Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened on October 1, 1971 as the flagship resort of the new Walt Disney World resort in Florida. The original design was a collaboration project between U.S. Steel and famous architect Welton Beckett (Santa Monica Civic Center, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center). Since 1971, several more luxury resorts have opened to feed the demand for additional resorts on property.
But to this day, the Contemporary remains one of the most popular Disney resorts, and a living vision of Walt’s Promise of Progress City.
The Contemporary’s main building is the unmistakable A-frame tower which can be seen from several miles away. The Disney monorail system runs through the A-frame into what is known as the Grand Canyon Concourse. This magnificent building houses the guest check-in desks, several restaurants including The California Grill and Chef Mickey’s, 500 guest rooms, shops, and a brand new arcade. Four additional buildings wing the A-frame to comprise the Contemporary Resort.
In 2009 the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) opened brand new villas on the Contemporary grounds. Known as The Bay Lake Tower, the DVC villas added 295 more rooms to the already huge property. It is the first DVC property directly served by the monorail system.
The rooms have a quiet, contemporary theme to them with just a splash of Disney. Recently remodeled, the spacious rooms come complete with an HDTV flat screen, modern furnishings, and an over sized bathroom.
The Contemporary Resort has always been a family favorite of ours. The awe inspiring Grand Canyon Concourse makes us feel like we are in the theme parks, even when we are still at the hotel. It creates a sense of wonder and admiration of its design.
The resort exudes a feeling of “fun.” The proximity to the Magic Kingdom allows guests to walk to its front gates in 10 to 15 minutes, depending on which wing you are part of. When you walk outside onto the grounds, you can often hear the sounds from Magic Kingdom. The last time we stayed on property, we could hear the howling dog from The Haunted Mansion all the way to the entrance to our wing. And the view from the California Grill provides arguably the best seat for the Magic Kingdom fireworks.
One of my favorite parts about the Contemporary Resort experience is the monorail system. I enjoy the monorail system greatly. When it isn’t overly crowded, the monorail is a great theme park ride in its own right. Incredibly convenient, and just darn fun, the monorail can whisk you to and from the Magic Kingdom, the Polynesian and Grand Floridian resorts, and the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). From the TTC, you can then catch another monorail to Epcot Center. Incredibly convenient!
Disney resort boats provide another option if you ever get tired of the monorail. The resort boats serve all the Disney monorail resorts, as well as the Wilderness Lodge. Try taking the boat at night. What a sight! Traveling across the lake and seeing the lights of the resorts and the Magic Kingdom is truly amazing.
If your favorite Disney World theme park is The Magic Kingdom, you will love The Contemporary Resort. You can’t get any closer to the park without sleeping in the shops above Main Street (still on my To-Do list). The rooms are spacious, modern, and clean. And the prices are generally less than the other Disney World flagship resorts.
What are your favorite things about the Contemporary Resort?