Dining at Disney Contemporary Resort: From Breakfast to Dinner

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Although Disney’s Contemporary Resort is one of my favorite places to stay (mostly for the ability to walk to the Magic Kingdom and take the monorail to Epcot), it does offer more than just a convenient location – dining at Disney Contemporary Resort is an added benefit that can make it also a culinary destination that can turn any meal into a memorable experience.

Whether you’re starting your day with a character-filled breakfast, grabbing a quick lunch between park visits, or savoring a gourmet dinner while watching the fireworks, the dining options at this iconic resort cater to every taste and preference. So, let me take you through the best places to eat at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, from sunrise to sunset, ensuring your meals are as magical as your stay.

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Posting with Minnie Mouse at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort

Start the Day off Right: Breakfast at the Contemporary Resort

Unless it’s a rope drop day, we’ll typically grab at least a coffee at the resort before starting the day. Luckily, the Contemporary Resort has several great options.

Chef Mickey’s

Back in the day, when the kids were young, this was our favorite character breakfast. They loved seeing the original characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy), and they also loved the location as they could watch the monorail go by (monorail wins for kids!).

It’s less expensive to visit Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, and let’s face it, most kids like breakfast food, so if you are lucky, they will eat a decent amount. Chef Mickey’s is a buffet, so it is a lot of food. This is one of those restaurants you will want to book a reservation for as it will often be booked out.

Contempo Cafe

If you want a full breakfast but not the buffet, head over to Contempo Cafe. For quick-service it’s actually one of the better choices at Disney World. They have a nice variety of choices, from Mickey waffles to breakfast burritos, all at pretty reasonable prices.

You can also get quite a few breakfast items a la carte, so if you are a light eater consider just a side of scrambled eggs and a piece of fruit or something like that. Another bonus for Contempo Cafe is that you can mobile order – so order breakfast in your room and it should be ready by the time you walk downstairs!

coffee from Contemporary Grounds and view of the Contemporary pool

Contemporary Grounds

If it’s an early park day, I’ll grab a few granola bars from the grocery store and then run downstairs to grab a couple of Americanos at Contemporary Grounds. It’s the perfect breakfast to go! It’s also a nice option if we stay at the DVC resort and make our own breakfast but want a special coffee treat to enjoy on the balcony.

I was honestly quite excited when Contemporary Grounds was added to the resort – a yummy coffee shop was much needed! Now that the kids are older and we typically hit the parks as soon as they open, it is my favorite choice for breakfast at the Contemporary Resort.

dining at Disney Contemporary Resort - Cove Bar

Easy Lunch Options at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Unless it’s a pool day, it would be rare for me to have lunch at a resort, but if you like heading back for lunch (or just hanging out at the resort), there are a few good choices.

Poolside Dining

The Contemporary Resort has two pool bars, The Cove Bar and The Sand Bar. Both offer a variety of fun poolside drinks and simple lunch-type items. If you want food, you can get sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, burgers, etc.

I have to admit I haven’t eaten at either of the pool bars before, but when I’ve been at the pool, I have noticed other guests enjoying lunch. The food looked fresh, and the servings were appropriate for the price (Disney pricing, that is).

Sign for Chef Mickey's and Contempo Cafe at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Contempo Cafe

Just like breakfast, Contempo Cafe is a great choice for quick-service dining. For lunch, they offer salads, flatbreads (which are pretty good), sandwiches, and plenty of grab-and-go items.

If I was heading back to the resort for a break after a morning at the park, I’d place my mobile order while I was walking (or on the monorail), and then be able to just grab our lunch with no wait. Great time-saver!

California Grill sign

Gourmet Evenings: Indulge in the Best Dining at Disney Contemporary Resort

Dinner is when dining at the Contemporary really shines. Some of the BEST Disney restaurants are at the Contemporary – and definitely some of the best views!

California Grill

Speaking of views, for Disney World and fireworks views, there aren’t many places that can beat California Grill. Located on the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, this fine dining location has an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

Be prepared to open your wallet, though, as California Grill has a prix fix menu that includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Plus, they offer an amazing collection of special wines perfectly curated to pair with the food. The food is California-inspired (sushi, fresh fish, steaks, etc.), and there is a dress code, so it’s definitely a special occasion experience.

view of Chef Mickey's from the monorail

Chef Mickey’s

Chef Mickey’s is also a dinner choice – probably the best choice if you want a full meal and have small kids, as it’s a buffet-style character dinner. It’s pricier than breakfast, but the food offerings are “fancier” too – salads, carving station, seafood, etc.

Personally, we preferred Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, but if you want your kids to enjoy a character meal with the Fab Five and breakfast won’t work for your schedule, Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary might be your best choice.

Steakhouse 71 entrance

Steakhouse 71

Steakhouse 71 is a breakfast & lunch option also, but for the atmosphere and menu, I prefer it for dinner. As one of Disney’s newer restaurants, it’s a great one to check out if you are a Disney regular and looking for a new place to enjoy a nice dinner.

For my family, Steakhouse 71 is a great choice as there is something for everyone. I love the chopped or wedge salad and French onion soup, my son loves the steaks (it is a steakhouse, after all), and there is a fish dish for my daughter (along with a decadent chocolate cake for dessert).

Evening Fun at the Contemporary Lounges

Although we do plan a nice dinner out once or twice during our Disney vacations, honestly, I prefer the Disney lounges – I like the fun drinks, and I’m a huge fan of appetizers for dinner!

Contempo Cafe

Although not my first choice for dinner at the Contemporary Resort, Contempo Cafe can be your best option if you arrive too late for dinner. Most of the restaurants close the kitchens fairly early, but Contempo Cafe is open until 11:00.

On our last visit, we arrived at the resort at 9:30 and were hungry, so Contempo Cafe was the perfect choice. My daughter was able to order a kid’s shrimp bowl, whereas I picked up a turkey sandwich. It was plenty of food and pretty darn good for quick service late at night.

Outer Rim at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Outer Rim

Outer Rim is a nice place to grab a drink at the end of a long park day (it’s open later than many other spots) or while waiting for dinner. Located just beside Contempo Cafe and Chef Mickey’s, it’s a casual but cozy little lounge.

Outer Rim does not offer food, so this is a drinks-only spot. However, they do have a few mocktails (and a pretty amazing Blood Orange Margarita!).

Steakhouse 71 Lounge

Although I do love the restaurant itself, if we aren’t in the mood for a full dinner, then the Steakhouse 71 Lounge is a fantastic choice. I enjoy sitting right at the bar and indulging in a glass of wine and one of their delicious appetizers. It’s the perfect light dinner and a great way to end a fun Disney day.

Top of the World Lounge

If you are a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) member, you can get access to a very special lounge on the top floor of the DVC building, Bay Lake Tower. The Top of the World lounge has a villain’s theme with fun cocktails and appetizers, and, like California Grill, it has a fantastic view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. It can be hard to get seating – especially around fireworks time, so if you just want to experience the lounge, I’d recommend heading up there as soon as it opens.

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Tips for Dining at Disney Contemporary Resort

Aside from the quick-service dining and the lounges, it’s highly recommended to make reservations for dining at Disney’s Contemporary Resort restaurants. Most of them are highly coveted reservations, and if you don’t plan ahead, you might not get a table.

If you decide last minute that you’d like to dine at one of them, the My Disney Experience app does allow for waitlist options if they aren’t too booked, and sometimes you’ll get lucky, and someone will cancel a reservation that you can grab – so keep looking.

Insider tip: if you can’t get a reservation you want, consider adding a query to my favorite Disney restaurant booking tool Mousedining. You can have two free searches going and I’ve lucked out multiple times using it to get the reservations I want! Check it out HERE.

FAQs: Dining at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

What is the name of the restaurant at the top of the Contemporary hotel in Disney?

California Grill

Do you have to stay at Disney hotel to eat at restaurant?

No, you do not need to stay at the Contemporary to eat at the restaurants.

How long is the walk from the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom?

About a ten-minute walk.

How much is dinner at California Grill?

Currently (2024) the price is $89 per adult.

Can you see the fireworks from California Grill?

Yes, and if you dine before or after the show you can return with your receipt to watch it.

View from Disney's Contemporary Resort

Conclusion: Dining at Disney Contemporary Resort

As you can see, dining at Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers a delightful mix of culinary experiences that can make your stay even more magical. There is something for everyone, from the fun character breakfasts at Chef Mickey’s to the gourmet dinners with stunning views at California Grill. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite on the go or a relaxed meal to end your day, the Contemporary Resort’s dining options will deliver.

Plan ahead to secure reservations at the most popular spots, and don’t forget to take advantage of mobile ordering for convenience. Each restaurant and lounge offers a unique atmosphere and menu, making your dining experiences at Disney’s Contemporary Resort as memorable as the parks themselves. Enjoy your culinary adventure, and make sure to savor every moment and every bite.

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