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March 10, 2011

DGTG Goes to WDW: My B-day at California Grill

The California Grill is a highly acclaimed Signature Restaurant at Walt Disney World and is located atop the Contemporary Resort with a million dollar view of the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella's Castle. 

The dining room boasts one of the best views of "Wishes", the Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks spectacular. As a restaurant owner and Disney fanatic, It has been my dream to dine from the delectable west-coast style menu, while overlooking My Lavish Laughing Place, yet while watching the incredible and awe-inspiring bursts of Magic.

That dream came true on January 3rd, 2011.  After arriving by boat launch to the Contemporary, we boarded the lobby elevators to the 2nd floor where we checked in at the podium for our reservation.  As instructed, we took the elevator to the 15th floor... next stop, California Grill.

Upon exit of our vessel, I felt excited and jittery as I looked around at the elegant yet modern decor.  It was all so amazing... The smells, the lighting, the noise...I was so mesmerized I almost missed the HUGE floor to cieling windows in front of me overlooking the Magic Kingdom.  I had seen pictures of CG, but none of them offered due justice.

We were a little late being seated, and Wishes was beginning, so we decided to head to the outdoor observation deck to watch the show.  Along the way, we passed through a corridor with award-lined walls celebrating this grand establishment and the master chefs who have graced its kitchen.

Halfway through Wishes, our buzzer went off, beckoning us back in, but the The view of Wishes from the observation deck was AMAZING!!! It seemed we were at eye level with the Castle, Space Mountain, and Astro Orbiter.  I can see Wishes a million times and it just never gets old... I still cry every time. 

After the show, we reentered CG and were promptly seated at our table... IMO...the best seat in the house.  A round table right in the center!!! The view....??? Well words can't describe it and pictures can't do it justice.  They even sprinkled Mickey confetti all over for my birthday!

Our waiter introduced himself as Rinauldo, and made it immediately apparent that he was also a sommolier.  He made several suggestions for wines, but I instantly knew what I wanted and was tickled to find that the signature wine at CG is my favorite wine from Mendocino, CA, Roederer Estate Brut. (Read my report and Review of Roederer Estate here)

Since we had purchased the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan, each person was able to choose an appetizer, entree, and dessert.  I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story! Enjoy! CG dinner menu.

First Course:
Spicy Kazan Roll . . . Crab, Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Tuna, and Fireball Sauce
Surf and Turf Roll . . . Seared Beef, Shiitake Mushrooms, Coriander-spiced Tuna, and Spiced Apple Slaw

Second Course:

~Cast Iron-seared Veal Tenderloin with Goat Cheese Polenta, Chanterelles, and Port Syrup~ ~Oak-fired Filet of Beef, Dauphinoise Potatoes with Smoked Bacon, Ginger-Scented Carrots, and Teriyaki Barbecue~

We were too full to eat dessert, but opted to take it with us!!!  All in all this was a great experience! Can't wait to do it again!

~On a side note, our 3 year old daughter dined with us and was treated like a little princess! ~

**Advance Reservations for California Grill are highly reccommended.  Please visit to make your reservation up to 180 days in advance.**

**California Grill is a signature restaurant and costs 2 Disney Dining Plan entitlements.  We were offered a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert because we used the Deluxe Dining Plan.**

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pesto, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Basil


Ashley @MamaOfAllTrades said...

I am drooling on my keyboard!!

R Orapello said...

Ever since I tried the Spicy Kazan Roll I have been on a huge sushi kick. Unfortunately, nothing matches the tastiness and flavor of the California Grill's sushi. It is difficult to say what I enjoyed more, the sushi or the view from our table!!! Cannot wait to go back to the CG!

Unknown said...

I'll be dining at the California Grill for the first time in May and I can't wait! I haven't been up there since I was a little girl and it did an amazing brunch.

T-Town Tiffany said...

Great post! I love California Grill sooooo much. Your article made me so hungry! Kristen, get ready girl, you will love it!