This month on the Peach Loop of The Blogorail, we are talking some of the best counter service location at Walt Disney World. My favorite is the Contempo Cafe located at The Contemporary Resort just steps away from The Magic Kingdom. Read more to find out why.
Signs are everywhere at Walt Disney World. This week’s theme of Wordless Wednesday hosted by Focused on the Magic is Signs. I’m sharing some of my signs. The long sign is a sign that everyone staying at The Contemporary or Bay Lake Tower goes past on their walk to Magic Kingdom. Above our some of my families favorite attractions: Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, It’s A Small World, Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
I posed this question on twitter last week and got very little response so I decided, today, to write a short blog post on the topic. If you have been following the blog from the beginning, you will know that I love the Contempo Cafe. I love its location, the ability to watch the monorail go by, and the menu. It’s a great place to sit back and relax after a morning and/or afternoon in the parks.
Unlike it’s monorail loop brethren, the Gasparilla Grill and Captain Cook’s; the Contempo Cafe is NOT open 24 hours. The hours of the Contempo Cafe are from 6:00 am until midnight. This puts the Contempo Cafe’s hours more on par with moderate and value resorts than the other dining options along the monorail loop.
Are the people staying at the Contemporary just not hungry at night? Does Disney charge less for rooms at the Contemporary than at the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village to compensate guests for not having a 24-hour quick service option?
Late night resort hopping is difficult to do in the off-peak months when the parks close earlier and as a result the monorail shuts down earlier as well. There is no boat from the Contemporary to the Grand Floridian or Polynesian Village without stopping at the Magic Kingdom and when the Magic Kingdom closes for the night, those boats stop running as well. There is a boat to Wilderness Lodge but that quick service restaurant is only open to midnight as well.
The Contempo Cafe has a wonderful breakfast especially its Bounty Platter with eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, and french toast. Disney could replace the bacon and sausage with some steak and charge a dollar or two more and have a fantastic late night steak and eggs menu item. It could have a late-night midnight to 6:00 am menu featuring a cross-section of its dinner and breakfast menu with quick easy-to-make selections from both menus.
Maybe Disney has crunched the numbers and the numbers say that Disney would lose money by keeping the Contempo Cafe open 24 hours a day. However, I think that Disney is missing out on an opportunity to have a unique late-night dining opportunity at one of it’s best quick service restaurants.
Continuing with today’s theme of The Contemporary Resort, we go back in time to the original Top of the World Lounge. When The Contemporary opened in 1971, what we know as California Grill was The Top of the World Lounge. The lounge was more of a supper club where guests could listen to popular music acts of the era. There was no Wishes or fireworks show. As a result, there was no outside view area. The evening entertainment was the show inside. It varied from acts like Mel Torme to Phyllis Diller. The dinner cost was between $9.50 and $13.50 while there was a $5 cover charge in 1972 which had risen to $7.50 by 1982. There were two seatings for dinner 6:30 pm for the 8:30 pm show and 9:30 pm for the 11:30 pm show.
In the mornings, the Top of the World served a daily breakfast and lunch buffet. On Sundays, a brunch buffet was served.
As the resort moved into the 80’s, the club became more of a lounge and less of a supper club. Areas to watch the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom were added. The Top of the World Lounge closed in 1993 and reopened in 1995 as California Grill.
When Bay Lake Tower, in the early 2000’s, was constructed the lounge on the top floor was named The Top of the World Lounge as an homage to the original lounge from the 70’s.
My favorite resort on all of the Walt Disney World Resort property is The Contemporary. I loved this resort since I was a child. I loved the fact that a monorail ran through the center of the hotel because of its iconic A-Frame structure. If you ask people what they think of, besides the castle, when they think of Walt Disney World chances are they will mention The Contemporary and/or the monorail. There are so many reasons to love this iconic Disney original.