Lunching at The Wave…of American Flavors

One of my favorite “under the radar” restaurants at Walt Disney World is The Wave…of American Flavors (The Wave for short) at the Contemporary Resort.

Comtemporary

The menu here features American cuisine and many of the ingredients are sourced locally. I’ve always felt that the food I’ve eaten here has been fresh and prepared so that these fresh ingredients, especially produce, can shine.

The restaurant is located in the back corner of the lobby, just past the check-in desks. The entrance is definitely one of the coolest on property!

Entrance

Various elements of the décor also bring out the “wave” theme. It also features close up photographs of produce, like an ear of corn.

Picture from Disney
Picture from Disney. Interior.

I’ve eaten at the Wave several times now of the past few years, at least once for every meal. Recently, it’s become a tradition for my mom and I to eat Easter brunch there after church service. They always have a fantastic breakfast buffet there (sweet potato pancakes anyone??), but for Easter they add a few extras, like carving and omelet stations.

Today though, I’m going to focus on lunch at the Wave. I’ve eaten lunch there a couple of times now. I love that you can usually always get in without a reservation there and that is especially true at lunch. It’s very quiet and I think could be a great break from a busy (and hot) theme park day. Plus, it’s an easy walk from the Magic Kingdom!

Now onto the food…I will warm you that I’m not the greatest when it comes to food reviews. They usually consist of varying degrees of yumminess! But I’ll try to be a bit more descriptive this time!

Most of the time, I like to keep it light at lunch with a salad and maybe an appetizer. My first lunch there, I fell in love with the Wave’s version of the Cobb salad.

From the menu: MacGregor Farms Greens, Naturally Raised Eggs, Bacon, Florida Avocados, Chile-Lime Vinaigrette, and Midnight Moon Cheese
From the menu: MacGregor Farms Greens, Naturally Raised Eggs, Bacon, Florida Avocados, Chile-Lime Vinaigrette, and Midnight Moon Cheese

Most Disney fans know of Brown Derby’s version, which is great, but I give the Wave’s a bit of an edge because of the bigger pieces of the ingredients. With the Brown Derby’s I feel like it all sort of mushes together. I’m also a bit obsessed with the bacon on this salad. It’s thick-cut and has a bit of sweetness to it. It goes great with the tangy vinaigrette. I know there are people who aren’t fans of the traditional bleu cheese found on most Cobb salads. You will be happy to hear that the cheese on this version is much more mild and has a parmesan-like texture.

You can choose to add chicken or steak to the salad to make it more of an entrée. Instead, I decided to go with the soup of the day, which was a Zellwood corn and chicken chowder. The restaurant happened to be a bit chilly that afternoon so sop actually sounded fantastic. And it was! Zellwood corn is known for being sweet. The chicken was shredded and there was some spice with red peppers in the base. This was also paired with a jalapeño corn bread muffin, which also added a bit of heat, but nothing overwhelming. Our server made sure to warn us.

Season Soup - corn chowder
Season Soup – corn chowder

I will definitely be back to The Wave…for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Lunch is definitely a treat and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a break from the parks for an hour or two. The only complaint I have is I’ve had some inconsistent service there. The servers have always been very nice, it’s just some have been more on top of everything than others.

Have you been to The Wave? What would you recommend for my next visit?

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Contemporary Resort Choices

Recently Shelley and I both stayed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and we thought we’d take this opportunity to compare and contrast our stays. We will take a look at the room accommodations, dining, recreation, convenience, overall experience and whether or not we would choose to stay in the same type of accommodations again.

Rooms

The rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are some of the largest at Walt Disney World as far as standard rooms go at around 430 square feet. I love how spacious these rooms feel! They are nicely laid out with two queen sized beds and a day bed in the majority of the rooms, with a few with a king bed and a day bed.

Betsy: This trip I stayed in the Tower for the first time, which is the A-frame building that the monorail goes through, in a Theme Park View room. I was all the way at the end closest to Chef Mickeys on the 8th floor and had an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom.

Shelley: For my first stay at the Contemporary we got a room in the Garden Wing, which has a totally different feel than the Tower! We had a really nice view of a lawn area and Bay Lake from our window. The rooms were super spacious, well designed, and I especially loved the little touches like the hidden Contemporary shape in the sheer curtains!

 

Dining

Betsy: One of my favorite things about the Contemporary is the amount of dining options you have to choose from. During this stay I took advantage of the quick service location, Contempo Cafe, located on the 4th floor of the Grand Canyon Concourse. I just used it to grab drinks using the resort refillable mug I purchased and a quick snack shortly before midnight. The next morning I met up with a group of friends for the fantastic breakfast buffet at the Wave just off the lobby. If you haven’t done this buffet, you should! It is a great value at less than $20 per person and has an awesome variety. My favorites are the biscuits and gravy, sweet potato pancakes and pecan honey butter, and the multigrain Mickey waffles! Currently, the California Grill, the resort’s signature dining restaurant is under refurbishment until later this year. The other dining options include the pool bar and quick service location, the Sand Bar; Chef Mickey’s, one of the most popular character buffets; and private dining, which is available 24 hours a day.

Shelley: While the Garden Wing is away from the hustle and bustle…it’s away from the hustle and bustle, so it was a little bit of a hike to walk to the tower and then to navigate the busy elevators and escalators to get to the Contempo Cafe for a late dinner. Since traveling to get a snack was a bit of a hike, we found ourselves waiting until we needed to go somewhere to grab a bite to eat.

 

Recreation

Betsy: This stay I didn’t get to use any of the numerous recreation options at the resort. On previous stays I have been swimming in the pools and used the hot tub. I also enjoy watching the movies on the beach or lawn under the stars at night. There are tons of other choices from basic spa and massage services to a marina with parasailing, boat rentals, and fishing.

Shelley: During our stay there was a ton of rain, so we weren’t able to go swimming which Zoe was bummed about! But we have had the opportunity to watch movies on the beach and to take a Fireworks Cruise from the marina which was beyond amazing. There is such a wide variety of recreation options available!

 

Convenience

Betsy: I could not have asked for a better location as far as convenience. I had a fantastic view balanced with proximity to the lobby. It only took a couple of minutes to go up the elevator to my room and walk down the hallway from entering the resort. It was especially nice to be able to quickly run downstairs to grab an almost midnight snack after watching Wishes from my balcony. The morning we went to breakfast at the Wave I pretty much rolled out of bed and threw on clothes and was downstairs within 5 minutes. It was really really nice to be able to have several options very close by in the same building as my room.

Shelley: I really liked how convenient parking was for our building in the Garden Wing, but other than that it was a bit of a walk to get back to the Tower to get to transportation and food. We ended up making the walk several times, which got to be a little old.

 

Overall Experience

Betsy: I will be the first to admit that Disney’s Contemporary Resort is not my favorite resort since the decor isn’t exactly my style. Having said that, I will say that I had one of the best stays during this visit and that’s saying a lot since I’ve stayed at every Disney resort in Florida at least once, if not multiple times. I love the new check in process where the security guard calls ahead by radio to a Cast Member at the lobby entrance. They advised the waiting CM of my arrival with my name and describing my vehicle. When I pulled up to the valet stand, I was greeted by a CM with an ipad who welcomed me by name and let me know my room was ready, which was great at before 10am. I was escorted inside after leaving my keys with the valet in case they needed to move my car, and the greeter waited with me until a front desk CM was available to check me in to my room. I really enjoyed this new way of raising the level of service by adding personalization to the guest arrival process. Everything was so convenient as far as parking, getting to and from the parks, dining nearby and great service. I would highly recommend staying in the Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to anyone who is looking for a resort with many amenities and conveniences near the Magic Kingdom.

Shelley: While I have always wanted to stay at the Contemporary, I thought that staying in the Garden Wing was a give and take. If it was just Dave and I wanting to get away for the weekend without Zoe to enjoy the resort, I feel like it would have been ideal to stay in the Garden Wing since it is so close to so many recreation options. However, having Zoe with us and having an extra long commute to the Tower proved to be a lot more than we bargained for in our stay. I would definitely stay in the Garden Wing again, but I would really plan out my stay to enjoy more of the recreation at the Contemporary.

 

View of the Grand Canyon Concourse
View of the Grand Canyon Concourse
Chef Mickeys
Chef Mickeys
Spaceship Earth and Wilderness Lodge from the Tower
Spaceship Earth and Wilderness Lodge from the Tower
Entering the Tower room
Entering the Tower room
Vanity and shower area
Vanity and shower area
Toilet room
Toilet room
Coffee maker
Coffee maker
Closet
Closet
Garden Wing hall
Garden Wing hall
Garden Wing room
Garden Wing room
Queen beds
Queen beds
Desk area
Desk area
Towel Mickey
Towel Mickey
Mickey pillow
Mickey pillow
Day bed
Day bed
Tv console
Tv console
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Tree of Life and Everest in the distance
Tree of Life and Everest in the distance
Panoramic view
Panoramic view
View from bed
View from bed
Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle
Me on my balcony
Me on my balcony
Big Thunder and castle
Big Thunder and castle
Beast's and Prince Eric's castles
Beast’s and Prince Eric’s castles
Monorail and Space Mountain
Monorail and Space Mountain
Magic Kingdom at night
Magic Kingdom at night
Sorcerer castle for the kiss Goodnight
Sorcerer castle for the kiss Goodnight
Laying in bed with a view of the castle
Laying in bed with a view of the castle

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Thanksgiving Dining at Walt Disney World

Mickey and the gang celebrating Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving image copyright Disney

If you are like me, and you are finding yourself at Walt Disney World over Thanksgiving and don’t have set plans yet, don’t fret. There are great dining options across property in both the parks and resorts. Some are even still available for dinner reservations at this point in time (11pm Wednesday, 11/14) (subject to change of course). Even if you don’t want to make a reservation for some of the restaurants for a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, there are counter service locations that can still fill your craving for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

 

Character Thanksgiving Meals

Some of the character meals across the parks and resorts are getting special treatment just for Thanksgiving. They offer holiday menus with many having traditional meals, with others focusing more on their own twist on the holiday fare. At the Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s buffet is offering a Thanksgiving dinner. Across Bay Lake at Fort Wilderness, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ becomes Mickey’s Backyard Thanksgiving feast featuring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and many of your favorites. In the parks, Tusker House, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is having Donald’s Dining Safari Thanksgiving Lunch and then a non-character Thanksgiving meal for dinner. Walt Disney World Swan’s Garden Grove is having a character buffet dinner as well.

 

Table Service Thanksgiving Meals

Many of the restaurants in the parks are also providing meal options for the holiday. In the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Tree Tavern has both family style lunch and dinners. Also, the Diamond Horseshoe is hosting a table service dinner. At Epcot, the Biergarten in Germany has both Thanksgiving lunch and dinner options. Hollywood Studios has their buffet open for lunch and dinner as well as the Fantasmic dinner package. And, as already mentioned, in the Animal Kingdom, Tusker House is offering their dinner buffet.

At the resorts is where you will find most of the special holiday menus being offered. Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has a special prix fixe menu. Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club has a dinner buffet and the Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club is serving both lunch and dinner buffets. At the Grand Floridian, Citrico’s has a prix fixe dinner menu. Also with a prix fixe menu is Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk. For some a la carte menu options you could try lunch or dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Still at that resort for dinner you can have a Thanksgiving dinner at Narcoossee’s. Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness is having a lunch and dinner buffet. At the Polynesian you have lunch or dinner at Kona Cafe, Olivia’s at Old Key West is also serving both meals, as are Sanaa at Kidani Village, the Wave at the Contemporary and the Turf Club at Saratoga Springs. For more family style meals, check out either Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge for lunch or dinner, or dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club.

Are you staying at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin? If so, don’t worry, they have great options too! Fresh Mediterranean Market at the Dolphin is having a lunch buffet. The Swan’s Il Mulino is serving Thanksgiving dinner a la carte as is the Dolphin’s Todd English’s bluezoo. Downtown Disney even has some options for you at the House of Blues for dinner and Planet Hollywood for both lunch and dinner.

 

Counter Service Thanksgiving Meals

So, what if you, like me, have waited til the last minute and maybe there aren’t reservations available for your party of five? Don’t worry, Disney has that covered too. In Epcot, Sunshine Seasons, one of my favorite counter service options already, is supposed to be offering a special holiday menu too. Don’t want to go to a park, there’s a resort that has your name written all over it. At Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, the End Zone Food Court is even getting into the holiday meal spirit with a Thanksgiving dinner from noon until 10pm with turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and your choice of either apple or pumpkin pie for only $10.99 for guests 10 and up and $5.99 for children 3 to 9 (prices, times and menu items subject to change without notice).

 

All in all, it looks like Walt Disney World has some pretty great options of many varieties of cuisine and location for just about any appetite. Many of these options are on the Disney Dining Plan and as I mentioned, a few are even still available at this time. If you find yourself at WDW over the holiday, have a Happy Thanksgiving and happy eating!

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Easter Happenings At Walt Disney World

This week at Walt Disney World guests will find an array of events for the Easter Holiday. From special dining offerings at select restaurants, to activities at the resorts and in the theme parks, Disney has you covered, even down to religious services. With options available across property, Walt Disney World has taken strides to make guests feel at home in celebrating the holiday while on vacation.

As they do for Christmas, Walt Disney World is providing the Fantasia ballroom at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to hold Easter services this Sunday morning. Catholic Mass will be held at 8:00am and 10:15am, while Protestant services will be at 9:00am. If you are looking for other religious services, contact the concierge at your resort and they can assist you in finding the nearest location for your denomination or religious preference.

Restaurants are also joining in the celebration by offering special menus. Participating restaurants include: Captain’s Grille (brunch) at Disney’s Yacht Club, Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Wave (brunch) at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Cape May Cafe (dinner) at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Garden Grove (dinner) at the Walt Disney World Swan.

In the theme parks you will find a variety of entertainment options:

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom the Yak & Yeti DJ Dance Party will take place 4:00-8:00pm April 4 & 5 and 3:00-7:00pm April 6-14 in Asia. Africa will play host to Bourdicka April 4-14 at 3:10, 4:35, 5:30 and 6:30pm.

Epcot will have Easter Egg Hunts and Relays inside the UK pavilion of World Showcase for children ages 3-9 and 8-12 respectively. There will also be a smaller section for children under 3 to participate in their own hunt. The Easter Egg Hunts will be every 10 minutes from 11:00am – 3:30pm and the Relays will be every 40 minutes between 11:40am and 3:40pm. Also on hand will be Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny to greet guests from 11:30am – 4:00pm. Space is limited for sign ups for the hunts and relays with registration starting approximately half an hour before each hunt. Future World East will be having Easter Egg Hunts as well for children 3-9 in addition to some Easter themed games. The hunts will take place on the quarter hour starting at 10:00am and ending at 4:00pm.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a special dessert just for the Easter holiday from April 6-17. The pineapple coconut Easter cupcake will be sold at ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Pizza Planet, Starring Rolls and Studio Catering Company. Additional outdoor beverage stands will also be added around Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano, and 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Sweet Spells will have several other holiday related treats, including some Kosher offerings.

The Magic Kingdom will have a meet and greet with Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny until Sunday in the garden to the left of City Hall in the Tour Guide Garden.

On Easter Sunday, all Disney Resorts will have special activities of their own including Easter Egg Hunts, special arts and crafts activities, pool games themed around Easter, dance parties, and you can even meet some of your favorite Disney characters in their Easter costumes. There are even in room celebrations that you can order from Disney Florist. See this recent post on the Disney Parks Blog regarding Easter baskets you can have delivered for your family.

No matter how you choose to celebrate with your family and friends, it seems like Disney has something for everyone. Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoy!

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