The Wave Of American Flavors At The Contemporary Review

In addition to the Ale & Compass at the Yacht Club, I am trying to review all of the Disney Resort restaurants. These options are a lot less popular than in park dining, but I find them to often be better, as well as easier to get a reservation. I have gone to The Wave of American Flavors over half a dozen times over the past few years and my experiences have ranged from tasty and enjoyable to extremely underwhelming. However, I still find it to be better than most of the sit downs at Magic Kingdom, and it is only a short walk or monorail ride away.

The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

Location & Atmosphere

The Wave of American Flavors (which I’ll call The Wave) is located at the Contemporary Resort. If you are not familiar with Disney, this is the hotel the monorail goes through. I tend to go here when I am heading to the Magic Kingdom. This is mainly because you can park at The Contemporary with a reservation and then walk to the park. I find this much more preferable to parking a mile away and taking the tram and then the monorail.

The Wave restaurant is located on the first floor of the hotel, away from the hustle and bustle of the Grand Canyon Concourse. The resort has done a nice job of making this restaurant look upscale. Ocean colors and metals make up the decor. However, there are no windows in this restaurant and that does tend to make the place feel a bit drab.

The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

The Wave previously was the “Food and Fun Center”, which was an arcade and fast food spot! I remember walking by it as a kid and being intrigued by all the colorful lighting and noises on the way to Chef Mickey’s. You can tell they had a hard time switching it from an arcade to fine dining a decade ago as it still struggles to find its identity.

There are some high points though. The lounge areas under the giant glowing blue light are a fun place to hang out. I think the entrance of it also looks a lot classier than the arcade that used to be there. It’s right next to the check in desk down the artistic hallway.

The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

I can’t think of a single time I have seen this restaurant more than half full. The good thing about this is that they almost always accept walk-ins. One time we were trying to go here and there were no times online. However, we decided to walk over and see and they ended up seating us immediately! So it’s always worth it to try and then if they really are full you can just go to the quick serve, Contempo Cafe. You can basically guarantee that The Wave won’t be full!

Dinner at The Wave of American Flavors

My husband, dad and I recently went to The Wave for dinner the day before our half marathon. We wanted a selection of food that would not upset our stomachs and would have a healthy balance of calories to fuel us in the morning. The best thing about The Wave is that they actually have a lot of healthy options, unlike many Disney World restaurants.

The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

We still couldn’t avoid having a drink with our dinner and The Wave had a pretty extensive cocktail, wine and beer selection. We ended up going with the bottled Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. They have multiple Florida craft beers on tap or in a bottle. They also brought out bread before our meal which many restaurants have sadly stopped doing. The two kinds of bread have a good mix of grains and taste great with the Hawaiian sea salt butter.

The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

For dinner, we each got something different and the entrees cost between $23 to $28. I got the spice-rubbed chicken which at the time, was served over a grit cake, but now is over farro. This meal was definitely a “wave of american flavors”! Everything was well seasoned and the grit cakes had just a hint of spice. My dad and husband also loved their dinners. Andrew got the braised short rib with galicky mashed potatoes and winter vegetables. My Dad got the pork tenderloin with sprouts, squash and a fig demi sauce. We all really liked the unique vegetable selection. This was exactly the dinner we wanted before the race. However, I think it could be enjoyed for a variety of other occasions, as the menu is very diverse.

I have been here in the past for dinner which my entire family (a party of 9) and it was not a great experience. The service was slow even with an empty restaurant and a couple of the dishes weren’t cooked as described. This time definitely redeemed dinner to me. I still think The Wave is an excellent alternative to Magic Kingdom food.

The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

Breakfast at The Wave of American Flavors

For breakfast, The Wave offers a buffet and an a la carte menu. A few years ago when my sister was on the Disney college program, we found out about the buffet there and what a great deal it was. Disney frequently offers 40% off breakfast and lunch at The Wave for employees. If you or someone you know works there, make sure to check this site and see what the current discount is before going!

The Menu at The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

Currently the buffet is only $23 which is very cheap for all you can eat at Disney. We went a lot when my sister got the discount, but our last experience there turned us off. It was a late breakfast and almost all the food was cold and not replenished during our meal.

I had not been to The Wave for breakfast since 2015 because of that but recently attended a conference at The Contemporary and decided to give it a try. Instead of the buffet, I went with the very millennial $10 avocado toast. Considering it has an egg, bacon, and a watercress salad on top in addition to the avocado, it isn’t too absurdly expensive. I was extremely pleased with this as an entree! Everything on it was very fresh and made for a well rounded breakfast. The watermelon radishes and cheese toppings are not on the menu description, but were a welcome surprise to me. I finished the meal satisfied, but not entirely full. You may want to add a side of grits or potatoes if you have a full park day ahead of you.

The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

The Breakfast Buffet

The waitress initially recommended the buffet and when I expressed skepticism, she told me I could take a look and even have a parfait! I still only needed a light breakfast, but I was very impressed by the looks of the buffet. She said they only set out small portions at a time so they don’t get cold, which would help my previous issues.

In addition to the very carmelly banana parfaits, there is also the Eggs Benedict with key lime hollandaise that I remembered loving. They only bring out six at a time and the waitress said you can request a fresh one. The buffet also has bagels and lox, cheesy potato casserole, deviled eggs, Mickey waffles and pastries in addition to the usual breakfast fare.

The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary
The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary
The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary
The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary
The Wave of American Flavors at The Contemporary

Everything looked great and I think most people would enjoy most of the breakfast buffet options. It is still a bit underwhelming in regards to breakfast though. Ale and Compass or Kona Cafe probably have more enticing eats.

Know Before You Go

My past two visits to The Wave have really surprised me in terms of quality and variety of menu options. It honestly might be one of the most versatile restaurants at Disney World. There are definitely more fun themed places to eat, but this will work for a variety of situations. I recommend coming here if you are staying at the hotel or want to eat healthy. It’s also a great idea to eat here and then go walk to Magic Kingdom. Here’s the rest of the details:

  • The Wave is open for breakfast from 7:30 AM – 11, Lunch from 11:30 AM – 2, and dinner from 5 PM – 9:30
  • You do not need a reservation, but you might have a hard time parking here without one. I recommend making one, even if its like an hour before you are dining.
  • Reservations can be made here, up to 180 days in advance
  • The restaurant is located on the first floor of the Contemporary Resort. You can get here by, car, monorail, bus, or a boat from the Magic Kingdom area
  • Seating is inside only
  • You do not need a park ticket or hotel reservation to dine here
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The Wave of American Flavors is very unknown, so let me know if you have actually dined here! I would love to hear about your experience since mine have been mixed.