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California Grill

From the 15th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort, California Grill has been, literally and figuratively, at the top since its opening in May 1995.

Heralded as "a new era in Disney dining," the restaurant transformed the former "Broadway at the Top" dinner show into a big-city dining room with the expertise of interior designer Martin Dorff. Aluminum, glass, marble and wood combine to create a sleek modern look, and the room has a spectacular view -- diners can see Magic Kingdom, Seven Seas Lagoon, and get a picture-perfect view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

In its first year, the restaurant received rave reviews, including "Top 20 Restaurants for 1995" by Esquire magazine. Countless awards, including a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and Florida Trend's Golden Spoon, confirm the restaurant's enduring appeal.

"The debut of the California Grill was an inventive, exciting time in the evolution of Walt Disney World dining, " said Dieter Hannig, senior vice president of Walt Disney World Food & Beverage. "Its success created opportunities for us to expand the ideas we launched there, introducing a new era in vacation dining."

Though the menu has changed in a decade, California Grill classics, like the popular roast pork and polenta, have been on the menu since opening day. But Chef John State adds seasonal favorites like Copper River king salmon or butterfish steamed in a banana leaf with an Asian vinaigrette. All meals are made from scratch in a stage kitchen divided into seven stations, including a sushi bar, a brick pizza oven, a wood-burning grill and a dessert shop.

"Taking the natural flavor of the finest ingredients and fortifying and intensifying it may take a great deal of time and effort," State said. "But that first bite proves every moment is worth it."

Co-managing with Chef State is general manager Bridget Sherren, a graduate of the Advanced Course of the Court of Master Sommeliers currently preparing for the Master level.

"Wine is an essential element in the dining experience at California Grill," explains Sherren. "And education without intimidation is one of our major goals." She updates daily a 100-item wine list, with every wine available by the glass.

Among staff there since the beginning is Yoshie Cabral, one of just a handful of female sushi chefs in the United States. Her creations are one of the most-requested menu items -- on a good day she'll make more than 2,000 pieces of raw fish and rice into pristine morsels for diners, and train her protégés to slice and dice. And sous chef Johnny Hall is another who has been cooking at California Grill since Day One.

"The next decade is even more promising," said Hannig. "The California Grill is just getting started."

Essential Information

Contemporary Resort

Sit-down restaurant.
A la carte.
Cuisine - Californian.

Included in Disney Dining Plan
Yes (2 credits)

Tips & Fun Facts

Offers a great view of the Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom.
The restaurant is on the 15th floor, but Guests check in at the reception desk on the hotel's 2nd floor. When your table is ready, a host or hostess will take you up to California Grill in a special express elevator.
Take advantage of an extensive by-the-glass wine program, allowing you the opportunity to match a wine of your choice with any selection on the menu.
This location can accommodate most special dietary needs. Advance notice may be required and cancellation fees may apply. Please indicate any special dietary need at time of reservation booking.
Business Casual dress code:
Men: Khakis, slacks, jeans, dress shorts, collared shirts.  Sport coats are optional.
Ladies:  Capris, skirts, dresses, jeans, dress shorts.
Not permitted in dining room: Tank tops, swimwear, hats for gentleman, cut offs, or torn clothing. While T-shirts are now allowed, the policy remains that T-shirts with offensive language or graphics are not acceptable.

Advanced Dining Reservations

Reservations recommended. Book up to 180 days in advance (or up to 190 days for Disney Resort guests).
Call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463)

A credit card guarantee is required to make reservations. In the event that a cancellation is not made at least one day in advance, the credit card on the reservation will be charged $10 per person. Reservations can be cancelled at any table service restaurant podium, by calling 407-WDW-CNCL, at, or at any guest relations or resort front desk.

Reviews & Ratings

Recommended For



Meals Served

Average Cost for full meal
$30 - $60 per person

Typical Menu Items
Flatbread, sushi, foie gras, salad, pumpkin lasagne, oak-fired beef filet, scallops, bass.
Children's menu available.

Most popular menu items
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Polenta. The grilled pork and polenta has been on the menu at California Grill ever since this award-winning restaurant opened its doors in 1995. The dish features garlicky pork, creamy polenta and rich balsamic mushroom glaze with zinfandel wine.
Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli.





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