Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a Walt Disney World deluxe DVC hotel near Magic Kingdom. Sitting along the resort monorail loop and a few minutes away from Cinderella Castle, Bay Lake Tower has a modern design and is an extension of the famous Contemporary. The hotel opened in 2009 and is a DVC resort with studios, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom villas as well as 3-bedroom grand villas. In this post, we’ll review the hotel, sharing photos of the resort and room while offering our thoughts on the hotel’s value.
There are so many positives when discussing Bay Lake Tower that when you lay it out on paper it should be one Walt Disney World’s best resorts. The location is spectacular, being the closest in physical distance to Magic Kingdom. Comparing a short walk to WDW’s most popular park to a ride on Disney’s bus system is like comparing Gus Gus (from Cinderella) to those disgusting naked mole rats you see all layered on top of each other at the zoo. They’re both rats but one is so clearly better than the hoards of others. You can’t overstate the fantastic location, no mater how many dumb analogies you use!
On top of that, every room at the resort has an amazing view of a lake, theme park or monorail and the Contemporary. The resort shares amenities with the amazing Contemporary and is a short skybridge walk away from the monorail and a great group of restaurants. There’s a beautiful pool and some fun outdoor areas, as well.
Even with all of these pros, the resort hardly ever makes its way onto the best WDW hotel lists and is missing something. In my opinion, what’s missing is a lack of interesting architecture and theme. The outside of Bay Lake Tower looks like a generic luxury hotel in the middle of a city. While there’s nothing wrong with that on its own, it a stark contrast to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary that complete the Magic Kingdom loop. That building also takes away from the Contemporary’s famous A-frame, where the monorail drives through. It’s not that every Disney World hotel looks unique from the outside, this one just looks too bland and nondescript to me.
In the same vein, Bay Lake Tower has no recognizable theme. If you separate the Magic Kingdom resorts, the Grand Floridian represents Main Street and Fantasyland, Polynesian Village Resort resembles Adventureland and the Contemporary is a symbol for Tomorrowland. These are all shown loosely through their architecture motifs. Bay Lake Tower, being an extension of the Contemporary, should have something to symbolize Tomorrowland but there isn’t much to grasp on to outside of a few cool pieces of art in the rooms.
I fully realize that many people don’t care about this stuff. To be sure, measuring a lack of ‘Disney magic’ versus all of the qualities that I listed is a tough balance. I do think that lack of theme keeps Bay Lake Tower from being a top-notch DVC Resort. The hotel will definitely have some huge fans but there’s certainly some detractors, as well. I fall somewhere in between. This balance with quality but a lack of charm and theme is also seen in the rooms.
We stayed in a 1-bedroom villa. Above is the living room with a pull out couch and chair, which are double and twin sized beds. It’s a relaxing and large space with big windows.
The kitchenette is on the other side of the room and has everything you could probably want in a hotel room’s kitchen. We don’t use kitchens very often while on a trip but it is nice to have a large fridge and an option to make some meals here if you’re looking to save money. This one is nice but nothing out of the ordinary.
One of Bay Lake Tower’s best features is that the 1-bedroom villa includes two bathrooms. Not many 1-bedrooms feature that around WDW and it’s definitely a point in Bay Lake Tower’s favor if you’re staying with a group.
The room also has a washer and dryer as most 1-bedroom DVC resorts do.
Here’s a look at the bedroom, with a king size bed. It was very comfortable although I’m fairly certain all of the DVC Resorts use the same mattress. You can see some of the modern design in the headboard and above the bed. There are a few Mickey or theme park nods in the artwork. I especially liked this one with Space Mountain on it.
The splashes of color are nice in an otherwise unimaginative room. Artwork like this is throughout the hotel and that, combined with views of Magic Kingdom from the elevator, is my favorite part of Bay Lake Tower.
Well, the bathroom connected to the master suite is my other favorite part. Here’s the giant bathtub with an artistic take on the castle above it. There’s also a nice walk-in shower behind another door. I try to avoid clogging up these posts with bathroom photos so we’ll move along. Just know that the bathroom is incredibly nice.
Overall, the whole room kind of embodies the resort. It’s very nice and has some features that make it worthy of the prime location but it’s lacking character. In no way does it measure up to the rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge or Polynesian Village Resort but it is still a very nice hotel.
Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort is a wonderful place to stay and has some of the best features that any hotel at Walt Disney World offers. Unfortunately, the theme and design doesn’t live up to those lofty highlights. This is a great place to stay during your trip but there are a few resorts that are better.
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
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Categories: Hotel Reviews