If I wasn't visiting Disney with three small children, this resort wouldn't be my first choice. The Polynesian would be. But...I was. It really comes down to priorities.
Having "done Disney" a number of times, I place a higher priority on convenience than some other factors like ambience and theming. The reality is that this the ONLY resort within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom. If you have young children, this is where you want to be. If some of them are boys, than they WILL like monorails. The Contemporary features the monorail unlike anyplace else. So, combining those things is a winning combo.
The check in process went relatively smoothly--we arrived at a slow time. The staff was outstanding--very friendly, very welcoming. A nice change of pace after some difficult travel, as traveling with kids always is.
We elected to say in the Garden Wing to save some money, utilizing the 35% promo being run at the time. Overall, I can't really complain about cost--I've paid more for rooms that were not as nice in any number of big cities across America on business trips. We asked for two rooms adjoining--they were not able to get us connected rooms but they did honor the request. They also honored the request for first floor rooms, which I wanted so we could get the little patio. I can't emphasis enough how nice this was. The tower rooms have balconies, but the Garden wing rooms don't. Our rooms were located at the very end of the complex, directly across from the beach at Bay Lake.
Those complaining about the distance between the Garden Wing and the Tower are in my view exaggerating. Yes, its a little bit of a walk. Its still less of a walk than staying at any moderate resort or even most deluxe resorts from the lobby to the room. The added bonus of these rooms is basically having direct beach access--which the kids LOVED.
The downside to that is that like clockwork, at 9:15 and 10:00 pm, the water pageant comes rolling by. The first couple of nights it was nice. But night 4 it was getting old, but night 7 it was downright annoying. (And I have fond memories of this thing as a kid). However our munchkins knew it was coming and wouldn't sleep until it came. Not so good when you have to get up early to hit the parks the next morning.
The rooms themselves are extremely well designed. The quality of the materials is excellent, the space is very efficient and there are a lot of nice touches. One of our two rooms had a smoky kind of smell--had we been able to get two other rooms together, we may have made an issue out of it, but...again, priorities and we wanted the two rooms next to each other. The other room smelled fresh, at least until one of our kids got sick and threw up at night. (That's another story.)
The Contempo Café is a good option--great monorail views! But it does get old after a while. I found the service to be more uneven than our last visit (when we stayed in Bay Lake Tower). I ended up complaining to the manager several times about how long food was taking. The food quality was fairly solid. Also...if Port Orleans Riverside can bake fresh cakes and desserts every night, Contempo should do better than those cupcakes.
We also ate at Chef Mickey's--at the end of the day its the best mix of characters for our crew. We had a better experience here than the last two times. I'm biased, but I think our kids being so cute had something to do with it--the characters really lingered and spent a ton of time with them--several even came back around just to say goodbye. My 3 year old princess lit up like a light bulb when Minnie went out of her way to come back and give her a hug. At the end of the day, that's how Disney gets otherwise rationale people like me to part with thousands of dollars.
The pool area is laid back, some nice oldies music plays during the afternoon, but nothing too noisy. Its a good size. There's some activities out there for kids--we didn't do too much of that because it was a little cold for it when we were there.
The resort monorail service was very good--we never had to wait long when going to TTC or back from MK. We ran into one instance where the monorail was shut down while we were at Epcot, and we had to take the bus to the TTC and changed to the resort loop. I thought Disney should have provided direct service at least to the three deluxe resorts in that situation. Also, be warned--in a cost cutting move, the monorail does NOT run until park closing when it is extra magic hours. That's totally ridiculous and one of a couple of things that really made me upset. Its great that the Contemporary is in walking distance, but that's mainly a benefit on the way to MK--because the resort loop goes the other way around. On the way back from MK, unless there's a big crowd is easier and faster to take the Monorail. At midnight the last thing you feel like is not having that option. Shame on Disney for nickel and diming that--people pay a premium to stay at a monorail resort for a reason.
We rented a minivan to get around the World and parking was easy. We ran into some traffic congestion getting out of the resort a few times--once really badly--but overall I find it worthwhile.
Disney's a lot of work. Contemporary makes it a little bit easier. It isn't something we can afford to do every year, but while the kids are little, it will always be a very strong option.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Retreat to this ultra-modern Resort hotel and discover award-winning dining, white-sand beaches, spectacular views and dazzling pools. Walk to Magic Kingdom park, or catch the Resort Monorail as it breezes through the iconic A-frame Contemporary Tower. Inside, a 90-foot-tall mural by Disney Legend Mary Blair-responsible for the distinct look and feel of the "it's a small world" attraction-celebrates the Grand Canyon and the American Southwest. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Disney`s Contemporary Hotel Orlando
- Disney Contemporary Hotel
- Contemporary Disney Resort
- Disneys Contemporary Resort
- Contemporary Hotel Disney
- Contemporary Resort
- Disney Contemporary Resort
- Disneys Contemporary Hotel