California Grill
  • On Feb 5, 2020
    Steve from Alicante Asked

    Hi Betsy. We have booked the Animal lodge in June. My wife’s birthday is on the 22nd, can you recommend a good restaurant maybe with a show for that night as a surprise. Thinking of your idea of doing 5 nights at Yacht Club 5 at kingdom ? Thanks for help

    Hi there Steve! Thanks so much for bringing your question to the Disney Parks Moms Panel. How sweet that you are planning a special surprise for your wife's birthday. I'd be thrilled to help plan your celebratory meal!

    For a birthday meal at Walt Disney World, I like to think in terms of food, ambiance, and location. There are so many restaurants to choose from that are worthy of a special occasion, but I will share a few of my favorites. 

    I think it's great that you are considering a split stay at two very unique (and equally fabulous) Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. You may feel like you are taking two different vacations - one to the vibrant savannas of Africa and another to a relaxed seaside town. If you would prefer to remain close to home, then I suggest a meal at Jiko - The Cooking Place at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge or Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney's Yacht Club Resort. Both restaurants offer signature dining experiences that will feel undoubtedly elegant and special. The cuisine at Jiko is slightly more adventurous and features a blend of African, Indian, and Mediterranean flavors, while at Yachtsman Steakhouse, the stars of the show are premium steaks and fresh seafood. Be sure to let the Cast Member know upon check-in that you are celebrating a special occasion - you never know what kind of pixie-dust you may receive!

    Steve, if you don't mind a bit of a traveling from your resort, my absolutely favorite place to celebrate a special occasion at Walt Disney World is the California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort. The restaurant is just one monorail stop away from the Magic Kingdom Park, but if you'll be coming from your resort hotel, I would recommend taking a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, or utilizing Disney Minnie Van Service Connected by Lyft to make your arrival as seamless as possible. You wouldn't want a summer rain to ruin your festive look!

    In addition to the outstanding service and Pacific Coast inspired food you will enjoy at the California Grill, the main event here is the spectacular view of Seven Seas Lagoon and Happily Ever After fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. Sitting at your table watching fireworks while the restaurant lights are dimmed and music from the show plays is a truly memorable and magical experience. After our first meal here a few years ago, my husband declared dining at the California Grill to be his favorite overall experience in all of Walt Disney World - not just favorite meal, but experience! He liked it better than riding Soarin' or Space Mountain! I recommend making an Advanced Dining Reservation for about ninety minutes before Happily Ever After fireworks are scheduled to begin, so you are just finishing your meal, or enjoying dessert as the show begins. 

    One last thing, Steve! Did you know that you can special order cakes to be delivered to a Walt Disney World restaurant or resort room? My preference is to have a cake delivered directly to my resort hotel room. You can do this by calling Private Dining once you have checked in to your resort and schedule the delivery for any day of your vacation. I like the Mickey Mouse celebration cake - it's a delicious chocolate or vanilla layer cake with mousse filling, shaped like Mickey Mouse. If there are leftovers, store them in your resort room refrigerator and enjoy cake for the rest of the trip. If possible, keep the cake a secret; your wife will be so surprised when a Cast Member shows up at your door with her birthday treat!

    I hope that helps with your planning. It sounds like you have a phenomenal vacation in the works. Come back and see us again as more questions arise.

    ¡Buen viaje!
    Betsy
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Meet the Panelist: Betsy, Maryland

Greetings! I'm Betsy, a middle school teacher, wife, and mom of two. My family and I love to travel the world, but our best memories are those made when we're visiting Walt Disney World. No matter how many times we visit, there is always something new to see, ride, or eat at the Disney Parks. Learn More About Betsy

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