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DisneyGlider
05-26-2007, 05:21 AM
1. The Unofficial Guide says "California Grill - Customers: Hotel guests, locals". Does this mean only guests of the Contemporary and locals with Florida ID cards can eat there?

2. I believe it requires two TS credits. I've seen a post that said they would be paying out of pocket. Is it better to do that than use two TS credits?

3. How long prior to the fireworks show should one book reservations for in November?

bicker
05-26-2007, 06:08 AM
Anyone can make reservations to eat at the California Grill.

I personally feel that we were better off just using our Dining Plan credits at 1TS restaurants -- that using 2TS at CG wouldn't be as good of a value as using 1TS for two meals at other restaurants.

I'd make reservations for 60-70 minutes prior to Wishes.

DisneyGlider
05-26-2007, 07:39 AM
bicker,
Thanks a lot for your help,
DisneyGlider

kaytieeldr
05-26-2007, 10:02 AM
1 = Just for general information, though - it means that's the typical California Grill guest, not that the venue is restricted to those people.

3 = Forty-five minutes to an hour.

JimMIA
05-26-2007, 11:09 AM
I personally feel that we were better off just using our Dining Plan credits at 1TS restaurants -- that using 2TS at CG wouldn't be as good of a value as using 1TS for two meals at other restaurants.I agree with this math. However, on our recent trip we used one CS for a dinner at Cosmic Rays and then two TSs at California Grill the next night. With that combo, we came out with a value we were very comfortable with. We'd do it in a heartbeat if we use DDP again.

I'd make reservations for 60-70 minutes prior to Wishes.Which will be very difficult to get, and Disney Dining doesn't always have the right schedule for Wishes. We couldn't get an ADR 60 minutes prior, but they were using the wrong times, so we would have been disappointed in any event. We were told that if we ate at CG at any time during a particular evening, we were welcome to come back up and view Wishes from the observation deck. DD5 is still a little afraid of fireworks, so we didn't take them up on the offer, and therefore I'm not positive that's accurate.

bicker
05-26-2007, 11:22 AM
I suspect it is something that they offer when they can, i.e., when they don't anticipate a problem. Subject to change. So no one should come to expect that they will be extended the same offer you were.

JimMIA
05-26-2007, 11:32 AM
I suspect it is something that they offer when they can, i.e., when they don't anticipate a problem. Subject to change. So no one should come to expect that they will be extended the same offer you were.
Surely you're not implying that a Disney "policy" might be subject to change and/or interpretation??? :rotfl2: :rotfl2: :rotfl2:

bicker
05-26-2007, 12:08 PM
Everything is subject to change, of course. Many things are indeed subject to the server's/cashier's interpretation. That's why it is very important to be nice to the CMs.

TheyCallMeTiggs
05-26-2007, 12:20 PM
We were told that if we ate at CG at any time during a particular evening, we were welcome to come back up and view Wishes from the observation deck. DD5 is still a little afraid of fireworks, so we didn't take them up on the offer, and therefore I'm not positive that's accurate.

Yes, if you have had a meal at CG and have a valid receipt, you are entitled to return to CG the same evening to view Wishes on the observation deck.

JimMIA
05-26-2007, 12:23 PM
Many things are indeed subject to the server's/cashier's interpretation. That's why it is very important to be nice to the CMs.::yes::

rentayenta
05-26-2007, 04:57 PM
I'd make reservations for 60-70 minutes prior to Wishes.




:sad1: Ours are for 40 minutes before Wishes; think we should try and change them?

Golden Rose
05-26-2007, 05:26 PM
Make them earlier. Possibly much earlier.

In our experience, people hogged tables until Wishes and lots of guests with ADRs were left sitting in the waiting area complaining FOR HOURS. Seriously, we were amazed at how many increasingly unhappy people were in the bar/waiting area and we wondered why they hadn't come up with some way of handling it better. Of course, that was a couple of years ago, so maybe now they have.

Fortunately, we weren't among the unhappy, being among the aforementioned table hoggers. (Ok, so we ordered many courses in order to make sure we weren't being too obnoxious about it... we didn't even have our desserts by the time wishes started.) But the waiters were being super nice to those already seated; we heard them encourage several people to stay and relax since Wishes would start in half an hour or so... (I was astonished to hear them say that when the manager was handling complaints from people who had reservations for an hour earlier.)

For our upcoming trip, we made our reservations for early - 6:10, I believe. We hope to have a very leisurely dinner and finish up just in time to watch the fireworks and go.

But if it is still run the way it was then, and I can't believe that it has changed so much that cast members are kicking people out of their tables because they have been there two hours or so, I'd make sure you had a reservation for a minimum of an hour and a bit before Wishes.

rentayenta
05-26-2007, 09:33 PM
Yikes, I am on hold with dining now...............I can change my 7:20 for a 5:50. Think if I slip the server a $20 they would be okay with us sitting there? It would be in addition to the 18% gratuity.

Golden Rose
05-26-2007, 11:42 PM
If things haven't changed much in the last couple of years (someone who has been more recently could answer that), that is definitely what I would do. We ordered a lot of food, and I think my husband ordered a cocktail or wine to start off the evening (I was pregnant and wasn't drinking on that trip)... I know we had some sort of sushi appetizer, a flatbread, maybe another course of either soup or salad, entrees, and a shared dessert. Yes, we were sort of intentionally dragging out the evening to be there for fireworks, but they weren't rushing us along AT ALL. We had planned to eat our dessert and then watch fireworks and go, but they hadn't even brought out the dessert before the music keyed up and everyone went out on the balcony, so we actually couldn't even immediately free up a table for the very unhappy patrons waiting to be seated. We left a large tip on a large bill.

DisneyGlider
05-27-2007, 01:04 AM
Fortunately, we weren't among the unhappy, being among the aforementioned table hoggers. (Ok, so we ordered many courses in order to make sure we weren't being too obnoxious about it... we didn't even have our desserts by the time wishes started.)
:) :) :)


For our upcoming trip, we made our reservations for early - 6:10, I believe. We hope to have a very leisurely dinner and finish up just in time to watch the fireworks and go.

But if it is still run the way it was then, and I can't believe that it has changed so much that cast members are kicking people out of their tables because they have been there two hours or so, I'd make sure you had a reservation for a minimum of an hour and a bit before Wishes.
Wow, they let people sit for about 2 hours to eat? I never had a dinner (other than Chinese 9 course dinners) that took more than 1.5 hours to eat and that's stretching it. What does one drink and eat to stretch it to 2 hours? (or 1hr, 50min+ in your case starting at 6:10.)

We need to learn how to do that .... :ssst: :stir: :flower:

bicker
05-27-2007, 06:24 AM
I've read that one of the restaurants (was it Rose and Crown?) is now limiting how long you can sit and eat dinner -- either two or three hours. I suspect/hope that they'd extend that practice to all restaurants that have obligations to other diners.

Golden Rose
05-27-2007, 03:41 PM
We'd have been over a two hour limit, not over a three hour one when we did it a couple of years ago. (And we were far from the only table doing it...) I think our reservation was for 6:30 then, actually.

As for what we had, I'm not 100% sure since it was 2 and a bit years ago. Attempting to recreate from the current menu, since some things are definitely familiar...

1-
DH : some drink (wine or cocktail) while we looked at the menus

2-
DH: a sushi or sashimi platter - I think yellowfin tuna three ways
me: no clue; I wasn't eating much sushi during the pregnancy, not sure if I snuck some that night; probably a salad

3-
shared: flatbread - probably triple cheese with onions

4-
DH: something salady
me: goat cheese ravioli

5-
DH: Grilled Pork Tenderloin
me: nothing looks right on current menu; maybe I had a special?

6-
shared: something chocolate; again nothing looks right on current menu


So six courses if you include a drink as a course, five if you don't. Easy to stretch into hours... you don't actually have any choice about it. I will add, they were completely full, and they weren't quick to bring out the food; we had some periods of waiting with nothing in front of us. (I really noticed; I was ravenous during the pregnancy.) It was A LOT of food, but I was pregnant and my husband is a big guy.

I'm actually not sure what we're going to do this time. We're traveling with my mom, who hates long, drawn out meals, and our DS - age 2. We do have lots of sit down meals with him (1.5 hour brunch with him this morning, actually), and he's usually extremely good for about 45 minutes to an hour, then he wants to wander around or try color the tablecloth because by then he is bored with whatever coloring page we provided him with.

We have a early ADRs planned for every single night we're going to be there, because what we don't want to happen is to get caught behind any collection of slow tables and end up hungry. Neither my mom nor I am fun to be around when we're hungry. Seriously.

Anyway, we're actually planning on playing the California Grill meal by ear. If we finish early, we finish early, and just plan on coming back for the fireworks. If we're lingering over multiple courses, which DH and I really like to do, we'll still be around for fireworks.

jonkatony
05-27-2007, 03:56 PM
We have booked a table for 9pm are I am right in thinking we will be waiting over an hour to be seated? Surely no restaurant keeps its guests waiting this long everytime :mad:

Mrs Doubtfire
05-27-2007, 04:15 PM
We ate on Christmas Day & our server delayed our meal so we could watch wishes:woohoo: We were there for nearly 3 hours in the end!!

Golden Rose
05-27-2007, 04:19 PM
jonkatony, I really don't know. It depends on when Wishes is that night, and if their policies have changed since end of 2004. There was a max exodus after the fireworks, and lots of people were seated almost immediately after the show ended. The guests kept waiting for an hour plus were, in many cases, seriously unhappy. And there were many cases of people kept waiting.

We heard multiple people complaining to the someone I assume was a manager, and they were always reminded that Priority Seating is NOT a reservation and your time is not gauranteed, it just gaurantees you the next available table after other people with earlier Priority Seating "reservations." It was such a madhouse that DH and I couldn't believe that it could be standard, but our waiter said something like "oh, it's that way almost every night" when we commented.

I can't believe a restaurant could continue to operate that way, with such a high percentage of really unhappy waiting guests, but I don't really know how they could fix it except to make sure waiters bring food out really fast and don't encourage people to stay at all. And waiters that night were encouraging people to linger, which does seem counter-productive. You make some guests really, really happy, and you really piss others off. Maybe the DDP helps since people sticking to it won't be tempted to have as many courses? They could get people in and out in less than an hour with only three courses, and most people wouldn't feel right about staying at a table for an hour after they have finished. (I know we wouldn't have... which was part of why we ordered so much food!)


We will be on DDP on our upcoming trip, but we're still planning on ordering multiple courses... we'll just pay OOP.

MsLeFever
05-27-2007, 04:29 PM
I'm actually not sure what we're going to do this time. We're traveling with my mom, who hates long, drawn out meals, and our DS - age 2. We do have lots of sit down meals with him (1.5 hour brunch with him this morning, actually), and he's usually extremely good for about 45 minutes to an hour, then he wants to wander around or try color the tablecloth because by then he is bored with whatever coloring page we provided him with.
.

Coloring on the table at CG was actually encourage when we were there last August! Crayons provided.

jonkatony
05-27-2007, 04:33 PM
Thanks for your comments Golden Rose, we will have wait as it is Dw birthday on the date of our reservation.

DisneyGlider
05-27-2007, 05:15 PM
Thanks all for your comments and especially Golden Rose who really opened our eyes to the seating thing. Guess anyone with reservations less than 1.5 hours prior to a Wishes show has a poor chance of being seated for it. --- Unless there are a bunch of locals eating that have already seen Wishes so many times that they just eat and leave without tarrying.

It is mind twisting that the servers would actually encorage guests to linger and assist their lingering with food delays for Wishes, while a bunch of people are waiting and complaining about 1 hour+ waits. Guess nobody said that Disney seating had to make sense. :confused3

:thanks:

rentayenta
05-27-2007, 09:48 PM
I am so glad I changed our ADR after reading all of this. :thanks: I am afraid with a 7:20 seating, our chances would be slim to be sat by 8:00. The CM yesterday told me that hey make x amount of ADRs in 5 minute intervals so if people really do sit 2+ hours then I could see how we would miss it.


DH and I are long diners. ;) We don't even like to order our entree until our appetizers are finished. Our kids like to eat like this too and hate to feel rushed.

PrincessMinnie28
05-27-2007, 10:49 PM
1. The Unofficial Guide says "California Grill - Customers: Hotel guests, locals". Does this mean only guests of the Contemporary and locals with Florida ID cards can eat there?

2. I believe it requires two TS credits. I've seen a post that said they would be paying out of pocket. Is it better to do that than use two TS credits?

3. How long prior to the fireworks show should one book reservations for in November?

1. The CA Grill is not restricted to Contemporary guests. We stayed at the WL and ate there. We did talk to a man from Florida that was not staying at a Disney resort and just came there for dinner, but I don't know whether he had to show a Florida ID in order to eat there.

2. We just ate there twice on our trip this past week. We were on the Premium Package so we got 3 TS meals per day, but after seeing the total with the two apps, two entrees, and two desserts (note: we would never order that much food if paying OOP because it is unnecessary) and the price was very reasonable for a nice dinner. You can look at the menu and see the prices and figure out if it would be in your budget if you decide to pay OOP, but like I said, for a nice dinner, it's really not that bad.

3. The first night we dined, we had a reservation for 7:40 p.m. and the fireworks were at 10 p.m. They were running a little behind, so we were sat at about 8 p.m. or so. We finished dinner right before the fireworks so it worked out fine, but we were specifically told by the CM that accompanies you in the elevator up to the 15th floor that if you finish before the fireworks, you can leave, and are more than welcome to return for the fireworks with you dinner receipt. It's a great policy because it keeps their tables moving and their servers happy. It's no fun when guests sit at a table milking a glass of water so they can watch the fireworks.

I really hope you decide to eat at the CG. We ate there with an ADR one night last week and DBF liked it so much, we cancelled our ADR the next night and went back to CG... it really was fantastic!

DisneyGlider
05-28-2007, 12:51 AM
I really hope you decide to eat at the CG. We ate there with an ADR one night last week and DBF liked it so much, we cancelled our ADR the next night and went back to CG... it really was fantastic!
We have an ADR at the CG for our last night at WDW 50 minutes before Wishes but judging by the posts in this thread, I doubt we will be seated before it starts. Tried to change it but all the prime reservation times up to about 2 hrs prior were already booked. So we'll just make the best of it and enjoy our last night. Hope we don't get too drunk waiting to be seated to be able to taste the food .... :drinking1

Thanks! :)

Uncleromulus
05-28-2007, 05:19 AM
In the old days you could POSSIBLY wait an hour to be seated. That happened to us once. BUt since the new second floor check in policy, we've never waited beyond 1/2 hour to be seated. Most times we go right up.

We now always make ADR"s one hour before the fireworks. A normal meal at CG can easily last 1 and 1/2 hours (ordering appetizers drinks and dessert) without trying to eat slowly or otherwise stretch things out.
For us, it means we're almost always in mid-meal when the fireworks start. We simply get up, go out on the deck, then resume eating when the show is over.

mermaid86
05-28-2007, 08:35 PM
i just called the other day to make a reservation at california grill for friday, june 15th... there were only like.. 3 openings. i took a 6pm.. but she did mention a 9pm.. and if i remember correctly wishes starts at 10 fridays?? 9 probably would have been an excellent time if the 10pm show is right, but eh.. i guess i messed up. a 6pm dinner will give us enough time to eat and head back over to the park to watch them i guess. i hardly doubt we will be there for 4 hours from our reservation to the fireworks =\ oops

poohlover
05-29-2007, 06:11 PM
we have a reservation 30 minutes before the show. think we'll make it? or is there any way we'd be allowed to wait on the deck for a table?

webshark3
05-31-2007, 02:18 PM
Make them earlier. Possibly much earlier.

In our experience, people hogged tables until Wishes and lots of guests with ADRs were left sitting in the waiting area complaining FOR HOURS.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that since the CG required a credit card for reservation, then you had a HARD reservation unlike the ADR.

girli565
05-31-2007, 02:39 PM
I made my ADR's for 9:20 on a Monday with Wishes being at 10pm. We arrived at 8:40 for check in and were seated almost immediately by the window directly overlooking the Castle. I guess because it was a Monday that we got so lucky. Most of the problems I've seen with seating were on weekend nights. Maybe changing your reservations to a Weeknight would help you get the time you want and be able to see Wishes!

PrincessMinnie28
05-31-2007, 07:57 PM
we have a reservation 30 minutes before the show. think we'll make it? or is there any way we'd be allowed to wait on the deck for a table?

We checked in a few minutes before our ADR and were told they were running about 20 minutes behind, but that we were welcome to get a drink and/or go stand out on the observation deck. So that's what we did... it's a great opportunity to get some unobstructed pictures of the castle before the deck gets crowded with everyone for Wishes.

Golden Rose
06-01-2007, 12:03 PM
I don't remember what night of the week we were there... it could have been a Friday night, although I think it was a Thursday. I'm sure they have more and less crowded nights, and I wouldn't be surprised if it varies some with the season.

They do require a credit card, and they do charge you something if you miss your reservation, so they may have shifted to a true reservation instead of a priority seating mentality. That might help with the overbooked feeling for prime seating times.

You can wait on the observation deck, regardless. It is truly a spectacular view, and I don't know why more people don't wait there instead of at the bar.

Let me add that we were seated immediately when we went. We had no problems, we just witnessed them later in the evening. This was one of our two favorite meals of the trip (the other being Victoria and Albert's) in a trip of good meals. We loved it so much we considered coming back twice on our upcoming trip, but decided to try Jiko instead of a second CG meal.

Dreamfinder2
06-02-2007, 10:18 AM
Not necessarily meaning to muddy the waters, but the view of Wishes from the CG is not ideal. Fireworks are off to one side of the castle from this view ... it's just a little less "magical," methinks, than having Cinderella Castle front and center and the fireworks in the background.

Still, it's pretty cool from your Contemporary perch, but not the experience the show designers envisioned.