THIS 655-ROOM DELUXE RESORT ON BAY LAKE is unique in that its A-frame design permits the Magic Kingdom monorail to pass through the structure’s cavernous atrium. A 90-foot mosaic depicts American Indian children and nature.The off-white central tower is augmented by a three-story Garden Wing fronting Bay Lake to the south and by Bay Lake Tower, a 295-room, 15-story Disney Deluxe Villa development, to the north.
Standard rooms in the A-frame afford fantastic views of Bay Lake or the Magic Kingdom, and all have balconies. At 394 square feet each, they’re only slightly smaller than equivalent rooms at the Grand Floridian Resort.
The Contemporary’s rooms are, in our opinion, among the nicest of any Disney resort. Amenities include flat-panel LCD TVs, built-in closets, stylish soft goods, a Keurig coffeemaker, and comfortable beds. Wood accents in warm tones are a welcome relief from the bland beige that dominates so many hotel palettes; green and yellow accent pieces add just the right splash of color. The flat-panel TV is surrounded by a modern interpretation of the traditional family hearth: Two expansive curved shelves (perfect for storing small items) serve as the hearth’s mantel, while a colorful tiled display underneath simulates the fireplace. It’s functional, attractive, and clever.
A lot of thought went into the bathroom design too. You enter through a sliding pocket door instead of a traditional hinged model. A curved shower-curtain rod provides extra room. Combined with the pocket door, the curtain rod makes the bathroom feel much bigger than it is. Another thoughtful touch: A small motion sensor detects when you’re up and moving at night, and it triggers a dimmed bathroom light to help you find your way.
The work area has ample surface space provided by an L-shaped, glass-topped desk; it looks high-tech, but rounded corners perfectly soften the piece. Lighting is superb, with top scores in the bathroom grooming, reading, and work areas. Small, stylish overhead lights are more than ample for reading in bed.
The Contemporary’s beds are topped with high-thread-count sheets and down-filled pillows. The air-conditioning system is a little louder than most. If you like to sleep with a bit of white noise in the background, however, you’ll be in heaven. Speaking of noise, readers rate the Contemporary’s rooms as among the quietest on property.
Dining options abound. On the first floor is The Wave of American Flavors, a 220-seat restaurant that focuses on organic and health-conscious foods. Contempo Cafe, a counter-service restaurant on the fourth floor’s Grand Canyon Concourse, serves upscale sandwiches, salads, and flatbread pizzas. Chef Mickey’s, also on the fourth floor, hosts a popular character buffet at breakfast, brunch, and dinner. On the 15th floor, the award-winning California Grill serves contemporary American cuisine.
The pool has slides for kids and cabanas for rent. The resort has around a half-dozen shops. The Contemporary is within easy walking distance of the Magic Kingdom; monorail transportation is available to both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Other destinations can be accessed by bus or boat. Walking time to transportation loading areas from the most remote rooms is 6– 9 minutes.
The Contemporary has two hotel buildings: the A-frame tower and the Garden Wing. Rooms in the A-frame overlook either Bay Lake and the marina and swimming complex on one side or the parking lot with Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom in the background on the other. Except for most second- and third-floor rooms in the Garden Wing, each room has a balcony with two chairs and a table. If you stay on the Magic Kingdom side of the A-frame, ask for a room on the ninth floor or higher. The parking lot and connecting roads are less distracting there
On the Bay Lake side, the view is fine from all floors, though higher floors are preferable. In the Garden Wing, all ground-floor rooms have patios. Only end rooms on the second and third floors facing Bay Lake have full balconies; all other rooms have balconies only a foot deep. Also, note that the Garden Wing is a fair walk from the restaurants, shops, front desk, guest services, and monorail station in the A-frame.
There’s a lot of boat traffic in the lake and canal alongside the Garden Wing. Nearest the lake and quietest are rooms 6116– 6123, 6216– 6223, and 6316– 6323. At the water’s edge but noisier are rooms 6107– 6115, 6207– 6215, and 6307– 6315. Flanking the canal connecting Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon are rooms 5128– 5151, 5228– 5251, and 5328– 5351. All of these have nice canal and lake views, which subject them to some daytime noise from passing watercraft, but the whole area is exceptionally quiet at night.
The Garden Wing also has rooms facing the marina, pool, and playground; these work well for families with kids. The view doesn’t compare with views from the rooms previously listed, but ground-floor rooms 5105– 5127 and 6124– 6130 provide easy access to the pool. In addition to offering some of the most scenic and tranquil guest rooms in Disney World, the Garden Wing likewise contains some of the most undesirable ones. Avoid rooms ending with numbers 52– 70— almost all of these look directly onto a parking lot.
California Grill – Table Service
Chef Mickey’s – Table Service, Character Dining
Contempo Cafe – Quick Service
Contemporary Grounds – Snack
Cove Pool Bar – Bay Lake Tower – Lounge, Quick Service
Sand Bar Pool Bar – Lounge, Quick Service
Top of the World Lounge – Bay Lake Tower – Lounge, Snacks
The Wave – Table Service
Room Service – Table Service