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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Welcome to Steakhouse 71 – One of Disney’s Newest Eateries

 by Beth Keating



November 23, 2021


One of the most highly sought after dining reservations right now at Disney World in Florida is Steakhouse 71, the new eatery that moved into the former location of “The Wave… of American Flavors” at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  The Wave closed in July before the site underwent renovations.

In fact, the buzz for this new restaurant has been so hot that after days of trying to lock in a dinner reservation, the only seats we could book turned out to be breakfast reservations nearly three weeks out. It turns out that the buzz is well deserved.


Opening on October 1, 2021 (the kick-off for the 50th Anniversary of Disney World), the new casual sit-down dining location takes its name from the opening year of the Magic Kingdom (1971), with a subtle tip of the hat to the well-loved Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland in California. Its home is on the first floor of the Contemporary, one of Disney World’s original hotels.

Like many other locations around the Disney Parks, Steakhouse 71 is offering a few specialty dishes to honor the 50th Anniversary celebrations this year. One of the special offerings at Steakhouse 71 is Walt’s Prime Rib Hash ($17.00), and two of our diners opted to try what was reportedly among Walt Disney’s favorite foods.   Made with seared prime rib, fried potatoes, caramelized onions and peppers topped with a fried egg, it’s a disservice to call this “hash.” The word doesn’t come close to doing justice for this flavorful dish. The prime rib was tender, and the seasoning tied together the entire dish.

Another diner opted for the Steakhouse 71 Seasonal Pancakes ($14.00), which on this day was a set of delicious pumpkin pancakes. (The selection, as the name implies, will change with the seasons, but this choice was a worthy contender.)  


Served with either bacon, pork sausage, or chicken sausage, the pancakes had a decorative drizzle of icing and a set of candied pecans centered on the top.  The pancakes themselves had a hint of sweetness, and definitely did not have the stereotypical cinnamon and nutmeg laced flavor that generally permeates pumpkin anything this time of year. Rather, the pancakes were delicate and fluffy, offering just a hint of “autumn” without being overpowering.  The surprise accent to the meal was the syrup, which was a coffee infused syrup with the coffee notes on the backend to finish the syrup. Totally unexpected, and a very nice accompaniment to the pancakes’ light pumpkin flavor.

The restaurant was open and airy, despite the fact that as an interior restaurant, there are no windows to the outside world.  In undertaking the remodel, Disney made sure the new restaurant was considerably lighter in atmosphere than its dimly lit predecessor, something that had been a common complaint among previous diners in the space.  Steakhouse 71 has windows, of a sort, in the middle of the restaurant, looking into the bar area (which you are welcome to visit without needing reservations, as a first come-first served locale.) And with a very odd piece of commentary, the dining chairs were likely the most comfortable restaurant seating we recall having in a long time!


The entry to the restaurant, which many remember as a “tunnel” leading into the reception area, is now brighter as well, and offers a bit of a time capsule into the early beginnings of the Magic Kingdom via oversized black and white photos of the construction process.

The service was wonderful at Steakhouse 71, with many of the staff coming over to the new digs from The Wave, including our waiter for the morning, who’d been at The Wave for five years.  He was friendly and welcoming, offering helpful descriptions of the entrees, making sure we got our breakfasts in a timely manner so we could get over to the parks.




Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.


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