Review: The Wave: Contemporary Resort
For many Disney fans and aficionados, the Contemporary Hotel holds a special place of honor in our love of all things Disney. It was one of the original hotels which debuted with the resort’s opening in 1971. And so, visits to the hotel always seem to possess a nostalgic feel.
On the Sunday after Easter, although the lobby was bustling with streams of post-holiday activity, I found the Wave to be unusually serene. The blue lights at its entrance, its muted interior colors and the organic shapes of the decor make the waiting/hosting area resemble a jazz lounge or sophisticated club. The dining area is more subtle and less sophisticated yet still inviting. There is something about the soft color combinations and streamlined style which made my companion and I think of Michael Graves (the architect responsible for the Swan and Dolphin hotels).
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Void of any character greetings, this breakfast experience was low-key to say the least. While the Wave was perhaps at 1/3 of its capacity, and the parking lot would seem to indicate the hotel was rather full, the dining room seemed strangely hushed, a nice change from the more lively, boisterous breakfast locations on property.
Our server, Giselle, greeted us with a pleasant, breezy “good morning” and proceeded to point out the buffet which lay hidden from our sight. Because the menu boasts rather standard and not terribly interesting or imaginative fare (ham and cheese omelets, waffles, eggs benedict), we opted for the buffet to sample several items and get a broader overview of some of the very same menu selections.
The buffet line was kept very clean and orderly as an attendant seemed to be there often, immediately wiping up spills and refilling trays. The choices are varied: eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, Mickey waffles, pancakes, bakery items (biscuits, bagels and danish), cereal, potatoes, bacon, etc. Very typical and not terribly creative. The bread pudding was a standout both in taste and originality. Moist and delicious with a subtle hint of vanilla, the pudding only fell short because it was room temperature. Keeping it warm would have made it a home run, but it was a nice unexpected addition.
The scrambled eggs were milky and fluffy and quite surprising in that they weren’t dry and tasteless as buffet eggs usually are. Again, they could have been warmer. In fact, most everything on the buffet could have been and should have been warmer. The sausage links were a tad salty as was the uncrispy bacon. The potatoes had a nice flavor yet were a touch undercooked. The silver dollar sized pancakes had a sweet potato base although they tasted curiously more like gingerbread. While they were a refreshing change from plain or buttermilk batter, they were slightly dry.
There is not much in this restaurant which is signature Disney. In fact, one would hardly realize they are on Disney property once inside as there is nothing much which seems to attest to the fact. Except the miniature Mickey waffles which are a staple of any Disney breakfast.
Giselle was noticeably absent during most of the meal though she was apparently quick to clear dishes upon our subsequent trips to the buffet line.
While the food is slightly above average for a breakfast buffet and there is a nice variety, it does lack originality. And I found it slightly pricey ($20 per person) for breakfast. The absence of characters is the trade-off for a more relaxed, less hectic meal. One might be somewhat disappointed in the lack of branding and Disney “feel” about the Wave, but it does offer a nice oasis of serenity in a usually hectic resort.
Food: While the Wave doesn’t get raves (sorry, I had to say it), it offers an above average meal
Atmosphere: Casual but lacking the typical Disney branding
Service: Efficient and friendly. Thumbs up to the staff keeping the buffet so stocked and clean. The trays were never empty.
Tips: Try it for dinner. The decor seems to lend itself better to a more “formal” meal. Remember to use your annual pass for a 10% discount.