Are you thinking of staying in the Disney Contemporary Resort? This is one of Walt Disney World’s deluxe hotel resorts and is very conveniently on the monorail system which will take you to Magic Kingdom in just minutes. In fact you do not even have to leave the hotel to jump on the monorail – it runs right through the hotel!
The Contemporary Resort is also within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom – and gives you some of the very best views of the Disney fireworks from anywhere in the World outside of the park.
The Contemporary Resort was part of Walt Disney’s original vision for Disney World. He planned this hotel, along with The Grand Floridian and The Polynesian. For Walt Disney the Contemporary Resort was his vision of the ultimate hotel of the future.
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Staying at a Walt Disney World hotel gives you many advantages. Particularly if you choose a hotel which is located on the monorail system as this give you very easy access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney Hollywood Studios, the water parks and Downtown Disney can also be reached via the bus and water transportation systems.
A Disney World hotel stay will also give you the benefits which only Disney resort guests enjoy, such as early and late park entry hours on selected days and the Disney Dining Plan.
But what is the Disney Contemporary Resort really like? To find out if The Contemporary Resort is right for you and your family take a tour around the hotel to find out which are the best rooms, the finest restaurants, and explore just what is there to do in the hotel.
Disney Contemporary Resort Hotel Rooms
The location of the hotel may be excellent but what you really need to know is what are the rooms actually like? For anyone who likes contemporary design then they will most definitely enjoy the Contemporary Resort. A relatively recent renovation in 2008 of all the rooms at the resort brought the hotel very much back into the 21st century with sleek contemporary design.
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The standard rooms are a generous size at 394 square feet. Each room will sleep up to 5 guests and also accommodate a child under 3 in a crib.
Each standard room at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has 2 Queen beds and a day bed, or a King and a day bed.
Each room has a wall mounted flat screen television and a computer with internet access and Contemporary Concierge which is free to use. There is wireless internet available for your own laptop for which there is a charge. Since the rennovation the hotel decor is once again very contemporary with very modern design.
The one thing which guests may find lacking in the rooms is that feel that you are in Disney World. If you want upfront non stop Disney this probably is not the hotel for you. No Mickey Mouse comforers here! But of course that total Disney experience is just on your doorstep even if it is not really inside your room!
The Contemporary Resort has 2 distinct sections. The main building with the monorial running through it, the main lobby and the restaurants. This is the Tower building. The second, separate building is The Garden Wing.
The views from The Tower can be of Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon, or Bay Lake. Many people prefer The Tower rooms, not only for the views, but also because they are close to the monorail and restaurants. The Tower rooms all have a small balcony which has 2 chairs and a table.
The Garden View rooms have a view of the parking lot, the water or the garden. They Garden Rooms do not have a balcony – perhaps a bit of a downside when you are paying for a deluxe hotel. You can choose a ground floor Garden View room as these do have a patio.
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The Tower rooms are higher priced than the Garden rooms. Indeed Disney now seems to put a much higher premium on Tower rooms as rates start at around $400 per night for the Tower and $285 for The Garden. You may decide that the you would rather get the great location of The Contemporary Resort and save money by staying in a Garden room if the only sacrifice is the view and the lack of balcony. For others the view is the key and is worth paying the extra.
Which are the best rooms in The Tower? Ask for a Magic Kingdom view room on the 9th floor or higher. These of course command a higher rate but if you want the best view then you may be prepared to pay the extra. The only downside to some of the lower floor Tower rooms is that they can be a little noisy as they are located directly above the Grand Canyon Concourse with the restaurants, shops and monorail.
In the Tower on the Bay Lake side all of the rooms have good views but of course the higher up you go the better the view gets.
Photo by Ben Dodson
Disney’s Contemporary Resort Concierge Level
Is the concierge level worth the extra money at The Contemporary Resort? Of course it really depends upon what you are looking for. What extra does it give you?
The Concierge rooms are located on the 12th and 14th floor of the Tower building. Standard rooms on the 12th floor are the same as any other standard room in the resort you are not getting anything different there. Suites and standard rooms are on the 14th floor. You will have a view either of the Magic Kingdom or Bay Lake depending on which side of the Tower you are located. You can request a particular view but as with all Disney resort hotel requests this is not guaranteed.
There are two concierge club lounges at the Contemporary Resort - both offer the same service. On the 12th floor it is the Atrium Club Concierge and on the 14th the Tower Club Concierge. Both lounges have a great view of the Magic Kingdom and of course you can use the Disney concierge service to help you plan your stay.
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The Concierge lounge also offers complimentary food and drinks. Depending upon how much you use this it can save you a significant amount of money. Breakfast offerings include tea, coffee, juice,pastries, hot and cold cereal, croissants and fruit. Afternoon snacks include cookies, Goldfish crackers, brownies, pretzels, rice crispy treats and beverages.
In the evening there is wine and cheese, beer, hot appetizers,crudite with dips. Then there is the wonderful dessert buffet where the selection changes every day.
Concierge includes nightly turn down service too. This is a nice perk but in my experience not really that much of a benefit.
Is concierge level worth the extra money at the Contemporary Resort? Guests opinions do differ quite a lot about this. I have stayed in many Disney resorts both in standard and concierge levels and I always check the price difference between the two very carefully. Sometimes the difference in rate can just be made up by eating some of the family meals in the lounge. Breakfast is a quick and easy option. But when you are using the Disney Dining Plan as increasingly most guests are this is only a minimal saving as you have already paid for meals.
The view from the concierge lounges of the Magic Kingdom fireworks is one of the best in the whole of Walt Disney World. Some will say it is worth the upgrade just for that. Really it just depends on how much of a price you personally put on experience – and of course just how deep your pockets are!
Disney Contemporary Resort Dining Options
If you want one of the finest restaurants with perhaps the best view of Magic Kingdom in the whole of Disney World then head to the California Grill on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort. This is consistently one of the most highly regarded restaurants in Disney World and the view of the fireworks is spectacular. It used to be that anyone could sneak a look from the 15th floor but Disney has long since got wise to that one. Now a private access elevator is closed to all except those with a California Grill reservation.
Chef Mickey’s is one of the most popular Disney character meals and is located in the main concourse of the Contemporary Resort. This is one of my favorite character dining locations as not only is the food of good quality for a buffet, but the easy access to Magic Kingdom on the monorail makes it a great place to start or end the day after a visit to the park. If you want to share you meal experience with Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald then this is the place for you!
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The all you can eat breakfast buffet is $26.62 for adults and $13.99 for children aged 3 to 9. It has all the usual breakfast offerings, cereals, pancakes,Minnie’s breakfast pizza,omelet, Mickey waffles, Goofy’s corned beef hash.
Dinner is served at Chef Mickey’s from 5.30 to 9.00. There is a good selection at the buffet including prime rib, tamarind glazed salmon,salad bar, specials for the children including Mickey’s mac and cheese and of course some very tempting desserts. The price for dinner is $34.07 for adults and $17.03 for children. Grautity is not included.
Chef Mickey’s is one of the most popular of the character dining venues so be sure to make Advance Dining Reservations as soon as possible.
The Wave restaurant is an upscale restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast entrees start at around $10 and up and include waffles, omelets and French Toast. Lunch offers a selction of entrees such as Seasonal Vegetable Stew, Classic Reuben Sandwich, and Italian Chef Salad all offered at around the $15 price range. Dinner favorites include Braised Lamb Shank, Chicken Pot Pie, and Pan Seared Scallops for around $20 and upwards.
For a quick bite there is the Contempo Cafe where you can order breakfast, lunch and dinner from touch screen menus.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort Recreation Facilities
One disappointing aspect of the Contemporary Resort hotel is the swimming pools – they just do not compare very well to the other monorail hotels The Grand Floridian and The Polynesian. There are two swimming pools but there is almost a complete lack of theme and really there is nothing particularly remarkable about them. Hopefully one day Disney will address this and update them.
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But you won’t be short of things to do at the The Contemporary. There is a health club, video arcade, basketball hoops, beach volleyball, tennis courts, a playground and a sandbox
If water sports are your thing then you will be well catered for at the Contemporary. You can rent water craft from the marina and even try out water skiing.