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Complete Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Disney’s Bay Lake Tower

Complete Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Disney’s Bay Lake Tower

Bay Lake Tower is the DVC tower attached to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Some love it and others…well, not so much. Let’s take a deep dive into everything the tower offers to see why it’s such a polarizing DVC property.

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 14 years old!

These rooms can be booked with points by DVC members. If you are curious about what DVC is, check out Heather’s article HERE. Members can also rent their points out to non-members. I (Monica) have rented points several times, and the savings are fantastic. You can read all about the advantages and disadvantages of renting points HERE.

Additionally, Guests can book a stay at BLT with a cash reservation. With the close proximity to Magic Kingdom – it’s less than 10 minutes to WALK there! – these rooms are more on the expensive side. Of course, regular rooms at the Contemporary Resort are all cash reservations so that’s an option as well.

Bay Lake Transportation

Credit: Monica

From the airport, you can utilize ride share or other transportation services to get here. If you drive to Disney, you can park in the Guest parking just outside the tower. There is free parking for all Guests!

Once you are on property, you have access to all the transportation options Disney offers. As I mentioned above, you can walk to Magic Kingdom! There is a special walkway just for Guests of the Contemporary and Bay Lake. Via monorail, you can access the Magic Kingdom, the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). From the TTC, get on the Epcot line and you are just a few minutes away from that park!

The water taxi will transport Guests from the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower to Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness in addition to the Magic Kingdom. Finally, bus service will get you to Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs (with transfer service to the water parks).

Rooms

Credit: Monica

Bay Lake Tower offers a true home away from home experience. Along with studios, there are also 1 bedroom villas, 2 bedroom villas, and 3 bedroom grand villas. Full kitchens, multiple bathrooms, roomy living spaces, and stunning views of Magic Kingdom or the Bay Lake offer very deluxe accommodations in the villas for the length of your stay!

You may have a view of the Seven Seas Lagoon or the Magic Kingdom depending on which view you book. If you can afford it, we always recommend a theme park view. Nothing beats being able to watch the fireworks from your room!

You can read my review of a studio HERE, plus we also have a review of a 2 bedroom villa HERE.

Credit: Monica

One thing to keep in mind is that Bay Lake Tower has not been renovated since 2015-2016. This was just a soft goods refurbishment and it was not able to address two of its biggest complaints: the size of the rooms and lack of charging outlets. Studios especially are a tight fit for 4 people. We do like the separate kitchenette, but the square footage just does not compare to other DVC resorts or resorts that have two bathroom areas.

These minor issues can certainly be overlooked when you consider the location of Bay Lake and the wonderful amenities of the resort as a whole. It’s hard to complain about square footage when you are less than 10 minutes away from the Magic Kingdom. Additionally, the tower is expected to receive more work in the next year or so, and if it follows other monorail resort refurbishments, Disney will update the theming to more closely match the Contemporary’s Incredibles theme.

Dining

Credit: Monica

Bay Lake Tower itself does not have any type of food or beverage options except for Cove Bar at the pool. You will need to walk over to the Contemporary – either ground level or via the 5th floor bridge – to get something else to eat or drink.

The Contemporary offers plenty of dining options that are sure to please every palate. Table-service restaurants include Chef Mickey’sSteakhouse 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, 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!

Recreation and Amenities

Credit: Monica

Like dining, Bay Lake Tower shares amenities with the Contemporary. The one thing that Bay Lake has of its own is a pool. It has a 20 foot waterslide, zero-depth entry, geysers, and a whirlpool spa. You can also walk over and use the Contemporary’s pool (which has cabana rentals). Feel free to utilize everything the Contemporary has to offer!

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.

One of Disney World's Oldest and Most Nostalgic Nighttime Shows: The Electrical Water Pageant
Credit: Disney

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. View 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.

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

Top of the World Lounge

credit: Susan

Disney Vacation Club Members have access to a special lounge at Bay Lake Tower. Called Top of the World Lounge – A Villain’s Lair, Members can stop in to relax and enjoy some food and beverages with stunning views of Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon.

You do not have to be staying at Bay Lake Tower to enjoy it, and this type of lounge cannot be found anywhere else on property! Note that special parties and events do cost extra, and you will want make to reservations on the Disney World website if you want to participate.

Final Thoughts

Credit: Donna

Despite Bay Lake Tower’s desperate need for some major renovations, many people really love this DVC accommodation. I can’t think of many things that beat having a 10 minute walk to and from the world’s most popular theme park! However, we know many who prefer some of the larger and more updated rooms at other DVC resorts.

For the time being, enjoy the cheaper (by Disney monorail resort standards) cost. Once Disney does a hard refurbishment that puts the tower in the same playing field as the new DVC tower at the Polynesian and the Villas at the Grand Floridian, I expect pricing to increase significantly.

Do you love Bay Lake Tower? Share your favorite (or least favorite) part with us in the comments below.


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Peggy

Tuesday 11th of July 2023

I’ve read rumors on Facebook that the water taxi to WL and FW hasn’t come back yet and won’t be returning which if true is a shame, especially since we have a reservation at Story Book with Snow White. I’m pretty sure the slide is longer than 20 ft too.

JW

Monday 10th of July 2023

Have stayed there twice. Studios are really small (or the layout doesn't flow). And I'm not a fan of having to go to the Contemporary for food, exercise room, etc. It's a very old and dated resort in my opinion. It is great for walking to Magic Kingdom, though. And I enjoy the Electric Water Pageant and Top of thr World Lounge. But the Epcot resorts are my favorite...especially Boardwalk.

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