Bay Lake Tower review
Bay Lake Tower Resort is Disney’s newest hotel and already considered one of the best Disney World hotels. Disney’s Contemporary Resort, a neighboring hotel, is conveniently connected to Bay Lake Tower by a skyway bridge. The main reason that makes Bay Lake Tower Resort so popular is its location: It is right next to The Magic Kingdom park.
What could be a better view than that! Plus, with great views of The Magic Kingdom fireworks, your stay is sure to be a magical experience. This article will focus on specific details that are important to customers when booking a hotel reservation and my personal experience after staying at the Bay Lake Tower Resort.
Is this hotel worth making a reservation?
Whether this is your first time at Walt Disney World or your first time booking this specific hotel, you might be wondering if the Bay Lake Tower Resort is worth your money. This hotel features a modern atmosphere and sophisticated design that ultimately create a luxurious spot to stay.
Due to its location, the Bay Lake Tower has become a favorite among Disney tourists. Who wouldn’t want to be within walking distance of The Magic Kingdom park? Since it is considered a Disney Vacation Club hotel, DVC members get first priority on rooms. Either way, I believe that the hotel is worth making a reservation if you are interested in staying at a relaxing and quiet resort. With access to the monorail system at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you have direct access to multiple hotels, The Magic Kingdom park, and also Epcot. Now that sounds like a convenient location!
Bay Lake Tower vs Other Disney Hotels?
Bay Late Tower is gaining more and more popularity, as it has become a favorite for guests. In terms of other notable Disney hotels, I will include a list of a few of the other popular hotels located on property and do a side-by-side comparison:
1. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: This hotel also offers a convenient location to The Magic Kingdom park since it lies on the monorail track. The Grand Floridian Resort is quite an old hotel now, so upon arrival, you will notice that it has a classical and romantic atmosphere. This hotel has a couple of pools to choose from, including a kid’s water playground option. Bay Lake Tower only has one pool, but guests can use the Contemporary Resort’s pools as well. Since Bay Lake Tower is relatively new, the rooms are more modernized and larger than the rooms at the Grand Floridian Resort.
2. Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club Resorts: The reason why I combined these two hotels is because they are connected to each other and are almost identical. The most common reasons why people enjoy staying at these hotels are the location, since it is within walking distance of Epcot, and the number of pools they have. You can float along in a tube in a current-moving pool, there is a shallow kiddie pool, and there are a couple of other standard pools. As mentioned above, Bay Lake Tower does not have such a variety of pool choices, but what it does have is an amazing view. You really cannot go wrong with either choice, but Bay Lake Tower has a quieter atmosphere and has easy access to several hotels.
3. Disney’s Polynesian Resort: This is another option that lies on the monorail track that you can get to from the Contemporary Resort. Disney’s Polynesian Resort is decorated in a manner that makes you feel like you could be in Hawaii or any of the Polynesian islands. Normally, this hotel feels quite busy, since they have a character dining restaurant and other dining options. Even though Bay Lake Tower does not have much for a dining option unless you are a Disney Vacation Club Member, this can be seen as beneficial, as it keeps the hotel’s busyness at a low.
Service Quality: Positive or Negative?
At Bay Lake Tower, they take pride in making everything look clean. The elevators, hallways, main lobby, and restrooms are always spotless, as the cast members want to ensure that guests will have a positive experience. In terms of the staff, they are usually very friendly and are willing to help any guest to the best of their ability.
Their demeanor is very positive, and their dress code reflects a professional and cleanly individual. There is always at least one cast member located in the main lobby at the check-in desk and also outside to help guests bring in luggage. If you need something sent up to your room, call the front desk and they will have someone bring you whatever it is you need. Very rarely do you have to call twice to let them know the employee still has not showed up, but if this does happen, there will be someone at your service in no time at all.
In terms of mousekeeping, which is the housekeeping services, your room either receives daily cleaning or a cleaning every four days. For Disney Vacation Club Members, mousekeeping takes place every four days, but cast members will come in to empty trash on a daily basis. For other guests who did not book their hotel reservation through a points system, mousekeeping occurs every day.
Sometimes, you can expect to find thoughtful items placed in your room, like chocolates placed on your pillow and towels rolled up to resemble Mickey Mouse. If you do not want any services to tidy up your room, simply hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door; cast members will always respect your privacy.
Hotel décor and room information
As stated previously, Bay Lake Tower Resort focuses its efforts on creating a sophisticated and modern interior décor throughout the building. The high ceilings, the plant life distributed throughout the lobby and outdoors area, and crystal chandeliers add a level of value to the hotel, creating an aesthetic ambiance.
Think of it as Disney’s take on a modern luxury hotel. The rooms are no different from the rest of the building. Large windows allow natural light to brighten up the room and also offer an amazing view of either Magic Kingdom or Bay Lake located behind the hotel. Room sizes range from a studio, a one-bedroom villa, a two-bedroom villa, and a three-bedroom villa. A studio room includes one queen-size bed and one double- size pullout couch and can sleep up to four people.
A one-bedroom villa has one king-size bed, one queen-size pullout couch, and one sleeper chair for one person, sleeping up to five people. A two-bedroom villa includes one king-size bed, two queen-size beds, one queen-size pullout couch, and one sleeper chair, accommodating up to nine people. A three-bedroom villa has one king-size bed, four queen-size beds, two queen-size pullout couches and sleeps up to twelve people. An important thing to note is that the three-bedroom villas are reserved for DVC members.
If you have a party with more people than the room you intend to reserve, you must upgrade your room to a bigger size. In terms of amenities offered, the Disney Vacation Club website lists what you can expect to find in each of the different sized room. In every room, you will find at least these items:
- A kitchen (a kitchenette in a studio room)
- A refrigerator
- A microwave
- A coffee maker
- A full bathroom
- A vacuum cleaner
- A flat screen television
- A DVD player
- Wireless internet
- An iron and ironing board
Entertainment: Things to do at the hotel
At Bay Lake Tower, you will find entertainment for everyone. For children, there is an activities room located on the first floor, where children can stay and do various activities such as drawing, painting, building Lego’s, watching television, making friends, and so on. There is always a cast member supervising the children at all times, so there is no need to worry about where your child might be. At the pool, lifeguards host entertainment for children, such as dancing, trivia games, hula hoop contests, and more.
Both options are extremely fun for kids. They won’t want to leave since they are having so much fun! For adults, there are more dining options that are available. If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member, you have access to the Top of the World Lounge located at the top of Bay Lake Tower. Cocktails and small portioned meals are offered at this exclusive getaway, and the best part? You get an amazing view of the fireworks! For those who are not Disney Vacation Club Members, there are more entertainment options located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which is connected to Bay Lake Tower through the Sky Way Bridge.
Even though most of the entertainment is located over at the Contemporary Resort, anyone staying at Bay Lake Tower has automatic access to its neighboring hotel. The multiple bars, restaurants, and lounges give adults a range of activities to do. For specific information on dining options at the hotels, the Disney website lists the restaurants and bars that you can expect to find! Some nights, Bay Lake Tower Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort offer movie nights, where they set up an inflatable screen on the beach of Bay Lake. Make sure to check with the front desk as to which activities are scheduled on a day to day basis.
Prices and affordability: What you should expect
Because of the prime location of Bay Lake Tower Resort, room rates are on the more expensive side compared to other Disney hotels. Depending on what view you choose while making a reservation will depend on the price of the room. Standard rooms, meaning you will not know the location of your room until check-in, are the cheapest options. Rooms with a lake view are more expensive than standard rooms, and then rooms with the theme park view are the most expensive.
For a comparison, I will include prices of a standard room option (the lowest price) to a room with the theme park view (the highest price):
- Studio Room (Standard view): $486 USD/night
- Studio Room (Theme park view): $641 USD/night
- One-Bedroom Villa (Standard view): $712 USD/night
- One-Bedroom Villa (Theme park view): $825 USD/night
- Two-Bedroom Villa (Standard view): $920 USD/night
- Two-Bedroom Villa (Theme park view): $1,143 USD/night
Unfortunately, these prices exclude tax, so it will be slightly more than what is listed here once tax is included. For more information on pricing, Disney’s official website outlines prices per room, including rooms with a lake view. From here, you are also able to look at the calendar and select when you want to plan a trip and how many people are in your party, showing you which rooms are available on the dates you have chosen.
Atmosphere: How busy is the hotel usually?
Normally, it is hard to make a reservation through Bay Lake Tower, since it is in such high demand. Since it is a DVC hotel, more people are attracted to it. Luckily though, the hotel usually feels like it is not busy, unless you are staying during peak time. The hotel maintains its quiet atmosphere, so even if most of the rooms are booked, it can seem like that is not the case.
I have found that there are significantly less children that stay here than at other hotels, since the atmosphere of the hotel is more so designed for an older audience. Because of this, the hotel is usually less chaotic and has a relaxing ambience. The pool, located in the back of the hotel, is usually swarming with children though.
There is a small waterslide that all kids feel obligated to ride, so that is also usually busy. But other than the pool area, the hotel does not feel busy most of the time. So, if you are looking for a hotel where noise complaints are almost never made, you have come to the right place!
My experience: Things I liked and disliked
I have stayed at the Bay Lake Tower Resort several times before, and each time I am happy with my experience. After coming back from a long day of running around the park, I like to come back to a quiet space to relax for a while, and this hotel was the perfect place to do such a thing. I also find that it is super convenient to be able to walk to The Magic Kingdom instead of waiting in line for a bus or parking your car in the parking lot, which fills up extremely quickly.
Imagine being Cinderella’s neighbor! Since I am a DVC member, Bay Lake Tower is my Home Resort since I enjoy staying here. So, naturally, I would definitely recommend this hotel to people. Even though you have to go to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to dine at restaurants and shop, the Sky Way Bridge connects both hotels, so to me, this is not a negative aspect, but rather a positive one.
You have access to four different hotels, since it is one of the Disney World hotels on the monorail track. Doesn’t that sound beneficial? Especially if you have a dinner/lunch reservation. The only negative comment I would have to make is how small the pool is.
When there are a lot of people in the pool, it can feel overcrowded and too chaotic. Luckily, there is another pool at the Contemporary Resort, but because of the size of Bay Lake Tower, it would have been nicer if their pool was made to hold a large number of people. In terms of a rating of 1 (meaning terrible) to 5 (meaning excellent) stars, I would give Bay Lake Tower Resort a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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