Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review

By Donna

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a Disney icon that opened October 1, 1971.  Here is my review!

Forty years go I landed on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon and this was my view:

Two solitary Walt Disney World hotels opened for business on October 1, 1972; the Resort we called home, the Polynesian Village, and our vista, the Contemporary Resort Hotel. The wholly distinctive image of the A-frame tower, with the famous monorail entering and exiting it, was as impressive to us as Cinderella Castle. Despite this icon status, it took my family another 40 years to actually stay at the now named Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and in many ways it was worth the wait!

This “retro-futuristic” behemoth had an innovative look in the early 70’s, and its newly refurbished rooms are now sleeker than ever. It is one of the Disney creme de la creme, and the first of the 8 Disney Deluxe Resorts.

Rooms

This Resort, which has the distinction of being the closest to the Magic Kingdom, offers a total of 655 rooms in the Tower and adjacent Garden Wing. (The South Garden Wing was demolished in 2007 to make way for Bay Lake Tower- the newest Disney Deluxe Villa.)

It’s standard rooms are large by Disney norms- 436 square feet in size (394 square feet in the Garden Wing). Only those in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (440 square feet) and Disney’s Polynesian Resort (Rapa Nui, Tahiti and Tokelau Longhouses- 476 square feet)) are more spacious. These standard rooms can accommodate 5, and are equipped with a sofa that converts to a day bed and either 2 Queen beds or 1 King bed. There is also sufficient space for a crib if needed. The views at this hotel simply can’t be beat, and along with the ease of transportation are what set it apart from all other Disney Deluxe Resorts. If you have a Theme Park view, you can watch Wishes Nighttime Spectacular and the activity on Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom from your room. With a Bay Lake view, you feel as though you are getting a private viewing of perennial The Electric Water Pageant from your balcony.

Yes, balconies are standard fare in Tower rooms, which can make your living space seem even larger. The bathrooms are modern and polished in style, but be warned; if you’ve become accustomed to having a separate sink and shower space (and once you have teenagers, this is essentially a requirement for the morning routine), you may be disappointed with the layout.

Though the toilet is set apart, the shower and dual sinks share one space.

Of course, if you require still more elbow room, Concierge (Atrium Club) and Suite accommodations are available for a substantial upcharge. The standard room rate at Disney’s Contemporary Resort starts at $315 (Garden View, Value season) and ranges to $665 (Tower- Theme Park View, Peak Season). Accessible Guest rooms are available.

Amenities

As with most Disney Deluxe Resorts, you will find room amenities that you would expect at a superior hotel: alarm clock/MP3 player; flat screen cable TV; free Wi-Fi; coffee maker; mini fridge; hair dryer (and not the standard attached-to-the-wall variety); iron and board; make-up mirror; full length mirror; in-room safe; robes. Additionally on site is the Olympiad Fitness Center (complete with treadmills for you runners who do not wish to brave the elements), which also offers a spa and salon, concierge assistance for all Guests, convention center facilities, a business center, a laundry plus dry cleaning/laundry service, and valet and self-parking.

Dining

– Room Service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chef Mickey's

– Chef Mickey, perhaps the most beloved of all Character Dining Experiences, offers a breakfast and dinner buffet with a side of singing, marching and napkin-waving. These meals with the “Fab Five”, (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald) are a “hot item”, so be sure to book your Advance Dining Reservations early!

– Equally as legendary is the Signature Dining found atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The award winning California Grill serves American food with a California focus, and complete with a legendary wine list, is decidedly fine dining. Floor to ceiling windows provide a stellar view of the Magic Kingdom and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, and the “onstage kitchen” supplies the rest of the magic. Open for dinner exclusively.

*The California Grill will close on January 6. 2013 for a period of 6 months for an extensive renovation.

California Grill photo from wdwinfo.com

California Grill photo from wdwinfo.com

– The Wave… of American Flavors is a casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner on the 1st floor.

– Contempo Cafe Quick Service restaurant located next to Chef Mickey’s on the fourth floor.

Transportation

Did I mention that the Magic Kingdom is in walking distance?? I believe I did, but it is certainly worth repeating! If your dogs can’t bear the thought of additional pounding, the handy monorail will whisk you to the park or the Transportation and Ticket Center for a transfer to the Epcot monorail.

Contemporary monorail, monorail track

The monorail is located in the Grand Canyon Concourse (as in it’s the size of the Grand Canyon), and is flanked by Disney legend Mary Blair’s 90 foot high mural made of hand-painted tile. (How else would they disguise the elevator shaft?) Buses will take you everywhere else in the World that you want to go. Motor launches ( a treat in themselves) run between the Contemporary, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, and are the perfect vehicle to get you to and from your Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Dinner Show.

Entertainment

This resort features 2 pools. The larger of the two sits on the shores of Bay lake, and is complete with a 17 foot high curving slide and splash area. Cabanas are available and reservations are suggested.

Contemporary Resort pool, DVC pool hopping, DVC pool

The second pool “sits” near the Seven Seas Lagoon, and is quieter and a bit more removed from the action. A requisite arcade is open 24 hours a day (shudder) and has been moved to the fourth floor. The beach surrounding Bay Lake is beautiful, but swimming is not permitted. Also available at the resort is the “not to be missed” entertainment treat- Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. You set sail from the Contemporary dock and cruise the Seven Seas Lagoon with a crew of Never Land pirates! You may even encounter a Disney Character or two.

Perhaps Disney’s Contemporary Resort has a more sophisticated edge, and maybe that’s why my young men enjoyed it so much. It is rich with Disney history, and has Walt’s fingerprints on its conception. And we started our Walt Disney World journey together 40 years ago… Tradition!

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or Mickeyinfo@distinctive-journeys.com

DonnaDonna is a wife, mom, physical therapist and year-old blogger at DIStherapy. She is a  non-profit caretaker for special needs causes and running for same!  Contributor to WDW Fan Zone, The Magical Blogorail Yellow Loop and Babes in Disneyland.  She resides in Killington, VT and Long Island, NY.

You can visit Donna on her blog at DIStherapy or at DIStherapy on Facebook.

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Can Tables in Wonderland Save You Money?

By Frances

Tables in Wonderland is a discount card that can be purchased by Florida Residents, Disney Vacation Club Members & Annual/Seasonal Pass Holders only.

BENEFITS INCLUDE

  • 20% discount on all food and beverages at 99 participating Resort hotel and Theme Park restaurants (discount is valid for a party of up to 10 Guests).
  • Resort and Theme Park parking for dining purposes
  • Invitations to special member-only food and wine events, winemaker dinners and celebrity chef dinners
  • Discount is also available on most adult & specialty beverages.
  • And more!

Cost to you:

$100 for Florida Residents or DVC Members

$75 for Annual/Season Pass Holders

It’s good from the first day purchased for 365 days.

You can purchase it at Guest Relations at any Walt Disney World Theme Park or Downtown Disney. Annual/Seasonal Pass Holders can order it Epcot Le Cellier, Epcot Le Cellier sign, Epcot Le Cellier menu, Epcot Le Cellier pricesby phone or mail. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.

There are a few Block-out dates for the Tables in Wonderland: Mothers Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The Tables in Wonderland discount cannot be used in combination with any other discount and is not valid for Fantasmic Dinner Package, Food and Wine Festival dinners, Candlelight Packages, or any other special events / special dining experiences.

An 18% gratuity is automatically added regardless of how many are in your party. A 20% gratuity is automatically added at Victoria & Albert’s.

Don’t lose the Tables in Wonderland Card. There is a $50 replacement fee.

For more information:

Here is why, Mouze Kateerz writer, Lucinda purchased a Tables in Wonderland Card. She is a Florida Resident & Annual Pass Holder. “20% is a good discount…makes it easy to get your money back, so to speak. Meaning…that for our family, we only need to dine out four times a year for the card to be a good value. TiW makes it more feasible for us, as locals to dine on Disney property. I like that beverages are included as well…and I like that we can include up to 9 guests per visit. There’s a nice long list of participating restaurants.”

Here is my thoughts. If the Disney Dining Plan says that it will save you up to 20% off and this will save you 20% off plus you can save on adult beverages, I think it will save money.

Here’s a list of participating restaurants:

DISNEY RESORT LOCATIONS
All Star Movies Resort

  • World Premiere
    Food Court

All Star MusicResort

  • Intermission Food Court

All Star Sports Resort

  • End Zone Food Court

Animal Kingdom
Lodge Resort

  • Boma – The Flavors
    of Africa
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place
  • Sanaa
  • Victoria Falls

Beach Club Resort

  • Beaches & Cream
    Soda Shop (excludes
    take-out shop)
  • Cape May Café
  • Martha’s Vineyard Lounge

BoardWalk Resort

  • Belle Vue Lounge
  • Big River Grille
    & Brewing Works
  • ESPN® Club
  • Flying Fish Café
  • Kouzzina by Cat Cora

Caribbean Beach Resort

  • Shutters at Old Point Royale

Contemporary Resort

  • California Grill
  • Chef Mickey’s
  • Outer Rim
  • The Wave

Coronado Springs Resort

  • Maya Grill
Fort Wilderness
Resort & Campground

  • Crockett’s Tavern
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue (9:30 p.m.
    show only)
  • Trail’s End Restaurant (Excludes take out shop)

Grand Floridian
Resort & Spa

  • 1900 Park Fare
  • Citricos
  • Garden View Tea Room
  • Grand Floridian Café
  • Mizner’s Lounge
  • Narcoossee’s
  • Victoria & Albert’s (excluding the Chef’s Table & Queen Victoria Room)

Old Key West Resort

  • Olivia’s Cafe

Disney’s Osprey Ridge Golf Course

  • Sand Trap Bar & Grill

Polynesian Resort

  • ‘Ohana
  • Kona Cafe
  • Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (Late show only)
  • Tambu Lounge

Pop Century Resort

  • Everything Pop Shopping and Dining (excludes merchandise from shop)
Port Orleans Resort
– French Quarter

  • Sassagoula Floatworks
    & Food Factory
  • Scat Cat’s Club

– Riverside

  • Boatwright’s Dining Hall
  • River Roost

Saratoga Springs Resort

  • The Artist’s Palette
  • The Turf Club Bar & Grill
  • Turf Club Lounge

Vero Beach Resort

  • The Green Cabin Room
  • Shutter’s
  • Sonya’s (Excludes
    Sunday Brunch)

Wilderness Lodge

  • Artist Point
  • Territory Lounge
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe

Yacht Club Resort

  • Ale and Compass Lounge
  • Captain’s Grille
  • Crews Cup Lounge
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort

  • Il Mulino New York Trattoria
  • Kimonos
  • Shula’s Steak House
  • Todd English’s bluezoo
  • Garden Grove
DISNEY PARK LOCATIONS
Magic Kingdom® Park

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Liberty Tree Tavern
  • The Crystal Palace
  • The Plaza Restaurant
  • Tony’s Town
    Square Restaurant

Epcot®

  • Akershus Royal
    Banquet Hall
  • Biergarten Restaurant
  • Bistro de Paris
  • Chefs de France
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
  • Nine Dragons Restaurant
  • Restaurant Marrakesh
  • Rose & Crown Pub
    & Dining Room
  • San Angel Inn Restaurante
  • The Garden
    Grill Restaurant
  • Tokyo Dining
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante
  • Via Napoli

Disney’s Hollywood Studios™

  • 50’s Prime Time Cafe
  • Hollywood & Vine
  • Mama Melrose’s
    Ristorante Italiano
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In
    Theater Restaurant
  • The Hollywood
    Brown Derby
  • Tune-In Lounge
Animal Kingdom®

  • Flame Tree Barbeque
  • Pizzafari
  • Restaurantosaurus
  • Tusker House Restaurant

DOWNTOWN DISNEY®
– Marketplace

  • Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant
  • Fulton’s Crab House

DOWNTOWN DISNEY®
– Pleasure Island

  • Paradiso 37
  • Portobello
  • Raglan Road” Irish Pub
    and Restaurant

DOWNTOWN DISNEY®
– West side

  • Bongo’s Cuban Café
  • House Of Blues®
    (Excludes Sunday Brunch)
  • Planet Hollywood®
  • Wolfgang Puck Café

ESPN Wide World
of Sports® Complex

  • ESPN Wide World
    of Sports® Grill

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

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3 More Reasons the Disney Vacation Club could be for you!

Bay Lake Tower, Disney Deluxe Villas

Is DVC right for you?

Having now been a DVC member for 10 years I find myself constantly singing the praises of what it can offer. I have only 1 complaint about it Disney's Yacht Club Resort, Crescent Lake Disneythough…we should have joined much earlier!!! The question is though, is DVC a good fit for you? Here are some reasons that I think it is.

1) Location and space!

The best part of DVC is the rooms and the location of the resorts. Our home resort is the Beach Club Villas and I could not ask for a better location. Since EPCOT and the Studios are my 2 favorite parks, it is wonderful being able to just walk over to either of them and not having to wait for buses. Boardwalk Villas are in the same area making it another great option for people that love those parks and the nightlife that Boardwalk has to offer. Bay Lake Towers at the Contemporary resort is a great choice for people that love the Magic Kingdom. The rooms are gorgeous, but have more of a futuristic look. If you want the room designed in all Disney you may not be as pleased with it. The location can’t be beat though, you can take a path out front and walk right over to the MK or you can walk over to the main building of the contemporary and hop on the monorail. Animal Kingdom Lodge has great atmosphere, we loved waking up in the morning and having coffee overlooking the savannah and watching the animals. The only complaint that I have with that resort is that you have to take a bus if you want to go anywhere. There is no pathway to AK. If you don’t mind the distance though it is a great choice for those that are looking for a different experience than you will find anywhere else.

Disney's Boardwalk Resort, boardwalk Resort, Disney's Beach Club resort, Disney planning tips, Disney vacation

Walking around Disney’s Boardwalk Resorts

Some of the other DVC resorts at Disney World are The villas at Wilderness Lodge, the Villas at Saratoga Springs, and the original resort, Old Key West. All of the resorts offer a different atmosphere, and none of them disappoint.

The great thing about the villas is that rooms! You can choose from a studio, which is similar to a hotel room with a small kitchenette. It is good for a short stay, or if you just want a room and won’t be doing much cooking. The 1 bedroom villas have a living room, a separate bedroom with a king sized bed, a full kitchen and bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, and separate shower. 2 bedroom villas offer all of the amenities in the 1 bedroom with an additional bedroom with 2 beds and it’s own bathroom. The 3 bedrooms are perfect if you are going to bring the whole extended family, it sleeps up to 12 people. It has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths and depending on what resort you are at it may be one or 2 stories.

One of the things I love about the villas is that they all have a washer and dryer in the room! I love not having to bring as many clothes since I can throw in a load at night, and I can clean them all before I come home and not have to worry about doing a bunch of laundry when I get home. A vacation plus!

2) Getting to visit new places

I know, who would want to go anywhere other than Disney World? Well, with the DVC you have the option to have piece of Disney wherever you Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge savanna, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge balconygo. There are other DVC resorts in Hilton Head, Vero Beach, Grand Californian and Aulani in Hawaii. You can use your vacation points at any of these resorts and get the same service that you have become accustomed to from Disney.

You can also go to places all over the world. Through RCI you can use points to visit over 350 destinations throughout the world. You can also use your points with Adventures by Disney that allows you to go on guided tours in other countries. If the water is more your thing, then you may want to use your points on Disney Cruise Lines. You can also go to Disneyland Paris, other resorts in Disney world, and Disneyland. As you can see, the places that you can visit are endless!!

3) Saving time and money!

I have been talking about points, and some of you are probably scratching your head wondering what I am talking about. Well, the great thing Wilderness Lodgeabout DVC is that unlike other timeshares, you are not confined to the same week every year. You can go whenever you want, and sometimes more than once a year.

When you buy into the DVC you buy a certain number of points. Anywhere from 160-2000. Currently prices are about $112 per point. Each resort runs a different number of points per night. It varies depending on when you go, what size room or what view you choose.

The point system works on a use year basis. A use year is when your points become available for that year. If you buy in March, then your points for that year become available in that month. When you buy in with DVC depending on what resorts are available that will be your home resort. You can begin booking your home resort 11 months out, so if your favorite is available try to buy there so you have first choice at the resort you want. You can book at all other DVC resorts 7 months out.

If you are not able to take a vacation one year you can bank your unused points to the following year (extra vacation anyone?!) You also have the option of borrowing from the coming year if you find that you need more points for a vacation you want to take.

As for saving money, yes the initial cost may be high (It all depends on how many points you get). However, when you look at what you spend every year on your vacations, it pays for itself quickly…Plus once you buy in you are member for 40 years, and it can be passed down in the eventCrescent Lake, Disney's Boardwalk Resort something happens to you.

I know that DVC is not right for everyone, but for us it has been the best decision we have ever made. We have been able to travel to places that we may not have been able to go to otherwise. The savings have been great, and we love using the discounts that DVC offers us on annual passes as well as many restaurants and stores at Disney.

You can check out the DVC website for more information, or if you have an upcoming trip to Disney take a tour. It doesn’t take long, and you will see what all the DVC has to offer. The sales person is not pushy and if you decide it is not for you, you at least get some ice cream at the end of the tour out of it.

There are kiosks all over the parks and resorts, so next time you are walking by, stop by and get some more information. You can also call 1-800-500-3990 for more information.

Lisa just moved to Nashville, TN, after spending 28 years in Ohio. She has been a huge Disney fan since her parents took her on her first trip at age two. 2. She has been to Disney over 70 times and worked at Blizzard Beach as part of the Disney College Program. She is now working on finding a way to move to FL, so she can be closer to her favorite place on Earth!

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Which Disney World Resort Level is Best for Your Family?

Animal Kingdom Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Resort

By Frances.

Which Disney Resort is best for your family? All the Disney Resorts have magical theming and share the same inside-the-park benefits. The largest differences are found in pricing, dining and accommodations. Here is a quick snap shot of each resort level. [Read more…]

Free Disney Time? Take A Monorail Ride to the Contemporary Resort

Every photo has a story.

“Por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas. Ladies and Gentlemen, please collect your belongings and watch your head and step. Please assist small children by the hand.” We’re about  to climb off  the WDW monorail. I can hear the words in my sleep, the words of childhood fun, special memories, and Disney destinations just along the track.  If you’ve ever ridden on a Disney monorail, this simple speech, even the sound of the narrator’s voice,  is etched into your collective Disney history forever as well.  My earliest memory of the Contemporary was approaching it by monorail, gliding into the building. [Read more…]

Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian: 3 Reasons You’ll Love This Pricey Restaurant!

Narcoossee's lobster, Narcoossee's menu, Narcoossee's restaurant, Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian

By Lisa.

Narcoossee’s is a signature dining restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  It specializes in seafood fare served in a Victorian style setting.  We decided to try a new dining location during our last trip, and Narcoossee’s was certainly a choice that we did not regret! Here are some reasons that you should add it to your next list of ADR’s: [Read more…]

The Disney Vacation Club? How It Has Wrecked My Home Life

What is the absolute worst part about a Disney vacation, assuming your car doesn’t break down, you don’t catch the flu, and you do not lose your wallet? The worst part is definitely coming home. After-Disney Depression goes by many unofficial clinical names.

  • IMDS – I miss Disney Syndrome
  • DDS – Disney Depression Syndrome.
  • DVES – Disney Vacation Ending Syndrome
  • PDS – Post Disney Depression

Different names – same outcome. You simply miss Disney, and it’s depressing to ponder when you’ll have enough money and time off from work to make it back to the Mouse House.

My family has been Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members since 2009, and our home base is at Bay Lake Tower in Orlando. Coming home from Bay Lake Tower is rough. I’m going to show and tell you why the DVC has wrecked my home life. [Read more…]

How Will New Construction at the Grand Floridian Resort Affect Your Disney Vacation?

Grand Floridian DVC villas, Grand Floridian DVC villas photos, where will Grand Floridian DVC villas be located, DVC, Disney DVC construction

DVCNews.com is reporting that construction work on the new Disney Vacation Club villas will create some upcoming closures of specific areas of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This will affect both vacationers staying on property and sightseers just stopping in for a quick tour as they ride the monorail around to the Magic Kingdom.  Your vacation here will be affected by what activities you plan to pursue while on property.

[Read more…]

Hop on a Monorail for FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities

Disney Monorail, Disney vacation, monorail Yellow

You hear us say over and over- A Disney vacation is fantastic and memorable, but it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. Next to your room and food costs, theme park tickets are one one of the next largest purchases for any Disney trip.  We always seem to be searching for inexpensive ways to get the most from our Disney Dollars. Sometimes it’s nice to do other activities that don’t involve purchasing tickets or expensive character meals. Window shopping at Downtown Disney is good for half a day’s free, or almost free, entertainment and riding the WDW monorail to the resorts is another. [Read more…]

Disney’s Bay Lake Tower Resort: Is It Really Worth the Big Buck$?

Bay lake tower photo, bay lake tower rates, bay lake tower reservations, disney bay lake tower DVC

Bay Lake Tower is a resort complex connected to Disney’s Contemporary Resort by a covered Sky Way Bridge. Just opened in 2009, it one of the newest DVC and Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts on the Walt Disney World property. From a studio to a three-bedroom unit spanning two floors, Bay Lake Tower is the newest in the line of upper-end Disney accommodations. But wow, it’s pricey! Is this the right resort for your next vacation?

Here’s three reasons you would love to stay at Bay Lake Tower. [Read more…]