California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has become one of the the go-to spots for celebrations among Walt Disney World guests. With incredible views, day or night, stunning sunsets and fireworks viewing, it’s the perfect spot to end your Disney day. Previously, vegans enjoyed an amazing “Vegan Unplugged” meal here with 4 choices of vegan options. After the resort closed and reopened, the menu changed to offer a seasonal pasta option and a sushi roll. Disney then threw us for a loop by creating a special prix fixe menu to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort, beginning October 1, 2021. This new menu features multiple options to choose from, on the non-vegan side of things. There are vegan options on this 50th Anniversary Celebration prix fixe menu – one of each for the appetizer, entree, and dessert option. The price is $89 per adult and $39 for children.
Two friends of the blog recently dined there and shared their photos with us so we could show you what to expect if you decide to dine here. For now, no end date has been announced for this limited time 50th Celebration menu.
In addition to the new 50th Celebration menu, California Grill has added some photos showcasing the history of this spot at the top of the world. We recently shared the similar photos in the new Steakhouse 71 restaurant and these are in keeping with the rich history of this location. Thank you to @yetanothermichelle and @the_year_of_disney on instagram for the following photos.
My family and I were lucky enough to experience the show featured here – Top of the World back in the 80’s. It was a very fun show full of Broadway style singing and dancing. We also attended a brunch buffet one time after Top of the World had ended but before California Grill had opened. It will always hold a special place in my heart because of those memories, so I’m happy to see Disney celebrating that history.
The rest of California Grill remains the same with its open air design and colors paying tribute to Mary Blair’s Grand Canyon Concourse in the Contemporary Resort’s main atrium.
Your menu is presented in a souvenir take-home design with EARidescent touches which are continued over onto the wine list menu as well.
Here’s a peek at the California Grill prix fixe menu showing the plant-based vegan appetizer and salad:
When the menu for this 50th Celebration prix fixe dinner was announced, we were a little skeptical about the honeynut squash being in both the salad and the entree. Both of our vegan friends enjoyed it, but said it wasn’t the best meal they’ve had. For $89, I think a vegan prix fixe menu at California Grill should have another option, or at least something new vs items similar to the previous menu. For my money, I’d head to Steakhouse 71 over this, unless I was celebrating and wanted a great view with dinner.
The bread has been changed up, we have focaccia which is vegan as is, with olive oil dipping sauce.
Next up, the heirloom apple salad – roasted honeynut squash, radicchio, almond feta cheese, pepita granola with a verjus vinaigrette.
The salad is absolutely beautiful to look at. One friend noted it kind of tasted like dessert in a salad. Your mileage may vary.
I wanted to show the different presentations on two different nights of the same dish.
Next up, the mushroom ravioli. This is described as handcrafted wild mushroom ravioli with chanterelle mushrooms, honeynut squash, and herbed pistachio pesto, with truffle mushroom cream.
Again, showing the slightly different presentations only 2 days apart for this same entree.
Personally, I LOVE mushrooms. I love mushroom ravioli. I love squash. So I’m excited to try this, but not looking forward to paying $89 for it. I’m not sure I’ll make it over there to spend that, honestly. It appears that the last few entrees have been very similar at California Grill, with the shaved truffles, heavy sauces, and pasta. On their own, the individual components sound great, but there are so many other ingredients and vegan entree options in the world, it would be nice to see some of the same attention given to non-plant-based items, given to vegan ones, such as the amazing vegetable Wellington at Steakhouse 71.
Which leads us to dessert. The lavender sugared donuts is again a remix of the existing dessert that’s been at California Grill for some time now. When I had the blueberry version, it tasted like corn bread. The lavender ones are back but again, nothing really new here. The non-vegan dessert is an amazing assortment of “5 magical bites 50 years in the making” which is adorable, along with 3 other options. We get the same one that’s been here. Disney has the ability to do amazing things with desserts. Defaulting to using vegan donuts made by another bakery is so bizarre to me. Places like Valhalla bakery are making incredible creations daily (and if Disney is going to use someone else’s items for a vegan dessert, I’d love them to give Valhalla a call!).
But here’s the California Grill dessert:
Again, different presentation, so your dessert may look like one of these, or something else entirely. The lavender donuts are from Erin McKenna’s bakery in Disney Springs, where everything is vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and kosher. Served with coconut frozen dessert, blueberry gin jam, and pistachio crumble. You can see other ways California Grill has used these vegan blueberry donuts on our site, including a vegan donut salad!
So is the vegan prix fixe menu worth it at California Grill? That’s for you to decide. As mentioned, both people who shared their photos with it thought it was good, but probably wouldn’t return for the money. I know I keep mentioning Steakhouse 71, but the minute I left there, I was thinking about going back, and to me, that says a lot.
Thank you once again to Jenelle and Michelle for sharing their photos and thoughts with us. Let us know if you plan to dine at California Grill for this limited time 50th anniversary celebration prix fixe dinner.
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