In the past several years, it appears that the standard of dining at Walt Disney World, even for a quick service meal, has grown exponentially. What once was hamburger, hot dog, and chicken strip joints increasingly herald a menu with more variety. While the typical vacation fare can still be found in plenty of restaurants around property, most often in the parks themselves, grabbing a quick bite outside of the parks has become increasingly about taste and less about quick. Take, for example, today’s restaurant in question, the Contemporary Resort’s Contempo Cafe.
Before we get to the fare, we should start with the setting of the establishment. There are but a few settings in Walt Disney World that are as striking as dining along the Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary Resort. The towering uses of light and space, in the shadow of Mary Blair’s mural, and monorails whizzing through regularly, this area sets a lofty stage from which to dine. Given the space limitations of Contempo Cafe, seating here is not cramped, but rather spacious and modern, with choices between tables or a diner counter-type seating.Breakfast, lunch, and dinner each present unique offerings, but today we will focus solely on lunch. The Contempo Cafe is one monorail station away from the Magic Kingdom, making it perfect for a quick bite away from the throngs of guests saturating the original park of Walt Disney World. While there are Angus hamburgers on the menu, the selections of flatbreads, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, vegetarian offerings, baked goods, and sides is vast. On the day in question, my wife and I ordered a cup of the soup of the day, the Honey Lime Chicken Sandwich with House Chips, and the Spice Crusted Mahi Sandwich with Green Bean Salad.
Ordering at the Contempo Cafe is a new experience unto itself. For starters, orders are placed on touch-screen monitors, with the ordering slip being printed out. From there guests selected bakery items, beverages, and other prepackaged items before continuing on to a check out station. After an order has been paid for, a vibrating marker, like those used in the waiting area of table service restaurants, is given to the guests and the cooks begin preparing their order. Once an meal is ready, the marker goes off, and guests can pick up their made to order dishes.The soup, which changes regularly, was good, but nothing to write home about. It was hearty and hot, and would be wonderful on a cold day, and was similar to soups that could be found at quality lunch spots outside of Walt Disney World. Both the Spiced Crusted Mahi and the Honey Lime Chicken sandwiches were delicious. While some might find the multigrain roll of the Honey Lime Chicken not to their palate’s liking, it was wonderful to find a sandwich on something other than a white bread bun. The Green Bean Salad had an excellent Asian-inspired kick to it, while the House Chips were warm and crunchy without being greasy.
It feels like I have been saying this quite a bit lately, but the menu at Contempo Cafe truly offers something for everyone, no matter how finicky the eater. Between the diverse menu offerings, ease of access from the Magic Kingdom, and atmosphere that is second to none in Walt Disney World, the Contempo Café is perfect for a midday break and a substantial, flavor-filled meal.