The California Grill has always been my restaurant of choice when I wanted to celebrate a big event, so I was a bit nervous when they announced a major makeover for the space. But I needn’t have worried. The space is beautiful and the food still wonderful. If anything, I think they were a bit conservative in their vision.

You can now get your first look at the re-imagined California Grill as it is now open for dining, or drinks and a snack in the lounge (they serve the full menu there too), but the transformation didn’t happen overnight. Since the signature restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort closed to guests in January, the space has been humming with activity. The wood-burning oven is just about the only thing that stayed in place as the kitchen and dining rooms got major makeovers.

Shortly after the installation of new floor-to-ceiling windows, a time-lapse camera went into place on the fifteenth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, capturing all the construction and remodeling between June 2013 and the last test meals before opening to guests September 9th. I have a cameo during the 1:44 mark. But don’t blink!

Below the jump is a video featuring General Manager Michael Scheifler discussing the changes: