Home Disney Planning Tips Resort Guide: Steps away from the magic at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Resort Guide: Steps away from the magic at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

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Resort Guide: Steps away from the magic at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Credit: Disney

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is one of two opening day Disney World resorts. You are literally steps away from the magic! Here is everything you need to know about this wonderful resort.

About the Contemporary

Credit: Susan

Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened on October 1, 1971 making it one of two Disney World opening day resorts (the other being the Polynesian). It falls into the deluxe resort category and sits right outside Magic Kingdom! You cannot miss it due to its A-frame shape, which was very contemporary in the 1970s.

I (Monica) have stayed at the Contemporary Resort a few times, and I love it so much more than I thought I would! In this guide, I walk you through all of the dining options and recreational activities. Additionally, I share how to get around Disney World property from the Contemporary and more about the room accommodations.

Transportation

Credit: Donna

Contemporary Resort is accessible from the airport by shuttle services like Sunshine Flyer and MEARS as well as rideshare options. If you drive to Disney, you can park in the Guest parking just outside the resort.

Once you are on property, you have access to all the transportation options Disney offers. The biggest benefit is that you can walk to Magic Kingdom! There is a special walkway just for Guests of the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower. It is so nice not to have to worry about bus schedules or waiting for the monorail to open for the day.

Credit: Monica

Speaking of the monorail, you can hop on from inside the main building! You can access the Magic Kingdom, the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian, and the Transportation and Ticket Center from the Contemporary. The Transportation and Ticket Center will connect you to Epcot.

The water taxi will transport Guests from the Contemporary to Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness as well. Finally, bus service will get you to Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs. You can transfer buses at Disney Springs if your plans involve either of Disney’s water parks.

Dining and Shopping

Credit: Susan

The Contemporary offers plenty of dining options that are sure to please every palate. Table-service restaurants include Chef Mickey’s, Steakhouse 71, and California Grill (which offers a fireworks viewing party). There is one quick-service spot called Contempo Cafe. Bars and lounges include Contemporary Cafe, Outer Rim, Cove Bar, and The Sand Bar. Clicking any of those links will take you to our reviews!

My personal favorite is Steakhouse 71. Our team has had excellent experiences for breakfast and lunch as well as the lounge. Personally, I found Chef Mickey’s to be too chaotic and the food was subpar for the price. However, kids will love those Mickey hugs!

Credit: Monica

There are a few shopping locations so you can grab those souvenirs to take home, and they are all conveniently located next to one another! Bayview Gifts offers premium Disney souvenirs like adult clothing, jewelry, and houseware. Fantasia has everything your little one could desire with plenty of clothing, toys, and more!

Like other resorts, there is even a shop (Fantasia Market) for you to grab food, toiletries, and other supplies you may need for your stay.

Recreation

Credit: Monica

Electrical Water Pageant: Have you ever walked out of Magic Kingdom one night and saw floating sea creatures in the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake? That is none other than the Electrical Water Pageant, Disney’s oldest nighttime show.

A green sea monster leads the water procession while a variety of water animals follow to a medley of songs. You can see and hear this show from all around the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake area. You can spot the parade from the back area of the resort out on the water. There is a dock area with some seating. Read all about the pageant HERE.

Credit: Monica

Pools/Cabana rentals: There is one feature pool and play area with a slide and hot tub. Nearby is the all ages leisure pool. There are a couple cabanas you can rent by the hour or day to enjoy a bit more luxury and privacy! Additionally, there is a pool over at Bay Lake Tower, which is the DVC section of the resort (more on Bay Lake Tower in a bit).

Resort Campfire and Movies Under the Stars: Like other Disney World resorts, the Contemporary offers nightly campfires and movies. These are a fun way to spend the evening during a rest day. The schedule changes often so be sure to check it out when you check in.

Other: The Contemporary also has basketball, fishing, volleyball, tennis, jogging trails, boat rentals, specialty cruises, fitness center, and an indoor arcade.

Room Accommodations

Credit: Disney

The Contemporary has plenty of sleeping arrangements to accommodate your travel party. Standard suites all the way up to presidential suites offer garden, theme park, and standard views. Club level offerings are also available at the Contemporary to add a bit more magic to your visit.

The rooms recently underwent an “Incredibles” makeover to add some Disney IP to the hotel. The Contemporary is seriously lacking any resemblance of Disney theming, but many are divided on hotel renovations and whether or not Disney characters should be incorporated.

Bay Lake Tower

Credit: Monica

Bay Lake Tower (or BLT for short) is the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The Contemporary was one of the first resorts built at Disney World, but Bay Lake is not the first DVC accommodation!

It is the ninth Disney DVC resort and the seventh located on Disney World property. It opened in 2009, which makes it 12 years old!

Credit: Monica

Bay Lake Tower has deluxe studios, 1-bedroom villas, 2-bedroom villas, and 3-bedroom grand villas. These DVC rooms are configured differently from cash rooms and include kitchen and laundry amenities.

You can read all about Bay Lake Tower and my experience in a studio HERE.

Our Thoughts

Credit: Monica

Our team absolutely loves staying at the Contemporary. Jaelyn had a wonderful theme park view from Bay Lake Tower, and Donna shares that she loves staying at monorail resorts due to the ease of transportation.

When I (Monica) compared all of the Magic Kingdom resorts, the Contemporary was a clear winner due to dining, amenities, and being able to walk to the Magic Kingdom. Yes the theming leaves a little to be desired, but it is easy to look past that when you consider all the other wonderful benefits of staying here. Be sure to add it to your must-stay list!

Do you love Disney’s Contemporary Resort? Share your experiences with this resort in the comments below and on Facebook.

Are you planning a vacation? Reach out to our trusted travel agency sponsor Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Mouse Class Travel!

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