Friday, May 26, 2017

Arrival & California Grill

After our 13 hour car ride, we were so happy to finally make it to Disney.  Don't get me wrong, this was possibly the easiest trip yet with Littlecjc because we brought along a secret weapon, my mom.  Grandma was a blessing on the road.  She sat in the back with Littlecjc and they played the entire time.  They did wipe-clean books, activity books, picture puzzles, stamped notebooks, etc.  I was so impressed, that they only watched one movie during the journey.

Since we split our drive up over two days, we got to the Disney area early, so we stopped to visit a friend for a while, and then we went to the outlet mall to hit up the Character Warehouse store.  Therefore, by the time we made it to our hotel, we had already gotten our check-in information and were able to bypass the lobby and instead head straight to our room.  

We stay at the value resorts more often than moderate, and we've only stayed in a deluxe once.  For us, we usually only sleep in our hotel since we spend all our time in the parks.  So it makes sense to save as much as we can on our accommodations, so that we can return again as soon as possible.  This time around, we found the best deal at Pop Century.

We were in the 80s section, overlooking the computer pool.  

Depending on what types of rooms are available when searching for a room, you never know what type of room might be your best deal.  Originally, the cheapest room we found was a preferred room at one of the All-Star resorts.  However, we continued to look for a standard room and eventually found one.  Even with the pool view, it was cheaper than the preferred room, so we made the switch and ended up at Pop Century.  

We also always request top floor rooms since they tend to be a little quieter.

If you've never stayed here before, the bus stop is just like it is at every other value resort.

If you're not familiar with the Disney value resorts, I'll tell you they are all about the over-sized items covering stairways and decorating walkways.  This hotel is no different.

After getting settled in, we made our way to the bus stop to head to Disney Springs to meet up with some friends.

Our first stop was of course the World of Disney store.  Although I like the looks of the newly remolded Disney Springs, I still tend to stick to the classic, original stores when I'm actually shopping or just wanting my Disney fix.  Littlecjc also loves this end of the complex because they have a carousel and a little train ride.

We do however, love the food options on the new side.  This, of course, includes the cupcake ATM at Sprinkles.

Since Grandma was along with us this time, Patrick and I had planned a little date night during this trip.  So, while Grandma and Littlecjc made their way to the bus heading back to Pop Century, Patrick and I made our way to the Contemporary Hotel and California Grill.

Our dinner reservation was actually at 9:20, but we of course got there a little early so that we could head out on the balcony to watch Wishes.

The restaurant actually has a walkway out both sides of the restaurant.  We realized after the show, that our view would have been much better (and warmer due to the building blocking the wind) on the other walkway.  However, we were swayed by the fact that you could also see Epcot and Hollywood Studio fireworks from the balcony we chose.  This was fun as well seeing all the shows going off at once, but really with Wishes going, that was all we really wanted to see.  Plus, as the shows started, more people filled in behind us making it a little awkward to turn around and see the other shows.

After the show, we were quickly seated.  An assortment of bread was brought to our table.

Since we don't eat fancy dinners very often, we went all out and got an appetizer, the roasted tomato flatbread.

We also both got a Mai Tai!

I went with the short rib served over risotto with asparagus. 

Patrick opted for the halibut.

We originally had planned on not having any dessert, however our waitress brought one out to us on the house.  She said it was for our wait, which it did take a while to get through our dinner, but we didn't really mind, and just figured it was a given with our dinner time being right after the fireworks.  Either way, we were super stoked as it was so delicious.  It really couldn't have been better, because she brought out exactly what we were debating getting, the peanut butter creme brulee.

 When we finished our wonderful meal, we couldn't possibly leave the hotel without checking out the Easter eggs in the lobby.  The Contemporary eggs were all Star Wars themed this year.

These were so neat to see.  If it hadn't already been so late, we would have hopped on the monorail and checked out the Easter eggs at the other hotels as well.  As it was, we ended up walking to Magic Kingdom and caught a bus back to our hotel.

We had such a great time, and I'm so happy that we were able to do this while Wishes was still showing and Grandma was along to watch Littlecjc.  If you're looking for a great date night on property, I highly recommend this restaurant and fireworks viewing. 

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