One of Walt Disney’s original resorts on property, the Contemporary Resort, has been renowned for its craftsmanship. Originally to be named Tempo Bay Hotel, it opened on October 1st, 1971. It is one of two original properties on site and sits adjacent to the Polynesian Village Resort. The main building was constructed in “A-frame” fashion and was a modern marvel for it’s time.
History of the Resort and Expansion
The design of the resort was a collaboration by Disney, United Steel Corporation and Xerox Tower architect Welton Becket. To construct the building, steel frames were erected on site and modular pre-constructed rooms were lifted by crane in the frame. Most of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and the Court Of Flags Resort were built in the same manner.
In 2006, Disney filed plans for a project on the site of the Contemporary Resort’s North Garden Wing. As part of the construction, the North Garden Wing of the hotel was demolished to make way for a separate resort. A Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resort will eventually be constructed on that site. Bay Lake Tower opened in 2009 with 281 rooms and a exclusive DVC club at the top. Top of the World, is available only to DVC owners and is a great place to watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Just like other viewing areas around the resorts, the music is piped in and it allows for a whole different viewpoint.
The lobby is also famous for its Grand Canyon Mural. Designed by Mary Blair, the mind behind It’s a Small World ride and has been there since opening in 1971. It is stylized to represent the Grand Canyon, including rock formations, foliage, animals and even Native Americans. This is Disney, so of course there is a little twist. Somewhere, hidden in the mural, is a 5-legged goat. Mary used one of Native Americans beliefs that nothing is ever perfect, since man is imperfect. She did that by hiding the goat in the mural, to pay respect to that belief. It’s a favorite thing for first timers to the resort to walk around the mural and find the goat.
Disney Deluxe Resort
The Contemporary is considered a Deluxe resort by Disney Standards. Containing 655 rooms and 428 villas. The property is made up of the Main Tower, the Garden Wing and of course, Bay Lake Tower. One of the many perks to staying at this resort is the close proximity to the parks. Magic Kingdom is a 7 -10 minute walk via the pathway. If you don’t want to walk, the ever popular monorail runs right the heart of the resort.
Over the past year, the Contemporary Resort has received an “Incredible” update. As in a re-theming to pay homage to our favorite family of super heroes. Simple, yet elegant touches can be found throughout your room in reference to the Parr Family and few of their famous friends. Rooms in the Contemporary can sleep up to 5 adults, with 2 queen beds and a day bed. They allow for multiple views, including Bay Lake and Magic Kingdom. Rooms in the Garden Wing, can sleep up 7 adults, if you book a hospitality suite.
More Than Just a Place to Sleep
While the rooms at The Contemporary Resort are comfortable, and a great place to unwind at the end of the day. There is so much more to do there than that. Swimming in on of their theme pools, or sliding down the waterslide is a great way to spend the day. Add a little magic to your day after the parks with Movies Under the Stars or Resort Campfire. Want to spend some time on a different type of water ? Boat rentals are available to take you on a cruise around Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. There is also a catch and released fishing expedition you can book, and they provide it all.
Want more ? Specialty cruises can be booked from here. This is a great way to celebrate a momentous occasion or just view the “world” a little differently. Fireworks cruises can be arranged aboard a number of boats that can fit up to 10 people. There is also the Grand One, which can hold up t0 18 guests, unless you chose to have a butler, then guests number 17. If you don’t want to set sail, then sit back, relax and enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant. A nighttime water parade that goes right past the the resort and is so much fun to see.
Where to Eat
There are 3 amazing restaurants that you can reserve a table at while on vacation. A family favorite, Chef Mickey’s, is a buffet style feast with a few kicks. Open for breakfast or dinner, you can feast on any number of scrumptious treats, that are adult and kid friendly. As you dine, the Fab 5 walk around, stop for pictures, sign autographs and have even been known to do a little dance a time or two.
Looking for Somewhere a Little Calmer to Eat?
Steakhouse 71, has seen rave reviews since it recently opened. A stylish, yet casual take on a steakhouse restaurant, is a nod to Walt Disney himself. Featuring some of his favorite dishes and few he probably would have loved. It is open for all 3 dining times and ranges $15 to $60, depending on the meal.
A meal with a view, that’s something to see. California Grill sits atop the Contemporary Resort and is an award wining culinary experience. But reservations are hard to come by, since it’s is extremely popular with foodies and families alike. It is only open for dinner, and right featuring at salute to the 50th Anniversary with a special menu. Starting April 1st it will change to a 3 course selection menu, featuring contemporary cuisine from the Golden State. An exceptional meal is made even better with the night sky being lit up around you.
All of these restaurants do require reservations, and those are available starting 60 days prior to your check in day. There are a few quick service places to grab a bite to eat or a few lounges that you can sit back, relax and unwind after you day in the parks.
The Contemporary Resort is a favorite of mine, and I love staying there and was a great place to stay when the kids were little. Just an easy walk with the stroller to Magic Kingdom, or roll it right on the monorail. As always, your favorite Enchanted Adventures Travel Advisors are here to help you find the perfect resort for your vacation. Reach out to them today, let us know if you’ve stayed here. Is it one of your favorites ? Did you find the 5 – legged goat ?