Posts Tagged ‘Contemporary Resort’

The Disney Dazzle: Wishes Fireworks Cruise

by on October 7, 2014

Photo - Keith Dahlgren

Mom and Dad sharing a special moment

Today, I’m going to share my experience attending the Wishes Fireworks Cruise. I first went on this cruise in 2011 and again in September 2014. This most recent time, it was a birthday surprise for my dad. If you know me personally, you will understand just how hard it is for me to keep a secret. The cruise can be booked as early as 180 days in advance, but mine was booked about 90 days beforehand. That’s 90 whole days I had to keep my lips zipped…I barely made it! After a fun day at the parks and a delicious dinner at The Brown Derby (Yes, he was spoiled rotten!), we arrived at the Contemporary. We led my confused dad through the lobby and outside to the marina. He had no clue what this birthday surprise could be!

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Disney World’s Electrical Water Pageant: The Original Light Show

by on July 6, 2014

When Disney Imagineer Bob Jani looked out over Seven Seas Lagoon at night he saw a black gulf, void of interest. It was late 1971 and Magic Kingdom, Polynesian Resort, and Contemporary Resort opened soon. The lifeless lagoon, formed from draining the swamp that dominated the land Magic Kingdom occupies, would presently be filled by ferries and water attractions, including a water ski show. But something was missing. His mind turned to his hometown of Los Angeles, where any body of water reflected myriad lights every night. Somewhere this need to fill the dark with twinkling lights sparked the idea of the Electrical Water Pageant: a train of barges sporting colorful animated lights.

The final float in the aquatic scene.

The final float in the aquatic scene.

A brochure given to guests in the Summer of 1972 entices the guest to “watch porpoises leap . . . seals play . . . even a sea monster breathe fire!” Guests were directed to see the Pageant nightly 9:00 PM through 10:00 PM along Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon, advice that is still good today. The whimsical attraction’s appeal eventually inspired the Main Street Electrical Parade even copping the song “Baroque Hoedown” as its theme.

Today the Pageant is one thousand feet long and features 25-foot tall screens on fourteen barges. The show is split into two parts: an aquatic theme featuring King Triton and various sea creatures followed by a patriotic salute. Total time, nose to tail, is about ten minutes.

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Location, Location, Location: Does the View Make the Meal Better?

by on April 12, 2010

To me, dining at a restaurant with a beautiful view makes the meal taste just a bit better. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived so much of my life in snowy trundra and urban wastelands (where very few restaurants have wonderful views); or maybe I’ve just always been the type of eater who’s greatly influenced by surroundings like table location, smells, sounds, crowd level, etc.; but an incredible view from my table is something I’m willing to fight for.

So, whether you want to do some people-watching, see the Magic Kingdom fireworks or Illuminations from your table, spend your dinner spotting African wildlife, or just relax with a tranquil lookout, here are a few Disney World dining spots that I think afford incredible views:

California Grill Sunset

California Grill
The California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort is probably my top suggestion when someone wants an outstanding restaurant view. From the top floor of the resort, the floor to ceiling windows offer amazing views of the whole of Walt Disney World — and the rest of Orlando. Watching the sun set behind the Grand Floridian Resort, or catching the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks show from this location, will probably be one of your grandest memories from your vacation.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room
Because this is one of the most well-known “good view” locations, it’s also one of the very crowded! Guests line up nightly to wait for Rose and Crown‘s outdoor patio tables where the view of Illuminations is one of the most spectacular in Epcot, but I also suggest booking a table for lunch. Sitting outside on the lovely patio, watching the boats glide back and forth over World Showcase Lagoon, and taking in the detail of the other pavilions within your view is a wonderful way to spend a mealtime.

View of Giraffe from Sanaa Table

Sanaa
Sanaa‘s casual, relaxed atmosphere and tucked-away location make it a wonderful place to detox after a hectic morning in the theme parks. But what I find enchanting about this place is that it’s the only Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort restaurant that actually has a view of the hotel’s main draw — the African animals on the savanna. Go for lunch or an early dinner to guarantee plenty of daylight, and request to be seated next to one of the restaurants large picture windows. Expect to see giraffe, zebras, Ankole cattle, African birds, and other incredible animals.

‘Ohana
Another one of the best views in Walt Disney World, ‘Ohana‘s wall-to-wall windows give guests a generous view of Seven Seas Lagoon, the Polynesian Resort grounds and Volcano pool, and the major landmarks of the Magic Kingdom. Book a spot here when the restaurant opens for dinner at 5pm to take in the relaxing late-afternoon and evening sunlight spilling over Seven Seas Lagoon, or make an advanced dining reservation just in time to catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant!

The View From Tokyo Dining

Tokyo Dining
An excellent restaurant for sushi gourmands, Tokyo Dining also offers one of the best views in Epcot’s World Showcase. During the day, look out over the World Showcase promenade and amuse yourself with some wonderful people-watching; in the evening, schedule your meal in time to see Illuminations: Reflections of Earth explode over World Showcase Lagoon.

Honorable Mentions
Other great spots to enjoy the view, in my opinion of course, are Narcoosee’s, in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort; Cantina de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico — I imagine the new incarnation opening in the Fall will have some astounding views of the World Showcase Lagoon; and Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue, where you can enjoy a stunning view of Expedition Everest from the seating area.

What are your thoughts? Any additions to the list or experiences you can share about great views from Disney restaurants — and whether or not they make the meal better for you?

You can find more Disney Restaurant information from AJ Wolfe over at The Disney Food Blog.

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The Seven Seas Lagoon Monorail Crawl

by on March 9, 2010

AJ Wolfe from the Disney Food Blog returns with information about a Disney attraction not advertised in the brochures!

Drinks Available at Ohana and Tambu Lounge

Drinks Available at Ohana and Tambu Lounge

While we all enjoy hitting the theme parks for some great attractions during our Disney World days, there’s still fun to be had once the parks close! I’d like to introduce you to a tidy little excursion called the Monorail Crawl.

When people think about “alcohol + Disney World,” they usually have visions of drinking around the World in Epcot, fond memories of Pleasure Island, or thoughts of indulging in one of the delectable new menu offerings at the Mexico Pavilion’s La Cava del Tequila.

But the original way to have a grand evening of imbibing in Disney World was to visit one of Disney’s resort hotels around Seven Seas Lagoon. And if you’re going to visit one…why not visit them all? Thus, the birth of the Monorail Crawl — it’s a great way to resort hop, but still feel like you have…you know…a purpose!

Here’s How It’s Done
When taking part in the Monorail Crawl, participants can begin at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, or Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Have a drink at your starting point, then load up on the monorail and head to the next resort hotel. Pretty simple, eh?

Jazz Band Outside Mizner's Lounge

Jazz Band Outside Mizner's Lounge

You can even think up themes or games for each hotel, e.g. have a Hawaiian-themed drink at the Polynesian, a classic liqueur at the Grand Floridian, then a good old draft beer at the Contemporary (just be sure to do them in the right order!); or have three members of your party each bring a recipe for a new drink to sample — try one of the new recipes at each new resort!

However you plan to spice up your Monorail Crawl, be sure to designate a driver or two.

Some Favorite Watering Holes to Consider
Mizner’s Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: This snazzy spot is the perfect place to begin your crawl. Relax in the lounge with a classic cocktail while you listen to some live jazz.

Outer Rim Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: This will take you from the Victorian decadence of the Grand Floridian into the George Jetson age! The Outer Rim Lounge offers deep, cushy chairs and an incredible, floor to ceiling view of Bay Lake and the Contemporary pool. If you hit it at the right time, you can even see the Contemporary’s movie on the beach from the Lounge! Click through images of the full menu here.

Outer Rim Lounge Bar

Outer Rim Lounge Bar

Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Resort: A Hawaiian-themed paradise of a lounge, this one features live music from the islands as well as a big-screen TV (which could matter if it happens to be game day!). Schedule your crawl so that you can hit the Poly in time to watch some of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from the Lounge’s huge picture windows, or get your drinks to go and watch the Electric Water Pageant from the beach.

Remember, this activity can cost as little or as much as you’d like; you don’t need any theme park tickets, and you don’t even have to pay for parking!

Last Minute Suggestions
Here are a couple of suggestions that might make the Crawl even better:

  • Schedule this excursion when you’re staying at a monorail resort. As fun as it is when staying elsewhere, it’s even better when you can just monorail it back to your resort and head to bed at the end of the evening.
  • If you’re staying at another property, take a Disney bus or a shuttle to the starting point. You’ll be glad to not have to drive at the end.
  • Bring friends! While a small party is fun, sharing the Crawl with a crowd can make it even more of a memory.
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Chef Mickey’s New Look

by on March 19, 2009

Chef Mickey’s has a new look after the construction on the 4th floor of the Contemporary resort has subsided. Overall, the area now has 3 entry portal – one to the rennovated Outer Rim Bar, Chef Mickey, and the Contempo Cafe quick service.

Guests are channeled down a long black and red tiled walkway to the new check-in podium for the restaurant.

Once checked-in, guests wait to be called in a plush new waiting area. This area is again adorned in the black and red “Mickey” color scheme.

We suspect the original structures which remain will soon be repainted to match the new additions. Seating has been reworked to give the whole restaurant a more open and less cramped feeling.

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Contemporary New Tower update

by on May 4, 2008

The new tower at the Contemporary Resort continues to grow.




Construction has begun for the bridge which will connect the two buildings. It will be a cable-stay (similar to suspension) bridge once it is completed.




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Cool Carpet!

by on September 9, 2007

The Contemporary resort has installed some funky retro-sheik carpet featuring a bright and bold pattern. We think we like it, but we’re not sure if we’re supposed to stare at it until an image appears.

We think we see Mickey. The carpet is part of an overall rennovation of the 4th floor Grand Canyon Concourse at the resort. The temporary Tempo Grab-n-Go counter service restaurant has opened, and the Food and Fun Center on the first floor should close shortly for a long overhaul into a table service restaurant. Upon completion (sometime next year), the new restaurant will open and the Concourse Steakhouse will close to become a much larger version of Tempo Grab-n-Go.

All of these rennovations and increases in venue size and offerings of course have nothing to do with the DVC they’re not building next door.

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Towering UnDVC

by on August 31, 2007

A tower crane has recently been installed near the Contemporary Resort for the “completely and entirely not a DVC because it’s really our best kept secret – shhh!” building. Tower cranes assemble themselves to rise to heights higher then possible with other cranes – like skyscrapers, 15 story crescent shaped DVC buildings, and other such large structures.

Work also continues inside the resort on the new temporary quick service grab-n-go location on the 4th floor as well as the new Fantasia gift shop and remodeling of the check-in desk.

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Contemporary Artwork Changes

by on August 23, 2007

The lobby of the Contemporary is walled off in sections as it is renovated to fir the new look of the resort, as seen in the concept art seen below.

Also, work has begun on the new store for the 4th floor concourse, which has changed in style from being a simplistic series of kiosks to a fully developed store space.

Some find the new design a bit overwhelming with its giant Mickey ears. It is assumed the new design is to better enclose the store and prevent theft. (Ignore our flash remnant in the photo please!)

Other areas of the concourse are also walled off as they work to install a temporary quick service restaurant near Chef Mickey’s and also work to replace the flooring. From above, the footprint of the new store is clearly visible behind the refurbishment walls.

These renovations are expected to last well into 2008 before the entire project is completed. Perhaps by then Disney will acknowledge the DVC building they’re constructed next door.

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Contemporary work update

by on July 14, 2007

A small update on the progress at the Contemporary Resort: The 4th floor concourse is getting ready to install the permanent replacement for the Fantasia shop soon. Work should begin shortly. Down at the Lobby level, refurbishment walls have gone up and the lobby is beginning its transformation. They’re closing it off in sections.

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