We were already planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom, but the plan was if the park was too crazy to retreat to one of the nearby resorts. The crowds weren’t too overwhelming, but the heat was. We ended up leaving the park a little early to get out of the sun. We jumped on the monorail and headed to the Contemporary Resort for an escape to The Sandbar Grill. There is a walkway between the park and the hotel we usually like to take to get some extra steps in, but the monorail got us out of the sun right away. If you don’t have a pass for parking, you can park at Disney Springs and take a bus directly to the Contemporary.
The Contemporary theme is modern, but it has a classic charm about it. It is one of the original hotels that opened with the park in 1971. There are plenty of treats and restaurants to explore in the hotel including the Contempo Café, which I previously visited. The hotel was busy for a weeknight during park hours, but there’s a lot of space, so it didn’t feel too crowded. We strolled through the hotel and gift shops and even stopped for some Skee-Ball in the arcade. Then it was time to head out to The Sandbar Grill for something to eat.
The Sandbar is located outside, behind the Contemporary by Bay Lake. It is a walk-up window for snacks, but also has a small indoor bar for ordering drinks. The Grill provides snacks and drinks for the pool and those renting boats or spending time at the dock. The walk-up window’s theming is that of your standard waterside grill. There are several tables under umbrellas around the restaurant to eat at. If these are all taken,
there is an area nearby with a bunch of chairs around a large singular tree that should usually be unoccupied. The window serves food and drinks from 11am-8pm. There will be people passing by using the resort boats to go to the Magic Kingdom and other hotels. These were few and far between while we were there. The pool had just been shut down minutes before we arrived due to inclement weather. It was only starting to sprinkle, but there was lightning in the distance. This pretty much vacated everyone from the area. It’s important to note The Sandbar stayed open though because they are located inside the building.
The Sandbar Grill main menu offers mostly handheld options from pitas to burgers. These top out in price at $12.99 for the Angus bacon cheeseburger and fries. There is a small kid’s menu with handheld options around $7. There are also general snacks here like nachos and a soft pretzel. We ordered the Pressed Turkey Sandwich and fries for $9.50. We ordered at the first window, and it was hot and ready about 8 minutes later. The bread had a nice crunch, and the flavors worked well with the savory bacon and sweet cranberry aioli. The sandwich was big and enough to fill the two of us, especially with the fries. The Pressed Turkey Sandwich was filling comfort food and was worth the trip.
The Sandbar is also a full liquor bar. They have canned beer and wine available outside at the walk-up window to order along with your food. These alcoholic options range from $7.25- $10. Around the corner from the window where you pick up your meal, is where the actual bar is located. Here there is a large menu with some signature mixed drinks offered at the location. The mixed drinks range in price from $12-$13.50. There is a small inside counter to order drinks from, where there is also a full bar available. These drinks would be great to take out onto the dock here that extends onto Bay Lake.
After we ate, we took a walk down for a view from the water. We only got a few minutes in, though, as it quickly started to pour. We made it back into the Contemporary without getting too wet. We found some chairs and decided to wait it out by the giant windows inside the hotel. If you enjoy watching storms, the enormous windows at the Contemporary are an excellent place to do it.
Eventually, it got late, and it didn’t look like the storm was going anywhere, so we decided we had to brave the rain. We used the monorail to get back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Once we stepped off the monorail though, pretty much the rest of our journey was through the direct downpour. It got a little scary as the lightning got closer, but overall, it was fun. I recommend The Sandbar Grill for anyone using the monorail looking for a quick-service lunch without a crowd. It’s also a great spot to stop and get a drink with a view before boarding a boat to the Magic Kingdom.