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“Fabulous Stay over Halloween”

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Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Ranked #28 of 337 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
Charlotte, NC
Level Contributor
116 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Fabulous Stay over Halloween”
Reviewed 7 November 2009

General
My 10-year old son and I did a father and son 5-night trip to Disney and stayed at the newest Disney Vacation Club’s Bay Lake Tower (BLT), which just opened in September.

BLT is very conveniently located next to the well-known Contemporary Resort (CR). Parking is free. There is a connecting walkway to CR for easy access to the monorail to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. In fact, Magic Kingdom is close enough to walk, especially when monorail is quite busy (e.g. after fireworks). Plus by walking over to MK, you can catch a bus to anywhere without having to change buses.

Of note, check in is at the CR. Most of the amenities are at the Contemporary (e.g. restaurants, shops, concierge, health club/spa, business center, marina). DVC members have access to all the amenities at CR (but not vice versa). But it is somewhat inconvenient to have to walk over to CR if you just need a little something, like milk.

Bay Lake Tower does have a tennis courts, a nice pool with a slide and hot tub, and a poolside bar. The Community Hall has lots of activities for kids all day long, mostly free. There is also a very nice Top of the World Lounge on the top floor with full-service bar and limited menu that is only accessible to DVC members staying at BLT using DVC points. It is a wonderful place to watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.

Accommodation
We stayed in a very large, elegant 1-bedroom suite overlooking Bay Lake. There is a 20-foot widow in the living room. In fact, we can see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our living room, so we had free entertainment every night. There are two full baths. In the contemporary theme, décor is very modern. Flat panel HDTV in the living room and bedroom. Full kitchen amenities (stone countertop, oven, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, dishwasher, full-size refrigerator) and wash/dryer combination. Wired internet access is $10 a day but FREE to DVC members. A laptop-size safe is in the room. The only minor complaint I had was that the toilets flushes are a bit noisy and we can hear neighbors flushing all night. I did not notice a lot of noise otherwise.

Summary
Very nice place to stay. Location is great. Slightly isolated because everything is over at Contemporary Resort. But also much less chaotic.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank KermitNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Connecticut
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 November 2009

I won't repeat what others have said - the villa accomodations are spacious. We had both a one and a two BR villa for a party of 2 and 3 respectively. The decor of both the Contemporary and the Bay Tower may be off-putting to some (it's very 70's in a sort of Brady Bunch meets Jeff Lewis meets Airport Lounge way), but the rooms are big, and having a second full (albeit smaller) bathroom in the one-bedroom villa makes life a lot easier for those with families. The two bedroom villa had 3 baths. Everything was spotless, sparkling, and new as can be - with the exception of the tens-of-thousands of flying ants that seemed to be everywhere around the outside the hotel entrances at night. Thankfully, by the next morning they were lying dead in sprawling piles all around the same locations either because they spray every night or because they only live for a few hours after sprouting wings.

We opted for the "Magic Kingdom" view and paid a considerable premium for what turned out to be predominantly a view of the front parking lot, with the MK off to the right - I uploaded a photo from our 4th floor window. What we got was an ugly view and a lot of traffic noise. The interior view rooms that overlook the pool are a far better deal and the view is also much better, so I'd recommend those unless you absolutely must see the top of Cinderella's castle peeking out over the tree-tops.

We had a few complaints regarding noise - banging/slamming/stomping - sure, this is WDW and there are lots of kids and families around, but this seemed to go on all night long, so I'm really not sure what the source of the noise was. The walls are thin - I could hear conversational level voices from the adjacent room.

It's an awkward location - connected to the main Contemporary Tower by a bridge on the concourse/4th floor - the whole tower just sorta sprouted up on a sparse plot of land. If you want any type of refreshment or snack - a drink, something to eat, etc, there is nothing at all in the Bay Tower to be found and you've gotta schlepp it over to the main hotel (there are vending machines on each floor but they only dispense candy).

Lastly (and this is a huge pet-peeve of mine) they do not offer free high-speed internet. 10 bucks a day for a wired hookup. No wireless in the room. Come on, nowadays internet service is commodity and pervasive, and lots of people carry laptops/netbooks when travelling so it's not just a "business" amenity.

As an aside, I have a few comments regarding the overall experience that aren't specific to the hotel per se.

1) At-hotel Flight Checkin: There seems to be an overall lack of coordination with the hotel check-out process and flight checkin/boarding pass issuance. We were only provided with one pass, despite their being 2 in our party, and then had to stand in the checkin line at the hotel not once, but twice, to try to resolve the issue. But again, that's all part-and-parcel of the WDW experience - expect to spend the majority of your time while you're there *waiting* in some sort of line.

2) Magical Express Bus Confusion: Upon departure, a non-Disney (labelled Mears Transport) bus appeared at the Port Cochere, and we barely noticed because it wasn't clearly announced that that was the bus we should board - I suspected it was "our" bus and I am glad that I asked the bus driver, or else we would have left without us.

2) We were there for Halloween. We've been going every year for "Mickey's not-so-scary Halloween Party" at the MK, and every year it has gotten progressively more crowded. It was so crowded in Fantasyland this year that we literally could not move. There is supposed to be Trick or Treating throughout the park, but this year, I estimate there were about 1/3 the stations than in previous years - we only were able to get close enough to one of those stations inside the park.

3) Shuttle Bus service around the resort seems misallocated and not sufficient. We waited for a bus more than a half hour to go from the Contemporary to Downtown Disney, and the return required a similar wait.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank MTSINC370
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 October 2009

We just return from our trip to DIsney World. I cannot say enough regarding Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Comtemporary Resort. We travel with 6 adults and 2 infants. We stay in the 2 bedroom villa, which included 3 bathrooms. One couple had to stay in the living room on the sofa bed. Believe or not, it was comfortable. The living room also had a large chair that also converted to a bed. It would be perfect for a child. The rooms were clean, neat and the kitchen had everything you needed if you wanted to cook (We did not cook, are you kidding). We were able to go to the 16th floor to watch the Fireworks at Disney World. You were only allowed to go up there if you used your Disney Club Vacation points for your vacation. We thought it would be really crowed, but it wasn't. We were told by one of the cast members that it very seldom gets to capacity. We regreted not going up there more often.

One down note. OK maybe 2. I called the front desk for information. Each and every time I was given the wrong information. Not sure what is going on with that, but this is the first time that has ever happen to me at a Disney Resort. There is still no wireless internet in the rooms. What is up with that? Such a modern hotel, but still have to plug-in to go on line.

I plan to stay at Bay Lake Tower on my next trip. Great Place to Stay.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rockgirl272
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 October 2009

We recently returned home after a 4 night, 5 day stay at Bay Lake Tower. Wow, this resort does not disappoint! We originally had a "standard" view room, but were upgraded to a lake view, one bedroom. The room was spacious, clean, and very modern. The beds, including the pull out couch, were very comfortable. The bathrooms were also modern and clean, and the master bathroom was amazing. My only complaint about the bathrooms is that the sliding doors do not lock and there is no counter space in the smaller bathroom. You have to use the shelf under the sink or the tower shelf to store your personal items. Not good planning. The other thing I thought was odd was that they have a beautiful, huge window overlooking the lake, but they placed a floor lamp right smack dab in the middle of it! Very odd. In order to get to the Contemporary, you have to take a covered walkway that connect the buildings. Not a big deal and actually quite nice especially at night because it has an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom. The staff at Bay Lake and Contemporary is top notch!! The pool and pool bar at Bay Lake is wonderful; shallow for young kids and plenty big. The Bay Lake Tower doesn't have the "character" that some of the other Disney resorts have, but if you're looking for convenience this is the place to stay!

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kelsum02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
59 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 October 2009

As new Disney Vacation Club members, this was our first stay at our home resort, Bay Lake Tower. We’re a family of 3 (2 adults and an 8 year old girl), so we decided to save points and book a studio.

Overall, we loved our stay. We’d been assigned the fourth floor, but at check-in were moved to a studio on the 15th floor overlooking the pool and Bay Lake. The view was nice. Off to the side was the lake, the pool was right down below and we could see the other wing of the building across the way. Because we were so high, having the view of the building wasn't much of an issue.

The studio itself was much smaller than I’d imagined, even after looking at many pictures and layouts on the web. It was like a small to medium size hotel room with a bed, sofa sleeper, cramped desk area, small toilet and bath area and small kitchen area with two sinks – one that was supposed to go with the bath (there’s not sink in the room with the toilet and tub) and one that was for the kitchen. For such a small space, it was very efficient, but I wouldn’t have want to stay in a studio that small with anyone other than my husband and daughter. There just wasn’t much privacy and even the bathroom door didn’t lock. Aside from the size of the unit, the design was slick and modern, yet still kind of homey and friendly. If I were staying at Disney alone or as a party of two, the studio would have been fine.

Pool was perfect for my 8 year old and lifeguards were top notch. At one point, a lifeguard jumped in the pool when a little boy whose mother stood by got scared at the end of the slide. After he was “rescued”, he slid down the slide again and his mother got in the pool. The size of the pool is not overwhelmingly big, but I wouldn’t call it small, either.

As for the grounds, they were very clean. Employees were friendly and service was perfect as usual at Disney.

The only thing I didn’t like about our stay was every morning and every evening and even during the late afternoon, the halls would have trays of old, partially eaten room service food. At first, we just ignored it – one or two trays in a hallway is not unusual for a hotel. But we noticed throughout the duration of the stay that the trays outside doors seem to multiply as more people checked in.

Other than the icky trays in the hallways for extended periods of time, we really loved Bay Lake Tower and are looking forward to our next stay. The one bedroom units are a world of difference from the studios – much larger and what you’d expect from a vacation club type property.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Annagins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 October 2009

We stayed at BLT for one night in a studio. We paid for a Bay Lake view, but we had a 6th floor room with a view of the Magic Kingdom to the left, Bay Lake to the right. It was a perfect place for viewing the "Wishes" fireworks. The balconies are constructed in such a way that they are incredibly private; you can't see your neighbors, they can't see you, which is nice. The room itself is quite small, but laid out well enough that it doesn't feel cramped. Our room was handicapped-accessible - not something we asked for or needed, and we would have preferred a regular room. The accessible layout has a larger bathroom with two showers, but a MUCH smaller kitchenette. The kitchen counter was so small that the coffee maker hung partway over the edge of the sink. Not enough thought went into that!

The pool is not very big, but really attractive and fun. It's one of those "safe" pools - no water deeper than 4 feet. The slide is really cool. There's a pool bar and beach adjacent to the pool, and you can also stroll right over to the Contemporary to use their marina and pool. There's no restaurants or shopping at BLT, but again, the Contemporary is a short stroll away.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank gardeniaFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tyler, Texas
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2009

We had a four night stay at Bay Lake Towers during late August. We realized this being a newly opened resort, their could be glitches. The only notable disturbance was a middle of the night fire evacuation on our first night, but upon inquiry the following day we were told everyone was safe and the alarm sounded because a door to the room where they keep the helium tanks was left ajar by the service staff. Oh well, we were safe, right?

The room was amazing. Very modern and sleek design. We stayed in a one bedroom with lagoon view. The living area had a sleeper sofa and a sleeper chair, so our children were able to have their own beds every night. The jacuzzi tub and powerful shower head was amazing to our sore and achy bodies following long days at the parks! Although we would have preferred a MK view, the lagoon view gave us first look at the electric water pagaent nightly, we thought that was a nice perk.

Location is SO important in WDW, and this resort is perfectly located next to MK, easy walking distance and the monorail at the Contemporary. Navigating the park system from BLT was very easy and we never felt pressed for time.

I would recommend Bay Lake Tower to friends and family.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank relaxalot2
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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