.

 

Pork Two Ways - Californian Grill

Pork Two Ways – Grilled Tenderloin, Goat Cheese Polenta, Mushrooms, Lacquered Belly, Applesauce – $37

So which entree was better?  While both were delicious, the pork two ways was a fantastic entree if I could only pick one.

For our son, we ordered the Pasta Mickey Check Meal.  He really wanted mac and cheese so they were able to cook the whole-grain macaroni in a parmesan cream sauce.  The meal included a drink and dessert for $14.   We learned that you can order almost any kids meal without the dessert for a lower price.  In this case, we saved $5 by skipping the kids dessert.

Don’t be too sad for my son not getting the dessert with his meal.  As we were celebrating his second birthday, they nicely brought out a scoop of ice cream complete with sprinkles and mickey mouse chocolate.  He loved it and ate every bite.  As an extra birthday treat for ourselves, we decided to also ordered desserts. …OK, let’s be honest, we don’t really need an excuse to order dessert 🙂

I chose the Sundae Sampler

Sundae Sampler - California Grill

Sundae Sampler – Unique and playful sundaes with a nostalgic twist: frangelico toffee, reverse root beer float, and “banana split” – $12

The Sundae Sampler was good, but the best part was the frangelico toffee sundae – yum!

We also got the Seasonal Tasting of peach desserts.

Seasonal Tasting - Peach

Seasonal Sampler - California Grill

Seasonal Tasting – $12

A great use of fruits that are in season.  The favorite was the peach-upside down cake.  It was so good that we asked for the recipe.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal here and will be back on our next trip. Since the renovations late last year, California Grill is one of our favorite places for fine dining at Walt Disney World. Here are a few tips for your next meal at California Grill

  • DO: Request a table next to the window for optimal views
  • DON’T: Be afraid to bring your kids to this signature Disney World restaurant. We had a two year old with us and saw many other small kids.  While the pace is slow, the restaurant is loud.  Plus, isn’t this why the iPad was invented?
  • DO: Take advantage of the great viewing decks for Wishes.  Doesn’t matter what time your reservation is – you can come back for wishes.
  • DON’T: Forget your Tables in Wonderland card.  You can take advantage of free valet parking and save quite a bit of money here.