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This Disney World Resort is in DESPERATE Need of a Retheme!

This Disney World Resort is in DESPERATE Need of a Retheme!

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All Disney resorts are NOT made equal and this resort needs some love!

Theming and Walt Disney World Resorts

Credit: Maggie

Walt Disney World Resorts are in a class of their own when it comes to theming and immersion. There is truly a resort for all tastes and price points. Disney sets itself apart when it comes to the experience of staying on property. Guests can stay in resorts that are heavily themed to the Disney movies like Art of Animation and its suites or can opt for a more sophisticated yet equally immersive experience at places like the Grand Floridian Resort.

Some resorts and resort amenities even have theming that connects guests to attractions and experiences in the parks! Consider Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and its connection to S.E.A. and Adventureland. Some resorts have intricate backstories created by the Imagineers to continue the storytelling vibes and atmosphere that is carried throughout the entire Walt Disney World property. The Wilderness Lodge in its earliest iterations is the perfect example of this. Guests at check-in to the resort would receive a newspaper entitled The Silver Creek Star that told the Lodge’s history and stories as written by Imagineers.

Thus, when you are on Disney property, especially within the context of Disney’s top deluxe resorts, you expect an immersive experience. One resort I (Jaelyn) recently stayed in was a giant glaring letdown when it comes to theming, immersion, usable room space, and accessible dining and amenities. Read on to learn why this resort really needs some attention…and soon!

Resort Overview

Credit: Monica

During one of my most recent stays at Walt Disney World, my family and I completed a massive split stay experience staying at four different resorts over the span of five nights. In this stay, we concentrated our experiences mainly on monorail resorts, but included one night’s stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The other nights were split amongst the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and Bay Lake Tower.

While an excellent place to stay for easy walkable access to the Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake Tower was, by far, the worst resort we stayed in during our five night split stay. The resort simply leans too hard on access to the Magic Kingdom as its main selling point and does not offer any additional charm, amenities, or theming to entice guests to book a stay. It is in definite need of some love and attention by Disney! Read on to learn exactly why this is the case.

Issue #1: Lack of Theming in Common Spaces and Rooms

Credit: Monica

First and foremost, Bay Lake Tower has no theme and feels very much like a generic hotel, which is a far cry from most all other deluxe resorts on property. The lobby is truly generic and easily forgettable. Even the non-Disney properties of the Swan and Dolphin bring more to the table in regard to lobby spaces and the luxury at the Riviera resort’s lobby, another resort that does not necessarily have high levels of immersive theming, makes the issues at Bay Lake Tower stand out even more.

The pool dedicated to Bay Lake Tower is also simply just okay, which doesn’t seem fair when it is in the same booking category as resorts with spectacular pool spaces like the Beach Club, the Polynesian, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is subtly themed after Mickey Mouse, with a hidden Mickey pool shape and a slide with a Mickey Mouse head on the side. The pool is also on the Bay Lake side, meaning that there are no theme park views from the pool like the magnificent fireworks and castle views from the Polynesian pool space.

Resort rooms also leave so much to be desired in regard to theming. Beyond a few “modern art” style pictures of Mickey Mouse, there is really nothing that brings the room together into a theme. Arguably, rooms at All Star Movies or another value resort provide a much better Mickey Mouse theme than Bay Lake Tower for a fraction of the price!

Issue #2: Outdated Room Configurations

Credit: Monica

Bay Lake Tower is in desperate need of a refresh when it comes to room configurations. It is a DVC property, so rooms are designated as studios, one bedroom, two bedroom, or three bedroom grand villas. The studio rooms are the smallest studio room in the DVC portfolio and are poorly designed, leaving lots of dead space that simply does not work for most guests.

Another issue found in DVC studios that have yet to be renovated is the pullout couch situation. Almost all rooms have received either a murphy bed (like those found in the Polynesian studios) or daybed (like those found in the resort studios at the Grand Floridian). Bay Lake Tower has the old pull out couches which are acceptable maybe for children, but are not a high quality sleep choice for adults.

This, along with no additional option for a fifth sleeper pulldown, makes the room configuration and sleeping layout undesirable for most families and travel parties.

Issue #3: Lack of Dining and Amenities

Credit: Susan

While this is a much bigger issue that will likely never be addressed with a retheme or refresh, Bay Lake Tower is in desperate need of additional amenities dedicated to its space. Though it is connected to the Contemporary Resort and guests can access the dining, shopping, and amenities here, not to mention the monorail access to two Walt Disney World parks the tower itself really has nothing for itself.

First, there is the Top of the World Lounge, but this is only accessible to DVC owners. Cove Bar, the pool bar, is only option for dining at Bay Lake Tower itself and its menu is not extensive. Some could argue that, because the resort is within steps of the Magic Kingdom gates and/or close to a monorail station, this should not be an issue.

The True Caveat

Credit: Jaelyn

Though I’d recommend staying at Bay Lake Tower to almost no one because of its overall lackluster vibe, there is one true caveat to this statement. Booking a room with a theme park view is truly the only way to make Bay Lake Tower worth the money. While the room will still be small and lack a lot of the theming and amenities of other deluxe resorts, being able to stand on your balcony and watch Happily Ever After while the monorail whirls by is a view that I’ll never forget!

If you are interested in checking out my review of a theme park view just prior to the start of the 50th Anniversary at Walt Disney World, check that out here!

Credit: Monica

Overall, Bay Lake Tower is in true need of some love and attention. I would likely opt to stay at a value resort over Bay Lake Tower simply because the cost, even when renting DVC points at a good rate, does not equate to the experience.

What are your opinions of Bay Lake Tower? Was I fair in my judgment, or do you think Bay Lake Tower does not need attention? Be sure to comment your thoughts below and share this article with your favorite travel partners!

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Thursday 15th of June 2023

We are DVC members and always stay at BLT as we love it! However, in our most recent stays, we have stayed in the Grand Villas for the VIEW. With 2 story views, this IS the theme. My biggest complaint is the rooms need serious upkeep for safety reasons, but when paying the amount for a 2-story Grand Villa, the windows need repair.... some are foggy, some covered with mold. This is unacceptable since one huge reason for staying here is the VIEW!


Monday 12th of June 2023

I 100% agree with you. We did a split stay at Old Key West and Bay Lake Tower in December 2020. Even though OKW is much older, it was superior in nearly every way (except proximity to Magic Kingdom) to BLT. We were in a 2 bedroom and I definitely think the space was awkwardly designed and left a lot of unused area. It almost even felt cramped even though we had 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms (the other amenity I do love - the extra bathroom). Even worse than the strange layout (we could barely maneuver our stroller into the room without some gymnastics) was the elevator situation. Two elevators served the entirety of the tower - it wasn't enough. We were on a low floor and took the stairs almost exclusively because of this. I had such high hopes for it but it was probably the only property we won't return to anytime soon.


Monday 12th of June 2023

Leave things alone for a change!

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