Walt Disney World Throwbacks: Chef Remy and More!

Walt Disney World Throwbacks: Chef Remy and More!

Let’s take a look at some Walt Disney World throwbacks. These are things I miss at Walt Disney World. Some, like Wishes, were removed recently.

My Walt Disney World Throwbacks are…

Chef Remy at Les Chefs de France

An adorable dinner guest, Chef Remy was at his best while visiting tables at Les Chefs de France in Epcot. This was one of my favorite dining experiences, however it ended in October of 2013.

Chef Remy at Les Chefs de France

The adorable Chef Remy

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade

The Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade in Disney’s Hollywood Studios debuted in October 2001. My son’s first visit to WDW was January 2002, thus he grew up watching these floats go by.

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade featured a Toy Story Float.

Toy Story Float in Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade.

From our seats on the steps of the now-defunct Sounds Dangerous, he had fun waving to the characters. In fact, the variety of characters and fun motor vehicles made this afternoon entertainment a highlight of our Disney World visits.

Mickey and Minnie were stars of the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade.

Hi Mickey and Minnie!

R2-D2 rolled along the parade route! Unfortunately, this parade’s last run was in March 2008.

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade featured R2-D2.

R2-D2 in the parade.

Mickey’s and Minnie’s Country Houses in Toontown Fair

While this was a small land in the Magic Kingdom, Toontown Fair offered kids and kids-at-heart the chance to tour the homes of Mickey and Minnie. These structures were removed to make way for an updated Fantasyland.

My son toured these houses with wide eyes throughout his younger years. He was fascinated with their homes and was always excited to see where the beloved mice lived. I miss the simplicity of these attractions. While simple, they were extraordinarily magical for children and their parents.

Minnie's Country House in Toontown Fair.

Touring Minnie’s Country House.

Minnie's fridge at her Country House.

What’s in her fridge?

Kids flocked to Minnie’s oven to watch the cake that was baking inside.

Minnie's Country House featured a cake in the oven.

Watching the cake bake!

While it’s fun to embrace the new happenings at Walt Disney World, every now and then it’s nice to pay homage to the extinct attractions that were special to families.

One of our favorite Walt Disney World Throwbacks is Chef Remy.

Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter, or comment below to share your favorite Walt Disney World throwbacks below. What would you like to see featured next?

Relaxation at Walt Disney World: Tips for Vacationing Families

Relaxation at Walt Disney World: Tips for Vacationing Families

Tips for Relaxing at Walt Disney World

Even if you are a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World, you may find it difficult to unwind when you have nearly 50 square miles with very tempting shopping, dining, rides, food, and recreation to explore. Can you really find relaxation during a theme park vacation?

Just today, I was planning my FastPass+ selections and itinerary for a quick trip that we are taking at the end of August. And guess what? I found myself quickly filling up my Disney days from morning to night. Sigh; I know better.

Relaxation at Walt Disney World. Ideas for a relaxing vacation.

Some of the most priceless moments that I’ve savored at Disney World are those that were during break times. And so, just as soon as I fill you in on these tips, I’m going to revisit my August plans and make sure I’ve allowed time for relaxation at Walt Disney World.

Leave the Real World Behind

Most of us find it fairly easy to purchase and don Mickey Ears. We’re all pretty good at embracing Mickey-shaped food. And I think WDW newbies and veterans alike have no issue with shrugging off stress while riding our favorite attractions.

Mickey Waffles are served at Trail's End Restaurant at Disney's Fort Wilderness.

Mickey Waffle are always fun and delicious to eat!

But, what about technology? Some of us need it for work (even at Disney!). Some of us love sharing our family moments (and favorite Disney snacks!!) on social media. And now, My Disney Experience and other apps make it actually easier to tour Disney World with the use of our smart gadgets.

Anna and Elsa in Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Entrance

Meet Anna and Elsa using the convenience of FastPass+

Still, try to allow some time during your Disney days to unplug. Silence your phone while at the pool with your family. Keep your electronic tools quiet during meals. Try taking an entire morning or evening unplugged. After the initial withdrawal, you’ll find these moments liberating.

Guests of all ages love to swim at the Nanea Volcano Pool at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.

Nanea Volcano Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village.

The Road Less Traveled

While you watch the herd of guests run to their first attraction, linger on your way into the theme park. With your FastPasses pre-selected, go ahead and browse the nooks and crannies on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom. Grab a morning pastry and actually sit at a quiet table while the magic wakes up all around you.

The tables outside Casey's Corner afford magical views in the early morning. A great place to bring your pastry and coffee.

Enjoy a pastry with a magical view early in the morning.

Some of my favorite pathways for calm moments at WDW include:

  • Along the boardwalk at the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom
  • In the back of Fantasyland (near the train track) to Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom
  • The trails at Epcot’s Canada pavilion
  • The Hyde Park area and maze at Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion
  • The quiet nooks and crannies within Epcot’s Morocco pavilion
  • The off-the-beaten trail between Animal Kingdom’s Africa and Asia
  • The walkway between Disney’s Polynesian Village and Grand Floridian resorts
  • The walkway between Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter resorts
  • The walkway between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness
  • The walkway from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the BoardWalk area
Stroll the boardwalk between Frontierland and Liberty Square for a relaxing morning in the Magic Kingdom.

A quiet morning in the Magic Kingdom enjoying one of our favorite walkways.

There are always secluded areas at the resorts to settle back and talk about your day.

Disney's Beach Club resort has a relaxing solarium.

Chill out at our resort; I love the Beach Club nooks and crannies for quiet respites.

Quiet(er) Meals

I can’t stress enough how important it is to dine early or late. If you are touring in the busy season, you really want to grab your quick-service lunch meals right at 11AM. This dining strategy not only saves your family from the chaos of long lines but also gives everyone a chance at unwinding in quieter restaurants. Refreshed and refueled, you’ll be back to touring the park while the crowds are at lunch.

We also like the early strategy for table service lunch as well. We were one of the first patrons at Epcot’s Via Napoli in the picture below and while the restaurant filled up quickly, most of our meal was extremely quiet.

The dining room is quiet at the start of the lunch hour at Via Napoli in Epcot.

Dine early for quiet dining rooms.

At dinner time, dine early or late. Your hotel’s food court will be chaotic after the parks close, especially when closing hours are early in the winter time. Dine before the crowds return to the resort.

All-Star Music Intermission Food Court is quiet before the parks close.

Resort dining will be more relaxing before the crowds return after the WDW parks close.

Try late night dining for empty dining rooms — whether you stop by for a full meal, snack, or beverage, quick service dining rooms are usually quiet later at night.

We like to take a breather at Backlot Express in Disney’s Hollywood Studios before this restaurant closes. Watch the park’s Times Guide for official hours as this venue often shuts down before park closing time.

Backlot Express at Disney's Hollywood Studios is empty late at night.

Late night dining in crowd-free restaurants is a great chance to relax while touring.

Itinerary

Be strong. Fill out your itinerary and then check it over for downtime opportunities. If you are repeat guests, would the family benefit more from riding a couple of your not-so-favorite attractions or swimming in the resort’s pool?

Dig Site Pool, Coronado Springs at WDW

Afternoons are awesome at the Dig Site Pool at Coronado Springs Resort.

And doesn’t that apply to newbies too?! If your heart is not set on seeing the afternoon parade, maybe some time playing miniature golf or enjoying another recreational activity would be more memorable for everyone.

Relax at your resort and play a game like Twister at Disney's Pop Century.

Play Twister at Pop Century!

Take Advantage of FastPass+

Picture this: It’s early morning and my family is waiting at the gates prior to the opening of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When the park opens, my husband “runs” to Toy Story Midway Mania for FastPasses while the rest of our traveling party grabs food at Starring Rolls Cafe (now closed) or meets in front of Tower of Terror. Yep, that’s how we used to tour.

FastPass+ and My Disney Experience (MDE) allow us to pre-plan many of our must do attractions so that we can slow down and enjoy more leisurely family time at WDW. Now, we are more likely to reserve a nice meal at the park, followed by a leisurely stroll over to our FastPass+ attraction.

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, beat the crowds with an early lunch seating.

Early lunch seating at Yak and Yeti in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

This strategy really works well on a day that follows a late night in an Extra Magic Hour park. We can then sleep in a bit, enjoy time at the pool, then head to a park later in the day for a meal and our FastPass+ selections. With a teen, late nights and lazy mornings work very well.

On days that we are at a park for rope drop, we are prepared with FastPass+ for morning attractions before heading back to our hotel or Disney Springs later in the day. By mixing up your itinerary, you’ll definitely discover that relaxation at Wald Disney World is indeed possible.

Disney Springs - a great place to unwind.

Plan some time at Disney Springs.

Slower Season

With the Epcot festivals becoming longer each year, more runDisney events being added, and Free Dining offers filling in the gaps, Walt Disney World seems to have three seasons: busy, busier, and busiest.

Walt Disney World is extremely crowded during the holiday season as can be seen at stroller parking in the Magic Kingdom.

December 19th crowds at the Magic Kingdom. Watch for holiday season to be super busy.

Okay, there are still a few times per year when crowds are really light. We are still fans of late January, for example.

If you can, avoid holiday school breaks as these usually cause a huge influx of guests. Don’t want crowds? Stay away from actual holidays such as New Year’s Eve.

New Year's Eve Crowd in the Magic Kingdom

New Year’s Eve crowds in the Magic Kingdom.

The Rest of the World

There’s more to see than can ever be seen. More to do than can ever be done. There’s far too much to take in here. More to find than can ever be found.” — The Circle of Life lyrics say it all.

Yes, there is more to do at Walt Disney World than touring the four major parks (Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom).

The resort hotels all offer dining and recreational fun for all ages. Take in a campfire night at your hotel or stop by a different resort for a new experience like a Pirate Cruise. The resorts are usually a refuge during the afternoon hours.

The Magic Kingdom Bus Depot is crowd-free in the early afternoon.

Escaping the parks in the middle of the day equals no bus lines and a relaxing, crowd-free resort.

Disney Springs has some of the best shops and dining choices on property. And don’t forget about the water parks and golf courses. Plus, there are out-of-the-park places to watch the high-flying fireworks if you don’t want to return to a park in the evening.

Taking in the Details

Sometimes all you need is a moment of calm in a busy day. Slow down and take in the details all around you; the creativity of the Imagineers is awe-inspiring. Don’t forget to look up, down, and all around.

Take in the beautiful scenery at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you sit and relax, you’ll notice all kinds of beautiful scenery.

Find a place to sit down and just gaze.

New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom feels regal and whimsical.

The regal architecture of New Fantasyland.

A walk around your resort in the late morning, afternoon, or late evening is a great time to get pictures and unwind.

Art of Animation is a fun place to unwind while taking a stroll.

An evening stroll around Art of Animation.

Recreation

Vacationing at Walt Disney World can include relaxing recreation.

Enjoy WDW resort recreation like the tennis court at Disney's Yacht Club.

Play tennis at Disney’s Yacht Club.

From running to horseback riding, you’ll find a plethora of activities to engage in throughout the resort.

Relaxing at WDW can include utilizing a New Balance Running Trail at a Disney resort.

Keep up with your fitness routine on a Disney running trail.

Adult Beverages

Let’s not underestimate the calming effect of a delicious adult beverage.

Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Adult Beverages at Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks in the Animal Kingdom.

Find an out-of-the way location later in the day — we like to sit in the back of Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe with a refreshing beverage.

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe is a quiet place in the late afternoon to sip on a beverage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Also, resort lounges are a terrific place to hideaway while sipping on an alcoholic or non-alcoholic refreshment and/or relishing some good bites to eat.

Unwind at the Martha's Vineyard Lounge at Disney's Beach Club resort.

Stop by the Martha’s Vineyard Lounge at Disney’s Beach Club resort.

Of course, if you are on a once in a lifetime trip and your priority is to see and do everything that you possibly can, we completely appreciate that mindset. Even so, try to find small breaks to add some relaxation to your Walt Disney World vacation.

It’s your turn. How do you find relaxation at Walt Disney World? Contact Us, Friend us on Facebook, or comment below to share your Walt Disney World tips.

Ten Walt Disney World Snacks that You’ll Want More than Once

Ten Walt Disney World Snacks that You’ll Want More than Once

Ten Memorable Walt Disney World Snacks

Here’s a quick list of ten of my favorite Walt Disney World snacks. To be fair, there are plenty more that could be added to this scrumptious inventory. For today, I’m sharing ten really memorable snacks that I’ve enjoyed on multiple trips and sometimes more than once during a single WDW vacation. 😉 Kids and kids at heart will want to find their own best-loved eats and sips!

Walt Disney World Snacks

Raspberry Eclair

My new favorite calorie splurge is the elegant Raspberry Eclair at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs. Tart and fruity with a white chocolate decoration, I’m not kidding when I say that I’m absolutely craving every gorgeous bite of this treat.

Walt Disney World Snacks - Raspberry Eclair at Amorette's Patisserie.

Raspberry Eclair

Gelato

Choose your favorite flavor of gelato at Vivoli il Gelato in Disney Springs. My pick is always the Piccola Copetta – a choice of two flavors in a cup. My choice scoops? Peanut butter (when available) and chocolate.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter gelato at Vivoli il Gelato

Savor your favorite flavor of gelato.

Gelato from Vivoli il Gelato at Disney Springs

Chocolate and vanilla gelato.

Citrus Swirl

For a Magic Kingdom treat, I head to Sunshine Tree Terrace and dig into a Citrus Swirl. The orange slushie blended with vanilla soft serve is SO refreshing.

Citrus Swirl at Magic Kingdom's Sunshine Tree Terrace

Citrus Swirl

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake

Originally sold at Starring Rolls Cafe, the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake has gone through many variations. However you dress it up (Darth Vader!), it’s still chocolate and smooth peanut butter buttercream — and this mixture makes my heart swoon. You can find it now at other locations in Disney’s Hollywood Studios such as Backlot Express.

Darth Vader Cupcake

Join the dark side!

Peanut Butter Cookie

Found packaged as Minnie’s Bake Shop cookies or in Disney World bakery cases, the peanut butter cookie is thick and chewy with satisfying peanut butter chunks. Choose from Peanut Butter or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie at Goofy's Candy Company in Disney Springs

Cookie at Goofy’s Candy Company.

Minnie's Bake Shop Cookies

Minnie bakes awesome cookies!

Chocolate Croissant

I adore the Chocolate Croissant at Gaston’s Tavern. It’s also found at several other locations, including some resort food courts. As a breakfast item, I find this snack decadent — hey, it’s vacation, right?!

Chocolate Croissant at Walt Disney World

Chocolate Croissant.

Frozen Lemonade

For a thirst quencher in the Florida heat, nothing’s better than a frozen lemonade. Also, the Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe has an amazing frozen slushy – raspberry lemonade.

Frozen Lemonade at Walt Disney World

Super refreshing!

Raspberry Lemonade Frozen Slushy Cheshire Cafe

Raspberry-Lemonade Slushy

Beignets

Port Orleans French Quarter fans are already in the know about the beignets. Get them for a snack, dessert, or breakfast! Of course, they are messy but these deep-fried pastries are worth it. Wear that powdered sugar proudly!

Beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort.

Messy but good!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

You’ll find this comforting goodness at several quick-service locations in Walt Disney World. I like it with chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream for old-fashioned, simple flavors. Yum!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich in Walt Disney World

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich – big enough to share!

Peanut Butter Brownie

Nestled in the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Mara boasts a counter-service menu with some unique items. I’m partial to the Peanut Butter Brownie (yes, I love peanut butter!).

Peanut butter brownie at The Mara

More peanut butter!

I hope you’ll find at least one snack from this list to try on your next visit to Walt Disney World.

Share your memorable Walt Disney World snacks! Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter or comment below to let us know what to try next!

In Remembrance of the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Fireworks

In Remembrance of the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Fireworks

Wishes Fireworks Ends

During a family dinner this past week, we were lamenting the end of the Wishes fireworks display at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World (WDW). Our teen son, Nic, exclaimed “Wishes has been the fireworks show for my whole life”. Well, then I realized that this goodbye was going to be harder than I thought.

Nic’s first visit to WDW was in 2002. At first, the fireworks were difficult for him to watch as he was sensitive to the noise. But over the years, he grew to look forward to viewing Wishes on every visit. And at 17, he still loves to watch the show. As does our whole family.

Wishes Fireworks Magic Kingdom

Since the show debuted in 2003, technically Nic did see the previous show — Fantasy in the Sky. But by the time of his second visit to Walt Disney World in December 2003, Wishes had become the nighttime entertainment at the Magic Kingdom. Michael and I have watched it as a couple, as parents, with our parents next to us, with friends, with Disney Parks Moms Panel family, and with other family members. That’s a lot of Wishes memories that bind us together with the special people in our lives.

When You Wish Upon a Star is one of my all-time favorite songs. It always makes me tear up. And every time Jiminy Crickett announces the following my eyes got watery and my lip quivered…

You see, the most fantastic, magical things can happen, and it all starts with a wish! -- Jiminy Crickett Click To Tweet

So, today, I’m just going to take a moment to remember Wishes, as well as the holiday variations enjoyed over the years. We’ve watched the show while staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, Contemporary, and Wilderness Lodge. Sadly, most of my fireworks photos are blurry, but here’s a few memories in honor of Wishes:

Wishes Fireworks

2003: Watching Wishes from Polynesian Beach.

One of my favorite memories was when my family surprised me with a Wishes fireworks birthday cruise.

Wishes Fireworks Birthday Cruise

Wishes Fireworks Birthday Cruise

Wishes Fireworks

Watching Wishes while on a fireworks cruise.

This slightly obstructed Wishes view was taken from our balcony at the Grand Floridian.

Wishes from Grand Floridian balcony

Wishes from balcony at Grand Floridian

During my December 2007 Disney Parks Moms Panel training, we enjoyed watching Wishes from the Train Station.

Watching Wishes Fireworks

Watching Wishes during 2007 Disney Parks Moms Panel Training.

And the following year, we went to a private party for the Disney World Moms Panel, and again watched the fireworks from atop the Main Street train station. Stellar view!

Wishes from atop Main Street Train Station

Wishes from Main Street Train Station.

And who doesn’t love noshing down on sweets while watching the Wishes fireworks. In 2011, it looks like we were enjoying the dessert party!

Desserts at Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party

Desserts at Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party.

One of our favorite unique views of Holiday Wishes occurred while waiting to enter Be Our Guest Restaurant for an evening dinner reservation.

Wishes Fireworks from Be Our Guest Restaurant entrance.

Wishes Fireworks from Be Our Guest Restaurant entrance.

Check out a little video from that perspective.

We’ve seen Wishes from many different vantage points around the Magic Kingdom.

Watching Wishes fireworks in Magic Kingdom

Wishes from Frontierland.

We highly recommend watching from California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Magic Kingdom's Fireworks from California Grill's Observation Deck

Magic Kingdom Fireworks from California Grill Observation Deck

We hope the new Happily Ever After fireworks show is equally memorable for families planning their Walt Disney World vacations.

What will you miss about Wishes? Share your favorite Wishes memory!

Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Closest Hotel to the Magic Kingdom

Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Closest Hotel to the Magic Kingdom

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.

Closest Hotel to the Magic Kingdom is Disney's Contemporary Resort

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.

History

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!

Contemporary Resort View of Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

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 at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Mary Blair Mural.

Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club hotel, was added to the Contemporary Resort property in 2009.

Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Bay Lake Tower

Location

For Walt Disney World guests focusing on touring the Magic Kingdom, the location of Disney’s Contemporary Resort is second to none.

Walkway to Magic Kingdom from Disney's Contemporary Resort

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.

Contemporary Resort. WDW. Walk to Magic Kingdom

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!

Ferry Boat from Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom

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.

Fourth Floor Outdoor Deck at Disney's Contemporary Resort

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

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.

Rooms

With two queens plus a day bed, the standard rooms are spacious at the Contemporary with 394 square feet.

Disney's Contemporary Resort Room.

Contemporary Resort Rooms are spacious.

Standard rooms at the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village are a bit larger.

Amenities

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!

Disney's Contemporary Resort offers the Boat Nook Marina

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.

Arcade Disney's Contemporary Resort

Unwind at the arcade.

Dining

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!

California Grill Dining Room at Contemporary Resort

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's Fireworks from California Grill's Observation Deck

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 Disney's Contemporary Resort

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.

Contempo Cafe serves up sandwiches at Disney's Contemporary Resort

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 Wave of American Flavors Disney's Contemporary Resort

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.

Shopping

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.

Fantasia has toys and souvenirs at Disney's Contemporary Resort

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.

Disney monorail toy playset

One of our son’s favorite toys!

Cost

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.

Budget Tips

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 at Disney's Contemporary Resort

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.

Monorail and Walkway to Disney's Contemporary Resort

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.