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I recently had the opportunity to dine at the newly refurbished California Grill located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. I had been looking forward to dining at California Grill but was unable to get a reservation after some plans unexpectedly changed and I needed to cancel my original reservation. The restaurant was closed for an extended time, completely refurbished and now it has reopened and everyone’s wanting to check it out. I decided to attempt to walk up early and see if I could get a seat at the bar. Expecting to be turned away, I was pleasantly surprised when I was told there was availability! I was escorted up to the 15th floor in the elevator reserved for California Grill only. The elevator doors opened and the first thing I noticed is the large wall of wines displayed.

Cali Grill Pic of wine storage 2

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The next thing I noticed was how the restaurant was so visually appealing from the floor to ceiling windows offering an amazing view, to the contemporary light fixtures, the curvatures in the ceiling and beautiful fabrics in warm hues. It was absolutely gorgeous! It has a sleek contemporary feel to it yet it’s very warm and inviting at the same time. The restaurant’s décor is actually inspired from one of my favorite artists, Mary Blair. I love that they chose to give a nod to a woman who left her mark on so many Disney favorites such as the It’s a Small World attraction, the mosaic inside Disney’s Contemporary and films such as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Cinderella.

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Since I had arrived early, it was actually quite easy to grab a seat at the bar. There are some small tables scattered around near the bar as well but those were full. Even if you don’t have a reservation, you can still go to the bar and order off the full service menu.

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The restaurant has a variety of tables, booths and banquettes all offering a spectacular panoramic view. There are a couple of private rooms as well.

cali grill pic of tables and booths 6

You’ll notice off from the bar is the sushi bar and open kitchen with wood-burning oven. Grab a seat and watch all the staff’s action as they prepare the amazing dishes.

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The menu offers something for everyone. You’ll find a delightful assortment of hand rolled sushi such as Tuna Four Ways, Dragon Roll, Pork Belly Nigri, Spicy Kazan Roll and California Combination Roll.

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There are appetizers ranging from Flatbreads to Prawns and Three Meat Signature Meatballs. A variety of Salads, Soups and Appetizers are offered such as Baby Romaine, Farmer’s Salad, Crispy Rock Shrimp Salad, Heirloom Tomatoes, Carrot and Cilantro Soup, Duck in all it’s Glory and Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli.

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Entrees consist of Oak-fired Filet of Beef, Wild Columbia River Salmon, 24 Hour Short Rib Filet, Bell & Evans Chicken, Pacific Halibut and more.

I thought what took the show was the desserts. How adorable is the Sundae Sampler?

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You can also find Chef’s Selection Cheese Board, Chocolate Pudding Cake, Lemon Meringue Cheesecake and Warm Homemade Fritters.

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As if the amazing ambiance and spectacular food isn’t enough, if you time it right you can also get a view of the sun setting and Wishes fireworks complete with music piped in. Stay inside and enjoy the view or go outside on the observation deck if you choose. This restaurant is truly a gem that you won’t want to miss!

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If you are planning a Disney vacation and would like some assistance, I’ll be glad to help! Feel free to email me at or call me at 800-670-3212 x128.