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California Grill 50th Anniversary Celebration Menu


Keepsake menu from California Grill
In honor of Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary, the California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort is offering a special, limited-time menu to celebrate. The special menu revisits some past favorites from the original Top of the World restaurant that opened in 1971 to new market-fresh creations. It's a dining experience "50 years in the making" and in my humble opinion, is a must-do for Disney foodies out there!

The 50th Anniversary Celebration menu is a 3-course meal so you'll want to arrive to your reservation hungry! Guests can choose one appetizer from the Market Inspirations, one entree from the Chef's Journey, and one dessert from the Sweet Creations section of the special menu. For our dining experience, we dined with four adults and one child so we were able to try a nice assortment of the different menu options. 

For our appetizers, we ordered two of the California Grill Sushi Classics Trio, a Lobster and Parsnip Bisque and a Braised Beef Short Rib Wontons. My son also ordered the Hearts of Romaine appetizer from the kids menu. The sushi trio was amazing! The sushi on the California Grill menu was always my favorite so I was excited to see it on this special celebration menu. Normally, I would just order the sushi as my entree so it was kind of a lot of food to have this for an appetizer and then still have an entree and dessert to go. Of course, that didn't stop me from eating every last bite of my appetizer! I kept changing my mind on which roll was my favorite so you know they were all extremely delicious.
California Grill Sushi Classics Trio: Blue Crab California Roll,
Shrimp Tempura Roll, Spicy Kazan Roll
I tried a bite of the Lobster and Parsnip Bisque and I thought it was really good. Not as good as my sushi trio but still good. I didn't get a chance to try a bite of the Braised Beef Short Rib Wontons but they were all eaten so I am guessing they were also a good choice. The kids salad was nothing to write home about but it's lettuce and ranch dressing so hard to go wrong there. Overall, we were very happy with the start of our meal.
Lobster and Parsnip Bisque: Lobster, Champagne, Creme Fraiche, Parsnip Crisp
Braised Beef Short Rib Wontons: Doenjang Miso-Cola-Onion Sauce, Crispy Garlic-Chili Oil, Radish, Pickled Lotus Root
Kids Menu - Hearts of Romaine: Ranch Dressing, Tomatoes, Bacon, Croutons
Agent Elizabeth dined at the California Grill on a separate trip and ordered another one of the appetizer options. Here is her review of the House-Made Artisanal-Style Duck A L'Orange Pizza: "I love duck done right, and in my experience, Disney is very hit or miss. This was delicious, and so well portioned, I didn't mind sharing some with the table. I would definitely order it again any time of year!"
House-Made Artisanal-Style Duck A L'Orange Pizza: Duck Prosciutto and Confit, Pickled Shallots, Orange-Black Mission Fig Jam, Aged Blue Cheese, Arugula
For entrees, I went with the Monterey Bay Cioppino. Normally, I would have ordered the Filet for dinner but I had already eaten several steaks this trip so I opted to go with a seafood option instead. I thought this dish was good but I wish there were more scallops and less mussels and clams. It's just my personal preference. The crab sourdough bread was really good. I don't know that I would order this entree again but that doesn't mean it wasn't good. It just wasn't the best. 
Monterey Bay Cioppino: Pink Shrimp, Mussels, Scallops, Butterfish, Uni Butter and Crab Sourdough, Rich Tomato Broth, Handmade Fregola
Our other entrees were the Oak-Fired Filet of Beef, Florida Coast Black Grouper, and the House-made Shells & Cheese from the kids menu. There were no complaints on the filet or the grouper but I didn't try either so I can't speak to their flavors. My son enjoyed his mac and cheese but he was really looking forward to his dessert!
Oak-Fired Filet of Beef: Black Truffle-Brown Butter Chateau Potatoes, Golden Raisins Vinaigrette, Cauliflower, Roasted Tomato Butter
Florida Coast Black Grouper: Herbed Basmati Rice, Cashew Chutney, Bok Choy, Baby Shiitake, Green Curry-Coconut Nage
Kids Menu - House-made Shells & Cheese with
Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans
Agent Elizabeth ordered the Handcrafted Wild Mushroom Ravioli on her visit: "I wanted something more veggie forward and on a chilly winter's evening, and this absolutely hit the spot. It was so rich, I took some back to my room to finish the next day. This might be too heavy during the warm months, but for a filling and indulgent vegetarian option, it was very well done."
Handcrafted Wild Mushroom Ravioli: Chanterelle Mushrooms, Honeynut Squash, Herbed-Pistachio Pesto, Truffle-Mushroom "Cream"
It was now time for our final course of the meal; dessert! We ordered 4 out of the 5 dessert offerings and the Celebrate with me Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sundae from the kids menu. My son had been looking forward to this dessert for weeks before our vacation! Luckily, the dessert did not disappoint and my son was very pleased. 
Kids Menu - Celebrate with me Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sundae
The other desserts we ordered were also very enjoyable. We ordered the Chef's Selection of California Cheeses, Valrhona Chocolate Torte, Earidescent Grand Mariner SoufflĂ©' and the Five Magical Bites 50 Years in the Making. I ordered the Five Magical Bites and it was a great option if you're looking for a little variety in your dessert. I decided to try a bite of each dessert to see which one was my favorite so I could save the best for last. The magical bite flavors were Honey, Lemon, Carrot, Strawberry and Chocolate. All of the bites had cute garnishes but the cutest was the Honey dessert which had a chocolate bee on the top. I enjoyed all of the desserts but the Carrot was my favorite. I'm a big fan of carrot cake so I was most excited for that magical bite. I would rank the remaining bites, from favorite to least favorite, as Strawberry, Honey, Chocolate and then Lemon. They were all really enjoyable and the bites were small enough that I didn't feel too full. 
Five Magical Bites 50 Years in the Making: Honey, Lemon, Carrot, Strawberry, Chocolate
Chef's Selection of California Cheeses: Featuring Three Unique Cheeses and House-made Accompaniments
Valrhona Chocolate Torte: Candied Peanuts, Salted Caramel, Nougat, Whopped Panna Cotta
Earidescent Grand Mariner Soufflé: Creamsicle Ice Cream, Macerated Florida Citrus
We also ordered a cappuccino and it came with this cute macaron with the 50th logo on it. The macaron was light, airy and the perfect little bite after a very filling meal. 
If you've ever dined at the California Grill before, you know the restaurant offers spectacular views of Magic Kingdom Park and Seven Seas Lagoon. The restaurant is located on the 15th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort so it's a great spot to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. You can watch the fireworks from your table or from the observation desk outside. They dim the lights inside the restaurant and pipe in the music for the fireworks, both in the restaurant and outside on the observation deck. It's a really neat vantage point for the fireworks. 
View of the Magic Kingdom from the California Grill observation deck
Sunset view from the California Grill
Now let's talk price. The price for this 3-course meal is $89 per adult (ages 10 and up) and $39 per child (ages 3 to 9), plus tax and gratuity. It's definitely a more expensive meal but I thought the food was worth the price, especially for a 3-course meal. We all enjoyed the food and the views are hard to beat!
The California Grill does have a dress code since it's a Signature Dining experience. The minimum dress code requirements are men must wear khakis, slacks or dress shorts and collared shirts, and women must wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses or dress shorts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition. As long as you avoid tank tops, flip flops, swimsuits, hats, cut-offs or torn clothing, you should be okay with the minimum dress code. If you want to dress up even fancier, that's also welcome but not required. 

Reservations are highly recommended and can be made 60 days in advance through the My Disney Experience app or website. If you've booked your Walt Disney World vacation with a Kingdom Konsultant Agent, let them know that you want to dine at the California Grill and they can help you with booking your dining reservation. 

I highly recommend trying the California Grill 50th Anniversary Celebration menu on your next visit. It's a perfect location to celebrate a special occasion or just to celebrate being on vacation with some good food and spectacular views!

Ashley has been a Disney Parks fan from an early age and loves anything vintage Disney. You can email Ashley at ashley@kingdomkonsultant.com.

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