Here’s What We Think: Dates in Disney, A California Grill Review

I think I’ve said this before, but Tim and I are huge supporters of dating your spouse. Where is one of our favorite places to go on a date?

You guessed it. Disney World.

Luckily, we usually have Grandma and Grandaddy with us on our trips, so we can barter with them for a date night on one night of our trip. In the past, we’ve had dates at Narcoossee’s, Ohana {followed by couple of hours alone in Magic Kingdom!}, and Chefs de France in Epcot. DisneyDateCollageThis past September of 2013 was definitely my favorite date night we’ve had, by far. It was at the newly refurbished and grand re-opening of the California Grill at the tip-top of the Contemporary Resort!

After a lengthy refurbishment, the California Grill was set to re-open the week of our vacation and after trying to book a table the day they started taking reservations, Tim came home frustrated because every single reservation for that week had been booked up within just a few hours. However, after a strange turn of events while on our trip {I swear, this Disney magic stuff is the real deal}, a fellow Disney guru that we follow on Twitter tweeted that he was canceling his reservation for the Cali Grill that night and that someone had better move fast if they wanted it. We were back at our resort when Tim saw the tweet, so he jetted to the front desk to try to snag the reservation. Lo and behold, an hour later Tim and I were putting on our fanciest outfits and getting ready for our 5:30 reservation at the California Grill!

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I’m obsessed with these pictures that Tim took while we were waiting on our boat to the Contemporary. I was 26ish weeks pregnant with Lorelai.

IMG_8874 IMG_8876 IMG_8878We had an amazing captain as we sailed the calm waters of Bay Lake. He was knowledgeable and talkative and he said that he had given up a pretty prestigious job to drive boats in Disney World and that he has never regretted it a minute; that being out on the Disney World waters was the best job you could ask for. I think I believe him. IMG_8879 IMG_8882We arrived early, but went ahead and went up to the restaurant because we wanted to have a look around before being seated.

IMG_8886 IMG_8884 IMG_8885 IMG_8888We loved the new decor of the restaurant, and I geeked out for a bit over the Mary Blair art inspired design and framed photos of her sketching.

IMG_8907 IMG_8908 IMG_8909IMG_8922On either side of the restaurant, you can walk out on to a breeze way that overlooks Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake and the parks and resorts beyond it, and the Seven Seas Lagoon and it’s inhabiting resorts. The views are magnificent, really.IMG_8899 IMG_8898 IMG_8894California Grill, in addition to being a nice sit-down, has a lounge and bar area and sushi bar. Unfortunately, I am not a lover of sushi, so this does not appeal to me. However, I have heard it is amazing from those who do love sushi. IMG_8889IMG_8891 IMG_8890IMG_8892We were seated in the back room that was once the wine cellar. It was small and quiet so it was right up my alley. Tim on the other hand is the kind of guy that likes to be in the middle of the action, so he would have preferred we were sat in the main dining room. I’m introverted and don’t like strangers, so this suited me nicely. Plus, we had a window seat with a great view of our beloved Wilderness Lodge. IMG_8903 IMG_8916 IMG_8913 IMG_8911 IMG_5988Our waitress was fantastic and informative. She recommended the oven-dried tomato flatbread for an appetizer, so we took her up on that while she brought out some bread in the meantime.

Y’all, that bread. Those wheat rolls with the unsalted butter sprinkled with coarse sea salt and a sprig of rosemary?…I could have just eaten ten baskets of that and been fine. Seriously. Although I was pregnant, so maybe that had to do with it too. Either way, the bread was my jam that night. Here’s proof:  The flatbread was pretty amazing, itself. A great recommendation.IMG_8919For his entrée, Tim ordered oak-fired fillet of beef. It was so delicious. The sauce was fantastic and it was cooked perfectly; I was definitely wishing I had ordered it, as well. IMG_8925IMG_8923I ordered a dish that doesn’t seem to be on the menu anymore. It was a chicken breast in some sort of cherry barbecue sauce, I believe, with two chicken sausage links, corn succotash and green beans, with a mac ‘n cheese au gratin…or something like that. I’m a sophisticated foodie, can’t you tell? It was a good dish, but although it doesn’t look this way in the picture, I felt there was far too much of that sauce on my plate and it was really over powering. And as good as the mac ‘n cheese looks, it was a bit dry. IMG_8931Of course, no good date night goes without dessert, so we ordered the sundae sampler. I knew I wanted it from the moment we sat down. We had seen it on the menu prior to arriving and I was so in love with it’s whimsically sweet presentation that I couldn’t pass it up. I basically giggled my way through dessert. I mean, c’mon! Just look at it! The coke float was…well, a coke float, so the caramel corn and strawberry and basil were the flavor-stars of the dish. We finished it very satisfied and with a smile on our face. IMG_5994IMG_8929Besides my chicken dish {which has been taken off of the menu for obvious reasons, I suppose}, we have nothing but good things to say about the California Grill. We have recommended it to many people in the past year and talk often of booking it again on an upcoming trip.

So here’s what we think: Although amazing restaurants with breath-taking views and mouth-watering eats make any date night a magical and memorable experience, spending time with the love of your life is always the best part of dating in Disney. IMG_8944 IMG_6047Here’s to us, Timothy Elrod, and many more magnificent nights at the Happiest Place on Earth.

With love, Malorie

 

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