Ever since the California Grill opened in May of 1995, it has been known as one of Disney World’s signature dining options. Although it boasts world class chefs and a fantastic dinner menu, it is most known for its incredible views. Located on top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you can spot the Magic Kingdom in the distance and as it gets closer to the showtime of the “Happily Ever After,” or whatever fireworks show is scheduled, the busier it tends to get.
Advanced dining reservations are nearly always required for this restaurant due to several outside viewing decks at the venue. Approximately 15 minutes prior to launching the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, they allow guests to walk out onto these observation decks to get an epic view of the show. They also have several loud speakers located outside to ensure guests hear the entire soundtrack as the fireworks go off.
Molly and I have only had the pleasure of going to this restaurant a few times in our lives and wanted to make this the featured section to our second episode of our Disney Date Hoppers series. We did not have reservations for dinner but headed over to the Contemporary for a fun night regardless. Depending on availability, you do not need a reservation to grab food/drinks at the bar. Luckily for us there was availability and we grabbed a couple seats at the bar and began to film a brand new video for you guys.
The bar allows you to still enjoy the epic view and if you are still there during fireworks, you are also allowed to walk out onto those observation decks. It also boasts the full menu from the restaurant which is exciting. We grabbed a pizza and a salad as well as a few drinks and very much so enjoyed ourselves. The food was fantastic, which was not surprising based on reviews, but we we’re most excited for the fireworks.
It came to that time of the night and the restaurant staff allowed people to walk out onto the observation deck. It was a beautiful night even from that height and the time period before the show allowed us to do some long distance spotting. You can see EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, ICON Park and Universal landmarks and of course all of the monorail resorts with boats remaining busy.
It was beautiful before the show started and the fireworks show really made the night for us. You really could not beat the view and it quickly turned into one our favorite date nights on property. In the future, perhaps for a special occasion, we will be sitting down for dinner during this time of the night and ideally close to the window. However, for something simple, we highly recommend doing what we did. The bar works out great and you still get access to the those observation decks.
Overall, it was a fantastic date night and a great episode to the Disney Date Hoppers series we have been running. To go check out our first episode at the Polynesian Resort as well as any of our other Disney videos, check us out on our channel. We also have a Facebook and Instagram page where we post daily photos in and around the Disney theme parks. In the meantime, continue to follow The Disney Blog for great Disney content.