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View Full Version : What happened to the observation deck on top of the Contemporary?


Sea-Donkey
01-15-2008, 06:28 PM
In 96, we went up there and took awesome pictures. If I remember right, we rode the elevator up and instead of going into the restaurant we went North and there was a walkway with rails with a great view of the Magic Kingdom. This past March, we couldn't even get the elevator to take us up there...I'm assuming now you have to eat a $100 meal to even get to the top?

Sea-Donkey
01-15-2008, 06:35 PM
This was in 92, to show you where I'm talking about and the view...I don't seam to have the 96 picture scanned.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w267/waderob/Disney%2080-01/Disney92TopCont.jpg

deej696
01-15-2008, 08:00 PM
The walkway is still there. To go to the top, just visit the check in desk for California Grill and say you want to go to the bar. Although I've never encountered this, I've heard that if it gets really busy, they will only let you up if you have a dinner reservation.

michvin
01-15-2008, 10:03 PM
the fireworks from Contemporary. I believe, although not positive, that about 3 years ago they changed the policy that you had to be eating in the lounge or have a dinner reservation to access the observation deck.

We have been there with ressies and have just showed up for the lounge (with the kids) and got a table. It is pretty crowded with diners, so I am guessing that in the past they might have had complaints or trouble dealing with crowds in the restaurant. I don't know for sure b/c I have only been there after the change was made.

If you get there at 5ish, you can ask to be seated in the lounge. It can get pretty competitive getting a table in the lounge for dinner...lots of locals (like us) will just go in for the dinner and fireworks. Some people stay a long time...but ususally are eating/drinking the entire time so if you get there around 5:30/6 and want to see 8pm fireworks, you just need to stretch it out a bit. I don't know if they might let you go back up and watch if you have your reciept?

CR Resort Fan 4 Life
01-15-2008, 10:17 PM
the fireworks from Contemporary. I believe, although not positive, that about 3 years ago they changed the policy that you had to be eating in the lounge or have a dinner reservation to access the observation deck.That is basically what happened. Instead of just going up the elevator to the 15th floor, guests with ADR's check-in on the 2nd floor and are taken up to the restaurant on a specific elevator. I also think it's the same thing if you just want to have a drink in thier lounge. I guess guests who were eating there must have complained about guests going up there for the fireworks.

ducklite
01-16-2008, 06:13 AM
Being one of those dining patrons who had my meal disrupted several times by obnoxious people who would crowd into the restaurant to see the fireworks but weren't eating there, kudo's to the CG for bringing some sanity back to the place.

There is still a public viewing area on the 4th floor that anyone has access to, you will not be allowed to the 15th floor unless you've got a dinner reservation or there is room at the bar and you are dressed appropriately for a signature restaurant.

And Sea-Donkey, it would be difficult for two to eat there for $100, expect it to run closer to $150 with tax and tip for two adults these days--more if you order alcohol.

FirstNo
01-16-2008, 06:46 AM
In 96, we went up there and took awesome pictures. If I remember right, we rode the elevator up and instead of going into the restaurant we went North and there was a walkway with rails with a great view of the Magic Kingdom. This past March, we couldn't even get the elevator to take us up there...I'm assuming now you have to eat a $100 meal to even get to the top?

Still there. On a Sat in Dec, I went to the MK. When I was done, I rode the monorail over to CR, stepped into an elevator on the 4th floor and rode up to the 15th. Walked out, turned left and went out onto the observation deck in my sweatpants and tshirt. Stayed out for as long as I liked (15-20 min), walked back in, got back on the elevator and left. I'm trying to remember the time.....the parade was close to starting when I left MK and I could see parts of it from the roof. I want to say I got there right before 8 :)

SandrainNC
01-16-2008, 10:00 AM
One thing I found out when we ate at CG in November is that if you finish dinner early (not around firework time), you can leave and then just show your receipt later to go back up to the observation deck to watch Wishes. We went back to the room, got the camera and jackets and then went back.

Sandra

GQ's Ghost
01-16-2008, 10:14 AM
FYI...you can go up tp the start of the club floors...10 I think? Go to the observation deck on that side, and use the outside stairs to go up to the top.

ducklite
01-16-2008, 10:35 AM
Considering that a key is required to get to the club floors or 15th floor, I'm not sure how people are getting on those floors as is being described.

Sea-Donkey
01-16-2008, 05:33 PM
Being one of those dining patrons who had my meal disrupted several times by obnoxious people who would crowd into the restaurant to see the fireworks but weren't eating there, kudo's to the CG for bringing some sanity back to the place.

There is still a public viewing area on the 4th floor that anyone has access to, you will not be allowed to the 15th floor unless you've got a dinner reservation or there is room at the bar and you are dressed appropriately for a signature restaurant.

And Sea-Donkey, it would be difficult for two to eat there for $100, expect it to run closer to $150 with tax and tip for two adults these days--more if you order alcohol.

I was actually meaning $100 for one, I never mentioned a second person, nor did I mention jamming in with a huge crowd to see fireworks...I've only been up there during the day. I'm not upset, just clarifying.

CR Resort Fan 4 Life
01-16-2008, 07:10 PM
Being one of those dining patrons who had my meal disrupted several times by obnoxious people who would crowd into the restaurant to see the fireworks but weren't eating there, kudo's to the CG for bringing some sanity back to the place.While I admit my family and I have gone up to the California Grill before the check-in process changed, it was only to look around the restaurant for a few minutes and that is what we told the host once we got off the elevator then they said go ahead. So it was not to watch the fireworks and we were not being obnoxious to anyone eating at the time.

FYI...you can go up tp the start of the club floors...10 I think? Go to the observation deck on that side, and use the outside stairs to go up to the top.That is impossible and can not be done.

GQ's Ghost
01-16-2008, 08:35 PM
That is impossible and can not be done.

And again, you are wrong. Yes it can. The outside observation decks are tied to the fire escape stairways.

deej696
01-16-2008, 08:43 PM
A crowded atmosphere is and has always been standard operating procedure at CG, especially during fireworks. Anyone who remembers when it was originally a bar knows that. Given the view and the semi-attraction that it is, its to be expected so I go into any meal at CG with these expectations. I would advise others to do the same, so there is no disappointment or frustration when the "obnoxious" people come to watch the fireworks....

CR Resort Fan 4 Life
01-16-2008, 08:43 PM
And again, you are wrong. Yes it can. The outside observation decks are tied to the fire escape stairways.I realize that, but you can not access the 12th or 14th floors if you are not staying there, since you need to insert a KTTW card for the number to light up in the elevator. So in this case that is not a way to get around the rules of somehow getting into the California Grill without an ADR or going to the 2nd floor check-in and asking to sit at the bar.

ducklite
01-16-2008, 09:05 PM
A crowded atmosphere is and has always been standard operating procedure at CG, especially during fireworks. Anyone who remembers when it was originally a bar knows that. Given the view and the semi-attraction that it is, its to be expected so I go into any meal at CG with these expectations. I would advise others to do the same, so there is no disappointment or frustration when the "obnoxious" people come to watch the fireworks....

It's an award winning restaurant that commands a $150+ price tag for dinner for two. It is absolutely not expected that you'll be disrupted by looky-loo's while dining at an establishment like that. Obviously the CG management realizes that it had become quite a problem, and they took steps to make the dining experience free from unneccesary people being there, therefore more pleasant for those actually dining there by restricting access to the 15th floor.

magicmouse2
01-17-2008, 03:46 AM
We had the best meal at WDW at the Cali Grill in September. I am glad they implemented the new policy. There were only 1 or 2 other families/couples who went outside to view the fireworks, and it was magical. I can imagine it being totally opposite if everyone was allowed up there. :goodvibes
Personally, I would not like someone walking round to check out the restaurant whilst I was having dinner.:sad2:

FirstNo
01-17-2008, 05:44 AM
Personally, I would not like someone walking round to check out the restaurant whilst I was having dinner.:sad2:

I agree completely which is why I've never walked through the restaurant to go to the observation deck. I use the one on the side closest to Bay Lake. I couldn't begin to tell you what the restaurant looks like except to say they have a small waiting area (around the elevators), but it looks nice. Not my cup of tea.

As to exiting out the side of the building and walking up (for another poster), you most certainly can. It's a fire exit and is not locked from the inside.

As to how I went up, I didn't push any button. People up top wanted to leave. I rode all the way up to the 15th. Living here, I'm not in any hurry. If it didn't go to the top, eventually, I would have taken it up as far as I could and then walked out the fire escape and made my way up.

senecabeach
01-17-2008, 06:18 AM
Ah...the days it was the "Top of the World Dinner Show" and what a "great" (Broadway type) show it was.:cloud9:
Then fireworks time..intermission...and a quiet room and observation deck of people really enjoying the Magic!! :dance3:

Gillian
01-17-2008, 07:34 AM
We ate an early dinner there in December, and our server mentioned that we could come back later to watch the fireworks. He also said we could bring our kids. I found that thoughtful of him, as he knew that we were planning to pick them up after dinner. It's good to know that you don't have to plan your meal around Wishes, and that you still get the perk of using the observation deck later in the evening. That must also eliminate the problems of people eating very slowly and just hanging around.

deej696
01-17-2008, 08:47 PM
It's an award winning restaurant that commands a $150+ price tag for dinner for two. It is absolutely not expected that you'll be disrupted by looky-loo's while dining at an establishment like that. Obviously the CG management realizes that it had become quite a problem, and they took steps to make the dining experience free from unneccesary people being there, therefore more pleasant for those actually dining there by restricting access to the 15th floor.

I'm not disputing the fact that its an expensive award winning restaurant, and that the atmosphere around fireworks time does not fit with such. My point was that you and I are both fairly local, and have probably dined at CG many times between the two of us, and therefore know going into it that it will be a loud busy atmosphere. If I want a quiet dinner, I go to Citrico's or Narcoossee's. Yet, when I want a great meal, with a fantastic view, I go to CG, but I dont go into it expecting a quiet, refined atmopshere because that location never has, nor will ever be such....

ducklite
01-17-2008, 09:01 PM
I'm not disputing the fact that its an expensive award winning restaurant, and that the atmosphere around fireworks time does not fit with such. My point was that you and I are both fairly local, and have probably dined at CG many times between the two of us, and therefore know going into it that it will be a loud busy atmosphere. If I want a quiet dinner, I go to Citrico's or Narcoossee's. Yet, when I want a great meal, with a fantastic view, I go to CG, but I dont go into it expecting a quiet, refined atmopshere because that location never has, nor will ever be such....

It's not quiet or refined, I'll give you that. But it sure is a lot more pleasant now that they restrict access so the place doesn't get overcrowded with people standing next to your table to watch the fireworks. And I hardly consider Narcooses a place for a quiet meal--it's as noisy there as it is at the California Grill.

Goofyz3girls
01-17-2008, 10:57 PM
My family and I have had wonderful dinners at the CG during our stays. :woohoo:....So I must ask....did we forget that even though we are dining at an award winning restaurant :snooty: we are still in WALT DISNEY WORLD where children come to live out their fanaties and adults come to be kids again. :yay: We keep losing the vision of why Walt :worship: created it in the first place. :upsidedow

Cee
01-18-2008, 05:48 AM
I think you can still get up there(without an ADR for CG) if you take the stairs.:faint:

ducklite
01-18-2008, 07:09 AM
My family and I have had wonderful dinners at the CG during our stays. :woohoo:....So I must ask....did we forget that even though we are dining at an award winning restaurant :snooty: we are still in WALT DISNEY WORLD where children come to live out their fanaties and adults come to be kids again. :yay: We keep losing the vision of why Walt :worship: created it in the first place. :upsidedow

I'm not sure what you are saying. The complaint had nothing to do with kids, it had to do with the number of people who would come up to the 15th floor, crowd in among the tables, create mayhem, and leave after the fireworks without eating there, disrupting those who were eating there.

Walt wanted a place where people could have fun, not where people could act like animals in a stampede, which unfortunately is what was happening before the new rules went into effect.

CheshireVal
01-18-2008, 07:42 AM
Can I just hop on and question why it's seemingly impossible for a couple to eat here for $100? :confused3 Not everyone can eat a full three course meal. Me, I'm happy with sushi and flatbread.

ducklite
01-18-2008, 08:28 AM
Can I just hop on and question why it's seemingly impossible for a couple to eat here for $100? :confused3 Not everyone can eat a full three course meal. Me, I'm happy with sushi and flatbread.

If you only want to order a couple of appetizers each and drink soda, then sure you could do it for under $100 for two people. But I think most people who dine there order an entree and at least an appetizer or dessert. Add in their award winning wine list and most people also order some alcohol--we enjoy wine with dinner, and that adds up quickly. Not trying to be snarky by any means, but I think you are the exception to the rule.

At any rate, the larger checks and smaller checks balance each other out and our experience has always been in the $150 range (including tax and tip) for two adults.

micmacmissy
01-18-2008, 09:18 AM
We had the best meal at WDW at the Cali Grill in September. I am glad they implemented the new policy. There were only 1 or 2 other families/couples who went outside to view the fireworks, and it was magical. I can imagine it being totally opposite if everyone was allowed up there. :goodvibes
Personally, I would not like someone walking round to check out the restaurant whilst I was having dinner.:sad2:

I agree completely. It's one thing if someone steps in front of you while you're watching the fireworks from Main Street...quite another when you've paid a lot of money to enjoy a great meal and have people streaming through the restaurant--even politely--it doesn't do much for the atmosphere.

BCV23
01-18-2008, 10:26 AM
A crowded atmosphere is and has always been standard operating procedure at CG, especially during fireworks. Anyone who remembers when it was originally a bar knows that. Given the view and the semi-attraction that it is, its to be expected so I go into any meal at CG with these expectations. I would advise others to do the same, so there is no disappointment or frustration when the "obnoxious" people come to watch the fireworks....

I'm confused about your comment about CG originally being a bar? To my memory it opened as a full service restaurant. Granted there used to be more seating in the lounge area.

Anyone else remember when CG served lunch the first year or so it was open? We loved going there after a busy am in the MK.

safetymom
01-18-2008, 10:32 AM
If you want to discuss the restaurant please do so on the restaurant board. Thank you.

Markstudy
01-18-2008, 10:44 AM
Going for the 1st time next trip.

If you don't get lucky enough to get a window seat.... do folks get up in the middle of their meal and walk outside for a half hour?

If fireworks are at 8:00 how would you plan it? Timing?

How big is the outside deck, plenty of room for everybody without a window seat and folks coming back from earlier meals?

Thanks :donald: :donald: :donald:

cmonroe
01-18-2008, 10:49 AM
I hate to add to the chaos of this thread, but I have a related question.
You would think that staying at the CR almost my entire life that I would know this answer, but I guess most of the stays were from child to early twenties, so I wasn't paying attention to this detail. I recall as a kid going up to the observation deck, never remembering how in fact we got there. We definitely ate at the restaurant a number of times, I remember dressing up a number of years in my "Don Johnson" Miami vice suit :rotfl2: :rotfl2:

I have my own family now and we have stayed at the CR twice in the 2000's (hopefully again). On our last trip, all of the Adults (My dad, mom, wife, brother, sister, BIL, SIL) ate at the CG. Towards the end of our dinner, it was time for the fireworks. We went out on the deck and watched wishes. Well it started to rain a bit, and there was a fair bit of wind that night, so my wife suggested we go back indoors and watch behind the glass. Well, as you could imagine, it was full indoors. We were ready to go back out, and noticed a somewhat empty room with a few fireworks onlookers as you approached the windows from the restaurant. We started to walk in to stand a watch and were promptly shunned by someone that it was private. We of course obliged, not knowing if this was off limits and went back outside. We enjoyed the rest of the show from the deck, and it brought back many memories for me (curiously minus seagulls that I remember vividly). Does anyone know what that particular room is for? Is indeed private?:confused3

cmonroe
01-18-2008, 12:59 PM
bump just in case :-)

GoodFairies
01-18-2008, 01:15 PM
We were ready to go back out, and noticed a somewhat empty room with a few fireworks onlookers as you approached the windows from the restaurant. We started to walk in to stand a watch and were promptly shunned by someone that it was private. We of course obliged, not knowing if this was off limits and went back outside. We enjoyed the rest of the show from the deck, and it brought back many memories for me (curiously minus seagulls that I remember vividly). Does anyone know what that particular room is for? Is indeed private?:confused3

I think that is considered the wine room. It can be booked for special occasions like parties, receptions, or rehearsal dinners, and then of course it is private. On nights that nothing is booked, it is just extra seating for the "regular" restaurant patrons.

BCV23
01-18-2008, 01:30 PM
I hate to add to the chaos of this thread, but I have a related question.
You would think that staying at the CR almost my entire life that I would know this answer, but I guess most of the stays were from child to early twenties, so I wasn't paying attention to this detail. I recall as a kid going up to the observation deck, never remembering how in fact we got there. We definitely ate at the restaurant a number of times, I remember dressing up a number of years in my "Don Johnson" Miami vice suit :rotfl2: :rotfl2:

I have my own family now and we have stayed at the CR twice in the 2000's (hopefully again). On our last trip, all of the Adults (My dad, mom, wife, brother, sister, BIL, SIL) ate at the CG. Towards the end of our dinner, it was time for the fireworks. We went out on the deck and watched wishes. Well it started to rain a bit, and there was a fair bit of wind that night, so my wife suggested we go back indoors and watch behind the glass. Well, as you could imagine, it was full indoors. We were ready to go back out, and noticed a somewhat empty room with a few fireworks onlookers as you approached the windows from the restaurant. We started to walk in to stand a watch and were promptly shunned by someone that it was private. We of course obliged, not knowing if this was off limits and went back outside. We enjoyed the rest of the show from the deck, and it brought back many memories for me (curiously minus seagulls that I remember vividly). Does anyone know what that particular room is for? Is indeed private?:confused3

That is a private room that can be reserved....forget the name.

What is called the Wine Room on the DIS and understood by the folks at CG is on the other side of the restaurant. You can request seating there but can't see Wishes from it. There is another outside deck on that side as well.

As someone noted early in the thread, there is an observation deck on the 4th floor that anyone can go out on.

Markstudy, people do leave their tables to go outsdie for Wishes. It's not 30 minutes long though and the servers try to time the courses accordingly.

cmonroe
01-18-2008, 01:34 PM
Ahhh... that explains the :snooty: looks we received.

Thanks!!!!!!

ducklite
01-18-2008, 02:45 PM
Going for the 1st time next trip.

If you don't get lucky enough to get a window seat.... do folks get up in the middle of their meal and walk outside for a half hour?

If fireworks are at 8:00 how would you plan it? Timing?

How big is the outside deck, plenty of room for everybody without a window seat and folks coming back from earlier meals?

Thanks :donald: :donald: :donald:

Some do, some don't. You can still see the fireworks from many of the tables, even if you don't have a window seat. And if you are seated on the south side of the building, you'll have a nice view of Illuminations. :thumbsup2 THere is plenty of room on the outside deck for those who would rather go out there to see the fireworks. Enjoy your meal!

vellamint
01-18-2008, 03:37 PM
Thanks for all of this information.....we are dining here next month. A question though, do you HAVE to go out on the observation deck to see the fireworks......do they NOT pipe the music in?

Thanks.

BCV23
01-18-2008, 04:58 PM
No, you don't have to go out to see Wishes. No forced march.:goodvibes

We usually don't go out. We like Wishes better from the MK or the Polynesian and go to CG for the dining experience including the gorgeous view during daylight and sunset.

As best I recall, the music is no longer piped in.

vellamint
01-18-2008, 11:19 PM
No, you don't have to go out to see Wishes. No forced march.:goodvibes

We usually don't go out. We like Wishes better from the MK or the Polynesian and go to CG for the dining experience including the gorgeous view during daylight and sunset.

As best I recall, the music is no longer piped in.

Oh no...I never even thought that the music wasn't piped in. I think I would have made our reservation a lot earlier ... We have been out on the 4th floor observation deck and honestly I dont know what all the fuss is about. It was not as close to the show as I thought. It is MUCH better in the Magic Kingdom......how is the view of the fireworks on the top floor compare....

Oh boy.....a kink in the works.....I dont know that we want a 9:00 dinner just for 10:00 fireworks that we can hardly see and not have the music to.

taylorl25
01-19-2008, 02:46 AM
The music was still piped in when we dined there in October, so unless somethings changed since then you should be ok.