Ultimate Review of Contempo Café and Outer Rim Lounge
When I was younger and had to wake up for school every morning, zonking out the minute my head hit the pillow- like all of my friends easily did- didn’t come quite as dreamily for me. Never gifted with the ability to fall- or stay- asleep, I learned early on that I needed a way to turn my brain off if I wanted to be mentally alert the next day. It’s been quite awhile since I stepped through school doors as a student and pretty much everything has changed since then…save for my tried and true fall-asleep-fast trick!
My childhood dreams were sparked by my thoughts of Disney and, more specifically, the Walt Disney World Monorail. I would imagine I was a passenger on one of the white trains that sat high above my favorite place on earth, and as I watched from my mind’s eye through the monorail windows, passing through the Contemporary was always the highlight of my fantasy.
Not long ago, I wanted to fulfill part of that nighttime dream by dining under my beloved monorail as it glides overhead! Short on time and without a reservation, I lived out my literal dream at Contempo Café and Outer Rim Lounge!
Not Dining at Magic Kingdom
No matter how unpopular my longstanding opinion, I still stand by it: unless I have a table service reservation, I will under no circumstance eat at a Magic Kingdom Quick Serve location. To my palette, the food they’re cooking inside those walk-up windows is why Walt Disney World gets slapped with the stigma of serving only ‘theme park food’, and I will not stand for it if I can help it!
On my most recent visit to Magic Kingdom, I found myself without a dinner reservation and with only 90 minutes to spare between Fastpass reservations. I had two options: grit my teeth and eat a tasteless burger from Cosmic Ray’s, or get out of the Kingdom! I chose the latter and took the quick walk to the Contemporary where I promptly found myself a seat in Outer Rim Lounge!
Outer Rim Lounge
Located on the literal edge of the Contemporary Resort, Outer Rim Lounge is one of the famed hotels’ longstanding Lounges, and I couldn’t believe my time had finally come to try it for myself! Years of watching from the monorail window built to this, and for a Disney nerd like me, moments don’t get much bigger!
The one thing I was not thrilled about when I sat down at Outer Rim was that their menu began and ended with the drinks list…aka, they don’t serve food. I was definitely hungry and had planned on visiting the Contemporary for a quick dinner, but that didn’t stop me from placing my order for a bourbon flight!
I ordered 3 2oz pours of Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek’s Disney Select Single Barrel, and Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight. I’m a whiskey lover through and through, so the simplicity was perfect for me. If you’re more of a cocktail fan though, their long list of handcrafted drinks will be more your speed.
After having enjoyed part of my bourbon flight, my rumbling tummy reminded me why I had come in the first place: for dinner! I wasn’t too keen on leaving my travel buddy alone at the Outer Rim while I went to Contempo Café to order us some food (although I’m certain she didn’t mind), but being that it was the only way we were going to get some grub, I hesitantly left her, and the Lounge itself, to take the short walk to Contempo Café.
I’ll say two things for the Contempo Café: the options are great, and the food is super fresh! I ordered the power greens salad that combined earthy ingredients like sunflower seeds, charred corn, and hearts of palm together in a fresh, crunchy mixture that satisfied both my appetite and my dinnertime veggie quota!
My dining buddy opted for the kids’ shrimp platter which, unless you boast a hearty appetite, would have been plenty to fill up most adults- myself included! She let me snag a bite of shrimp and rice, and again, I was pleasantly surprised.
The pieces of shrimp were not puny nor did they skimp on the portion of rice! The big, appetizing-looking pieces of peppery/herby shrimp are ‘safe’ enough on flavor to be kid-friendly yet marinated enough to satisfy my taste too!
The Delightful Delivery
After I placed my order, I told the lovely Cast Member I placed my order with that I’d be taking my meal to-go. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was, and I wasn’t even too confident that they’d let me bring outside food into Outer Rim, but I was hungry, it was getting late, and I was going for it!
When I refused a bag and insisted on carrying my food on the tray, I raised a few eyebrows. A Cast Member insisted that part of the dining experience was not having to carry your own food to your table, so she took the tray and walked with me. Being that they’re about 10ft. apart, the moment of truth was rapidly approaching: what would she say when I turned into Outer Rim….
Nothing. She told me that, if I ever wanted food at Outer Rim in the future, that I should simply place my order at the casher of Contempo Café and a Cast Member would deliver my food right to my table (or barstool)! The next time you’re visiting the Contemporary and want a quick drink and bite to eat, don’t rule out this powerhouse one-two-punch option!
I tried to not let the fact that I was sipping my favorite drink under that famous monorail skew my review…but there is certainly something to be said for atmosphere! I really like how Contempo Café, Outer Rim Lounge, and Chef Mickey’s share the same air space in the expansive 4th floor sprawl that makes up the Contemporary’s monorail level.
Ensuring that each eating and drinking establishment have views of my beloved monorail also makes each space feel much more expansive and spacious than they would if they were individually enclosed.
The hustle and bustle of the Contemporary aside, both the food and drinks I had on my visit were verygood. For a quick service meal at a Resort, I thoroughly enjoyed both meals we were presented with!
Combine good, fresh food with good company, tableside delivery, and the monorail passing by, and you will have what I would call the best 90-minute excursion of my visit! If you’ve eaten at Contempo Café or have experienced Outer Rim Lounge, leave me a comment and let me know how your experience stacks up!
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