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New Sweet Endings for Re-Imagined California Grill at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 19th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

It’s almost impossible to slow down Pastry Chef Jeff Barnes long enough for a quick interview about all the new desserts for California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but we managed to get a peek at what he and his artistic team have been creating.

“You’re going to see a big change with some new concepts,” says Chef Jeff. “This is our chance to create a new menu with a fresh infusion of California, and it’s coming together nicely.”

The theme is “artful and playful,” he continues. Chef Jeff, Chef de Cuisine Brian Piasecki and Area Manager Michael Schiefler have already done three tastings, each time carefully analyzing components of each sweet.

Let’s start with the bread. “We have created two fabulous new breads just for California Grill,” says Chef Jeff. One is a whole-grain sourdough roll from a starter the Contemporary Bakery, the other lavender-infused focaccia, made with fresh California lavender, olive oil and other herbs. Imagine!


Chef Jeff’s favorite dessert is the Sundae Sampler, a trio with a Coke float, strawberry sundae and caramel corn sundae, “too good and tempting to have such great flavors on one plate,” he says. The chocolate pudding cake and banana fritters is a close second, made with a 70 percent dark chocolate from Belgium, new on the market.

“And I can’t forget the Meyer Lemon cheesecake – so light and refreshing,” says Chef Jeff.

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake at California Grill Disney’s Contemporary Resort Banana Fritter at California Grill Disney’s Contemporary Resort Chocolate Pudding Cake at California Grill Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Just remember to save room for dessert when the California Grill reopens this fall. Stay tuned for details – we’ll let you know when reservations are open.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort



Xenia on July 19th, 2013 at 10:17 am

Rhaaaa I’m waiting with impatience for the ADR’s to open!! We so wanna go in our October-november trip!


Donald from WI on July 19th, 2013 at 10:51 am

Still attempting to make reservations, daily, for January 2014.


Monica from NY on July 19th, 2013 at 10:52 am

Any word on when ADR’s will start.


Nicole on July 19th, 2013 at 11:44 am

The lavender-infused focaccia sounds intriguing! While I think the sundae sampler is very cool, it has me a little bit nervous about what the new menu could look like. I’ve been going to California Grill for years and appreciate it’s fine dining offerings. I truly hope that the menu is not going to be “dumbed down,” so to speak. When will we be able to make ADRs?


Maureen on July 19th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Waiting anxiously to make reservations for the fall. Losing a little of my “magical feeling” as the days get closer. Maybe if “I dream the dream…it will come true” Magical Days ahead.


Alexsandra on July 19th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

That Sunday sampler got me even more excited to try out their new menu.
I am going to WDW mid-September. Hope they will open reservations for those dates!
Cannot wait!


Brian on July 19th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Funny Typo. What’s a pirate’s favorite letter? RRRRR
That’s also the difference between deserts and dancers.

Seriously though, I’ve eaten the pork loin at the CFG for my birthday every year since 2007, but I had to miss it this year due to the remodel. I can’t wait for it to reopen so I can celebrate my birthday a little late.


Steven on July 19th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I’m trying to make an ADR for this location so I’m keeping a sharp eye out for the announcement here on the Disney Blog. My wife and I are excited to take a quick getaway trip away from our twin boys (just a quick break) for a couple nights at a Club Level Deluxe Resort and include a wonderful dinner at Cali Grill. We’re locals and just love visiting all the time!


Mitchell from IL on July 19th, 2013 at 6:16 pm

So, when is the opening date? Been trying to keep track online, but no luck yet. :(


Mitchell from IL on July 19th, 2013 at 6:17 pm

P.S. the featured desert looks as fun as the one I had at the Flying Fish this spring!


john on July 20th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Can’t wait for the California Grill to re-open again, I’ve even had dreams about the most iconic restaurant in Walt Disney World.


Katherine on July 21st, 2013 at 11:14 am

I hope they keep that chocolate lava cake! My husband and I have gone there almost every time we’ve gone to Disney and it’s always a special trip to CG. It wouldn’t be complete without that cake!


Ramona from CA on July 25th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

You guys at Disney need to quit playing with all of us. We are ready to make our reservations and enjoy. Open, Open, Open!


Alison from KY on July 26th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I have my fingers and toes crossed that CG will reopen in time for our trip 9/25-9/29. I am taking my husband to WDW for his 40th birthday and this is our favorite restaurant in the world! We had our wedding night dinner here as well as our first anniversary dinner. This year was our 2nd wedding anniversary and it was closed for refurb. Can’t wait to see the changes!


Joanne on August 19th, 2013 at 9:09 am

Celebrating 25th anniversary with hubby….checking every day to make CG reservations for Oct 1….any word when CG opening and/or taking reservations?


Dabney on August 20th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Just heard that reservations *should* open the beginning of next week. Good Luck! :)


Adam from FL on November 19th, 2013 at 6:29 pm

the Lavender Bread is amazing!! would love to get the recipe on that one!!! Chocolate pudding case is outstanding as well.. same with the scallops!!!