I have just returned from the first adventure of 2015! My sister, Sue, and I traveled to Orlando, FL to take a 4 night cruise on the Disney Dream. We went down the day before and stayed one night at the Contemporary Resort on Disney property. I have never stayed there before so it was a good opportunity to check out a different resort and spend the day around property, though we did not go to any parks.
We left on a 6 am flight out of JFK. It was a good thing we were on the early flight as an ice storm made its way into the area later that morning.
It was a smooth and uneventful flight (my favorite kind) and we were quickly on the Magical Express heading to the Contemporary.
We checked in and our magic bands were checked to be sure they would work. Sue’s credit card was supposed to be linked to my band and we asked them to check that at the desk. They said it was done but it ended up not working later in the day. We didn’t bother to fix it since we were only there for a short time.
Our room at the Contemporary was in the Garden wing. We had a standard room and we were very happy with it. The room itself was a good size. We had 2 double beds and a day bed. It had a funky 70s kind of look to me but we really liked it. I also liked about the resort itself was nice and small. Only the main building, the garden wing and bay lake tower. Easy to get around and nothing was far away.
Our plans were to go to Downtown Disney for the day and then return to the Contemporary for dinner at California Grill. While waiting for our flight, we started discussing how maybe we should just get tickets and go to the Magic Kingdom instead. It was so tempting being only a 10 minute walk from the Contemporary. It was really hard not to go but we decided to stick to our original plan. On the bus ride to the Contemporary, a couple behind us was looking at the current wait times in the Magic Kingdom and they were already up to 60 – 70 minutes and it was 9:30 am. So I think we made the right decision. (It was MLK weekend which may have been why it was so busy).
We got off the bus at the Marketplace end, got a coffee from Starbucks and walked over to the West Side. A lot of construction walls still there and it was pretty busy.
Our first stop was at Splittsville, a bowling and dining location. We haven’t bowled in years but decided it would be fun to try it out and get some appetizers to share to hold us over until dinner.
Because we had arrived before 12:30, we qualified for the “Early bird” special, which was $12 per adult and with 2 adults we would get 1 hour of time at the lane. The girl took our names and our shoe sizes and then had us move to the next counter. After a few minutes, another girl had a tote bag with our shoes and menus and walked us over to our lane. When we arrived at the lane, we saw that the screen was already sent up with our names and order of bowling. A waitress came over, we ordered and started bowling.
I took notice of the lane next to ours as they had a little girl about 4 years old. When the computer screen lit up that it was her turn, bumpers automatically came up in their lane. When her turn was finished, they would go back down so the adults could bowl without bumpers.
We didn’t know if an hour would be enough of time, but it turned out great. Between munching on loaded fries and chicken strips, we were able to bowl 3 full games. It was a really great way to spend some time in the Downtown area and I would definitely do it again.
After bowling, we walked and shopped our way back to the bus area and headed back to the Contemporary. We had a letter waiting in our room with the time that our luggage needed to be ready the next morning for Disney Cruise Line and that we needed to be in the lobby by 11:15 for the bus ride over to the port.
We had some time to kill so we walked around the jogging path which was a little under a mile long and then relaxed in the room until dinner.
It was a short walk over to the main building and then we checked in at the California Grill desk on level 2. Our reservations were verified and we were lead to wait for the elevator to go up to level 15 to the restaurant.
Neither of us had eaten there before and we have heard such good things. We both enjoy sushi and were anxious to try the Dragon Roll. For our meals, we ordered the Dragon Roll to share, then I ordered Pork 2 ways, Sue ordered the beef filet and we ordered 2 desserts to share: the banana fritters and chocolate pudding cake.
I feel like I have to review the meal in two separate ways. First – not considering price and second – taking the price into account.
So not considering price, everything was very good. We really loved the Dragon Roll. You could definitely tell that the sushi was fresh. We both enjoyed our entrees and we both really enjoyed the chocolate pudding cake, especially with the little sea salt on top. I liked that the sauces to dip the fritters into where different that typical sauces – caramel sea salt, peanut butter and dark chocolate.
Now taking the price into account.. We knew that this would be our most expensive meal of the trip. We figured it would be about $100 a person and, with the tip, it was $112 a person so that was in the range of what we expected. We did leave feeling that it may not have been worth the price. While my pork entrée was a good size portion, the beef filet was small. Also we had an expectation that the Dragon Roll was going to be a much larger portion than it was because we had looked at pictures from other people’s trips online.
Taking everything into account, I would definitely eat there again, but probably only for a special celebration. A definite added bonus was that we were able to return later, show our receipt, and go back up the restaurant viewing areas to watch Wishes.
We had a little over an hour to see Wishes so we decided to take the monorail over to the Polynesian and walk around a bit. Seemed to us that you have to take the monorail somewhere at least once when it runs right through your hotel!
The lobby at the Poly has been redone so we walked around there and looked in the gift shop. I really liked the gift shop there. It had some different items. The lobby is definitely more spacious without the big waterfall, but I kind of missed it. We also located the new location of the Dole Whip.. and yes even though I just came from California Grill.. I had a dole float.
We then jumped back on the monorail and went back to the Contemporary. Going back up to the California Grill area was easy and our waiter had recommended which viewing area he felt was best for Wishes. We had about 20 minutes to wait outside and it was chilly but it was worth it. The music is played through speakers and it was interesting to see Wishes from a different area. Very nice way to end the evening.
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I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.