A Look at Bay Lake Tower At Disney’s Contemporary Resort With Kelly

Bay Lake Tower
Photo: Disney

This week Kelly takes us along as she looks at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in the Walt Disney World Resort.

When I was a child I was mystified by Disney’s Contemporary Resort. All I kept thinking was that a building that had a monorail going through it seemed to be way too technologically advanced to be real, and that I could spend all day riding the monorail through the resort.

Bay Lake Tower
Walkway connecting Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower.
Photo: Betsy Bates

When I became a Disney Vacation Club member they were in the process of building Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and I couldn’t wait to see the expansion on the Contemporary.

Bay Lake Tower
View of Bay Lake from Bay Lake Tower
Photo: Betsy Bates

I was able to do a walkthrough of a mock room at Saratoga Springs, and I loved the design aesthetic that had been chosen for this resort as soon as I walked through the door. It made me think of the exit ramp at Space Mountain and what I pictured the advertised resorts on “Mars” or “Saturn” may look like. While it was certainly close to what I envisioned, it ended up being so much more.

Bay Lake Tower Room

Once the opening date was set I booked a room and since that first visit, I have been back a few times. While Bay Lake Tower is a fairly small Disney Vacation Club Property with just over 400 rooms, the building is huge and filled with beautiful and fun Disney touches and artwork.

I find that I don’t stay at Bay Lake Tower very often, because I tend to stay away from the Magic Kingdom resort area and I prefer more on-site amenities in my resort.

Bay Lake Tower
Bay Lake Tower Pool Area from the Resort.
Photo: Betsy Bates

I recommend this resort for people who are going to spend the majority of their time at the Magic Kingdom (or Epcot as it is accessible by monorail through the TTC). This resort is also fantastic for those who can’t live without Wishes, the nighttime firework display at the Magic Kingdom. The soundtrack for the show plays in all Bay Lake Tower resort rooms as well as up on the top floor in the Top Of The World Lounge. It’s a fantastic way to end those magical days. 

My three tips for enjoying Bay Lake Tower:

Bay Lake Tower
Photo: Betsy Bates
Bay Lake Tower
Photo: Betsy Bates

Tip 1: Have an early dinner at the Wave restaurant in the Contemporary Resort before heading to Top Of The World for appetizers and drinks afterwards. My recommendations: Bay Lake Sunset (vanilla vodka, coconut rum, pineapple juice, and grenadine) with an order of soft pretzels with dips to share as you watch the fireworks from the lounge

Bay Lake Tower
Photo: Betsy Bates

Tip 2: When booking, request a room near the causeway. As there are limited amenities in Bay Lake Tower itself, it’s nice to be able to walk quickly over to the Contemporary for quick snacks and sundries

Tip 3: Try to plan an evening while staying here to just relax in the room. Community Hall has board games you can rent for free as a dvc member, so grab a game and relax and enjoy the ambiance of your room. 

Bay Lake Tower
Photo: Disney

Have you stayed at Bay Lake Tower? What are some of your favorite tips for staying at this Disney Vacation Club Resort?

 

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Tables in Wonderland Salutes Florida Strawberry Season

tiw_wave

The Wave…of American Flavors has an exciting evening planned for the March Tables in Wonderland Discovery Dinner.  This month’s Discovery Dinner will be celebrating the Central Florida Strawberry Season.  Our Farmer/Chef dinner will feature Lott Farms, located just west of Plant City, Florida.  Mike and Sandy Lott started their farm in 1979 on rented land. In 1983 purchased and built their 50 acre family farm.  They have lived on and farmed this land with their children and grandchildren ever since. Mike’s great strawberries are sold under the Classic label through C&D Produce Distributors.

Tables in Wonderland Discovery Dinner

The Wave… of American Flavors
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Thursday, March 20, 2014
6:30 p.m. Reception; 7:00 p.m. Dinner
Dress Code – Casual Evening Attire
$110 per person, includes tax and gratuity

For reservations, please visit the following website www.disneyurl.com/thewavemarch for self-booking and instant confirmation.  The website will go live and begin taking reservations on February 24, 2014 at 10:00am.

Reception

Strawberry Tequila Shooter with Lime Caviar
Strawberry Sweet Tea Braised Short Rib Slider
Kumamato Oysters in Strawberry Gelee with Micro Wasabi
MARTIN RAY CHARDONNAY, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

First Course

U-12 Scallop Crudo with Strawberries Five Ways and McGregor Farms Opal Basil
MARTIN RAY SAUVIGNON BLANC, NAPA VALLEY

Second Course

Venison Tenderloin with Strawberry Honey, Roasted Chestnut and Pink Peppercorn Powder and Strawberry Basil Lavash
MARTIN RAY PINOT NOIR, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

Pasta Course

Braised Wild Boar with Strawberry Infused Pappardelle and a Foraged
Chanterelle Cream Sauce
MARTIN RAY CABERNET SAUVIGNON, SONOMA VALLEY

Main Course

Duck Leg Confit with Celery Root Purée, Royal Trumpet Mushrooms,
Glazed Cippolini Onions and a Strawberry Reduction
MARTIN RAY MERLOT, NAPA VALLEY

Cheese Course

Echo Mountain Goat, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Rogue River Blue
Pistachio Powder, Marcona Almond Praline, Quince Paste
MARTIN RAY RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA VALLEY

Dessert

Strawberry Crepe Cones with Citrus Mascarpone Mousse
Strawberry Sherbet with warm roasted Strawberry Compote
Chocolate and Balsamic Strawberry Sauce
MARTIN RAY RESERVE CHARDONNAY, SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS

 

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MagicBand Accessories Are At Walt Disney World!

MagicBand accessories have arrived just as Walt Disney World has started a largest test of the new MagicBands!

Available at Fantasia gifts at the Contemporary Resort and Zawadi Marketplace at Animal Kingdom Lodge, these accessories allow you to customize your MagicBand in an affordable way!

I was really excited to see that they had a good variety of characters and designs available!

The pricing is what really surprised me! With bands and MagicBandits are priced by item. The MagicBandits with three itema at $6.95 , four items at $8.95 , and three items+ at $12.95. CoverBands are $6.95 for one and $15.95 for 3. MagicSliders for the bands are available in Mickey $12.95 and Minnie $14.95.

I can’t wait to customize my own MagicBand! Look for pictures of mine coming soon!!!

UPDATE!!! Here is a video of the accessories and how they really work and feel!

httpv://youtu.be/qwIkPdmZ61k

For even better pictures of the accessories, swing by our Facebook Page to check out this album!

MagicBand Accessories:

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Contemporary Resort Choices

Recently Shelley and I both stayed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and we thought we’d take this opportunity to compare and contrast our stays. We will take a look at the room accommodations, dining, recreation, convenience, overall experience and whether or not we would choose to stay in the same type of accommodations again.

Rooms

The rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are some of the largest at Walt Disney World as far as standard rooms go at around 430 square feet. I love how spacious these rooms feel! They are nicely laid out with two queen sized beds and a day bed in the majority of the rooms, with a few with a king bed and a day bed.

Betsy: This trip I stayed in the Tower for the first time, which is the A-frame building that the monorail goes through, in a Theme Park View room. I was all the way at the end closest to Chef Mickeys on the 8th floor and had an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom.

Shelley: For my first stay at the Contemporary we got a room in the Garden Wing, which has a totally different feel than the Tower! We had a really nice view of a lawn area and Bay Lake from our window. The rooms were super spacious, well designed, and I especially loved the little touches like the hidden Contemporary shape in the sheer curtains!

 

Dining

Betsy: One of my favorite things about the Contemporary is the amount of dining options you have to choose from. During this stay I took advantage of the quick service location, Contempo Cafe, located on the 4th floor of the Grand Canyon Concourse. I just used it to grab drinks using the resort refillable mug I purchased and a quick snack shortly before midnight. The next morning I met up with a group of friends for the fantastic breakfast buffet at the Wave just off the lobby. If you haven’t done this buffet, you should! It is a great value at less than $20 per person and has an awesome variety. My favorites are the biscuits and gravy, sweet potato pancakes and pecan honey butter, and the multigrain Mickey waffles! Currently, the California Grill, the resort’s signature dining restaurant is under refurbishment until later this year. The other dining options include the pool bar and quick service location, the Sand Bar; Chef Mickey’s, one of the most popular character buffets; and private dining, which is available 24 hours a day.

Shelley: While the Garden Wing is away from the hustle and bustle…it’s away from the hustle and bustle, so it was a little bit of a hike to walk to the tower and then to navigate the busy elevators and escalators to get to the Contempo Cafe for a late dinner. Since traveling to get a snack was a bit of a hike, we found ourselves waiting until we needed to go somewhere to grab a bite to eat.

 

Recreation

Betsy: This stay I didn’t get to use any of the numerous recreation options at the resort. On previous stays I have been swimming in the pools and used the hot tub. I also enjoy watching the movies on the beach or lawn under the stars at night. There are tons of other choices from basic spa and massage services to a marina with parasailing, boat rentals, and fishing.

Shelley: During our stay there was a ton of rain, so we weren’t able to go swimming which Zoe was bummed about! But we have had the opportunity to watch movies on the beach and to take a Fireworks Cruise from the marina which was beyond amazing. There is such a wide variety of recreation options available!

 

Convenience

Betsy: I could not have asked for a better location as far as convenience. I had a fantastic view balanced with proximity to the lobby. It only took a couple of minutes to go up the elevator to my room and walk down the hallway from entering the resort. It was especially nice to be able to quickly run downstairs to grab an almost midnight snack after watching Wishes from my balcony. The morning we went to breakfast at the Wave I pretty much rolled out of bed and threw on clothes and was downstairs within 5 minutes. It was really really nice to be able to have several options very close by in the same building as my room.

Shelley: I really liked how convenient parking was for our building in the Garden Wing, but other than that it was a bit of a walk to get back to the Tower to get to transportation and food. We ended up making the walk several times, which got to be a little old.

 

Overall Experience

Betsy: I will be the first to admit that Disney’s Contemporary Resort is not my favorite resort since the decor isn’t exactly my style. Having said that, I will say that I had one of the best stays during this visit and that’s saying a lot since I’ve stayed at every Disney resort in Florida at least once, if not multiple times. I love the new check in process where the security guard calls ahead by radio to a Cast Member at the lobby entrance. They advised the waiting CM of my arrival with my name and describing my vehicle. When I pulled up to the valet stand, I was greeted by a CM with an ipad who welcomed me by name and let me know my room was ready, which was great at before 10am. I was escorted inside after leaving my keys with the valet in case they needed to move my car, and the greeter waited with me until a front desk CM was available to check me in to my room. I really enjoyed this new way of raising the level of service by adding personalization to the guest arrival process. Everything was so convenient as far as parking, getting to and from the parks, dining nearby and great service. I would highly recommend staying in the Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to anyone who is looking for a resort with many amenities and conveniences near the Magic Kingdom.

Shelley: While I have always wanted to stay at the Contemporary, I thought that staying in the Garden Wing was a give and take. If it was just Dave and I wanting to get away for the weekend without Zoe to enjoy the resort, I feel like it would have been ideal to stay in the Garden Wing since it is so close to so many recreation options. However, having Zoe with us and having an extra long commute to the Tower proved to be a lot more than we bargained for in our stay. I would definitely stay in the Garden Wing again, but I would really plan out my stay to enjoy more of the recreation at the Contemporary.

 

View of the Grand Canyon Concourse
View of the Grand Canyon Concourse
Chef Mickeys
Chef Mickeys
Spaceship Earth and Wilderness Lodge from the Tower
Spaceship Earth and Wilderness Lodge from the Tower
Entering the Tower room
Entering the Tower room
Vanity and shower area
Vanity and shower area
Toilet room
Toilet room
Coffee maker
Coffee maker
Closet
Closet
Garden Wing hall
Garden Wing hall
Garden Wing room
Garden Wing room
Queen beds
Queen beds
Desk area
Desk area
Towel Mickey
Towel Mickey
Mickey pillow
Mickey pillow
Day bed
Day bed
Tv console
Tv console
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Tree of Life and Everest in the distance
Tree of Life and Everest in the distance
Panoramic view
Panoramic view
View from bed
View from bed
Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle
Me on my balcony
Me on my balcony
Big Thunder and castle
Big Thunder and castle
Beast's and Prince Eric's castles
Beast’s and Prince Eric’s castles
Monorail and Space Mountain
Monorail and Space Mountain
Magic Kingdom at night
Magic Kingdom at night
Sorcerer castle for the kiss Goodnight
Sorcerer castle for the kiss Goodnight
Laying in bed with a view of the castle
Laying in bed with a view of the castle

httpv://youtu.be/8bwXF6WVOuY

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Easter Happenings At Walt Disney World

This week at Walt Disney World guests will find an array of events for the Easter Holiday. From special dining offerings at select restaurants, to activities at the resorts and in the theme parks, Disney has you covered, even down to religious services. With options available across property, Walt Disney World has taken strides to make guests feel at home in celebrating the holiday while on vacation.

As they do for Christmas, Walt Disney World is providing the Fantasia ballroom at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to hold Easter services this Sunday morning. Catholic Mass will be held at 8:00am and 10:15am, while Protestant services will be at 9:00am. If you are looking for other religious services, contact the concierge at your resort and they can assist you in finding the nearest location for your denomination or religious preference.

Restaurants are also joining in the celebration by offering special menus. Participating restaurants include: Captain’s Grille (brunch) at Disney’s Yacht Club, Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Wave (brunch) at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Cape May Cafe (dinner) at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Garden Grove (dinner) at the Walt Disney World Swan.

In the theme parks you will find a variety of entertainment options:

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom the Yak & Yeti DJ Dance Party will take place 4:00-8:00pm April 4 & 5 and 3:00-7:00pm April 6-14 in Asia. Africa will play host to Bourdicka April 4-14 at 3:10, 4:35, 5:30 and 6:30pm.

Epcot will have Easter Egg Hunts and Relays inside the UK pavilion of World Showcase for children ages 3-9 and 8-12 respectively. There will also be a smaller section for children under 3 to participate in their own hunt. The Easter Egg Hunts will be every 10 minutes from 11:00am – 3:30pm and the Relays will be every 40 minutes between 11:40am and 3:40pm. Also on hand will be Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny to greet guests from 11:30am – 4:00pm. Space is limited for sign ups for the hunts and relays with registration starting approximately half an hour before each hunt. Future World East will be having Easter Egg Hunts as well for children 3-9 in addition to some Easter themed games. The hunts will take place on the quarter hour starting at 10:00am and ending at 4:00pm.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a special dessert just for the Easter holiday from April 6-17. The pineapple coconut Easter cupcake will be sold at ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Pizza Planet, Starring Rolls and Studio Catering Company. Additional outdoor beverage stands will also be added around Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano, and 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Sweet Spells will have several other holiday related treats, including some Kosher offerings.

The Magic Kingdom will have a meet and greet with Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny until Sunday in the garden to the left of City Hall in the Tour Guide Garden.

On Easter Sunday, all Disney Resorts will have special activities of their own including Easter Egg Hunts, special arts and crafts activities, pool games themed around Easter, dance parties, and you can even meet some of your favorite Disney characters in their Easter costumes. There are even in room celebrations that you can order from Disney Florist. See this recent post on the Disney Parks Blog regarding Easter baskets you can have delivered for your family.

No matter how you choose to celebrate with your family and friends, it seems like Disney has something for everyone. Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoy!

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