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“Best DVC Hotel (so far)” 5 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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #39 of 335 Hotels in Orlando
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Best DVC Hotel (so far)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

I’ve been to Bay Lake Tower twice already, and just booked another stay for October 2013.

LOCATION – 5 minute walk to Magic Kingdom in the early morning is wonderful and refreshing. 5 minute walk FROM Magic Kingdom at the end of a night with a tired child (and just as tired parents) is essential and cannot be beat. Think of it like this – other guests are still standing in line and hoping to get onto the next bus, and praying to have a seat on said bus, while you are already in your room, getting ready for bed.

ROOMS – I love chic, modern style accommodations of the Bay Lake Tower. You are still fully immersed in Disney magic, but now it’s combined with a feeling of luxury you get at top-of-the-line hotels. Everything is comfortable, well thought-out, properly maintained. Breakfast in the room saves you a ton of money in Disney. Kitchens at Bay Lake Tower are a pleasure to cook at (as much as any vacation-time cooking can be a pleasure LOL). Washer and drier is great, and saves me from bringing my entire closet for a week’s vacation. Balcony (in my lakeview room) offer an amazing sight. I really enjoyed having my morning coffee on the balcony and watching the sunrise over the Bay Lake.

JACUZZY - ok, so here is a little tip for the first time Disney visitors: I don’t care what physical shape you are in, I don’t care how much time you spend in the gym, at the end of the day you will be tired…really, really tired. I used some of that empty space in my suitcase to bring Epsom salts, and made it a part of my ritual to soak in a Jacuzzi tub (in the master bathroom!!!) every night for 20 minutes.

POOL – I wish I could say we spent a lot of time lounging by the pool, but honestly we were in the park most of the time. The 1 or 2 times that we went to the pool, it was not crowded at all, the water was just the right temperature, and the kids had a separate safe water area to splash around in which gave me an opportunity to relax for a few minutes. Slide is great, and my husband and I both went on it several times “for our daughter…”

OUTDOOR HOT TUB – Great jets, perfect temperature, excellent to massage & regenerate sore muscles. The one cool thing is that at night you can watch the Electrical Water Pageant straight from the hot tub. It’s not a perfect/clear view, but it’s a very cook feeling to be soaking in the tub while watching the pageant and listening to the music.

TOP OF THE WORLD LOUNGE – I like getting a drink & a late-night snack at the lounge after the kids went to bed. It has a terrace with a very convenient view of the fireworks, though I honestly prefer to see them from the park when they are right on top of me.

CONNECTION TO CONTEMPORARY/ALL OTHER MONORAIL RESORTS – this is so important for my family! One minute we are living in our own little world at the tower, next we need something from a shop of want to go to a restaurant, or check out the Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian, or whatever…. It is all right there, all easily accessible.

IMO, Bay Lake Tower is the best DVC on property (so far). Don’t take me wrong, I love walking around the Boardwalk or Downtown Disney are. But the resorts located there are just not up to snuff in comparison to Bay Lake. The décor of the Boardwalk-area resort rooms seems dated, the rooms have this “old person’s home” smell and feeling. Pool at the Beach Club is fabulous, but that’s doesn’t make me want to stay there as I am not spending $$$$$ on park tickets to spend a lot of time by the pool. Location to the parks is NOT convenient: yes, we can walk to EPCOT from BC, but it’s the back entrance of EPCOT!!! It takes almost 10 minutes to walk from the back to the front, and each morning you end up being well behind the crowds that got to the front entrance at rope drop. You have to take a water taxi or the bus to all other parks/resorts. I’m not trying to be negative about other resorts, they are just better for a different type of Disney vacationer (someone who is less focused on the parks, and is more focused on the relaxation aspect).

Congrats Disney on a job well done here!

Room Tip: Don't waste money on the Magic Kingdom view, get a Lakeview room and watch fireworks from the te...
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  • Stayed May 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
3 Thank oyalkut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Cannot fault this resort for location (five minute walk to Magic Kingdom!) and the free travel to the parks -offered at every Disney hotel - is especially great, as you are not restricted just to overcrowded (and late!) buses, as you have the monorail from the Contemporary Resort which takes you to Magic Kingdom (+ Magic Kingdom resorts) and Epcot vis the TTC. Rooms are lovely, all DVC suites, we booked a studio Lake View, and we ended up with an AMAZING view of Magic Kingdom AND Bay Lake! Bonus! The rooms are clean and spacious, with the kitchenette seperate from the main room and bathroom. As for food/restaurant choices, there are none inside of BLT but we didn't mind as there is endless choice five minutes away inside Magic Kingdom and of course, Contemporary. Worth all the vacation points you spend on it!

  • Stayed March 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
1 Thank BelBel448
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington Heights
Level Contributor
179 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

This was a Disney trip with grandparents, parents, and grandchildren over the Disney Marathon Weekend. Bay Lake Towerat the Contemporary Hotel suited our needs perfectly. The 2 bedroom villa is very spacious, family friendly, and the kitchen and laundry room have everything you can possibly need. The tower is calm and quiet unlike some of the other properties, and the Contemporary Hotel is so close for dining, shopping needs, and the monorail. Bay Lake Tower has a family friendly pool with water slides for bigones and little ones, as well as a fun shower splash area. I was truly impressed with the cast members who provided activities all day in the pool area, and built a bonfire for toasting marshmallows in the evening. Parking is very close to the building. The staff in the Tower are friendly and very accommodating. You can get rooms with a view of the Magic Kingdom, but if you choose not to pay extra for that, there are Bay Lake views where you can see the fireworks at EPCOT. I would happily return to this magical Disney property. The extra bonus is that you can walk to and from the Magic Kingdom.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
1 Thank LuciArlingtonHeights
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
147 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

We stayed here from 12/28-1/2 precisely because I wanted to be able to walk back from the Magic Kingdom after New Year's Eve, without having to deal with Disney transportation.

The rooms are nice. We had a one bedroom lake view room. It was great having a separate living room, kitchen, bedroom. I loved the washer and dryer in the unit and the two bathrooms.

Our room was in good condition except one lamp did not work, and we were missing a blanket for the sleeper chair in the living room. That was the first problem. We called and requested a blanket. It did not arrive. After about 45 minutes, we called again. We were told that no one had noted the request but that they would bring us a blanket. After about 20 more minutes of no blanket, I walked down to the front desk and asked for a blanket. Finally, one of the front desk clerks brought the blanket about 15 minutes later. I'm not sure why getting a blanket requires such begging, but it was disappointing.

The location is great. It's easy enough to walk over to the Contemporary for restaurants and shops and then to walk to the Magic Kingdom.

The pool area is okay but not spectacular. It was not crowded when we were there.

The one thing we did not like much was that the rooms were not themed at all. To me, the hotel could have been any large, modern hotel in any big city.

I am glad we stayed here once. I am not sure if we will stay again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
1 Thank ProfandMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
79 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

During this trip, we stayed both at Bay Lake Tower and Animal Kingdom Lodge (separate review), back-to-back. Honestly, this is the first DVC I have stayed at that measures up to other hotel brands in the 4* or more category. Great, contemporary room in excellent condition.

Housekeeping was a tiny bit sloppy, the chrome accents were full of fingerprints and could have been removed with a quick wipe down (so why didn't they?!). As much as I liked the room, like with most of the DVC's I've stayed in, the kitchen did not actually make you want to cook (which is probably what Disney wants... you, on property, eating in their restaurants), and the dining area is very small.

The master bedroom and bathroom were spacious and comfortable, and the views towards the lake were great to have during the special water show.

Being a DVC owner staying at this property on points has a perk -- take the special elevator up to the lounge on the roof, and watch the fireworks over magic kingdom each evening. This is VERY popular, so if you're there during a high-occupancy time, get up to the roof at least 20 minutes or more early to secure a spot near the railing. Unfortunately, the guy beside me during the fireworks was snapping pictures continually, and had one of those 'fake' camera shutter sounds turned on -- he managed to turn off his flash at some point, but that annoying sound went on and on. He killed the Disney magic for me as I stood there fantasizing about launching his camera off the rooftop. I digress....

The pool is a bit of a let down design-wise and the slide was deemed BORING from my girls (ages 7 and 15). Other than my home resort (Beach Club Villas), I do not think Disney has it 'going on' for pools. Marriott and Starwood are paying much more attention to those features in their timeshare units.

Having this resort on the monorail, makes it quite fun even if you aren't spending time in the parks. It's great to see the other resorts and to have so many dining options. We didn't leave the resort at all, possibly because we didn't want to return to the car. I'm not sure why they have such a horribly huge parking lot (instead of a multi-level parkade), as your car gets to bake in the sun all day.

All-in-all, its welcomely contemporary design and location with multiple dining options accessible by monorail, gives it a definite edge over AKL for me. I would gladly return again.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
2 Thank epicureangirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oswego, IL
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013 via mobile

We are currently staying in a studio at Disney's Bay Lake Tower (BLT). We moved here after spending three nights in a studio at Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL),so, I want to make note of some of the differences in the rooms in this review while it is still fresh in my mind. Overall, I really like BLT. The location is GREAT with spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom (MK) resort area all around. Also, BLT is a relatively new resort and the overall appearance of the property is quite nice. Right now I am sitting on my balcony using the free, but spotty, WIFI overlooking Bay Lake with Space Mountain just off to my left. We booked a Lake View room, which is fine, but, given the views I have seen from other parts of the building, I would probably opt for a MK view next time. There are no restaurants at BLT, but, it is a short walk over the sky bridge to the Contemporary Resort which has several dining options.

The studio at the BLT is smaller than a studio at AKL. For example, we put an air mattress on the floor between the sofa and the sliding glass door at AKL. Could not do that at BLT as the sofa almost touches the glass door. Also, the night stands are very skinny, meaning the queen bed is only about a foot from the sofa. It is fairly tight, but, not terrible. The bathroom is fairly small, too, with a single sink. In comparison, there are two sinks and a large countertop outside the shower/toilet area at AKL. Also, the sliding door on the bathroom at BLT is somewhat less than optimal. I will leave it at that.

On the plus side, the kitchen (microwave, fridge, sink, utensils, etc.) area at BLT is WAY better than the AKL studio. It is actually a separate little "room" ( remember, this is a studio, not a 1BR suite, so, think small. Lots of storage space in the kitchen and just enough room to meet your needs.

All things considered, I would stay at BLT again. It has a fresh, clean, modern appearance and the location cannot be beat if you are visiting Mickey. Enjoy!

Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
4 Thank tlmassey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

My wife and I took out 3 year old and 16 month old to Disney. Since naps are still a part of our day and the Magic Kingdom was where we would be going most of the time, we chose to stay at Bay Lake. Best choice we made.

We had a 1br suite on the 5th floor. So no elavators for the walk to Contemporary. What a convenience.

Wish we could have stayed longer since you can really save some dough by cooking in your own.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
1 Thank bmacumd
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:
#36 Family Hotel in Orlando
#61 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):
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

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