Dining and Drinking around the Loop: Monorail Crawl Tips and Tricks Part 1

Posted:  Dining Resorts

There are so many things to do when staying at Walt Disney World, both in the parks and at the resorts.

 One of my favorite non-park things to do is visit different resorts. Disney is so creative with their theming and details that I could spend hours walking around one resort, soaking everything up. There are also plenty of amazing dining options to try at the resorts.

Bay Lake Tower with Monorail Track

 One of the easier ways to see multiple resorts is to use the Magic Kingdom Resort Monorail loop. This Monorail will take you to three resorts, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. It will also stop by the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center. Traveling the Monorail loop has become such a popular idea over the last few years that it has been nicknamed the “Monorail Crawl.” Guests will ride the monorail loop, stopping at the three different resorts to grab snacks and drinks and maybe tour the resorts.

 Now there is no official way for the crawl to be done. You can start at any of the resorts you would like. If you are staying at one of these resorts, you may want to start the day at your home resort before moving on to the next one. Or you may want to end your day at your resort, so you don’t have too far to go once you have eaten all the delicious snacks. You could also put your home resort in the middle so you can take a dip in the pool or take a mid-day nap.

View of Magic Kingdom and Monorail from Bay Lake Tower

 For guests not staying at a monorail resort, no need to worry! You can still participate, but it will take a bit of navigating. From your resort, you will want to take a bus to Magic Kingdom, or if you have a vehicle, you will want to drive over and park at the Transportation and Ticket Center.

 If you are taking a bus to Magic Kingdom, you will want to walk past the front of the park to the Monorail Station and wait for the Monorail to take you to your first resort. Alternatively, you could leave the bus station, take a left and walk over to the Contemporary.

 If you park at the Transportation and Ticket Center, you can either walk over to the Polynesian or hop directly onto the Monorail and start your crawl. Make sure to end your night back at the Transportation and Ticket Center to pick up your vehicle and make your way back to your resort.

Monorail Train

 Currently, Disney is not allowing guests to park at resorts if they do not have a room reservation or a dining reservation at the resort. If you make a dining reservation at any of the places mentioned, you can park at the resort with your dining location for the day.

 I have compiled a list of some of the restaurants, cafes, and lounges available at the resorts with descriptions of the food and drinks offered, price ranges, operating hours, and personally recommended times to visit. Dining locations at each resort will be divided into three categories: snacks, meals, and lounges.

 Our first resort is going to be Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This resort features modern decor, with elements designed by Mary Blair, and has a spectacular view of Bay Lake. When exiting the Monorail, you will enter the resort on floor 5.

Contempo Café Sign



Contempo Café

Currently, open between 7 am – 11 pm

Suggested Visiting Time: Any time!

Price Range: $

Located on floor 4 of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Contempo Café offers an array of grab-and-go snacks, like Oreos and chips, baked goods, like cupcakes and cookies, and quick service meals, like sandwiches and salads. There are bottled and fountain beverages as well as alcoholic beverages for those old enough to consume. Contempo Café is an excellent pick if you are looking for something lighter, maybe a mid-day snack or breakfast, or have a sweet tooth and want to try everything!

Soft Drinks and Salad


Contemporary Grounds

Currently, open between 6 am – 1 pm

Suggested Visiting Time: Morning

Price Range: $

Contemporary Grounds is located in the resort lobby beside the convention center. This is your typical coffee shop and will offer warm or cold coffees, teas, and an assortment of baked goods and smoothies. If you are looking for something to share, my recommendation is the doughnut. It may look huge, but it can be split between a few people to enjoy. This is a wonderful option if you are not a big breakfast person but need your morning cup of coffee!



Steakhouse 71 Burger

Steakhouse 71

Currently, open between 7:30 am – 11:00 am for breakfast, 11:30 am – 2:00 pm for lunch, and 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm for dinner

Suggested Visiting Time: Lunch or Dinner

Price Range $$ or $$$

 Steakhouse 71 is located on the first floor of the Contemporary Resort. This restaurant does offer all meals. However, I recommend going for lunch or dinner to try the steak. The menu has many different offerings other than steaks, such as burgers, fish, vegetable “Wellington,” or gourmet grilled cheese!

Steakhouse 71 Menu

Steakhouse 71 Vegetable Wellington

 If you want to go for breakfast, Steakhouse 71 does have an excellent menu. Options will include omelets, pancakes, avocado toast, and of course, steak and eggs. This may be a heavier start to your day, so I recommend taking a stroll around the Contemporary before hopping off to your next resort.

 There are kid’s meals offered as well, for the younger guests. There is a variety of hot and cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages offered. Steakhouse 71 is definitely recommended if you want somewhere to celebrate.

Steakhouse 71 Steak and Potatoes


California Grill

Currently, open between 5 pm – 10 pm

Suggested Visiting Time: Dinner

Price Range $$$$

*Reservations are highly recommended

 Speaking of places to celebrate, the California Grill is located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort and is a signature dining restaurant that does have a dress code. With a Prix Fixe menu for both adults and children, you will receive a choice of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Children will receive a choice of 2 sides with their entrée. As always, there will be soft drinks, and there is a wide selection of teas and an extensive menu of alcoholic beverages offered.

 If you time it right, you can see the firework show at Magic Kingdom while dining. If you happen to have dined before the fireworks or your reservations aren’t until after, head to the check-in podium for California Grill on the 2nd floor and show either your receipt or your reservation, and they will let you up to the observation deck outside of the restaurant to enjoy the show.

 California Grill is a unique experience and an amazing way to add an extra bit of magic to your trip. I highly recommend this option if you are looking to make this a memorable night.

Bay Lake Tower


Chef Mickey’s

Currently, open between 7:30 am – 12:30 pm for breakfast and 5 – 9:30 pm for dinner

Suggested Visiting Time: Breakfast

Price Range $$$

 Located on the 4th floor, Chef Mickey’s is a character dining experience! This dining experience is an all-you-care-to-eat family-style meal at the Contemporary, featuring Mickey and Friends. As the meal is served all-you-care-to-eat, it is a fixed price per person, one cost for children and another for adults. You will also see the Monorail glide through the Contemporary while enjoying your meal.

Monorail pulling into the Contemporary Resort

 Breakfast offerings include breakfast bread, eggs, sausages, bacon, Mickey waffles, “Loaded” potato-cheese casserole, pancakes, french toast, tofu scramble, and beef brisket. There is a selection of smoothies, juices, coffees, teas, and non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages available at an additional cost.

 For dinner, guests can enjoy salads, shrimp, and bread to start. Gnocchi, rice, roasted garlic gratin potatoes, and vegetables for plated and accompaniments to salmon, tofu, steak, and pork loin for their protein. To end off the meal, there is chocolate mousse dome cake, apple crumble tart, strawberry cream cake, and chocolate-raspberry tart. Smoothies and specialty non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages will be available for an additional charge.

 This option is fun for the whole family! Chef Mickey’s is a great way to meet characters without the long lines and enjoy some delicious food. I would recommend this if you want a slower start to your morning and want to make some fun memories with the family.


Steakhouse 71 Sign


Steakhouse 71 Lounge

Currently, open between 12 pm – 11 pm

Suggested Visiting Time: Evening

Price Range $

 If you are looking to enjoy the atmosphere of Steakhouse 71 but don’t have a lot of time or didn’t make a reservation, then pop on over to the Steakhouse 71 lounge. Located beside Steakhouse 71, the lounge offers “bites” such as onion rings, burgers, macaroni & cheese, crab cakes, bacon and eggs, PB&J chicken wings, and shrimp cocktails, as well as specialty non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.

 This is an excellent option for those looking to grab something small after having a later lunch or wanting something additional after dinner.

Apple Tarte Tatin


California Grill Lounge

Currently, open between 5 pm – 10 pm

Suggested Visiting Time: Evening

Price Range $$$$

 The California Grill Lounge is a great way to try some of the selections offered at California Grill. With a limited menu of appetizers and specialty cocktails, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic, guests can also inquire about what food options are available in the lounge that are also served at the main restaurant.

 This is a perfect option if you couldn’t grab a reservation for California Grill but are still looking to try some exquisite cuisine or do not want a full 3-course meal.


Outer Rim

Currently, open between 4 pm – 11 pm on weekdays and 12 pm – 11 pm on weekends

Suggested Visiting Time: Evening

Price Range $

Outer Rim Lounge is the perfect way to wrap up your evening. This lounge only offers beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic), so this is a great time to chat with your group about how your crawl went. Discuss your favorite bites and share your new memories about the resorts you saw today. Are there some must-visit places on your list for next time, or are there a few places that you are glad you tried but won’t be returning to?

All the options provided will also have allergy-friendly menus available. It is best to speak with your server when you arrive to receive the most up-to-date information about allergy-friendly dining.

Salad Bowl and Soft Drink

 After our first visit to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, are you excited about our next two resorts? Have you already started planning where the Contemporary fits into your Monorail Crawl? Or are you waiting to see what other exciting options are available before you make your plan?

Bay Lake Tower and Monorail Track at night




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