The Contemporary Resort review

Disney’s Contemporary Resort was created to bring Walt Disney’s vision of life in the 21st century to real life. This one-of-a-kind resort pairs modern décor with an incredible location to give Disney World guests an upscale hotel feeling surrounded by the magic of Disney.

The Location

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is located on Bay Lake in the Magic Kingdom park property. Other nearby resorts include Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Magic Kingdom can be seen from most hotel rooms facing the park at this resort, and you can get to the park with a quick ride on the monorail or a brisk walk.

The Contemporary Resort is arguably the best resort if you are interested in castle views and firework displays. If you have young ones in bed before 8pm, keep this in mind as you can often hear the booming of Magic Kingdom’s firework display at park close.

The Resort

The Contemporary Resort was one of two of Disney World’s first resort hotel projects. Upon arrival, the sheer size of the resort is mesmerizing. The Grand Canyon Concourse is a delightful array of shops and restaurants that all help to bring the Disney magic within this resort to life. In the center of the concourse, you’ll notice a mural that stands 90 feet high and celebrates the life of America’s Southwestern region. Mary Blair is the artist behind the mural. She configured 18,000 tiles to piece together this iconic display. Can you find the five-legged goat?

There are 10 dining options within this resort alone, you’ll never be searching far for a late-night snack or pre-park breakfast. There are also plenty of shops to explore and activities to complete at this resort, so never fear asking your concierge about what to do if you’re spending a more relaxed day at the hotel. Spend some time by the pool with a drink or head to Pixar Play Zone for some fun arcade games!

The Rooms and Decor

Celebrating life in the future, the Contemporary Resort was recently remodeled to step ahead of our times and look to what’s next. The building itself is a futuristic A-Frame design with windows on either side, creating tons of natural light in the Grand Canyon Concourse. Most rooms overlook the concourse, creating a fun and mesmerizing display no matter where you are in the resort. If you’re looking for a quiet hotel, this one isn’t for you.

The sound of the monorail combined with all the chatter within the Grand Canyon Concourse makes for a bustling, loud hotel. If you prefer something less busy, try the Grand Floridian or Pop Century Resorts.

The rooms are furnished with a subtle grey carpet, oversized televisions, and pops of color. The beds are folded neatly with pure white sheets and lights by the beds. There is a small sofa to throw dirty clothes on or take a load off on at the end of a long park day. Glass office desks are perfect for the notorious email checker. The bathrooms offer two sinks in many rooms, creating a little extra space for visitors. The shower has a full tub as well, equipped with Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, and a Facial Bar.

There are many different view options within this resort, so be mindful of that if you are looking for a specific view. There are some parking or obstruction view rooms, they often run for a lower price tag. There are also garden view rooms, Bay Lake View rooms, and Magic Kingdom views.

These rooms are modern and comfortable, perfect for those who are less enthused by entirely Disney-themed room stays. If you are looking to really keep the magic going after leaving the park, try checking out Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort or Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

The Shopping and Dining

The Contemporary Resort is hands-down one of the best resorts for dining experiences, so if you have a family of foodies, this is the place to be. To start, The Sand Bar and Cove Bar are your poolside bar options. They both feature items such as Mickey pretzels and premium ice cream bars, pool bar drink options, and other simple food items like hot dogs and hamburgers.

There is a small Joffrey’s Coffee option called Contemporary Grounds where you can find many coffee and other drink options, amazing donuts from Donut King, and more. This is the perfect place to stop in the morning to grab a walkable breakfast before you head to the parks! Next, we have Outer Rim Lounge, a bar with a collection of fun drinks. Next to Outer Rim is the Contempo Café, with amazing counter-service options. They have a mesmerizing display case of pastry options, flatbreads, Mickey waffles, and more.

Then, we have The Wave, which looks pretty much like any other standard hotel restaurant, featuring moderately priced menu items for a well-rounded meal. However, the menu has some fun and interesting items! Keep your eye out for those. There are new items on the menu very often because this restaurant is centered around sustainability. They introduce a lot of new and local items to the menu.

They have a great breakfast buffet option including sticky buns and sweet potato pancakes. Next door, you can find The Wave Lounge that specializes in screw-top wines and features an incredible bright blue fish-bowl cocktail known as the Seven Seas Lagoon Cocktail. This humongous specialty drink is served with fun Mickey Silly Straws and Sour Peach Rings.

Then, there is the classic Chef Mickey’s option. Chef Mickey’s is a character dining experience where you can meet members of the Fab Five: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. This is a buffet style restaurant with average food for Disney property. For breakfast, you will find Mickey Waffles, Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes, etc. Brunch serves many of the same options along with specialty items such as Chili-Cornbread Casserole, Pot Roast, and Baked Salmon.

Then, for dinner you’ll find a selection of pastas, Roasted Chicken, Vegetable Pot Stickers and more. This character dining experience is fun, but it takes a while for the characters to make their way around this location. We’d recommend O’hana or Garden Grill if your young ones are eager to meet as many characters as possible!

Next, we have California Grill, one of the best Disney restaurants in my opinion. This is a rooftop location with a 360-degree view overlooking Magic Kingdom, perfect for viewing the fireworks at night. If you are primarily looking to watch the fireworks from your dinner table, ask your waiter or waitress for a fireworks-view table to ensure you’ll be able to see them! If you don’t plan to eat during the fireworks show, bring your receipt back the same night and they will allow you to step onto the California Grill viewing platform for the fireworks display.

The menu is curated with the spirit of Modern-American eats. They have incredible sushi, steaks, and plenty of other options. The menu changes often based off what the market offers, so you never quite know what you’ll get. There is also a lounge in the middle of the restaurant, so if you miss a reservation option, step into the lounge for some cocktails and tapas.

There is another lounge at the Bay Lake Tower called Top of the World. You must either be staying in Bay Lake Tower or a Disney Vacation Club member in order to access this lounge. This is another prime firework viewing spot. They have some great tapas and desserts at Top of the World. They also, of course, have some amazing cocktails to offer in addition to wine, beer, and other liquors.

Booking a Room

This hotel is incredibly popular because of its high-quality rooms, service, amenities, dining, and location. Rooms typically start at around $400/night which is definitely something to keep in mind when planning and budgeting for your holiday at Disney. If you must have a view of Magic Kingdom, your rate immediately goes up into the $600’s. Then, if you would like to really go all-out, stay in Bay Lake Tower. Pricing here begins at $700/night.

It’s definitely not the cheapest Disney resort. If cost-effectiveness is most important for you, Disney has Value Resort options that are still incredible places to be. If you want a luxury experience, check out the Grand Floridian across the way from The Contemporary Resort. Lastly, if you want to keep the Disney magic going all the way back to the hotel, I recommended choosing the All-Star Movies Resort or Art of Animation Resort which both shrink you down into your very own Disney movie. Here is a list of my best Disney resorts for kids:

  1. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  2. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  3. Disney’s Pop-Century Resort
  4. Disney’s All-Start Sports Resort
  5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

This resort is totally worth booking if it fits your party’s budget. The location is incredible which is a huge pro for The Contemporary Resort. Add on the incredible dining options, shops, monorail, staff, and rooms, and you can see why this place is always packed to the brim.

The Amenities

The Contemporary Resort has such an incredibly array of amenities for vacationers to take advantage of. They have an electrical water pageant that can be seen on Bay Lake each night. This is one of my favorite ways to end the night. Grab some pastries to share from Contempo Café and enjoy them while overlooking this beautiful display. They have many In-Room Celebrations offerings which can help enhance the magic of a birthday, engagement, or other holiday!

The monorail is one of the best parts of this hotel. Having a monorail take you directly to Magic Kingdom or Epcot beats the buses every day! They also have water transportation options to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. You, of course, also have access to all of Disney’s bus routes from this resort. Lastly, you have the Minnie Van Service and Magical Express, so all of your transportation needs are taken care of!

The Contemporary Resort also has complimentary Wi-Fi which is a huge bonus for those needing to knockout some work in the room. There are also childcare services, banking and ATM locations, designated smoking areas, and laundry services.

You can also send the merchandise you buy in the parks to this resort, so you won’t have to lug it around all day. There is a fitness center, resort concierges, mail services and more! If there is anything you need, be sure to ask your concierge or a cast member for assistance!

Recreation Options

This resort is also known for its wide variety of recreation options. There are plenty of themed pools around the resort, perfect for the beating the Summer heat. There is even a massive water slide for any thrill seekers out there! You’ll also find basketball courts, volleyball courts, tennis courts, jogging trails, and specialty cruises.

Enjoy yoga on the lawn at The Contemporary Resort to start off your day calm and relaxed! If relaxation is the name of your game, rent out one of the cabanas by the Bay Pool to settle down with a good book and unwind. You can rent out a motorized boat, go fishing, or gather around a campfire! There is so much to do at this resort, you will never be bored!

The Conclusion

The Contemporary Resort is an incredible place to stay. The rooms are modern and cozy with amazing views. The hotel is so many amazing dining options. There are tons of opportunities to have fun while staying in the resort like campfires, boat rides, and pools. This is one of the most well-rounded Disney resorts, but the price tag is hefty. If you don’t have room in your budget, then it might not be the place for you.

However, if you’re willing to cut back on food expenditures or other costs, you might be able to fit this incredible place into the mix. The Contemporary Resort is one of my top recommendations, and I hope your time at Disney is magical, no matter where you stay!

Overall Rating: 4/5

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