By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Review: Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Page 7

By Dave Shute

(For the first page of this review of Bay Lake Tower, see this.)


Bay Lake at Bay Lake Tower from

According to Walt Disney World’s website,  “Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort…has been designed to complement the fabled styling of the classic Disney’s Contemporary Resort building and promises to deliver some of the most dramatic views available anywhere at Walt Disney World Resort.”

Bay Lake Tower opened in August 2009 as part of the new generation of Disney Vacation Club resorts.

Like Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which also opened in 2009,  it features larger kitchen/living/dining rooms in its one and two bedroom villas, allowing both for one more person in occupancy, and a much more livable space, even when the fold-out beds in this area are opened.

Views from Bay Lake Tower are indeed spectacular.

See the photo to the right for a view of Wishes from my tenth-floor balcony a few years ago.

Otherwise, like Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Bay Lake Tower is essentially un-themed.

While its design and look are not as dated and brutal as those of the Contemporary Resort, neither are they interesting, playful, or kid-appealing.

Like many other Disney Vacation Club resorts co-located with a deluxe hotel, Bay Lake Tower relies on Disney’s Contemporary Resort for many services.

Bay Lake Tower has no shopping or dining options of its own–for these, one walks to the Contemporary, either outside or via a key-access fifth-floor sky-way.

Speaking of key access…Bay Lake Tower is unique at Walt Disney World for the extent to which it is closed to those without keys.  Key access is required for all entrances, including from the Contemporary, and to and from the pool.

I suppose this extra measure of security is welcome, and partly explained by how close a walk it is from the Magic Kingdom.  Given the absence of restaurants, there’s no real reason for anyone other than a guest to be in the building…other than curiosity, a defining characteristic of Walt Disney World fans.

Also in the lobby is a guardian of its top-floor “Top of the World Lounge”–which, after 5p, is reserved for Disney Vacation Club members who are paying for a Bay Lake Tower stay using DVC points.

The lobby also has a small but distinguished collection of funny looking chairs. See photo above.

As oddly shaped as they are, more commonly than not they were draped with kids–so they must be comfortable!

Bay Lake Tower guests are welcome to use all of the facilities of the Contemporary, including its pool, beach, and water sports options.

Bay Lake Tower also has its own nice-sized pool, surrounded by the wings of the C-shaped building. See this for more on the pool.

Between the pool area and the main lobby are shuffleboard and boules courts.

Bay Lake Tower’s principal negatives are the small size of its studio and studio-based two bedroom lock-off villas, and its lack of kid appeal.

The bedroom component of its studio rooms is comparable in size to those of the value resorts, and smaller than the VIP suites at Disney’s pet center, Best Friends Pet Care!

Returning visitors will likely find Bay Lake Tower to be a favorite. The views from the higher floors are indeed spectacular, and in convenience it is second only to the Polynesian Resort.


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1 Shivanthy { 01.09.15 at 8:31 am }

My family of 5 (kids 11/9/7) &my mom & my sis-in-law & her 11-YO are going for a week 10/24-31/15 for the first time and have a choice of 2 rooms at the Contemporary or a 2B villa at BLT for roughly the same price (rental points). I chose the C because my daughter gets overwhelmed easily (she has special needs) and I need to be able get back to room easily if I need to. Which one would you recommend? Wouldn’t be cooking that much but do like the separate living space of BLT but as you have said, we won’t be spending much time there. Thank you and love this site!

2 Dave { 01.09.15 at 3:38 pm }

Shivanthy, it’ll depend on what you are trying to avoid. The Contemporary Tower rooms are easy to access from the two core first floor and 4th floor areas, but the elevator lobbies at each (especially the fourth floor, where most family dining is, and where you find the escalator to the monorail) can be crowded, and having to wait for an elevator is not uncommon. To get from these same areas to BLT, you just walk a bit and take uncrowded elevators–so you have more of a sense of progress, less frustration, less crowding, less noise. BLT is closer to the Magic Kingdom walkway, and not wildly farther from the bus stop.

3 Shivanthy { 01.10.15 at 5:10 pm }

Thank you, Dave. The less crowding and noise and convenience are what I am looking for essentially. Going to go with BLT, if still available.

4 Cindy { 01.30.16 at 4:18 pm }

Hi Dave,

Our flight arrives well before check-in time for the BLT. At other Disney resorts it is possible to drop your carry-ons at the front desk and go to the parks until time to check in. Do you know if this is possible at Bay Lake Tower?

Also, many years ago when our kids were small we stayed at the Contemporary. We had reserved a park view room via Disney reservations and when we arrived they had booked us in a wing room. It took a lot of wrangling and discussion but we did eventually get the correct room we had reserved. Can you recommend a way for us to be sure we don’t have this same experience? It really started a dream vacation off on a bad foot. Don’t want a repeat for this visit with the grand kids!

Thanks for your great site.

5 Dave { 01.31.16 at 12:07 pm }

Hi Cindy!

BLT has a small check in and bell services area, so you should be able to–if not, you can jsut bring your stuff to the Contemporary.

BLT has standard views, lake views, and theme park views. The theme park views and lake views can be at an angle. Which did you book?

6 Cindy { 02.03.16 at 8:15 am }

Thanks for the info, Dave. Good news that we won’t have to lug around big backpacks while waiting for our check-in time!

My reservation says “2 Bedroom Villa – Theme Park View” but doesn’t mention anything about whether or not it’s at an angle.

I note in your review that higher floors are preferred for a better view as well. Just wondering if it’s possible to ensure we are getting what we want in advance of showing up at the front desk.

Best regards!

7 Dave { 02.03.16 at 5:34 pm }

Cindy yes on the higher floor. There’s no way to guarantee anything (other than your theme park view).

8 Kirstie { 02.11.16 at 6:38 am }


My family of 5 (9/7/3) are staying at BLT in April in a one bedroom villa. Our intention is that my husband and I sleep in the bedroom and the children sleep on the pullout beds in the living area. However, because of the time difference ( we are coming from the UK) I think it would be best to have our son (the 3 year old) sleep in with us for the first couple of nights until he has adjusted (I imagine he will wake up much earlier than his sisters!!). Will we be able to request a roll out bed/mattress? Or will we be able to take the mattress from the single sleeper and put it on the floor of our room? Many thanks.

9 Dave { 02.11.16 at 5:14 pm }
10 Kirstie { 02.12.16 at 5:52 am }

Thank you very much!!

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