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“Very Nice DVC Resort” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

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Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   4600 North World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830   |  
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Ranked #36 of 327 Hotels in Orlando
Shreveport, LA
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Very Nice DVC Resort”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

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.

Room Tip: If you can book a lake view room on the outside of the C (even number room), you might get a view of...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,104 reviews from our community

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  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Mission, Texas
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

The best thing about this hotel is its close proximity to Magic Kingdom. It is nice to be able to see the Castle from your hotel window. It is one of the stops of the Monorail making it easy to access the monorail. The hotel is pretty basic and similar to most of the hotels for the Disney vacation club collection- nice pool, play area, good dining area etc. The studio room is really small and tight, reminds me of the small cabin at the Disney Cruise. A great hotel especially if Magic Kingdom is the highlight of your visit.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

BL Towers is stunning, very contemporary, and upscale, yet like any resort it has it's upsides & downsides - mostly up. The pros: It's location is at the very heart of Disney World. It's about a 10 min. walk (400 yards or so) from the Magic Kingdom (on a designated path), which is also accessable by launch or monorail. Walking is faster. There is no bad view - either Bay Lake, the Magic Kingdom, or both. Parking is very convenient in an adjacent lot, which is close. You can unload at the front doors & staff is there to load a cart (they don't accept tips), then a bellman brings to your villa (he does accept tips). Villas are very contemporary, pleasantly decorated, and comfortable. Even the halls are stunning to walk. Square footage is at a premium here, so units are slightly tight, but very adequate & efficiently arranged. I toured a 2 BR which has 1 king, 2 queens, a sleeper sofa, & a sleeper chair (& 3 TVs). I stayed in a 3 BR, which has 1 king, 4 queens, and 2 sleeper sofas - on 2 floors (& 6 TVs). The 3 BR also has 4 balconies (2 BR has 2) and 2 story floor-to-ceiling glass, with power shades. The 3 BR 'Grand Villa' is far more spacious, if you don't mind 88 pts. ($1,900) a night (mid-Dec.). This is one very elite piece of real estate. There's a 5th floor walkway to the adjacent Contemporary Resort's 4th floor concourse, with a host of restaurants (from $10 for dinner, up ...WAY up). The pool is very nice, with slide & hot tub, but nothing particularly special for a Disney Pool. There's an exceptional BBQ pavillion and a pool bar with limited menu items.
The cons: While it's hard to find fault here, I'll point out a few just so you know what to expect. It's relatively new but units already show signs of heavy family use & many surfaces/furnishings are quite perishable, as if designed for style not heavy use. BR carpets are already crushed & worn, LR carpet had pulls, and leather chair edges were worn. Steps in 3 BR had many chips, scratches, & scraps. Lighting in BRs & baths was horrible - you can barely see your face in mirror & desk light was only marginally brighter than a night-light. LR & kit lighting was fine. Water pressure is very low - a Disney trademark. To compensate, shower head (except master BR) used pin size holes to put a high pressure spray that actually hurts & nearly injects you with water - ouch! There are no soap disher in shower - inconvenient. Master bath has an upscale Kohler dual head (one in ceiling & one on wall), but not enough water pressure to work well. Beds were a disappointment - too firm for my taste. They are sealy, but I was happy to get home to my standard Beautyrest which has less pressure points. The bath fan is a rediculous motion sensor controlled & turns on for a few minutes, then off. So, if you walk by it goes on and wastes elec., but in the shower it turns off (with no motion below it). So it spends much time on when not needed & much time off when needed. The pool bar food (at both BL Towers & the Contemp) was mediocre & limited. The menu has changes 4 times in the past 6 months due to complaints (according to the server). My son refused to order the politically correct lean turkey sandwich (on wheat of course) with carrot sticks & applesauce. This is vacation, could we please have a burger & fries (which we don't serve at home, but this is vacation). Carrots/applesause are nice, but maybe as an option, not the only choice. The Top-of-the-World Lounge is worse. No comfort food here - sushi anyone? ....bring your wallet. Their menu has also changed radically for the worse. The resort was full, but the lounge had but 2 patrons - I suspect it would be full with the right menu. Villa furnishings are of black paint - too persihable & already scratched up. Kitchen cabinates look cheap (but I bet they weren't) and of thin laminate over flakeboard which I suspect will not stand the test of time. Security was surprising lax. Last yr. it required a key to enter the building. This yr. I made several late night trips to car on pack-up evening (12:00 midnight) & walked it & out an unsecured building with no attendant in sight.
Overall we had a great stay & would rec this resort. I gave it an excellent rating & would call it 4 stars. I only point out cons to be helpful, not necessarily critical.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vero Beach, Florida
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

We enjoyed our stay at Bay Lake Tower. The concierge all went our of their way to be helpful and kind. We got there early afternoon when our room wasn't ready yet. The concierge suggested we take the monorail to the Polynesian to have Dole pineapple whip at Captain Cook's. Great idea. We walked around the Polynesian then the Contemporary and then received a text that our room was ready. Perfect. It's so nice to be able to walk to the Magic Kingdom. It's also very easy to take the monorail to Epcot and also make connections to every where on property. The room was pleasant and comfortable. It does not have the Disney theme of something special but it was still nice. I would definitely stay there again ... though I enjoy trying all the different properties.

Room Tip: We stayed in the north tower. Even though we just had a 'lake room' - room 8008, a studio...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Mt. Olive, New Jersey
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

My family and I recently stayed at the Disney Vacation Club, Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contermporary Resort. We had a one bedroom unit with a Magic Kingdom View. The view was absolutely incredible. Directly out our living room window was the Castle and Space Mountain slightly to the right. We had an outstanding viewpoint for watching the Wishes fireworks show. When you talk about convenience, nothing beats this location to the Magic Kingdom. It is a nice 5-10 minutes walk to the gate. The convenience to the monorail makes travel to EPCOT relatively easy. The size of the one bedroom is impressive as compared to the DVC's built post Old Key West in Walt Disney World. Beware studios tend to be small.

I highly recommend staying here if in a one bedroom unit facing the Magic Kingdom. That made this last trip magical for our family.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nova Scotia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

We came for a week and after 2 days wished we had booked elsewhere. The best thing on this resort is the top of the world lounge which we frequented. The servers at the top were great, but getting there was inconvenient because the desk man at BLT lobby was usually nowhere to be found.
Our room was horrible - tiny and the air conditioning couldn't keep up.
Another disappointment: We rented a cabana at the pool for July 4 and it was so full of spiders dropping from the underside that we couldn't stay there. I asked the cabana server to remove them and he did try, but they kept coming down. Also the locked drawer was broken - the server mentioned people who had their belongings stuck in there. Why don't they fix things that are broken?
Loved the closeness to Magic Kingdom but we won't be back to BLT and I'd recommend any of the other DVC resorts over this one. Very disappointing.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bartow, Florida
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

We stayed in 7312 (3rd floor, north side, north view near north elevators) which is a 1 bedroom unit. There were 3 of us - hubby, me and our grown son. We just wanted a little 1 night 'runaway' and were not disappointed in this accommodation. We've stayed in Bay Lake Towers at least 5-6x and each time we've been pleased overall with our rooms. One of the nicer updates is the ability to check-in directly in the BLT property instead of going through the check-in desk in the main Contemporary Resort building. Although we had a brief wait as there are only 2 cast members assigned to check-in (no room for more), it was still better than check-in in another building. We also were checking-in during a 'peak' check-in time (4:30 p.m. on a Friday). We were originally assigned to a ground floor room facing south and asked if there was anything at all available higher up with a northside, north view and our wonderful hostess was able to find such! We were pleased! I know they can't always accommodate such changes and since we booked only the night before, this was fabulous.
Our room was clean and ready for us. They've now gone to a 'touch' system for room keys - you don't have to slide the key into anything, just 'touch' the key to the black pad on the door and you're in! They are upgrading many of the stores with devices using the same concept. Nice. We could have seen some of the fireworks from our balcony, but decided to take advantage of DVC membership and go to the "Top of the World" Lounge to view them. It was slightly chilly but perfect for viewing the Christmas fireworks and hearing the music which accompanied them. No one does it as well as Disney!!!
We had dinner prior to arriving at BLT as we're on a tight budget (Cracker Barrel) but decided for breakfast to splurge and have a late breakfast at Boma (Animal Kingdom Jambo Lodge). It's a fabulous 'all you can eat' buffet with omelet station, unique breakfast foods (Bobote, Pap, and other more common breakfast fares) and was only $18.95 per person. There are no 'characters' at this restaurant, but that keeps the cost down and the atmosphere less 'crazy.' If you travel with children - or are first timers - you should definitely plan to have a character breakfast - Chef Mickey's is the best for that and breakfast is the less expensive character option. Reserve months ahead or be prepared to wait a while. We usually like to get a late seating (after 10 a.m.) and make it our 'big meal' of the day and have a light dinner around 5.
The king size bed was comfortable (just a little hard, but had pillowtop mattress) and very nice sheets and thick comforter - so kept the room cool and slept well! Our son chose the fold out chair in the living room since it enabled him to keep the sofa for sitting and tv watching. He said he slept well (he's 6'4").
The room was in good repair and very clean - with one exception. The material covering the sofa is a lighter fabric which shows every little water stain and spill from the last 3 years. Not sure why Disney chose a light fabric which would show stains so easily, but someone sold them those under faulty pretenses I think. A leather or more easily cleanable material would probably been a better choice. With that said, all else was great.
I decided not to take home any dirty clothes so washed our clothes once we donned our pj's and we wore them again the next day! Advantage of having a washer/dryer in your villa! It worked great. They do supply a one-load box of All detergent, but nothing else. If you like dryer sheets, stick a ziplock bag with a few in your suitcase. I also found on other trips that you can put some of those 'liquid detergent pods' or powdered detergent in a small rubbermaid type container and use that for additional laundering for longer stays.
We only had one issue and we have contacted Disney regarding this (waiting to hear back from them). My husband lost his balance in the bathroom and couldn't find anything along the wall to help him catch himself to break his fall. There are no grab bars in the master bath toilet area or shower. There is a grab bar in the smaller bathroom tub/shower but no where else. Also - the shower (and tub) floors are quite slick when soapy - so we usually just put one of the hand towels in the bottom of the shower or tub (as we do in most hotels) to reduce the chance of slipping. A grab bar near the toilet and in the shower would be helpful to many guests, I'm sure. We don't need an 'accessible' equipped room, but a couple well placed grab bars could make those areas safer for any age or condition. We are not elderly nor dealing with unusual physical conditions (just clumsy).
Overall, another great Disney stay! If you aren't a Disney Vacation Club member and frequent Disney World - it's worth the investment!

Room Tip: Request high floor. Standard and Lake view rooms on north side, facing north are great! Spring for...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Address: 4600 North World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#27 Family Hotel in Orlando
#87 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 428
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort—balances a modern and luxurious experience with warm and innovative features and delivers some of the most dramatic views available anywhere at Walt Disney World Resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bay Lake Tower At Disney`s Contemporary Hotel Orlando

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