Why California Grill was the worst dining experience I've had at Disney

 My sister and I recently had a good meal at Disney's California Grill, ( you can read about that HERE) but up until that time, I would tell you that California Grill was the worst dining experience I've ever had at Disney. 

Fairytales and Fitness Disney Blog

 I'll explain. 

Years ago, I was in a Disney Bride group. Many of the brides shared wonderful things about California Grill and how it was THE restaurant to get a reservation at. At the time, this was suppose to be one of fanciest restaurant at Disney.  California Grill is located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary resort and has panoramic views of Bay Lake and Magic Kingdom. There was a strict dress code and it use to be an adults only restaurant.  

 I was excited to get a reservation here for one of our anniversary meals.  My husband and I got dressed up and made our way to the Contemporary to California Grill.  I can remember wearing a black dress here.  I did not take any pictures during this meal so I don't remember too many of the specifics but I do remember how the wait staff here made me feel.  Right from the start our wait staff seemed pretentious and may I say, a little snobby?  But I supposed that was to be expected at a signature restaurant, right?   It was already dark when we arrived at the restaurant, so I don't remember being impressed with any of  the views like I was during my most recent visit. We were seated on the Bay lake side of the restaurant, but when it was time, we would still be able to see the fireworks through the other set of windows in the restaurant.

  The waiter said a little something and then left us with some menus. He came back to get our drink order and seemed annoyed that I was not ordering a "spirited" beverage. I do believe my husband ordered something from the bar.  As I was looking over the menu, I wasn't seeing too many familiar dishes.  At the time, I was not an adventurous eater. I didn't eat sushi, or seafood and I was not brave enough to try lamb or duck. A lot of the dishes on the menu had names that I've never heard of before.  When the waiter came by to get our order I had politely asked what something on the menu was, he replied that it was duck.  I asked him to give us another minute, and as he walked away he seemed annoyed.  When he came back, I had a question about one of the other dishes.  He sounded equally annoyed when he answered this question and said to me "Just what is it that you are looking for" and this was in the most condescending tone, From this point on, I just felt diminished, This evening was not starting out very magical by Disney standards.  I was not feeling comfortable in this place.  Your waitstaff really can make or break your experience at a restaurant and I've never experienced anyone so unfriendly at Disney before.  I know just by reading that statement you may not think what he said sounded bad, but it was his tone of voice while he said it and his other actions up to that point that were just harsh. 

Honestly, I don't even remember what I ordered, I'm thinking it was some sort of flatbread, but I'm not sure. Whatever it was, it wasn't very memorable.  I know I was excited about watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from this restaurant, but again, I don't even remember if we stayed to watch those.  

For over a decade, I have held this visit to California Grill as the worst dining experience I've ever had at Disney. 

I am happy to say that I did give California Grill another try and this time the wait staff was phenomenal!  You can read about that HERE.

Have you ever encountered rude cast members at Disney?  -M

For some excellent Disney meals, check out these posts!

Garden Grill

Steak House 71

Hollywood and Vine

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today. Some links may contain affiliate links. Some links are just to pages we'd like to share.