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“When I can afford a membership to the vacation club, this will be my home resort!”

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Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Ranked #26 of 337 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
Normal, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“When I can afford a membership to the vacation club, this will be my home resort!”
Reviewed 30 April 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed here for our spring break as a way to get away from all the crazy drunk college-kid filled resorts and for him to experience Disney for the first time. (Disclaimer: We are both college students but were looking for something a little less ... drunk ... for our first vacation together.)

My parents are Disney Vacation Club members and graciously allowed us to use their points to stay here. Having been to Disney many times in my life, I was still surprised at the customer service aspect of the trip. Transportation was provided from the airport to the hotel (and back at the end of the trip). Our luggage was taken care of, as well. Check-in time was at 4, but we were able to go to our room at 2 when we arrived. Everything was clean and the view from the balcony was great. The best part about this hotel was the private pool and 14th floor bar for vacation club members. As guest of my parents, all the vacation club perks applied to my boyfriend and me. Every night we sat in the hot tub and on our last two nights we enjoyed drinks at the Top of the World Lounge. Watching the firework show from the Magic Kingdom was amazing, the lounge had the same music playing that is played in the park.

The only thing that bothered me was I could hear the family in the room next to mine and the music playing out by the pool early in the morning. However, I am an extremely light sleeper. So this might not bother people with normal sleeping abilities. It did not effect my boyfriend.

Overall, I love this hotel and can't wait to come back. I've encouraged my parents to stay there next time they are in DIsney as well.

Room Tip: Plan ahead, ask for a view of the Magic Kingdom.
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank SamanthaRose22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rumford, Rhode Island
Level Contributor
75 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 178 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2011

We've stayed at each of the Orlando DVC resorts and this one is the best, by far. Location is ideal for MK, pools are good+, rooms are nicely modernized and the roof-top observatory bar is fantastic. Just has a different, more cosmopolitan feel to the place.

Plenty of plugs in the room, flat-screens, modern island in kitchen, better bathrooms etc...It's also right on the water and easily accessible to monorail.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank DeansDesk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
chicago
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2011

We loved this hotel. We are DVC members and splurged on points here for Spring Break. Glad we did since it was super crowded. We were able to use extra magic hours every morning at WDW, we got up early and walked 2 minutes to the front gates and were able to take great pictures, ride all the rides and get fast passes before the humongous crowds decended upon WDW. The hotel is stylish and comfortable, we had a one bedroom and were able to have a bed for everyone, the couch pulled out to the most comfortable bed, and the chair was also a comfortable sleeper chair/bed for 1. The bedroom was very nice. We were on the 12th floor with a great lake view.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank luvtotravel09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 April 2011

Although I have nothing to compare it to... The Bay Lake Tower was a wonderful hotel so close to Magic Kingdom that you can walk there...

My family and I stayed in the Grand Villa suite and we loved it! We had booked the lake views room for price reasons but the view turned out better than the theme park view. We had a view of both! We were on the 15th and 16th floor and we saw both the lake and Magic Kingdom. Awesome!!!

Next, we loved the pool. The BLT pool is great for the entire family. It has a hot tub for the adults, a regular pool for, well everyone! And a waterside and kids play area for the kids!! Not to mention a private beach!! Just for BLT guests! All this plus the Contemporary pool is just... More than enough!!!

Those are just some of the best parts about this hotel and you should stay there to learn more!! This is sure a great place to stay!!!!

  • Stayed April 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rct3maniac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nassau, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2011

I just returned from a five day trip to Walt Disney World with my wife, two young children, and extended family. The trip overall was fantastic and there were many aspects of our stay at the Bay Lake Tower that were very pleasant. Fundamentally, however, at $700/night for a 1-bedroom suite, I do not believe we received value for our money. In the paragraphs that follow, I will do my best to provide an objective assessment of our stay (with the caveat that, being a New Yorker, I might be pickier than most):

1. Arrival/Check-in
The check-in process at the hotel was a disappointing start to our stay at the Bay Lake Tower. Upon learning that our flight to Orlando was being delayed by several hours, I called the front desk that the Contemporary Resort (handles all guest services for Bay Lake Tower) to alert them of our flight delay and to seek assurances that our rooms were set aside in anticipation of our late arrival. I was informed explicitly that our rooms were all on the same floor and were "absolutely set aside since [we] have already paid for the rooms." Upon check-in, only two of our three rooms were still available. They said that "due to an oversold situation, [they] could not honor what was told to [us] earlier and that the best they could do was to offer us a studio room elsewhere in the hotel." After we indicated our disappointment at the situation, the night manager of the hotel agreed to move the party into a 1-bedroom suite on the second day of the trip and to compensate them with a half a night's stay. After further protesting, the night manager agreed to a full night's compensation.

2. Cleanliness
While the grounds of the hotel were immaculate, the rooms were not. Cleanliness is a particular issue for my family as my child has life threatening food allergies (e.g. peanuts). (SIDE NOTE -- a great thing about Disney in general is their handling of food allergies; all restaurants across Disney World Parks and Resorts where we had dining reservations were notified of my son's allergies and were incredibly careful with food preparation). As part of Disney's standard operating procedures for people with food allergies, Disney Resort Reservations said that the hotel would automatically (based on the allergy notification in my reservation) conduct an "extra thorough allergy room cleaning...that would include shampooing of the carpets, bleach cleaning of the kitchen, and changing of the air vents." In two calls to the Contemporary/Bay Lake Tower in the 24 hours leading up to my arrival, as well as upon check-in, I was told in no uncertain terms that my room was set aside for the special allergy cleaning -- while the room may have been set aside, I did not see any indication of a thorough cleaning. The pantry drawers were full of crumbs and remnants for what looked like granola/nut products. The carpets were stained in a few areas and had crumbs near the kitchen area. Aside from the areas where I would have expected the special allergy cleaning, the main shower had an overpowering mildew/mold smell -- the bench within the shower had several portions with physical evidence of mold and mildew. Throughout our stay, there were ants crawling in our kitchen sink.

3. Condition of the Property
Disney has done a good job of keeping the common areas (exterior, landscaping, bridge from Bay Lake Tower to Contemporary, lobby, hallways) in good condition. Despite this property being only a year old, however, the rooms look tired and worn. The couch in the living room as well as the carpeting throughout the suite was stained in several spots. While I recognize that the rooms have most likely been in constant use with active families for the past year, I would expect Disney to expend the funds necessary to clean/fix/replace furniture/carpeting that is soiled...especially at a property listed as "Deluxe" and charging > $700/night for a one bedroom suite.

4. Amenities
As mentioned by other reviewers of this hotel, the Bay Lake Tower has its own outdoor pool and offers guests full access to all Contemporary Resort restaurants and facilities. Note that the Bay Lake Tower does not have its own staffed lobby nor does it have a restaurant (beyond the Vacation Club lounge, which for regular hotel guests, like myself, is off limits). Facilities at the Contemporary are, overall, very good with the exception of the gym which is small/cramped and has not been updated in 20+ years.

5. Proximity to Magic Kingdom
As discussed in earlier reviews, the proximity to the Magic Kingdom (via walking and monorail) is truly excellent.

6. General Service Orientation
Consistent with some of the other reviews, there is virtually no customer-facing staff at the Bay Lake Tower. The staff at the Contemporary, whom are now also responsible for the Bay Lake Tower guests, seem spread thin -- perhaps more staffing at the Contemporary and/or the Bay Lake Tower would improve the situation.

My hope in writing this accurate (albeit harsh at times) account of my stay at the Disney is that Disney Resort executives will expand/upgrade their staff at the Bay Lake Tower. The hotel has tremendous potential, but the hotel needs some sustained management attention to ensure it's long term success.

Room Tip: Call early, call often
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
10 Thank dmz_ny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NW New Jersey
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 April 2011

Thought the location would be SO convenient for a short visit to Epcot & the Magic Kingdom. First we went around in circles trying to find the place (give us directions already!) Then I forgot how much of a pain it was to switch trains for the Epcot trip. At least they ran frequently and were not full. the monorail to MK runs in only one direction, so it can be a long trip TO MK, but just one stop back. Should have tried to walk, but it was 90 degrees already!
Surprised at how many problems we had with the rooms. With Disney marketing to parents with young children I thought they would be focused on safety, but wow! were we surprised! First of all, all 3 doors to the balconies were unlocked when we checked into our room on the 11th floor! So glad I was a paranoid grandma and checked them. And yes, the football shaped table in the bedroom was as unstable as previously noted - I pressed on the top and it started to fall over! We kept it shoved up against the wall and never let the children near it! there is also a tall floor lamp in the living room that they could have easily pulled over on top of themselves! Who designed this??????? The clock radio in one bedroom couldn't be reset, there was an annoying beeping in the kitchen that I couldn't track down - it was the dishwasher (that's a new one on me!).
And of course, everything except the rooms is across in the original Contemporary building. It's also noisy from the fireworks and the electrical pagent - not nice if you are a toddler (or a tired grandparent) and 10 PM is WAY past your bedtime!
But what really got me was that I asked about a late checkout (so we could give the baby a nap) when I moved our reservation to the tower and was told it was noted on the reservation, but to ask again at check-in, where I was told it was noted and sent to houskeeping, but the next morning were were told that "there is never late check out at the villas!" We really felt snookered. So we won't be staying there again.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank njretiree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
30 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2011

Stayed five nights in mid-March and was very, very satisfied. Haven’t stayed anywhere else, so can’t compare Bay Lake Tower to other places. It does have a bit of a sterile feel; it certainly lacks the majesty found in the lobby of the Grand Floridian, for example.

One of the real selling points is the convenience – being able to walk to the Magic Kingdom is a big, big benefit – particularly if you with little ones. Also you can be at the hotel pool within about two minutes of exiting your room, which is to say, everything is in relatively close proximity.

Don’t be put off by a “standard” view. Yes, you have a parking lot below, but off in the distance is Cinderella’s Castle, and you can actually watch each night’s fireworks from your balcony. And the parking lot doesn’t seem to involve much activity.

The pool is great – particularly the waterslide – and you also have access to the pool at the Contemporary.

Bay Lake tower rooms have kitchenette. So there’s a microwave and refrigerator, but not a mini-bar (a great relief). There’s a little convenience store in the adjoining Contemporary, where the prices are a bit high but not outrageous.

Bay Lake Tower doesn’t have restaurants of its own, but Contemporary next door does. If you have kids, Chef Mickey’s is great.

Minimal contact with staff, but universally friendly and helpful.

Quiet room

Room itself is a bit cramped for three (or more) people. But the couch pulls out to a bed, which is nice. And I got my best night of sleep on it in months, though this may have had something to do with being completely exhausted after a full-day at the Magic Kingdom. The room was also extremely quiet – I don’t recall much of any noise from the outside, except for the gardeners and their very loud blowers in the late morning.

No big complaints. I spent some time in the lobby of the Bay Lake, working on my computer, and it has the worst kind of pop-Muzak playing (also in the pool area). It escapes me how anyone could think this is pleasant to listen to. Silence would be much better.

Note that if you’re going to places that rely on bus transportation, the buses are on no set schedule, and sometimes they may only run every 15-25 minutes (and then make other stops before getting to their destination). It seemed to take us forever to get to Downtown Disney, and even longer to get back. And it wasn’t worth the trip. It’s a glorified strip mall that you can find anywhere else in the United States. And the bus ride back from Hollywood Studios was a big of a nightmare – standing the whole way, and temperature at least 90 degrees inside.

All in all, very happy with Bay Lake Tower and will almost certainly stay there again.

Room Tip: Standard view rooms are great
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lancerodman
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

Property: Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Address: 4600 North World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830-8413
Region: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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
Bay Lake Tower At Disney's Contemporary Resort Orlando, Florida

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