One of two of the original Disney World Hotels, this is a really unique hotel with a modern feel that has the monorail running directly through it!
Disney’s Contemporary Resort is right next door to the Magic Kingdom – it is the only hotel close enough so you can actually walk to the Magic Kingdom. It is located between the Seven Seas Lagoon (the lake in front of the Magic Kingdom) and Bay Lake (the real lake that runs to the side of the Magic Kingdom).
I’ve heard the Contemporary sometimes being criticised (or by some parties, applauded) for it’s lack of theming. In fact, the theme is in it’s name – Contemporary – the whole hotel sets out to be sleek and modern. Built as a concrete A-frame, the outside of the building doesn’t necessarily live up to it’s name – it does unfortunately look a little 70s – as it perhaps would having been opened in 1971. Like Epcot, there is a constant struggle to keep it ‘contemproary’. However, it is pretty iconic and the resort interiors more than match its theming. You’ll see plenty of clean lines, glossy surfaces and fresh decor. The monorail runs directly through the hotel lobby, which actually continues to give the resort a really modern feel.
The rooms at the contemporary were built off site and a crane was used to lower them into place. Standard rooms have:
- Some of the largest rooms on Disney property
- Sleep up to 5, plus one child under three
- 2 queen-size beds or one king-size bed, plus a day bed
- Large bathroom
- Table and chairs, flat-screen TV, in-room safe, voice mail, hairdryer, iron, ironing board, coffeemaker and refrigerator
- High-speed Internet access (additional fee)
- Crib is available on request
The rooms are in two different locations:
The Garden Wing is a separate building from the main A-frame. It has around 250 rooms and offers views of the pool, gardens of parking lots. Not being in the main building you are further away from the amenities, lobby and monorail, but it is also generally thought to be a little quieter. These rooms do not have balconies and are slightly cheaper.
The Tower rooms are located in the main building. It has roughly 500 rooms and is 14 stories tall. This is the building that the monorail runs through and so the hotel itself can be noisy, if you’re nearby that floor. However the rooms are well sound proofed and it is rare to hear of anyone complaining about the noise of the monorail from their room. The views from the Tower are all great, either being of Magic Kingdom or of Bay Lake (where you might have a side view of the Magic Kingdom, if you’re lucky). You’ll pay extra for a Magic Kingdom view.
There are also one or two bedroom suites available, and a limited concierge service for club level guests. These rooms have to be booked directly with the Disney World Travel Company and can’t be done online.
Food and drink
There are numerous dining options and the Contemporary resort, plus you’re just a monorail ride away from all the options offered at the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resort.
Counter Service and Snacks
- Contempo Cafe – offering drinks and a limited selection of hot meals
- Contemporary Grounds – coffee shop
Table Service Restaurants
- The Wave – an upscale but casual restaurant serving a range of American meals and some great cocktails
Signature and Character Restaurants
- Chef Mickeys – an extremely popular buffet meal with visits from Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald. This is the only buffet that gives you access to all of the fab five, so it is very popular and you should definitely book your meal as soon as possible in advance.
- California Grill – possibly one of the most popular Walt Disney World restaurants. This is a signature restaurant meaning it is expensive but for good reason with award winning gourmet food. It’s biggest draw though is that it is right at the top of the Contemporary Resort and has incredible views of the Magic Kingdom. During the fireworks, the music is piped into the restaurant and if you aren’t lucky enough to have nabbed a window table, you can go out onto the platform and watch them from there. This is another one you’ll want to book as soon as possible – you will not get in if you wait until your trip.
- Main pool – featuring a 17 foot high water slide
- You can rent a cabana by the hour or day by the main pool, with flatscreen TVs, ipod docking station and mini-fridge.
- Children’s water play area with fountains and waterspouts
- Also a quiet pool, wading pool and two hot tubs
- Water sports – in Bay Lake, including parasailing and water skiing
- Watercraft rentals – including sailboats, pontoon boats, canopy boats, Sea Raycers
- Fishing excursions
- Olympiad Fitness Centre – with the latest equipment including weights, treadmills, bikes and stair masters. There is also a spa and salon, featuring services such as massage and body treatments, manicures and pedicures, with services starting from around £30.
- Electrical water pageant – a parade of lighted floats that pass by in the evening
- Watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from numerous locations around the resort (or your room if you’re lucky enough)
Like the other monorail resorts, location is everything with the Contemporary Resort. You can walk to and from the Magic Kingdom, or take the monorail or a boat. You can also take the monorail to Epcot, changing at the Transportation and Ticket Centre. Disney buses run to all the other parks. Being a monorail resort also means you have very easy access to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and the Polynesian Resort – both of which are worth a visit and have excellent restaurants.