A Dining Experience: The Wave… of American Flavors

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort houses one of the newest restaurants to come to Disney World. The Wave, which opened in 2008, puts an emphasis on being health concious along with using local and regional produce. The restaurant is a first of its kind for Walt Disney World. More and more people every day have a stronger desire to know where the food they are putting in their bodies is coming from. While being health concious and eco-friendly isn’t exactly a new idea, it’s very innovative for a resort to expand its dining options to appeal to those that are looking for more than a burger and crinkle fries.

While visiting Disney World recently with my mom to celebrate my 24th birthday, I made a last minute reservation at The Wave for lunch. It was my very first time stepping foot in the Contemporary Resort, and I was quite impressed. I felt like a very small person in a very large hotel as I was wandering around. It took me a little while to figure out where exactly The Wave is. I think that was due to the fact that I like to walk all around places I’ve never been, get lost, and look like an idiot trying to find my way back. Just seems to be something I’m really good at.

Believe it or not, I did eventually find The Wave, and it was actually right next to the main lobby area where the check-in desk is. I think that the location is a little strange, but at least it gives the restaurant a little instant exposure. The entrance to the restaurant sure would pique anyones curiosity. It looks like you’re walking right into a super hip New York City nightclub. That vibe continues when you check out the waiting area that is to the right of the reservation check-in counter at The Wave. It reminds me of an exclusive VIP section that you’re “allowed” to go into. However, I didn’t get to be VIP that day since my mom and I were seated right away.

The restaurant, while beautiful, is much more subdued than the entrance and waiting area. One room with large wooden tables and fun chairs with a “wavy” design. It feels like a relaxed upscale restaurant but nothing like its neighboring restaurant, California Grill.

Our waitress was very… eccentric. She was so nice and happy that it scared me a little. I shouldn’t really complain, though, because having a creepily sweet waitress is far better than one who is inattentive and could not care less about you. She grabbed us a few waters while we decided on our drinks. Mom got a Coke while I decided on giving the beer flight a chance. In keeping with the local theme, The Wave has beer from Orlando Brewing Company. Of course, it’s all certified organic. The flight comes with a Blonde Ale, Brown Ale, and Pale Ale. The pours are very generous compared to most flights in and out of Disney World. The Blonde Ale was just how it should be… light, crisp, slightly sweet, and not too hoppy. It was balanced pretty well and fine to drink, but I wasn’t jumping up and down. The Pale Ale was actually the stand out beer, which surprised me since I thought I’d prefer the Brown Ale more. However, the Pale Ale was simply wonderful. The hops were noticeable without overpowering. The final beer I tried in the flight was the Brown Ale. I’m usually all about Brown Ales, but this one was just a little too watery for me to jump up and down about it. It wasn’t horrible, just not great. The beer flight is definitely a good deal quantity wise, but if you already know what you like from Orlando Brewing Company then I suggest ordering a pint of your favorite.

My love for ahi tuna was actually a large reason I chose The Wave for lunch because I just had to try the Mediterranean Tuna Salad. The tuna is herb-crusted, seared, and served with fresh greens, potatoes, green beans, roasted red peppers, and thin toast with an olive tapenade. The salad and vegetables were so light and fresh! The tuna itself was really high quality but lacking flavor. I think next time I’m going to ask for extra crack… a.k.a, the olive toast. I have a serious thing for olives, and this was my first time having them made into a spread and put on crispy toast. It will not be my last.

My mom’s entree choice, the Classic Rueben Sandwich, was highly recommended by our waitress. Mama did not regret this decision. She said it was the best reuben she’s ever had. The amount of meat was very generous, and it wasn’t soggy at all from the dressing. The potato wedges had a nice texture and actually seemed healthier and less greasy than average wedged potatoes.

Our waitress knew I was celebrating my birthday and offered me dessert on the house. She didn’t bring me out a vanilla cupcake. She brought me the dessert menu and told me to choose anything. After much contemplation, I picked the Creamy Indulgence trio. I got to try Vanilla Cheesecake with Florida Strawberries, White Chocolate Creme Brulee with Raspberry Macaroon, and Olive-Oil Infused Chocolate Truffle Mousse with Salted Caramel Sauce. It’s so incredibly hard for me to tell you my favorite of these three. They all were so different but so delicious.

My visit to The Wave was really special, and I’m so happy that I got to finally experience it. I’ll certainly be back again.

Have any of you visited The Wave before? If you haven’t, is it something you’d be interested in trying out? Let us know in the comment section!

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Posted on July 10, 2012

10 Responses to “A Dining Experience: The Wave… of American Flavors”

  • We’ve been the Wave on both of our most recent trips, with somewhat mixed results. On a positive notice, the salads and desserts have been reliably good on both visits. Lots of fresh ingredients on the salads as you might suspect, and the desserts were really exceptional.

    The only thing that really holds me back is that on our first visit, my wife had a piece of pork that was absolutely cooked within an inch of its life. I forget what I had that night for my entree, but it similarly sounded much better on the menu than it ended up tasting. The others in our party were loving what they had, though, so we opted to give it another try and had much better luck the next time we went. It also gets a thumbs up for a more interesting wine/beer selection than a lot of the resort restaurants.

    One perk of the place, too, is that it’s very easy to get an ADR or just walk up. For those on the monorail or at MK, it’s a great option if you haven’t already booked a place for dinner or feel like having an evening outside of the parks.

  • Our first experience at The Wave was top-notch. We had dinner, and everything went swimmingly. The food and service were both great. We’ve since been back for dinner twice, both times with mixed results. Some dishes were good, some were not. Service was lackluster.

    On the other hand, we went for breakfast last year and enjoyed it very much. Those key lime eggs benedict are wonderful! And the service was as good as could be expected. We’ll be going back for breakfast this year and hoping for a repeat of that good experience. We won’t be going for dinner, however.

  • by Keith LeLievre on July 11, 2012, at 2:22 pm EDT

    I remember when you posted about this on Twitter. Sounds like a great meal. Though it is too bad that your Tuna was lacking in flavor. I’ve been there once for Dinner and it is still the best meal I’ve had on Disney Property. The Beer Flight I had when I was there was Abita, and it was my first experience with that brewer. All three of my options were very good.

    I love the way they do dessert here. It gives you a small taste of a few different things. My Girlfriend and I each got a different dessert so we got to try 6 different flavors. All of them were great. We will definitely be back again too.

    • First of all… thanks for following me! I agree with you about the dessert at The Wave. I was really impressed. Typically, when a restaurant offers a trio of desserts they are horribly mass produced messes. The Wave manages to do it right. Thanks for writing in!

  • I’m glad to hear so many positive things. I’m going to be staying at Bay Lake Tower in January, my fist time staying at a Monorail(ish) resort! With California Grill being closed for renos, we’re going to try The Wave for dinner and Chef Mickey’s for breakfast.
    Hey, does anyone have any other recommendations for the Contemporary? I don’t care if it’s meal or snack, table or counter service – any recommendations would be appreciated!

    • I think you’re going to have a great time dining at the Contemporary Resort! If you want my honest opinion, hop the monorail over to the Polynesian Resort for breakfast at Kona Cafe or a sushi dinner at the Kona Cafe Sushi Bar. The counter service at Captain Cook’s is also wonderful. I love grabbing a sandwich there and heading down by the pool to enjoy my meal.

    • We really liked the counter service location at the Contemporary as well. Our last trip, we trekked over just to eat at the counter service location.

  • We had both breakfast and lunch therre on our parents only trip in January. Breakfast was great. I had the buffet. Lots to choose from, and all good. DH had the fruit and a bagel. Perfection. We had lunch there waiting for our room to be ready. We had the turkey sandwich and soup. Yummy. We’ll be stopping there again in November.