Californian Grill


I’m so full of questions on this forum! I do apologise!
But I find all your answers so much more valuable than what I find from a book.
You have experience.
I booked California Grill last night for the first night of our holiday.
But I’m wondering if its really worth it.
I booked it because if you book late (I could only get 9.20pm), then you have a wonderful view of the fireworks apparently at 10pm.
But what I didn’t realise is that it takes two DDP credits and 9.20pm is very late to eat with two young teenagers in tow. We would normally eat at 6pm at home. I don’t mind eating up to 8pm ish, but I thought I’d be able to make an exception for this first night.
Is it worth it?
I don’t think my younger two will be that thrilled with the menu either looking at it on the WDW website. You also cannot request a window seat apparently and have to just sit where there’s room on the night.
Is there anywhere we can stand to have just as special a view of the fireworks on our first night without climbing 15 floors up the tower in the restaurant to dine first?
Thanks again.


The first time I took my gang to the Cali grill I had the same apprehensions as you. They were all teenagers. It started with “ewww what’s that?”

All of them (5) loved it.

It the DDP which let us expose them to some fine dining. (We couldn’t afford paying cash.)

I suggest you get a snack around 7 or so and enjoy your reservations.


We love California Grill! My daughters are 6 and 2, and they even enjoy it. We always book for a time that the fireworks will be going off, so that we can get the great view, and they dim the lights in the restaurant and have the music play through the restaurant. It really is a great experience!!!


We ate at California Grill for the first time last May (I was 18, little sis 16). It was a graduation gift.

I was really scared to book it because we had an extremely embarassing experience at a signature dining restaurant on a previous trip (bluezoo… apparently the dress on New Year’s Eve was cocktail attire… we were not prepared). I asked a lot of questions before I booked.

We had a 9:20 ADR and it is perfect for firework viewing. There are a lot of people who are hanging out up there to see the fireworks, so you might not be seated right at 9:20. After Wishes, the restaurant cleared out pretty quickly, though.

I read in advance to stand on the viewing platform (there are two viewing platforms, but the one on the left is closer and provides a better view of MK) ten minutes in advance to ensure a good view.

We were also a little apprehensive about the menu. We aren’t big eaters and with it being so late at night, we didn’t want to order big entrees and not be able to finish them. We ordered a flatbread for the table as an appetizer (one feeds two-four people). I honestly don’t remember what I ordered, but my sister ordered sushi which she liked a lot. I’ll look back at my TR and see if I can’t figure it out… :laugh:

As for dress, it is a signature restaurant, but our experience was quite the opposite of the one we had just a few months before at bluezoo. We decided to dress up because we were celebrating. There were a lot of men up there in shorts and tee-shirts… dress code isn’t very heavily enforced. However, I would recommend following the dress code so you don’t feel out of place (because I felt ridiculously out of place at bluezoo in my jeans and cardigan!!! :blush:).


I agree with the dress code; although you’ll see people in shorts and tees, it’s a signature restaurant and you’ll probably feel more comfortable in a dress/skirt or a nice pair of pants. For men, nice slacks and a golf shirt will be fine.


I have only done dessert at California Grill and that was way back in 2001 so I can’t speak for the restaurant. But, if you’re looking for a great view of fireworks without going to dinner there, I’d suggest right outside Narcoossees at Grand Floridian. We watched from there by accident on our 1st Anniversary trip in 2007. We had done dinner at Victoria & Alberts and intended to have cocktails at California Grill and watch Wishes but dinner ran over at V&A’s so we had to improvise. It worked out well!


With respect to the dress code… Yes, you may see people in shorts…unfortunately:( I’m not sure why some people thing this a good idea, but there ya have it. We have had a few different experiences at California Grill. One…We were dressed VERY formally because we had our wedding dinner there. Our group consisted of young and old. The youngest being 10. We also had several teenagers in the mix. Everyone loved it and found something on the menu to their liking. This is no small feat as the 10 year old was/is an especially finicky eater. The other times we’ve visited we weren’t dressed nearly as formal:laugh:


Try for an earlier reservation time, 7 or 7:30 should work.
A meal at California Grill can often take 90 minutes to 2 hours anyway.
If you do finish early don’t worry.
If you dined at California Grill that evening, you are allowed to come back upstairs to watch fireworks.
This means that if you dine early, you can go downstairs and wander around the Grand Canyon Concourse for a while or if you have a half hour, take the monorail around Seven Seas Lagoon once to kill time and keep the kids active, and then return to California Grill at about 15 minutes before fireworks.
The view from the observation deck is something to be seen at least once. Just keep in mind that you are far off axis from Main Street, so you will be watching what appears to be two different, but coordinated fireworks displays.

Keep in mind that at all the signature restaurants, they prefer guests to dress in resort casual attire. This means no cut off shorts or torn jeans (cargo shorts are fine), golf shirts or solid color (non printed) tee shirts, and covered feet (no sandals) for men and similar for women (open toed footwear and fashionable sandals allowed). Do not be surprised if you see cocktail dresses and suits and ties, but don’t feel under dressed either.


We have done our wedding anniversary at CG for the past few years. We always get the 9:00 or so reservation and it is great for us as we get to see the fireworks during dinner and my daughter loves that.

I usually wear golf shorts, golf shirt and loafers, but it is nice to see people dressed up there. Honestly, they do let people in that are in tshirts and ragged shorts too though.

This is our favorite Disney restaurant, it is really worth the two credits to me.


I know I feel more comfortable in a dress/skirt at a fancypants place.




Oh my dear Boss, I do agree! It’s the perfect place for your tutu!


Wow, it must be good!
Not one person has told me to cancel and avoid the place.
So I’d better keep that reservation in place then huh?
I might try and change the reservation to an earlier time if the meal can take up to 2 hours anyway then we can leave as soon as the fireworks are done.
Thank you!


A sparkley tutu since it’s fancy… :happy:


The sparkly one brings out the sparkle in his eyes.:happy:


Cross dressing cop. INTERESTING!!! Too many days in the Vice Unit???


This is one of our favorite and romantic places to eat every time we go to WDW. Last week we had a 9:30pm res. Unfortunately, Wishes was over by then, but it was still fantastic. Sushi is excellent, filet is excellent and filet is excellent. Not to mention the wines and mixed spirits. We have dressed in jeans and jackets and felt comfortable and in the mix. However, last week was convention week and almost everyone was in sport coats and business attire except us in our jeans and mickey shirts. But, once we sat down, no one even knew what we had on. I highly recommend the place, but again, it is one of our favorites and we just love the place.


I think I just threw up in my mouth a little:blink::blow::eek:


Like soundgod suggested, I would try to move the resi up. We got a walk up at 5:00pm on our last trip and when they sat us they told us to hold on to our check in recite and they would allow us to see the fireworks. It is a great view.