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Where to stay: Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

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Published: March 11, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Many people have mixed emotions when it comes to the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World.

Contemporary Resort
Disney's Contemporary Resort, with the Bay Lake Tower to the left

Some like it for the nostalgia of riding on the monorail through the concourse. Others feel it lacks the whimsy that many other Disney resorts offer. Then there are people, like me, who fell in love with this resort and it's Disney Vacation Club/deluxe villa part: Bay Lake Tower. So much so, that we became Disney Vacation Club members making Bay Lake Tower our home resort. Not only is this a monorail resort, but the Contemporary/Bay Lake Tower is the only one with a walkway to the Magic Kingdom.

Bay Lake Tower offers a variety of rooms. It has deluxe studio, one-bedroom villa, two-bedroom villa, and the three-bedroom grand villa. The studios, one and two-bedroom villas are available with standard, lake, and Magic Kingdom view rooms. The three-bedroom grand villa is available in lake and Magic Kingdom views. Its views of the Magic Kingdom are some of the best by far of the three monorail resorts.

Magic Kingdom view
The view of the Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary Resort's Bay Lake Tower

Bay Lake Tower is connected to the Contemporary Resort by a whimsical, curvy bridge that reflects the aesthetics of the two buildings. When you step off the bridge into the Contemporary, you are on the fourth floor. This has the shops, Bay View Gifts, Fantasia Gift Shop, and Fantasia Market. It also has your quick service dining Contempo Cafe and the very popular table service, Chef Mickey's. Game Station Arcade is also located here. The escalator to the monorail is accessed from this floor. Located on the first floor of the Contemporary is the popular healthy alternative restaurant, The Wave. The top floor boasts the signature dining restaurant, California Grill.

Bedroom
A Bay Lake Tower bedroom

When we have visited this resort, we have stayed in both the two-bedroom villas and the one-bedroom villas. When you enter into your room, you can see touches of Disney with a definite pop art feel. The pictures on the wall reflect iconic scenes such as Space Mountain or Cinderella's Castle in bright colors. Rough drawings of Mickey and Minnie adorn other areas of your room. The designs of the furniture and bathrooms all show a contemporary, angular look. Everything is squared or rounded with modern touches such as metal arms on a chair. Even the lamps have prominent geometrical shapes. The bed spreads share a circular pattern that reflect a barrage of hidden Mickey's. The master bathroom contains the whirlpool tub, and separate shower with bench and two different shower heads. Our boys spent many a happy time playing in the shower, pretending it was raining while sitting on the bench.

Kitchen
A Bay Lake Tower villa kitchen, after a day in the parks!

The kitchen has what one needs, if you plan on doing any cooking while on vacation. A booth is next to the kitchen, with two chairs at the island. These do come in handy when you order room service. The kitchen and living room are in an open area with no dividers. Large windows cover the wall of the living room, with a door going out to the balcony. Each bedroom has a sliding glass door that leads out to a balcony. If you have a Magic Kingdom view room, you can turn your television to the resort station, and hear the music while watching the fireworks from your balcony. If you have a lake view room or a Magic Kingdom view, you can also see the nightly water pageant that sails along Bay Lake. You are given a time schedule for this when you check into your resort.

Pool
The Bay Cove Pool

Disney's Bay Lake Tower also boasts Bay Cove Pool. This area has a pool with water slide, hot tub and splash area. The last few times we have been here have been on the cold side (at least for me) to really enjoy the pool amenities. My husband and sons braved it in December and had a wonderful time going down the slide and swimming. I stretched out in one of the lounge chairs overlooking Bay Lake and took a much needed nap. Cove Bar is in this area and offers drinks and snacks. On Wednesday evenings, there is an outdoor movie shown in this area. Information for this along with the Community Hall and DVD rentals on the first floor of Bay Lake Tower.

This resort does have a definite theme. Being so close to the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland, it seems to reflect this than anything else. One almost has a futuristic feeling when you step into this resort. It is as if one has just stepped into another extension of Tomorrowland, to dream of your upcoming day of vacation.

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Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on March 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM
Thank you for the review, Amanda.

I'm curious to hear from TPI readers who've stayed at the various "monorail" resorts which one they think provides the best value (views, comfort, service, room sizes, etc.) for the money. Anyone?

From Brian Emery on March 12, 2013 at 6:03 AM
We always stay at Sheraton Resorts in Orlando but I did enjoy reading this and wanted to say thanks….
From Russell Meyer on March 12, 2013 at 7:47 AM
I've never stayed there, but most Disney World message boards consistantly rave that the Polynesian provides the best "value" among the 3 monorail resorts, assuming spending over $200/night for a hotel room is valuable to anyone other than the hotellier.
From Chet Crockett on March 14, 2013 at 7:55 PM
Amanda, great read. We have stayed in a two bedroom villa at BLT and really enjoyed the convenience of its location. I, too, am a DVC member, with 5 different home resorts. BLT is one. BLT eliminated one of my negative comments by recently adding a check-in desk in the actual lobby. My only other negative comment involved the "theme-feel" of the resort. At first check-in, it kinda felt like an upscale Hyatt or Hilton. But after one takes the time to really walk around and look at the furnishings, the design and the actual theme of the resort, it becomes kinda cool. We have stayed at Aulani, AK villas and Wilderness Lodge and you are immediately hit with the theme as soon as you enter the lobby. I guess that spoiled us, thus requiring us to slow down and really look at the details at BLT. With all said, BLT is a keeper and should be experienced by everyone.

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