Stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for Magic Kingdom Touring
Magic Kingdom fans may want to consider staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, including Bay Lake Tower, during their Walt Disney World (WDW) vacation. The close proximity of the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom (MK) adds an enticing level of convenience to your WDW trip. Walking to the Magic Kingdom is a time-saver and allows for flexibility in your MK touring plans.
If you’ve been to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, you’ve seen the nearby A-frame hotel that boasts a monorail running right through the atrium! While the unique shape and zipping monorail are what guests notice first, there are plenty more reasons to stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
As one of the two original resorts (Disney’s Polynesian Village can also boast this title) on opening day October 1, 1971, the Contemporary also has bragging rights for the closest lodging to the iconic park, Magic Kingdom. An engineering marvel, each room was built off-site, trucked in, and slid into place. The contemporary design was created to mesh with the views of Tomorrowland. We see you, Space Mountain!
Stunning view of Space Mountain!
Painted for the resort opening, Disney Legend Mary Blair’s 90 ft. high mural can be found in the atrium.
Mary Blair Mural.
Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club hotel, was added to the Contemporary Resort property in 2009.
Bay Lake Tower
For Walt Disney World guests focusing on touring the Magic Kingdom, the location of Disney’s Contemporary Resort is second to none.
It’s a short walk to the Magic Kingdom.
I love being able to walk into the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hour in the early morning, return quickly to the resort for a mid-day break, and then get back to the MK for more evening touring.
Easy walk to the Magic Kingdom
But there are more perks to this location! Depending on your room location, you may be able to hear the Ferry boat’s whistle, see the monorail making part of its circular journey, watch the fireworks from your balcony, listen to the Walt Disney World Railroad whistle, and take in many other sights and sounds that are near and dear to Walt Disney World fans. We love the views of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon!
Listen to the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom from your balcony room.
For more fun on the water, take the Disney boat to Fort Wilderness and/or Wilderness Lodge. We recommend dining at Trail’s End buffet at Fort Wilderness for yummy but inexpensive food. And Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge is a hoot for the whole family!
If you can’t see Cinderella Castle and/or the fireworks from your room, visit the 4th Floor concourse. There’s an outdoor deck that is open to all guests. Just go out the door next to Fantasia Market.
Great view of the Magic Kingdom.
Don’t forget to view the Electrical Water Pageant from the Contemporary’s beach. It’s a 14-barge night-time spectacle that began in 1972.
Monorail service is offered to the Transportation and Ticket Center where guests can transfer to the Epcot monorail line. For dining and shopping at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, just hop on the monorail. If you prefer not to walk to the Magic Kingdom, the monorail also makes a stop there. However, this will take more time.
With two queens plus a day bed, the standard rooms are spacious at the Contemporary with 394 square feet.
Contemporary Resort Rooms are spacious.
Standard rooms at the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village are a bit larger.
It’s extremely easy to escape the Magic Kingdom and return to the Contemporary for some down time. With two pools, a splash pad, beach hammocks, an arcade, shops, and Boat Nook marina options (sailboats, fishing, waterskiing, tubing, parasailing), taking advantage of your resort amenities should be part of your Disney vacation. Yes, you can relax at WDW!
Boat Nook Marina
Amenities with no additional cost: Disney resort bus transportation, Disney’s Magical Express, Wi-Fi, standard parking, online check-in, resort airline check-in, fitness center, merchandise pickup, and more.
Extra cost amenities include: valet parking, laundry and dry-cleaning, spa, childcare, business center, arcade, and more.
Unwind at the arcade.
For a special occasion or just a vacation splurge, dining atop the Contemporary at the California Grill is a memorable experience. Time your meal so that you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks while dining OR dine early and return to California Grill’s observation deck later in the evening. Early diners still get admittance to view the fireworks — just show your receipt at the 2nd floor restaurant’s check-in desk!
The gorgeous dining room at California Grill.
I highly recommend dining early, then taking the monorail for drinks and shopping at the Polynesian Village and/or Grand Floridian, and for the finale — returning for the fireworks. It’s a full evening of resort fun and especially perfect for a date night. 😉
Magic Kingdom Fireworks from California Grill Observation Deck
Another favorite Contemporary Resort activity for our family — Chef Mickey’s for dinner. Mickey cooks up breakfast too but we prefer the liveliness of this restaurant during the dinner hours. In the morning, we aren’t always awake enough to get into the full swing of napkin twirling! Try Chef Mickey’s on your Disney Arrival Day; you’ll get a delicious meal and some time with Mickey and his friends before you’ve even entered a Disney park.
Chef Mickey’s and Contempo Cafe
For quick-service dining, head to the Contempo Cafe. You’ll often find some unique cupcakes here. Our family recommends the sandwiches and flatbread pizzas.
Enjoy a sandwich at the Contempo Cafe.
On the lobby level, The Wave… of American Flavors serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy breakfast before heading to the Magic Kingdom!
The dining room is quiet during an early morning breakfast at The Wave.
On the first floor, Contemporary Grounds showcases bakery items and coffee. Plus, several bars and lounges are scattered throughout the resort.
The bustling 4th floor concourse is also home to Fantasia Market (snacks and sundries), Fantasia (toys and souvenirs), and Bayview Gifts (souvenirs, clothing, and more!). Bayview Gifts is also a convenient stop for a slice of fudge or a freshly baked cookie. Looking for Pandora charms (I love the Cinderella slipper, I got recently!) or a new Disney Dooney and Bourke bag? This is a great place to shop for those pricier items.
Shop at Fantasia for toys and souvenirs.
Of course, toy monorails and the Contemporary Resort playset are especially popular! This was one of our son’s favorite toys.
One of our son’s favorite toys!
Sorry, we had to reach this topic, didn’t we?! How much does it cost to stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort?
Of course, the tower rooms overlooking the Magic Kingdom are the priciest option.
As of May, 2017, standard garden view rooms begin at $378 plus tax per night. And that coveted theme park view? $585 per night plus tax. Get current rates here.
Sticker shock, I know.
Shake off that shock and try out these budgeting tips:
- Try to find a Special Offer and use a discount. Disney Visa cardholders and Annual Passholders sometimes receive enticing discounts too. My favorite place to watch for Disney resort discounts is mousesavers.com.
- Watch for seasonal pricing. Looking ahead for 2017, Friday and Saturday nights in July and August are cheaper than any other summer nights. Also price out the last week of August, September 1-21, October 15-19, 22-26, 29-November 2, November 13-16, 19-20, 26-30, and December 3-7 for lower prices. Stay away from holidays where even standard rooms begin near $500 per night.
- Plan to stay here for a couple of nights and tour the Magic Kingdom during your brief stay. You can concentrate on the Magic Kingdom during a short visit to Walt Disney World or resort hop to a less expensive hotel during a longer visit. When we recently stayed at the Contemporary, we stayed at a moderate resort for the bulk of our trip and then transferred to the Contemporary for a two-night stay to celebrate Michael’s birthday.
Monorail traveling through the Contemporary Resort.
Our family avoided staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for many years. One reason for not considering this deluxe resort at Walt Disney World was due to the high balcony floors and open atrium. You see, I have a fear of heights and the thought of staying there with a small child made me even more uncomfortable.
I’m glad we finally gave this resort a try. For me, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is all about the location next to the Magic Kingdom.
Walkway from Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Still, I’m not a huge fan of the contemporary design and the outdoor pool area seems uninviting compared to other resort pools on property. I would stay here again for a couple of nights, especially on a quick weekend visit with plans to only visit the Magic Kingdom. Read more perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.
Have you stayed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort? Is it on your radar for a future visit? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Shop and Dine at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World
Our amazing week on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was followed up with a day long stop at the now nearly completed Disney Springs in Walt Disney World. As a shopping and dining complex (similar to CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort), Disney Springs can be a one-stop location or an all-day venue. It’s a great place to hang out on your Disney Arrival Day!
Transformation at Disney Springs
It is astounding to see the difference a little less than a year makes. During our last visit in 2016, the renovations and additions to Disney Springs were about three quarters of the way complete. Visits up until that time allowed us to enjoy the recently completed Orange Parking structure, dine at The Boathouse, sip drinks at Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar, and gain an overall appreciation of the scope of the project.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.
This visit in early February 2017 allowed us to savor even more of Disney Springs. While the list of new eateries and retail outlets is certainly too lengthy to review here, we’ll continue to take a closer look at individual Disney Springs’ offerings in future articles. Sign up here!
The primary highlight for us was enjoying the architectural and design details that have been added and integrated into the area (okay, we enjoyed some tasty eats too 😉 ). We parked in the Lime Garage and walked out into Town Center. What a pleasant surprise! The Landing was completely obstructed by construction walls last year.
Convenient parking at Disney Springs.
We shopped at the UNIQLO retail outlet to take a look at the much ballyhooed T-shirts and other exclusive offerings. I was able to get my hands on a unique Marvel Iron Man shirt! Yep, I highly recommend browsing this store for themed shirts.
Mickey shirts at UNIQLO.
By far, the most impressive aspect of the Town Center area lie in its design and architectural details. Those details allow for an immersive experience into the entirety of the Disney Springs thematic approach to shopping and dining.
Plenty of stores to browse at Disney Springs.
The retail outlets located here can be found at most upscale shopping centers and other areas, but it is the visual impact related to the details and design that make it special. It is clear that you are on Disney property.
Gorgeous fountain at Disney Springs.
Love the architectural details at Disney Springs.
One highlight of this area was the D-Living store. At the time, this store was all decked out in Beauty and the Beast decor and merchandise. It was a fun store to browse through! Note that D-Living is closed until May 11, 2017 when it will unveil a new theme and matching merchandise.
D-Living featured a Beauty and the Beast Theme.
Wolfgang Puck Express
For lunch we had an unadventurous, but thoroughly enjoyable pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express.
One of our favorite lunch stops is Wolfgang Puck Express.
Delicious cheese pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express.
Next, we headed over to Amorette’s Patisserie. The rave reviews that this establishment has boasted since opening is certainly well deserved. An absolute joy to experience and our choices — a Mickey Dome Cake and Raspberry Eclair– were memorable. 😉
Raspberry Eclair and Mickey Dome Cake. Yum!
Star Wars and Rogue One Merchandise
It should not be surprising to anyone that I was most eager at finding Star Wars and Rogue One merchandise. I was very pleased to see the entire middle wing of Once Upon a Toy dedicated to Star Wars and Rogue One merchandise!
Star Wars Merchandise.
In fact, Rogue One icons, posters, and other visuals were in display all across Disney Springs. As if there wasn’t any doubt, it is now entirely clear that Star Wars will be a huge influence over all that is Disney for the foreseeable future. I will not voice any complaints about that!
Star Wars Displays at Disney Springs.
There will be lots more to see, eat, drink, and purchase at Disney Springs during future Walt Disney World visits. I am most looking forward to returning and dining at The Edison when it opens later this year. For now, our family plans to spend a day at Disney Springs in early June. Yes, I’m counting the days!
Looking forward to The Edison!
Plan a visit to Disney Springs in Walt Disney World — and don’t be afraid to bring the kids!
What do you enjoy most about Disney Springs in Walt Disney World? Do you plan to stop by Disney Springs on your next vacation to Walt Disney World?
Disney Springs Tips for Parents: Taking the Kids
Whether you’re visiting Walt Disney World for a week-long stay or passing through Orlando on a jaunt to the Space Coast, Disney Springs deserves a spot in your itinerary! Yes, even with little kids in tow. Let’s look at some Disney Springs tips for parents…
For starters, you’ll want to visit at a less busy time and since those little ones are known to be early risers, I would suggest getting to Disney Springs by the 10am opening time. Visit some of our suggested stops, then choose a place to dine for lunch.
What’s the attraction? Well, there are LEGOS to build, boats to transport tired feet, a carousel to ride, splash fountains for cooling off, and Mr. Potato Head figures to create! And you’ve barely opened your wallet for those activities.
Ride the Marketplace Carousel
Tip: If you know your child won’t be satisfied playing with the LEGOS without buying a new set that isn’t in your budget this time, then skip it and continue to a less stressful activity. You know your little one best!
I always want to write amphibicar for this attraction. But no, it’s an amphicar. Everyone loves to stop and watch these totally adorable vehicles make their way from dry land to splashdown in Lake Buena Vista.
Actual rides are pricey but it’s free fun to watch. Boat tours run 10am to 10pm, weather permitting. For $150, you’ll get a 20-minute voyage. Sorry, a captain drives the boat; you’re just along for the ride. Ask about the $25 off special for those lunching between 11am and 3pm. Lunch and launch!
Don’t you want an amphicar? I do!
Grab a nearby Gelato at Vivoli il Gelato and enjoy the view!
Why choose only one flavor of gelato?
Disney’s Pin Traders
If you have a freshly-minted pin collector, a die-hard trader, or a little one that likes browsing shiny things, Disney’s Pin Traders is a stop the whole family can enjoy.
Mecca of shiny pins
Pin collecting can be fun for the whole family.
Find your favorite pins
Build Your Own Lightsaber
Star Wars Galactic Outpost and Once Upon A Toy offer a fun diversion for padawans.
Stop by and build your own lightsaber
Both locations boast create your own lightsabers at kid-friendly stations.
Play time for padawans
Most of the time, I see kids playing here for a bit and then leaving. I’m not sure real little ones even know they are available for purchase. This could be a budget-friendly stop if the “this is just a play station approach” works for your family.
Characters in Flight
I’m not fond of heights but if you are a-okay at 400 feet up in the air, this ride on a tethered helium balloon affords tremendous views of the area (or so I’ve been told).
Ascend 400 feet
Current prices are $20 for adults and $15 for kids. Kids under age 9 must be accompanied by an adult 18 or over.
You can ride the elevator if you have small kids in strollers, otherwise I recommend taking the ramp walkway to the top. Tire out those kids; that’s what I’m thinking. Up top, you’ll have a fantastic view of Disney Springs.
View from the rooftop at Coca-Cola store
It’s free. And it’ll save you some steps from one end of Disney Springs to the other. Three docks are available: Marketplace, The Landing, and West Side. Plus, a soothing boat ride could result in a pleasantly sleepy child. 😉
Sassagoula River Boats
Tip: For a longer voyage, take the Sassagoula River Cruise over to Port Orleans French Quarter. We recommend stopping by the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory for a shareable treat of beignets.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Make an appointment 180 days in advance for the very popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for your royal offspring ages 3-12. Girls love the glittery princess makeovers and boys enjoy showing off their knight or pirate transformations.
Magical transformations take place inside
When I see a little princess shimmering, I can’t help but tell her how beautiful she looks. Say “Hi Princess” and enjoy the smile you’ll get in return.
Save a bundle by packing a princess-like dress or other costume from home. Packages begin at $59.95 for princesses and rise to $199.95 if you purchase one of their gowns. Knights run $19.95.
Music Concerts and Dance Parties
Look to the Fountain Stage for musical entertainment.
Musical groups perform at Disney Springs
Grab a nearby snack and take in some music by school-age performers. I’ve seen many little ones dancing at the Marketplace and Fountain stages; it’s a great place to burn off some wiggles before heading back to your resort for a mid-day rest.
Get up and dance
For YEARS, this store was a must stop for our family.
Playing at LEGO table
From life-size LEGO figures to build your own creations, this store is pure eye candy for LEGO lovers.
Indoor and outdoor fun at the Lego Store
Stop by for great photo ops.
World of Disney Store
Toys, stuffed animals, character crayons, and more pull the weariest of shoppers into the World of Disney store. And that’s just the merchandise. The décor is also amazing in this world’s largest Disney character shop! Go early; it gets insanely crowded.
Fun with birthday funds
Once Upon A Toy Store
Yes, this toy store is fun to explore.
It’s fun exploring Once Upon A Toy
Plus, you’ll find hands-on activities (build your own lightsabers, droids, and Mr. Potato Heads); purchasing these creations is optional.
Build your own Mr. Potato Head
Don’t forget to pose with Buzz Lightyear in front of the store.
Buzz is so cool
Food is Fun
You’ll want to have a pretty good idea before you arrive Disney Springs as to what you want to spend for snacks and dining.
Mickey Dome Cake at Amorette’s Patisserie
Once there, you’ll be inundated with tasty temptations.
Food trucks are fun
One of our favorite hang-outs is Goofy’s Candy Co.
Look for fun and tasty treats at Goofy’s Candy Co.
Here, the bakery case is filled with delightful treats. Wander in a bit further and you’ll find some make your own creations available.
If it’s a rainy day, we recommend catching a movie at AMC Disney Springs 24. For extra points with the kids, choose one of the Dine-In Theatres.
See a movie on a rainy day
Whether you venture inside to rent a lane or find an outdoor seat to sip beverages out of a souvenir bowling pin, Splitsville is an entertaining venue.
Splitsville offers indoor and outdoor entertainment
Plus… there’s so much more at Disney Springs! Keep an eye out for the T-Rex Cafe, Rainforest Cafe, Sprinkles Cupcakes, a small train ride, splash fountains, a Marvel Super Hero Headquarters store, gorgeous lake vistas, and the list goes on.
Note: All prices are subject to change. Tax is usually additional.
What does your family enjoy at Disney Springs? Share in the comments below.
Frunch used to be on the menu at Boma inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Served during breakfast hours, this juice concoction was a family favorite!
While it’s similar to Jungle Juice found at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom (and Stitch Juice at ‘Ohana), it is not the same recipe. Jungle Juice is made with passionfruit, orange, and guava juices. This POG juice is the version that Boma is now dishing out. Both variations are refreshing and delicious!
But do you remember Frunch?
Frunch Recipe from Boma
This holiday season we decided to make Frunch. We love this blend of tropical beverages. And just like we used to savor at Boma, it was SOOO good!
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups fresh orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups mango juice
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
- 1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
- 4 Tablespoons grenadine
Mix all ingredients together. Serve over ice in a tall glass. Serves 8.
Frunch recipe from Disney’s Boma
I think we’ll have to make Jungle Juice next!
Do you prefer Frunch or Jungle Juice?