Part of what makes the Walt Disney World resort unique in the world is the highway in the sky monorail that connects two of its theme parks and three of its resorts. A new progressive dinner will whisk you along that transportation system with stops at the monorail hotels for cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert.
The new Highway in the Sky Dine-Around will give guests a unique culinary tour around the Seven Seas Lagoon. You’ll get priority boarding to move you on your journey between stops at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
The night will start at The Wave… of American Flavors at the Contemporary for a welcome cocktail. Then you will board the monorail for a trip to the Polynesian for some island-inspired cocktails and appetizers. Your stop at the Grand Floridian will feature an entree with wine pairing at Citricos, and later a toast of sparkling wine and artisanal cheese in the hotel’s lobby. Finally, wrap up the night with some special desserts, cordials, and coffee on a private patio at the Contemporary Resort.
You’ll have to trust Disney to have the details worked out on this one. Timing will be important as will back up transportation plans for the night when the Resort monorail inevitably suffers a technical difficulty. Will Disney be issuing refunds if a monorail can’t close its doors (a frequent technical issue these days) stranding dinner party customers on the monorail causing them to miss the fireworks? Will one portion get rushed if the monorail arrives completely full of guests and no room for VIPs? The potential problems operationally speaking are huge.
That’s not to say I’m against this idea. I don’t like the idea of the previously free to use Contemporary patio being reserved for a dessert party, but as long as it’s not every night, I guess that’s ok. I like the idea of a progressive dinner that lets one sample highlights from some of the resorts best restaurants.
The whole dinner package will cost you $150. Gratuity is included, but tax is not. You’ll also get Valet parking at the Contemporary, which is a nice bonus. It’s available on most Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday nights beginning December 2. For reservations call 407-WDW-DINE.
I think you’d have a hard time replicating this experience on your own for less than $120 and, depending on the drinks and entree options, conceivably $150 or more. I suspect this will be a popular package for Parents Night Out! Would you participate?
I don’t really see many potential problems with the transportation aspect of this. We stay at the Contemporary at least once a year, and the resort Monorails are much more reliable than the “express” monorail. I’m sure if the monorail was having a real problem, they’d arrange for bus transportation to the next resort. Plus, they will certainly build in enough time to make this all work, especially since the first two “courses” will be very casual.
Reserving a private car for the VIPs isn’t much of a problem, either. Disney can coordinate with the monorail stations to keep one car empty as the VIPs are ready to leave their resort.
I attended the event Friday night and must say, it was spectacular! We had no issues with the monorail (despite the slight worry when we walked up to the Poly station and the line was almost to Kona Cafe). They reserved the last car on the resort line for us. The event is limited to 25, so it’s plenty of room for everyone and the three guides that escort you through the evening. We arrived back at the Contemporary at 9:57 for 10pm Holiday Wishes. Most everyone waited to have dessert after the fireworks.
Check in started around 6:20 (technically the reservation was 6:45 for 10pm fireworks). At the Contemporary, we enjoyed a Bay Lake Sunset and a small cup of butternut squash soup with pumpkin seed brittle. At the Poly, we were served at the Tiki Terrace – full Hippopotomaitais (YUM!) and three bite-sized appetizers: a seared tuna with seseme seeds, beet and goat cheese salad and (for me the winner of the evening) chili-rubbed pork belly with pickled veggies. We had two stops at the GF. Citrico’s offered either a glass of red or white wine – or two half-pours of each for a mini-flight. The meal was a surf and turf: sea scallops and beef short rib. We moved down to the tea lounge where we were served Fess Parker’s Fairy Tale Curvee (again, an almost overflowing pour) and cheese trays (each one served 2). Finally back to the Contemporary. The viewing is the 4th floor outcropping – they reserve about a quarter of the deck, the quarter with the permanent seats. Desserts included a blood orange cake, a flourless chocolate cake, macaroons, and a chocolate fruit tart. Coffee, tea, cocoa and several cordials were available (the drink most people chose seemed to be peppermint schnapps with hot chocolate). As we were leaving we were gifted a small box of chocolate truffles.
All in all – it was more than worth what I paid. Evidently it sold out through March by Thursday evening. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed it will still be offered when I go back next fall!