Best Lounges on the Resorts Monorail Loop
Preservation of tradition is one of the values Walt Disney worked so hard to weave into the very fabric of The Walt Disney Company’s core. Attractions like it’s a small world and The Enchanted Tiki Room remain unchanged since their debuts over half a century ago, and guests born 60 or 6 years ago still flock to their queue lines 365 days per year.
Walt really made sure to drive the value of tradition ‘home’ (pun intended) when he drew up the plans for Main Street USA! He wanted the buildings that lined the street to give guests the same homey and nostalgic vibes he remembered from his hometown of Marceline, Missouri: quaint, tangible, comprehensible, and most importantly, wholesome.
They didn’t serve alcoholic beverages on Main Street in Marceline when Walt was growing up (getting back to that point about preserving tradition) and to this day you won’t find any for sale on Main Street! The all-adult vacation I took with my friends this past spring was going along perfectly until I was looking in the faces of four horror-stricken friends when they realized they wouldn’t be able to sip a cocktail with their dinners.
Luckily, the Resorts along the monorail loop feature fantastic lounges with some of the best specialty cocktails and appetizers across all of Walt Disney World Resort property, and with multiple lounge choices in each of the Resorts…it’s best to know before you go!
When I visited with my friends, the original plan was as follows: hop on the monorail, get off at whichever Resort lounge I thought was best, order one drink, and head back to Magic Kingdom in time for a quick bite before the fireworks. With my sights set on California Grill Lounge, I escorted my band of buddies to the host desk on the second level of the Contemporary and we were quickly shown to the tip top of the Resort to take in the sweeping views provided by the 360-degree glassed-in restaurant and find a seat in the lounge.
I love the lounge at California Grill for two reasons: you don’t need a reservation, and you can order from the full menu! When my friends caught wind of that, all plans for a quick serve dinner in Magic Kingdom flew out of those massive windows and before I knew it, I was being served a cheesy, flavor-packed flatbread with my glass of Pinot Noir.
The air must have been especially clouded with Pixie Dust that day, because watching the sunset over an impossibly peaceful, golden Magic Kingdom, surrounded by great food, great drinks, and great friends seemed just too magical to be true!
How do you come down from a California Grill high? You don’t…you keep the party going! We were pretty jazzed from the amazing food, and with the fireworks still almost 2 hours away, the general consensus had me picking a spot at the Grand Floridian to grab another drink. Since the Grand Floridian’s lobby is the most gorgeous on Property, it comes as no surprise that Mizner’s Lounge is arguably the most grandiose of the deluxe lounges too! The curved, marble-topped bar is the focal point of the sunken room whose design mirrors that of the Victorian era-inspired lobby.
I ordered a 2oz whiskey pour to pair with the Citrico’s cheese board that I refused to leave without ordering. The Chef’s selection of 3 cheeses come served with honeycomb, raisins, and a ciabatta crostini that I wish were 3x larger than it is. Apparently, that Magic Kingdom dinner really wasn’t going to happen. With that in mind, I was saving some room for an ice cream from the Plaza and had mentally settled on my order…and at that moment one of my friends pointed out that we still had nearly 100 minutes until the fireworks…”plenty of time for one last drink!”
I’d be joking myself if I denied that Trader Sam’s popped into my mind first- and this definitely would have been the crowd to go with- but I know that my friends appreciate a great dessert just as much as I do, which is why I chose Tambu Lounge! Attached to O’Hana restaurant, Tambu Lounge offers some of the same menu items made famous in the all-you-care-to-enjoy, reservations only restaurant it is associated with.
I immediately placed an order for the massive warm bread pudding that is served with banana/caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream! I’d had this dessert in the past, and I knew that one would absolutely be enough to split a few ways…although in retrospect, I’m sure we would have demolished a second order without a problem!
We did decide to leave the park for drinks after all, so before anyone had a chance to deliberate, I promptly ordered 3 Lapu Lapu’s. Two types of rum are shaken with pineapple and orange juices and poured into a freshly hollowed pineapple before being handed over the Hawaiian-themed bar to the waiting hands of my friends.
This is one of my favorite drinks on property, and I wanted to savor every last drop…so with 20 minutes before Happily Ever After was set to light up the skies, we took our drinks to the Polynesian beach, and enjoyed the show in the southern Polynesian islands. Have you ever watched Happily Ever After from the Polynesian? What is your favorite lounge along the monorail loop? Do you have a favorite drink to order? Let us know in the comments!
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