Disney's Contemporary Resort
Almost everyone who goes to Walt Disney World has been in the Contemporary Resort. That's because the monorail runs right through the middle of it. It's the coolest thing in the world to see the monorail disappear into the hotel and appear a few minutes later out the other end.
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The Contemporary is a special hotel. First, it's the tallest Disney hotel at Disney World and it's one of the best hotels anywhere in the world because of one little thing. What's that? It's a little thing called LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Yes, it's all about Location. The Contemporary Resort is located right next to the Magic Kingdom. Yes, right next door. In fact, it's about a 10-minute walk from the hotel to the front gate of the best theme park in the whole world. (If you happen to get a Theme Park View, you'll have a spectacular view right into the park and you'll think Wishes is happening right outside your window.)
The hotel sits between two of the best bodies of water you can imagine. On one side is Seven Seas Lagoon which is the lake in front of the Magic Kingdom. On the other side is Bay Lake (where the Tower gets its name from) that connects the Contemporary with the Wilderness area (Campground and Lodge).
The Grand Canyon Concourse
I said this is the tallest Disney hotel at Disney World and I meant it. This thing is 14 stories tall. (The rest of the Disney Hotels are just 3 or 4 stories.) The height of the hotel gives it room for one of the most impressive areas in all of Disney World. That's the Grand Canyon Concourse.
The Concourse stretches from the ground all the way up the 14 floors of the Resort. The is where the monorail runs through the concourse. Inside this massive structure are some of the restaurants, shops, and a lot of guest rooms.
On the walls of the concourse, which are 90-foot high, are tile murals created by one of Uncle Walt's favorite artists, Mary Blair. These murals include stories of native-Floridians (or is that native-Americans?), one of which includes a 5-legged goat (because nothing is perfect even at Disney World.)
The murals are something to behold.
The Contemporary Resort has 4 restaurants including one of the most loved character meals at Disney World. Three of the restaurants are Table Service (according to the Disney Dining Plan) and the other one is Quick Service.
Chef Mickey's - one thing the Contemporary Resort is well known for is Chef Mickey's. It's a great place to eat at a buffet hosted by the big mouse himself. Chef Mickey's is open at breakfast and dinner (and during busy seasons lunch too), you'll find Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto coming by your table to say hello. (Characters change without notice).
You can't miss Chef Mickey's, just look down when you arrive on the monorail.
The Wave - If you wanted to design a perfect restaurant to match the "modern" architecture of the Contemporary, you'd probably end up with The Wave. Wow does this thing fit in. When you walk into the restaurant, you walk down this big tunnel which ends in an eclectic dining experience.
Disney says this restaurant is a casual restaurant offering American-style cooking blended with world flavors. I don't know if that really caught the essence of our visit, but I will say Mrs. Mom and I had totally different experiences.
California Grill - The California Grill is a restaurant on top of the Contemporary Resort. It's currently under refurbishment.
Contempo Cafe - a quick-service snack shop that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night dining. It serves fast food such as bagels, cereals, sandwiches. At dinner you'll find a little more robust menu with pastas and more.
Fantasia Gift Shop - is located right in the middle next to the monorail. You can't miss it. It specializes in items based on the movie and Contemporary labeled nick nacks.
This resort has a vast array of guest rooms to choose from. Mostly the differences are in the view. Some rooms have a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom.
The rooms are some of the largest at Walt Disney World.
Activities and Entertainment
Along with great restaurants, the Contemporary has the best watersports options at Disney World. You can do just about anything possible on the water at Sammy Duval's Watersport Center. There are tennis courts, an arcade, a marina, pools, and lots more in case you get bored.
Getting to and from the Disney Contemporary Resort is a snap. You can walk (like you don't walk enough already), you can drive, you can take a boat, a monorail or even a taxi. There are even buses (Luxury Motor Coaches) everywhere except the Magic Kingdom.
The Contemporary Resort opened in 1971 when Walt Disney World was first introduced to the world. Walt designed it and the Polynesian Resort to be a special place for his guests to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Uncle Walt wanted the Contemporary to look state of the art and futuristic. In 1971 it was very eye opening. The design was nothing short of amazing for the day. Uncle Walt even invented a totally new modular concept in construction to build the Contemporary Resort (something that's used regularly today).
On top off all of that, the monorail ran right through the middle of the hotel. Amazing.
Construction begins - Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog
Bay Lake Tower
The Contemporary is now really 2 hotels in one. In 2009 the Bay Lake Tower replaced the old north garden wing. The resorts are tied together by a really neat walking bridge.
Bay Lake Tower is part of the Disney Vacation Club. It's an all suite hotel. There are studio, one, two and three bedroom suites that you can purchase an interest in or just rent them for the night.
The Bay Lake Tower - Photo by Jeff_B.
Map to the Contemporary
So where is the Contemporary? See for yourself. It's in just about the perfect location for a hotel. It's the only hotel (OK, we're not counting Bay Lake Towers because the Towers are really just an extension of the Contemporary) within walking distance of The Magic Kingdom.
View Disney's Disney Contemporary Resort in a larger map
Address and Phone Number
Disney's Contemporary Resort
4600 N. World Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
See reviews of the Contemporary Resort at Tripadvisor.com
Book Your Room Today
Are you ready? Why not get started today? All you have to do is fill out one little form and one of Dad's friends from Dreams Come True Vacations (don't you just love that name?) will get in touch with you and help you get started with a Perfect Vacation. What on earth are you waiting for?
Dad's Bottom Line
This is not Dad's favorite hotel, (that would be the Polynesian Resort) but the LOCATION is something special (even if it is a bit of a walk).
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