The Wave Dinner Review, Scrims Down, Water Up – Magic Kingdom 4/11/14

We’ll head out to Magic Kingdom for a brief update on affairs as the moats around Cinderella Castle are filled. Walls still line much of the area – hopefully as many as possible can come down sooner rather than later.

But first, we’ll grab dinner at The Wave of American Flavors lounge, the Contemporary Resort’s casual first-floor restaurant just off the lobby. Its not the most obvious restaurant in the world. Fortunately the website has Photoshop CC to draw arrows like this.

Even more casual than the restaurant is the attached bar, which is rarely crowded and doesn’t accept or require reservations. There are no tables, which can make conversation among more than two people difficult unless you sit on the end of the row. The lounge is open until 12am.

Like this I mean.

In addition to not requiring reservations, the lounge offers its own appetizer menu, in addition to the full restaurant menu until 9:30pm:

Just about everything with “today’s” in front of it was swordfish.

The multi-grain bread served is freshly baked and perfectly executed, but it fell flat in my opinion with not a lot of flavor.

The salted butter does a little to liven things up.

Although its cocktail list is the standard Disney bar menu, The Wave offers several interesting beers and wines on tap. Each of these four is wine served from kegs underneath the tap. They say it is environmentally friendly because it makes shipping easier, there’s no cardboard/glass etc., and each keg holds something like 35 bottles. Beer on tap includes Orange Blossom Pilsner and Orlando Brewing Blonde Ale, Brown Ale, and Pale Ale.

I confirmed that wine served from a keg via a tap does still taste like wine for those of you wondering at home. The Smith & Hook is 65% consumed for your pleasure, while the North by Northwest riesling on the right is a fresh pour. The Smith & Hook cabernet was a $12 glass – spendy considering a bottle is around $18. The riesling was $9.

Lisa started with the Seasonal Florida Strawberry Salad with Pecan Praline, MacGregor Farms Greens, and Warm Goat Cheese – $10.49.

It was surprisingly large with several of the freshest, reddest, sweetest strawberries we’ve ever tried. The Pecan Pralines were a nice substitute for your usual crouton – a very elegant salad.

Dinner is avec George and Greg, whom you may remember from past reviews like this Tutto Italia blowout. George enjoyed his Royal Red Caribbean Shrimp Flatbread with Tomato Pesto, Vidalia Onions, Mozzarella, and Lemon Crème Fraîche – $10.99. The flatbreads here are universally outstanding, if not a bit on the small side and often rather unattractive looking.

Another potentially unattractive item – Greg’s Thompson Farms Naturally Raised Pork Tenderloin on a bed of Onion-Potato Purée with Organic Green Beans and Veal Jus – $22.99. This was excellent with perfectly cooked pork on top of creamy potatoes and large, slightly crunchy green beans. It’s not an overwhelming amount of pork, but it will be “just right” for most appetites and the price is right.

This was significantly better than our last attempt at pork at Be Our Guest.

Sustainable Fish Taco – Soft Flour Tortilla, Apple-Jícama Slaw, and Yuzu Gelato – 10.99.

I hesitate to use the word amazing!!!! but these were, at least as far as sustainable fish tacos go – packed full of fish with a nice crunch from the slaw. The tacos are a bit spicy so they come with the yuzu sorbet, which acts as a palate cleanser. A nice touch.

I ordered the Dry-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak – Citrus Aïoli, Potato Leek Gratin, and Locally-sourced Spring Vegetables – $23.99. The steak was tender and cooked to a perfect medium.

I didn’t care much for the aioli, which it was drenched in – too acidic for my tastes and didn’t really pair well with the meat in my opinion.

The Potato Leek Gratin was a nice accompaniment that wasn’t as heavy as you might expect. The potatoes were a bit underdone for my tastes – probably by design.

George’s Pan-seared Sea Scallops with Roasted Corn, Applewood-smoked Bacon, and Tillamook Cheddar Risotto – $11.99. Perhaps the best of the bunch, and with the nicest presentation, this consisted of five nicely sized scallops on a bed of creamy, cheesy risotto. Very good.

The Wave lounge experience is pleasant, though I’m not sure it stands out versus the other options on the monorail and across the lagoon. California Grill upstairs offers similarly priced flatbreads in its lounge area, in addition to the outstanding sushi and better beer and cocktail list. The people watching is significantly better as is the view during Wishes. You may remember the website’s post-refurbishment review of Cali Grill here. The Wave is a much better choice than the Outer Rim bar on the 4th floor, at least for those that don’t want a bar overrun by kids waiting while their parents try to buy their way into Chef Mickey’s at the last minute.

Main Street is again scrimless as the Confectionery’s came down that morning.

Water again flows around Cinderella Castle and into other areas of the Park.

An inflatable-looking dam keeps the water out of the area where they’re still demolishing the old smoking section/AAA fireworks viewing area.

On the other side, the old swan boat dock has been reduced to a layer of mulch.

The unfortunate area the walls are hiding.

Larger: For those of you wondering why they’re expanding The Hub area, this is it about five minutes before the Electrical Parade is set to step off from Main Street.

Hub construction isn’t expected to be complete until around September of next year.

Kiosk waits continue to be significantly shorter with all guests able to select FP+ in advance via the app or website.

We walked up right at 9pm and could have selected Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, Enchanted Tales, (11pm) Main Street Electrical Parade, and others.

FP+ lines continue to be intermittently out of control depending on the number of people that don’t know what they’re doing getting in line.

I am not as anti-dance-party as some, but it is a bit strange standing around Buzz Lightyear with Pharell’s “Happy” blasting in the background.

During the Electrical Parade is one of the best times of the day to ride Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain because the Parade basically cuts off traffic to the area. Remember all those people in The Hub? Yeah…Splash Mountain has a 15-minute posted wait here 10 minutes later at 9:04pm.

Splash continues to be in excellent shape though the jumping water remains iffy.

No subtitle.

We were off the ride and back out front at 9:31pm for a total wait/ride time of 27 minutes. So we ended up waiting about ten minutes. By the time we disembarked the wait time was reduced to 5 minutes and there was literally nobody at the load area waiting to get into our vacant log.

Big Thunder is still posted at 30 minutes at 9:32pm. It was nine minutes between when we got in line and when we were on our way down the mountain.

The queue enhancements from last year’s refurbishment are neat, but almost all of the interactive elements are closed off to guests.

Blasting machines?

Roped off.

Canaries? Roped off.

Always request the back rows for the wildest wide in the wilderness.

In the front, the train is half way down the drop before it gets going.

Dole Whip – just add water.

Early Easter crowds haven’t met expectations thus far as staffing levels are ratcheted up to their second highest levels of the year and the Parks are open longer than any time of year outside of December 25th – 31st. We’ll pop in later this week.


  1. jeremy says

    FIRST!!!!. Josh Thanks for the update, Lots of nice pictures. Any ETA on the book. I will be buying it, for sure.

  2. Pam H. says

    I’ll have to remember to sit in back next time we go on Big Thunder. My son usually wants to sit in front. Are the “extra” elements open when lines are particularly long?
    Thanks, Josh!

  3. HonestJohn says

    “Hub construction isn’t expected to be complete until around September of next year.”

    I’m obviously not an expert on construction or projects or whatever but I’m still flabbergasted as how long it takes Disney to build things relative to say, Universal. I understand the drive and need for quality and to minimize guest impacts, but is this really a 1.5yr project?

  4. Erika says

    Thank Josh! We had fun at the parade last year…well I did, and Snow White did kiss one of my boys…but they Really all of my boys would rather be on rides than watching any parade anywhere…i know they will be very happy to ride BTM a few times instead! Then maybe once the parade is gone we make our way to Fantasyland and see what is a short wait iver there durong Wishes!? Woder if Mine train will be a short wait in early June during wishes…?? Too soon to tell i guess….

  5. Ken says

    While I’m a “front seat” rider from not wanting to see the back of someone’s head on most coasters, Big Thunder is one of the very few exceptions because the forward view is obscured by the locomotive front!

  6. RebeccaMcK says

    Thanks for the menus and info about The Wave – we have a dinner reserved there for October 17th (not in the lounge but in the restaurant part). Your pics have more current menu info than what’s on AllEars (prices are higher now), so I’ve saved your pics on my PC. Nice to see the water back in the moat(s).

  7. Katherine says

    “Always request the back rows for the wildest wide in the wilderness.”

    Which I assume works the opposite for Expedition Everest?? I was sitting in the front…or so I thought it was the front, and it turned out to be the back for half the ride. And boy did we whip around!

  8. Adge says

    We tried The Wave in January and had no problem scoring a last minute ADR. In fact we could have have just walked up as we were one of 5 party’s dining. Food was good. Better than most, probably because the chef didn’t need to rush. I got the lamb and it was cooked perfectly. Probably under rated as Disney dining establishments go.

  9. Erin Elizabeth says

    I always mean to try the Wave but never do. Thanks for the review. I want to try the lounge. Maybe for lunch?

  10. Jody says

    Around 10pm on an evening in mid-March 2014, my son and I played with the interactive elements in the Big Thunder Mountain queue during a wait to ride that lasted only 15 minutes. My favourite was the line of Canaries. The line was moving fairly rapidly so we had to be quick with each element. After that we got back in line for another 15 minute wait and another turn through the interactive elements. Later, the interactive elements were roped off for the night. Our short waits (no FP+ as those had been used earlier) for the ride may have been due to the time – around the time of the MK fireworks (we got to see the finale while on the ride).

  11. Mary Ann says

    Quick question about riding during the parades – can you scoot around to the Haunted Mansion just along the Rivers of America during the parade? Also do the Princesses (or other characters for that matter) meet during the parade? I think I’m one of the only folks in the US that HATES the Main Street Electrical Parade, but that song is just awful. And it’s more of an ear worm than Small World.

  12. Psac says

    The Wave menus always seem to vary between over-healthy and appealing. :) This time it looks like the perfect balance of both! We were considering on our trip two weeks ago, but didn’t go. Maybe next time we stay by the monorail it will be worth a try.

  13. Crystal says

    I am so happy there is some water back in the moat since I am <3 weeks away from my trip!

    Are they done painting the castle or are there still cranes up most the day?

  14. RJ says

    Mary Ann,
    There is a boardwalk next to the Rivers of America that you could try to use during the Parade to get from Frontierland to Liberty Square.

  15. Patricia says

    We were there that night too, absolute chaos around the hub. We spent our time on thunder mountain as well during the parade.

  16. AliB says

    Would it be a waste of time to schedule Fastpass+ around 9:30 pm for Big Thunder Mountain? We are going to be at WDW in early June.

  17. TriSeb says

    “Outer Rim: A bar overrun by kids waiting while their parents try to buy their way into Chef Mickey’s at the last minute”

    Isn’t that da truth! As well as slow service!

  18. michael says

    I ride the front of Big Thunder Mountain because I’m a big chicken. You sit halfway down the hill before the brakes release. Sure is pretty at night though.

  19. dusty cheatham says

    when I grow up I want to be just like josh Henderson . food sampler , liquor swiller , picture taker, & now book publisher . what more could a grown man want ??? of course a women like lisa . congrats on achieving all .

  20. Elizabeth says

    Thanks Josh! I’m planning one hopping around the monorail resorts the evening I get in. I was wondering about Contemp. Your info was really helpful.

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