*This gluten free dining experience took place in October 2020. It includes information about dairy free options, as well as fish/shellfish, peanut, hazelnut, cabbage, and chicken & turkey allergies.
Dinner at The Wave
The Wave, located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, has long been one of our top favorite resort table service restaurants. We always enjoy the atmosphere and the delicious food. Brandon and I often call this a hidden gem, because it’s not a table service restaurant that guests immediately think of when considering resort dining. But, we can’t recommend it enough as a great option, including for those with special dietary needs. Back in October, we had a chance to enjoy dinner at The Wave, which is our favorite meal service at the restaurant.
COVID-19 & Reopening Notes
On this particular visit, we made reservations for the restaurant a few days before we dined there. I used the My Disney Experience app and found that there was a late evening seating, which we decided to book (the restaurant closed at 9 p.m.). The app worked as it normally does, and we were able to add in our special dietary needs in the app and alert cast members of our needs when we arrived at the restaurant. We tried to use online restaurant check-in when we arrived at The Wave, but it wasn’t working on our visit. Cast members at The Wave were able to check us in though with no worries.
The Contemporary Resort itself featured many mechanisms to provide sanitization, social distancing, and safety for both guests and cast members. All cast members wore facial masks and some cast members also wore protective shields, as well. All servers in the restaurant wore both facial masks and protective shields. In addition, there were many portable hand sanitizer stations for guests to use. We also saw cast members regularly cleaning surfaces and restrooms throughout our visit.
The Contemporary Resort is definitely a bit busier than it was when we went in July 2020. However, it’s still much quieter than normal. We have found that if you’re less comfortable with busier restaurants that you dine at the earliest dining, as we have found opening dining to be the least crowded. On this visit, we ate during the last seating, and it was a little busier in the beginning than we would have liked, but it cleared out fairly quickly as our meal progressed.
As a note, at the time of writing this review, we have been to several of the Disney Resorts, including the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Resort, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Old Key West Resort, Polynesian, and Riviera Resort. All locations have the same protocols, as far as we have observed. Be sure to check with restaurants and the official Disney World website for additional information about current guidelines and recommendations.
The Wave is themed after waves of the ocean. And, you’ll see that theme throughout the restaurant, from the moment you step into the entrance.
Because I have written a lot of reviews about this restaurant with details about the theming, in this review, I’ll highlight some new pictures. If you’re interested in more information about theming, check out some of the older reviews.
I absolutely love the waiting/seating area. There’s a really great set of paintings here that are both contemporary but also have a bit of Mary Blair style in them.
And, of course, no visit to The Wave is complete without taking photos of some of the decor, like the wave inspired lighting.
As you can see, by the time we left the restaurant, the seating areas were fairly quiet. You can also see the social distance markers to separate some of the tables too.
Like most restaurants at Disney World, The Wave does offer an allergy-friendly menu. You can also always speak to a chef when you dine at The Wave, which we highly recommend — especially if you have multiple special dietary needs or have questions about the menu, including customizing dishes and making modifications. On this visit, we did not speak to a chef, but we have on many occasions there. The chefs there are very good and always very willing to offer accommodations.
After ordering, our server brought us each bread service. I was given the gluten free, dairy free & allergy-friendly Bloomfield Farms rolls and some butter with pink salt. If you are dairy free, be sure to ask for Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, which the restaurant offers.
I have to admit, I’ve grown to really love the Bloomfield Farms brand rolls. When heated properly they are really tasty, and they feel like a very hearty bread option too.
Brandon was given the regular bread service, which looked a bit like brioche. This is a nut free option, though we were advised that it was possibly made in the same facility as peanuts, so if you have a peanut or tree nut allergy that is always good to know. Brandon is OK with items produced in the same area, as long as he isn’t given peanuts or hazelnut, but you’ll always want to trust your own comfort level for allergies. Brandon has also eaten the Bloomfield Farms rolls quite a bit too and is also a fan now. Overall, Brandon was not a particularly big fan of this bread service, especially as the bread was not warm.
It’s hard for us to go to the Wave now and not order the Bacon & Eggs appetizer, which comes with cheddar grits, poached egg, and maple glazed pork belly. This dish is gluten free, fish/shellfish free, peanut/tree nut free, cabbage free, and chicken & turkey free. It does contain dairy.
If you can have dairy and are gluten free, this is an absolute must order. Brandon and I typically split this appetizer and just love the combination of sweet and salty flavors along with the rich textures. It feels decadent and is a great way to start your meal at The Wave.
For my entree, I decided to get the Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Cheddar Grits, Coffee-Barbecue Sauce, Roasted Broccolini, and Chermoula. This dish is marked safe for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Fish/Shellfish, and Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies. It does contain dairy, but if you talk to a chef, they should be able to make some modifications (like swapping the grits for another side).
I always love the seasonal pork tenderloin dishes at The Wave. They always switch things up seasonally, and this version was a real winner. The pork was perfectly cooked and super flavorful. The sauces, especially the chermoula were absolutely delicious and really added a lot of depth to the dish. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with more cheesy grits. I loved everything about this dish and would highly recommend it if you enjoy pork tenderloin.
For Brandon’s entree, he chose Grilled Beef Tenderloin. It normally comes with au gratin potatoes and seasonal vegetables, but Brandon asked for mashed potatoes instead. This dish was marked safe for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Peanut/Tree Nut, Shellfish, and Soy Allergies. It is also chicken & turkey free and cabbage free.
Because Brandon is not a big sauce person, he opted to get the peppadew vinaigrette on the side. He didn’t love it at first, but the sauce definitely grew on him. It’s always a good idea to get a sauce on the side if you’re not sure you’ll be a fan. Overall, this dish is always a winner and one of Brandon’s go-to’s at The Wave.
If you want to get more information about our visit to The Wave, we did film our visit for our YouTube channel.
The Wave continues to be one of our all-time favorite reasonably priced and delicious table service restaurants at the resorts. We always have a great meal, and the chefs are always really wonderful there. We also love that the restaurant’s menu does change a bit seasonally, which makes it a great place to dine and get a bit of variety in your meal options.
Have you been to The Wave? What was your experience when you dined there?