Monday, August 11, 2014

Disney's Bay Lake Tower Review

When you think of Magic Kingdom resorts, you probably think of the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. But don't forget to consider another wonderful choice: Bay Lake Tower. This is a deluxe villa resort connected to Disney's Contemporary Resort. Although it is a Disney Vacation Club resort, it can also be booked as part of a Walt Disney World package. 

Location/Transportation

I really love staying at Bay Lake Tower. I get all the amenities of Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the larger rooms for my whole family to be comfortable just like we are at home, but better. The lobby of Bay Lake Tower is adorned in glass and marble, and has the atmosphere of a fine hotel with modern touches. I find it to be comfortable, clean, and fun as any of the  Disney property resorts are. It’s impressive with the towering structure and Sky Bridge overlooking Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle and Space Mountain “across the street”. The staff is always welcoming and helpful; the last time we walked into the lobby for the first time they gave my 5-year-old Mickey stickers as long as he was tall.  It’s adjacent to Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the 5th floor of Bay Lake is connected to the 4th floor of the Contemporary via the “Sky Bridge”. I love the location and access to most of the parks is simple. Guests can ride the Monorail to Magic Kingdom or Epcot, board a boat to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, or take buses to everywhere else in the Walt Disney World Resort Area. 

Dining
Bay Lake Tower shares all the dining options at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, including 3 table service establishments: The Wave on the 1st Floor, Chef Mickey’s on the 4th Floor, and California Grill on the 15th floor. The Wave features American fare such as steaks, burgers, chicken and it’s often not too hard to get a reservation or walk right in (although having a reservation guarantees you a table at the time you want). On the other hand, Chef Mickey’s is the only Character Dining option at the Contemporary Resort and also popular for non-guests of the resort, therefore reservations are absolutely recommended. Chef Mickey’s features the Fab 5, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and, Pluto with an American Buffet. Last, The California Grill is newly refurbished and the Contemporary’s Signature Dining Experience. Reservations here are also recommended. It sits on the top floor of the A-frame Tower and if you time your reservation just right you can view the Wishes Fireworks show right from the restaurant. They will pipe the music in and dim the lights or you can visit the observation deck before or after your reservation.  The other option for eating at the Contemporary is the Quick Service Counter called “Contempo Café”, also on the 4th Floor.  This is where you can refill your resort mug or grab a quick bite. The dining room of both the Contempo Café and Chef Mickey’s has a view of the Monorail Station (that may be my 5 year old son’s favorite part).

Guest Rooms
Bay Lake Tower is a Deluxe Villa property so they have 3 types of rooms available: Deluxe Studio, 1 Bedroom Villa, or 2 Bedroom Villa. The Deluxe Studios accommodate 4 people and are furnished with 2 queen size beds, 1 full bathroom and a kitchenette area including a refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. The 1 Bedroom Villas have a full bedroom with a King size bed, Jacuzzi tub, double sink and separate water closet with shower and toilet. There is a living room with a foldout queen sofa and twin chair. The room also has a full kitchen, stacked washer and dryer, and a 2nd bathroom with a tub/shower combo. Not to mention a full size bench table and island counter with stools. The 1 bedroom is designated to accommodate 5 people. The 2 Bedroom Villa is the largest room available generally speaking it includes all the features listed for the 1 Bedroom Villa however, you have an additional bedroom with 2 Queen size beds and a connecting 3rd bathroom with tub/shower combo. The 2 bedroom Villa is designated to accommodate 9 people. All Villa properties have a pack and play in the storage closet, and high chair with the full kitchen layouts. Each resort room comes with a variety of view options overlooking, the Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake View or a Standard View. The most desirable view is overlooking the Magic Kingdom. At night you can see the Wishes fireworks display over the castle from the privacy of your balcony. A Lake View can be amazing as well; you can catch the nightly Electric Water Pageant, a show on Bay Lake with lit musical barges.

Resort Amenities
In addition to the dining options on the 4th floor of Disney’s Contemporary, the resort also features an Arcade, multiple Gift Shoppes, The Outer Rim Lounge and the Monorail station a short elevator or escalator ride up to the platform. The Monorail is a few quick stops before reaching the final destination – the Magic Kingdom, or a transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) for the Epcot Monorail lines. I sometimes find that it’s quicker to walk to the Magic Kingdom. I like to walk in the morning and take the Monorail back to the resort, as it’s the first stop on the way back! Sometimes, we just ride the Monorail loop and get off to explore the other stops; Disney’s Grand Floridian or Polynesian Resorts.

I love to spend time in the Bay Cove Pool at Bay Lake Tower! As a resort guest you are also able to visit the pool behind the Contemporary as well. Both pools have an interactive play area and water slide for the kids or kids at heart. The Marina at the resort can bring you to the other Bay Lake resorts or you can rent sailboats, canoes, various motorized boats and schedule various water sports including parasailing, and Sea Raycers on the Lake.


As all Disney resorts, they have various family oriented activities at the Resort. Tuesday Nights on the lawn between Disney’s Contemporary and Bay Lake you can watch the Movie Under the Stars and on scheduled nights the Cast Members hold a marshmallow roast by the fire pit on the walkway to the Marina. You can have as many as you want and it’s all free.

Jeanine

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