Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dining with Stars at the California Grill

Laure Simms

As you may know the California Grill is located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort. There are two observation decks that you may go out on and watch the fireworks in Magic Kingdom. Our reservation was at 8:50 pm so we were seated just before the fireworks began. It also happened to be on a night when Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was going on so we got to see the special fireworks that you only see at the party. If you can I highly recommend getting a reservation here late so you can enjoy the fireworks and the spectacular view from the restaurant. We had a great table with a view of the Magic Kingdom, actually there are no bad tables in the restaurant because there are huge windows so you can see from just about anywhere in the restaurant.

I would like to begin my review of the California Grill by saying I was not that excited about dining there. I'm sure that's not what you were expecting to hear. I am somewhat of a picky eater and the menu selections were not really appealing to me.

I was dining with a group of six. We ordered appetizers and shared them. Our waiter was really great and his service was fantastic! He suggested we try some of their famous flatbreads as appetizers. We had the Triple Cheese and I believe the Roasted Saigon Pork, both were very good. They actually surprised me. Now I am one of the people at our table who likes sushi, I had the sushi chef create a special sushi for me that was delicious. It was so good, I even told them they needed to put it on the menu.

Before my trip, I did my research by looking up what was on the menu for dinner and had decided that the only entrée I would really like was the Oak fired Filet of Beef. It came with sour cream mashed potatoes and broccoli. Myself and another dining with me split the entrée which was great, the chef even went so far as to plate the entrée separately for us so we did not have to do it at the table. I must say that the Filet of Beef was incredible, cooked to perfection and the sour cream mashed potatoes were to die for.

Now enough about the food let me tell you about the stars.
We enjoyed our dinner and were just talking among ourselves when suddenly one of the ladies with me lets out a scream. I had no idea why until she leaned over and said “That was Tyra Banks.” I did not see her at first but then spotted her. She was dining with a group and had very tight security, so we got no autographs but one in our party got off a shot with her Iphone. We did make a trip out to the observation deck which meant we had to walk right past her table. I don’t think her security people appreciated that but we just had to get a closer look. In hindsight we probably should have asked for her autograph, all they could have said was no. So you never who you will see or what you will see at Disney. For us it was a great meal and a fun story to tell our friends back home.

I will say that I really enjoyed my meal at the California Grill much more than I anticipated that I would. I highly recommend it for a fine dining experience. If you have kids with you they are welcome but it is really a more adult experience. I would suggest that you let the kids spend some time in a kids club and let the parents have a night out as well.

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