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The Wave…
of American Flavors

(2008-2021)
The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

The Wave isn’t really in the basement. It just seems that way, especially if you arrive by monorail. From the majestic Grand Canyon Concourse on the 4th floor, take a long escalator ride down to the first floor. There’s a high-quality, full-service restaurant experience waiting for you.


Dinner at The Wave is one of the easier reservations to get. And, truth be told, you have a pretty good chance of being seated quickly even if you don’t have a reservation.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2008

Dramatic entrance

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Breakfast at The Wave

The Wave is an all-day restaurant. Breakfast is not just for guests of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It’s also a “secret” favorite breakfast spot for knowledgeable guests of other resorts on their Magic Kingdom days.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Entrance tunnel

You’re here for dinner. Walk through a stainless steel sculpture representing the curl of an ocean wave. You’ll check in at the other end.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Holiday décor in the tunnel

If you’re here during the holidays, the stainless steel will look less like a wave because it will be festooned with decorations for the season.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

The Blue Room

Wait for your table in the Blue Room. Have a drink while you wait. It’s very dark and very blue.

If there’s a crowd, you might have stumbled on a group here to begin Disney’s Highway In The Sky Dine Around, Walt Disney World’s monorail-based five-course progressive dinner.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Dining room

Your table is ready. You head into the large, windowless dining room. Notice that the ceiling has waves. Although pleasant, the room lacks “story” and atmosphere. The décor can be described as ”early 21st century hotel restaurant” or maybe ”cruise ship dining room.” You might find it sophisticated. You might find it cafeteria-like. People seem to see it in different ways.

Of course, what really matters is the food and service. Place your order and enjoy your meal.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Entrée section of the dinner menu

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Seasonal Salad
Seasonal Accompaniment with Local Greens in a House-made Vinaigrette

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Seasonal Soup
with Chef’s Accompaniment

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Chili-rubbed Chicken
Florida Creamed Corn, Charred Okra, Spoonbread, Applewood-smoked Bacon Jam, Salsa Verde

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Seared Pork Tenderloin, Brussels Sprouts, Acorn Squash, Fig Demi

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2018

Sustainable Fish of the Day
Carolina Gold Rice Perlou with Port Canaveral Rock Shrimp, Crab Beurre Blanc

In comparison to the many highly themed restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort, The Wave may seem rather generic. The Wave has overcome this by developing a reputation for a good menu, a skillful kitchen, friendly servers, and good value.


The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World opened June 7, 2008, in the first-floor space that had previously been the resort’s Fiesta Fun Center.

According to the official Walt Disney World website in early 2009, “The Wave is a casual restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering healthy choices, world flavors and original cocktails at Disney's Contemporary Resort.”

In early 2010, its full name became The Wave…of American Flavors, but people still just called it The Wave.

Back when Magic Kingdom Park table-service options were limited, reservations were hard to get, and the entire park was dry, The Wave was a terrific dinner option in walking distance from the park.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2011

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Wave closed July 16, 2021, for a major refurbishment. The Wave would reopen in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. At least that was the expectation at the time.

During the closure, the California Grill at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort offered breakfast—with a great view, unlike The Wave.

It would be more than just a refurbishement. It would be an entirely new restaurant concept with a new name. On August 20, Disney announced Steakhouse 71. On September 13, Disney announced that the family-friendly steakhouse would open October 1 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo from the Disney Parks Blog © Disney

A preview of Steakhouse 71 entrées

According to the Disney Parks Blog, ”Steakhouse 71, which gets its name from the year the resort opened, has a sleek yet comfortable décor with fun design elements from the ’70s and hints of our Florida heritage with subtle sightings of the beloved Orange Bird and citrus groves.”

Befitting the term steakhouse, the new dinner menu emphasizes various cuts of beef (and one of pork) along with sides and sauces. There are also three items without red meat: Florida Sustainable Fish en Papillote, Chicken Chasseur, and a vegan Vegetable Wellington.

The Wave... of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim

The name Steakhouse 71 might seem familiar, especially if you’ve dined at the Disneyland Hotel. The hotel’s Steakhouse 55, which opened November 27, 2006, was the top restaurant for steaks at the Disneyland Resort. When the Disneyland Hotel reopened July 2, 2021, after closing in 2020 due to the pandemic, most dining locations returned—but not Steakhouse 55. Disney confirmed it had closed permanently.

Apparently, Disney can’t have two restaurants whose name begins with “Steakhouse” and ends with a significant two-digit opening year.


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Updated September 17, 2021