For my thoughts on the re-opening of Walt Disney World, see this.

By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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The South Garden Wing at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

By Dave Shute

For the first page of this review of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, click here.


Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort from

There’s three accommodations buildings at Disney’s Contemporary Resort:

  • Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club Resort that is largely its own thing, but shares all the amenities of the Contemporary
  • The main fifteen story Tower itself, which is what most people think of when they think of the Contemporary, and
  • The three story South Garden Wing, where the room interiors are identical to those in the main Tower, but pretty much everything else–including price–is lesser.

See the map:

The Garden Wing at Disney's Contemporary Resort from

On it, Bay Lake Tower is the roundy thing at top left, the main Tower is circled in yellow, and the South Garden Wing is circled in red.

Garden Wing Floor Plan Disney's Contemporary Resort from

The interiors of Garden Wing rooms have fittings, fixtures, fabrics, and dimensions identical to those of rooms in the main Tower–I confirmed this with my trusty tape measure–and so except for the absence of balconies have the same pros and cons covered in detail here.

See that link for a full photo tour of a Contemporary room, but the basic photos are below.

Bath Disney's Contemporary Resort from

Bed Side Disney's Contemporary Resort from

TV Side Disney's Contemporary Resort from
On pretty much every other measure, though, except parking convenience, Garden Wing rooms are lesser than the Tower rooms, and as a result are a good bit less expensive.

While savings vary depending on the price season, in 2016 typically Garden Wing rooms are around 70% to 2/3 the cost of other Contemporary rooms–around $200 less expensive per night than Bay Lake view Tower rooms, and $250 less than Magic Kingdom view Tower rooms.

The main negatives of the garden rooms are their absence of balconies, and the distance of most from the main Contemporary tower and its services.


The three story buildings that make up the Contemporary Garden Wing have patios for first floor rooms, but no balconies on the upper floor rooms.

Patio Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort

Here’s the patio from my first floor room, from the inside…

Patio Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort from

…and from the outside.

Note that there’s no privacy barrier between the patios of neighboring rooms.

Now the absence of a balcony will not be a deal killer for some. After all, only two-thirds of standard Polynesian rooms have a balcony or patio, and many Beach Club rooms have balconies too small for any use but drying towels.


The other issue with the Garden Wing is the distance of many of its rooms from the main Contemporary services.

Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort from (2)

The high rise makes Tower rooms the most easy to access Disney World hotel rooms, with no Tower room more than 200ish feet from the elevators that also give access to the dining, shops, and transportation points.

In contrast, the Garden Wing rooms are all further than that, and some are as far as a thousand feet from the elevator bank in the Tower.

Walkway to the Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort

You get back and forth to the tower along a shaded path that parallels the back Bay Lake side of the Tower.

Now a thousand feet sounds like a lot–and it is a lot, after a long day at the parks, or if you are hurrying to get to Magic Kingdom rope drop–but it’s no further than the farthest rooms at the Polynesian or Grand Floridian from their respective centers.

Rather, like the balcony issues, it’s just something to keep in mind when you choose these rooms…


One place where the Garden Wing shines is parking. Most parking at the Contemporary is off on the Bay Lake Tower side, and getting from your car to your room can be a hike.

Entry Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort from

The Garden rooms, however, have their own parking lot.  Keep going past the Tower and continue around and behind the convention center and you’ll find a lot just outside the Garden wing.

Lobby Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort from

There’s even a little (un-staffed) lobby here, a much prettier way to enter the Garden wing than the kind of tatty entrance to the wing that’s closest to the Tower.


Some Garden Wing views are of the parking lot, but most are of grassy areas or the waters.

Water Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort from

This is the area near the canal from Bay Lake to the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom, with Bay Lake in the background…

View from Room Garden Wing Disney's Contemporary Resort from

…and this is the view from the patio of my room.

Now some have been known to get excited by the tranquility of these views, but I don’t think they can match the interest or beauty of the Tower views.

Tower Theme Park View Disney's Contemporary Resort from

This is from one of our stays in a Magic Kingdom view Tower room…

Wishes from Tower Theme Park View Room Disney's Contemporary Resort from

…as is this…

Balcony Disney's Contemporary Resort from

…and this from one of our stays in a Bay Lake view Tower room.

The Contemporary overall has a lot of positives, with dining and easy access to and from the Magic Kingdom being at the top of the list.  The South Garden Wing rooms participate in all these positives at a lower price than Tower rooms, at the cost of some extra walking, missing balconies and much weaker views.

Most first time family visitors will be better off in the Wilderness Lodge–about the same price point, much better theming, and balconies. But if you are aching to stay at the Contemporary, but can’t, or won’t, pony up for a Tower rooms, then the Garden Wing is a good option!


This review continues here.




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1 Heather { 01.10.17 at 10:27 pm }

Can you see fireworks from all MK view rooms?

2 Dave { 01.11.17 at 10:03 am }

In the Tower, yes.

3 Kelly { 03.29.17 at 10:41 pm }

Hi, we just booked the hospitality suite in the garden wing on the 12th floor. The lady on the phone said there was a patio. I’m confused now, If the patio is on the bottom floor, how could we have one on the 12th floor? Any input would be great, Thanks!

4 Dave { 03.30.17 at 7:46 am }

Kelly, the garden wing has only three floors. Many suites at the Contemporary are in a different building, the Tower, on its 12th floor, so I suspect the person on the phone got confused.

5 Sarah Griggs { 07.04.17 at 11:01 am }

Are there irons and ironing boards in the garden rooms?

6 Dave { 07.05.17 at 7:55 am }
7 Jacki { 05.26.18 at 11:43 am }

Thanks so much for your informative site! Is there valet and/or bell hop service for the garden wing rooms? Do you just drive to the main tower check in and will they take it from there or do you have to park yourself and get your own luggage unloaded? I’m attending a conference and was told parking would be free…

8 Dave { 05.27.18 at 9:48 am }

Hi Jacki, and thanks!!

There’s parking near the garden wing (on the map, it is obscured by the room number block just to the left of my red circle), but no bell service or check-in right there. Drive to the main tower, check in, and get your luggage taken care of, then drive to the lot (behind the convention center) to get to your room.

9 MJ { 01.30.19 at 4:29 pm }

Hello, we have a King room in the Garden Wing reserved and I have not been able to find the location of the King rooms in the Garden Wing. Would you happen to know the where the King rooms are located in the Garden Wing? Thanks!

10 Dave { 01.31.19 at 7:08 am }

MJ, I’m sorry but I don’t

11 Gregory Alexander { 07.11.20 at 10:09 am }

which is better to stay on garden or tower? 2 adults 1 7yr old girl and 70 yr old grammie. My mother has issues with walking sometimes. Let me know.

12 Dave { 08.26.20 at 8:38 am }

Gregory, the rooms inside are the same. Garden rooms have no balconies, are a longer walk, and are much cheaper. So it’s a trade-off of cost vs longer walks and no balcony.

13 Consolata { 03.05.21 at 1:08 am }

Moving along to other advantages, there s the dining scene. California Grill and Chef Mickey’s are obviously the restaurants with a strong reputation here, but don’t discount The Wave and Contempo Cafe. The Wave and Contempo Cafe are two overlooked gems in fact, Contempo Cafe is one of our Top 10 Counter Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World !

14 Dave { 03.07.21 at 11:12 am }

Consolata–I had to copy and paste your comment in, as you added it while the back end of my site was undergoing maintenance.

Anyway, I’m not as keen as you on the Contempo Cafe, but completely agree with your other points!

15 Viktoria { 03.23.21 at 3:38 am }

It’s important to know that many rooms at the Contemporary are not located in the central A-frame building through which the monorail passes. In addition to the main tower, Disney s Contemporary Resort also features a cheaper Garden Wing as well as the Bay Lake Tower Disney Vacation Club villas.

16 Dave { 03.23.21 at 7:54 am }

Thanks Viktoria. That’s why at the every top of this page I have the following:

“There’s three accommodations buildings at Disney’s Contemporary Resort:

Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club Resort that is largely its own thing, but shares all the amenities of the Contemporary
The main fifteen story Tower itself, which is what most people think of when they think of the Contemporary, and
The three story South Garden Wing, where the room interiors are identical to those in the main Tower, but pretty much everything else–including price–is lesser.”

17 Saffi { 03.29.21 at 5:52 am }

We love the Contemporary! It’s always so quiet and watching the electric boat parade from the room is always a fun time before bed. Watching the fireworks at MK from the viewing deck is also a big plus. The children love it even with the minimal theming. And of course the location seals the deal. The nightly stroll from MK is so relaxing.

18 Dave { 03.31.21 at 9:46 am }

Saffi, personally I love it as well!

19 Jakob { 04.10.21 at 10:29 pm }

Thanks for the review Dave. I ll be staying there in a couple of weeks. We ve been moved to the Contemporary (main tower, lake view) from WL for our stay. I personnally see it as an upgrade. Bigger room, closer to MK, monorail, and same rate! On a different subject, any clue when we ll be allowed to make ADR s for parks and resorts?

20 Dave { 04.15.21 at 9:31 am }

Jakob right now you can make ADRS 60 days ahead.

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