Dinner with a View.
Sitting atop the oldest hotel in Orlando Florida's Walt Disney World is on the most spectacular restaurants I have ever had the opportunity of dining at, The California Grill.
I've always admired the Contemporary Resort. From its long history, amazing architecture, to its modern marvel of having a working Monorail run through the center, this hotel fascinated me from a young age. In my past and more recent visits to Walt Disney I thought, well if I can't stay there I might as well eat there. Nestled high on top of this personal wonderment is a restaurant I've only heard good things of. So this year when I attended #FACCWDW I decided I would finally fulfill a dream and eat at the Contemporary Resort.
As A kid we traveled to Florida and Disney enough during our winter breaks. We always opted to camp since it was the safest way for us to travel and ensure I had a safe place for food preparation. But, I was always jealous of the people who got on the monorail from the Contemporary. This year when we were staying at the Pop Century, we made reservations at the California Grill for our last night at the Walt Disney World. As we acceded to the top floor of the hotel in a private elevator I was already impressed.
When the doors opened, we were greeted by the reception, who by our reservation name already knew about my food allergies and promptly informed the chefs when we were seated. Pictures do not do the view justice. From Cinderella's Castle to the Ball at EPCOT, all of Walt Disney World was in view.
Our server was informed of my food allergies and advised me not to eat the bread on the table, since it was made in a facility that also had nuts and peanuts. She said if I wanted bread, she could find some gluten/nut free bread for the table.
When we were ready to order, she went through the menu with me, and told us what certain ingredients were, and what the prep stations and preparations were to be extra safe. It was so refreshing to talk with a server or chef who was willing to share information like prep stations since they had an open concept kitchen. I have to say watching dishes be created was both stressful and beautiful. Watching them create these works of arts, was unbelievable but seeing ingredients I'm unsure of was stressful, but interesting since it gives you as chance to be vocal about your food.
The dish I choose to have was a chicken and potatoes meal. Simple, but unbelievably good. Both my server and the chef made me comfortable with my choice of food. They were concerned with my well being so they made sure I was comfortable during my meal. I was taken aback by the extra level of care and attention they took to make sure my meal and my partners meal was safe just in case we wanted to share. I've never (other then other Disney restaurants) have had someone care so much about my experience. Our server made sure his meal was completely safe and prepared like mine so we could have the same experience as other tables. I loved how personal and intimate they made the entire night feel. But, as night went on I noticed that it wasn't just us with a dietary needs that they servers or chefs paid extra attention too. They took time, and effort to make each and every guest have the most special experience possible.
My expectations of the Contemporary Hotel and California Grill was definitely surpassed tenfold, it was better then I ever could have possibly imagined. They took time and care to understand my food allergies and make strides to make sure I have a completely normal guest experience, but lets face it, anything in Disney is above normal. I am and probably always will be a Disney World lover and the Califon Grill has definitely made it into my top three favorite restaurants.
Walt Disney World has always had a higher caliber of food allergy safety, and the California Grill is a shining example of the care to detail, love, and respect they have for their guests safety.