We have been Disney Vacation Club members since 1997 when there was only Old Key West and the Boardwalk Villas at Walt Disney World. We've stayed at several of the WDW resorts, some many times. Our college aged son had been dying to stay at Bay Lake Tower so we booked a stay in October during Food & Wine Festival (and his fall break). We stayed in a one bedroom villa (I've seen several reviews call these suites, but they are not suites. BLT has no suites, only villas). I've also read that so many guests were disappointed in the studio which is the smallest DVC studio on the property (other than the Animal Kingdom Value Villa Studio). The studio is very tight and really is only suitable for a couple. A family of four would be very tight. Our one bedroom was a lake view (inside the C), so we got a lot of the pool noise during the day. The pool was nice, but small. We could have gone to either of the Contemporary Resort pools as well, but we were busy going to Epcot for lots of Food (and some wine).
We had the king bed in the master bedroom and it was very comfortable. But I'm not a big fan of duvets and this one was so so. I've heard DVC is going to change to triple sheeted beds instead of comforters or duvets, so that could be a nice change. Our son and his friend slept on the sleeper chair and sleeper sofa and they said they were pretty good for sleeping. The sleeper sofa wasn't very comfortable for sitting during the day, though. It was a bit hard. The sleeper chair was very comfortable for sitting and the little wooden side chair was very awkward for sitting. The cushion on the back was not adjustable and you just didn't fit in the chair.
The two bathrooms was also a nice perk. Most one bedroom villas at WDW have a single bathroom. But BLT and AKV (Kidani Village only) have an extra bathroom at the entrance to the one and two bedroom villas. That meant my husband and I could keep the master bathroom to ourselves and our son and his friend could use the other one. And the master bath shower was really, really nice. Just like I'd like to have at home (had to take lots of pictures of the shower in case we decide to redo our bathroom at home and that is a real possibility). My husband used the jacuzzi tub a few times.
The fuil kitchen was nice and the refrigerator did have an ice maker in the freezer section. Old Key West is the only other DVC villa with an ice maker that I know of.
The washer and dryer is one main reason we prefer the one bedroom villa for our stays. It's so nice to go home with a suitcase full of clean clothes. I have no problems putting in a load when we head to the parks and putting it in the dryer when we return.
The ability to walk to the Magic Kingdom is a great perk. And taking the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center to catch the monorail to Epcot was excellent. We drove to the other parks and offsite. We found parking to be excellent. Most times we could park close up to the building.
Check in was efficient and quick. We had not checked in on line, so we had to check in when we arrived. If you arrive via Magical Express from the airport, you check in at the Contemporary. If you drive or take a cab or towncar, you can check in directly at BLT. Our villa wasn't ready, so we left our stuff in the car and took the monorails to Epcot for Food & Wine. We received a text message around 4PM saying our villa was ready and they gave us the room number. Check in for DVC resorts is an hour later than regular WDW resorts because the villa take longer to get ready. Check out is still the same at 11AM and they seldom offer late check outs because of the time it takes DVC villas to be cleaned. Plus the DVC resorts are usually 95-100% occupied because they are Disney's version of a timeshare.
Since we are DVC members and we were staying at BLT, we did go up to the Top of the World Lounge to watch the fireworks from the Not So Scary Halloween party at the MK. The Castmember checking DVC membership and Keys to the World had seen us so many times already that week, that we didn't have to show our KTTW or blue member card. We didn't partake of the refreshments in the lounge because we had been really enjoying F&W so much during the week.
We found the Castmembers to be friendly, the villa clean and we would stay here again. It just takes so many more points to stay at BLT than our home resorts of Old Key West. The only drawbacks were the noise from the pool during the day and uncomfortable seating during the day. It would be nice if they could tone it down a bit and let the "party" only run for an hour or two during the middle of the day. The living room is much smaller than the OKW living room (well, every living room at DVC resorts are smaller than OKW living rooms - they reduced the space in the villas once they found OKW and DVC to be winner).
While the one bedroom villa would hold five adults, I would think it might feel crowded with five. A family of five with three smaller kids would be more comfortable. Five adults would feel more comfortable in a two bedroom villa.
All in all, a very nice stay at a very nice resort.
One more thing. Since DVC is a timeshare and members pay for everything they get, you can't request extra towels, extra shampoo, extra laundry detergent without paying for it. Plus as DVC members, housekeeping services are limited. If you stay seven nights or less, you get your trash removed and towels replaced on day four (day one is check in day). If you stay eight nights or more, you get a full cleaning on day four and trash removed and towels replaced on day eight. Then the cycle repeats. We really like not having to worry about the housekeepers coming in just when we have decided to take a quick nap or watch a little afternoon television. If you book directly from Disney for cash, you will get daily full cleaning. Members can pay for extra housekeeping or extra trash and towel service if they want to. And they can purchase an extra towel pack if they need more towels.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Warm luxury meets modern elegance at this lakeside Resort hotel just walking distance to Magic Kingdom park. Delight in Studios and multi-bedroom Villas, kitchens or kitchenettes and dramatic views that may include old-growth cypress trees, the shimmering Bay Lake, the lush courtyard or Cinderella Castle. Enjoy white-sand beaches, enchanting pools and award-winning dining-plus the extensive offerings of Disney's Contemporary Resort, connected by the convenient Sky Way Bridge, with access to transportation including the Resort Monorail. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bay Lake Tower At Disney`s Contemporary Hotel Orlando