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Top of the World Lounge, Bay Lake Tower

Top of the World Lounge, Bay Lake Tower

One of the really nice perks of being a Disney Vacation Club member is the member’s only lounge at the top of Bay Lake Tower.  Bay Lake Tower opened in 2009 and was the 9th DVC resort on property.  Allowing “Magic Kingdom Views”, members flock here to get a special view of the fireworks and a view that was only once had by eating at the California Grill or getting lucky with a room placement at the Contemporary resort.  The resort is connected to the Contemporary by way of a sky bridge.  The “Top of the World Lounge” is an exclusive space, offering this special view along with a full bar and small bites menu on the top floor of Bay Lake Tower.  The small space, an homage to the original name of the California Grill, is a place that only few see, but will never forget.

A cast member meets you at the elevator in the lobby of Bay Lake Tower and asks for ID and a DVC member card.  We were really impressed that she was able to scan our magic bands and grant us access that way.  The elevator takes you to the 16th floor where you can walk through an open space to the lounge.  Tastefully decorated with plush seating, including couches, the Top of the World Lounge offers an experience for all.  The bar is well stocked and offers specialty beers, drinks, and frozen beverages.  The bar is placed against one window allowing for the other window to be completely open to a Magic Kingdom view.  A special time is during fireworks when the music is actually pumped into the lounge so that you can feel like you are standing on Main Street minus the HUGE crowds.  Currently playing Wishes, the music and ambiance is truly breathtaking.

High tops, groups of armchairs and couches offer different seating options depending on your party’s size and mission. The capacity is only 77 and I think they are pretty lax on that when the fireworks are booming.   A 25 or so seat bar offers the option for drinkers who want to have a conversation with the bartender, which to my dismay was an overly loud discussion about Health Care.  The flat screen television on the wall allows for die hard football fans (It was a Sunday night) to be on vacation AND watch the game.  There is even a room that has curtains and a round bench for some “private” time.  My hubby and I giggled over Disney’s “Champagne Room”

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If you are coming to the Top of the World Lounge for food, I might steer you to another place.  The menu is tiny and the wait staff is not really able to keep up with drink orders and food.  I sincerely hope we were there on an off night, but there was only one server working the entire room.  She was flustered pretty much the entire night and by the time our drinks came to our table, my frozen colada was watery and my hubby’s drink was almost without ice cubes.  We were in good spirits and watching football and talking, so it’s not like we were in a huge rush.  But, when she asked if we wanted another round…I couldn’t imagine wanting to be there that much longer.  Our server also informed us that they were out of sticky wings and that something was “up” with the pizza and flatbreads (explaining that all night people were unhappy with them), so we were best ordering pretzels with dip or the shrimp and crab cocktail.  Being that my hubby is allergic to crustaceans, we opted for pretzels.  To our dismay, she came back about 10 minutes later to say that another table got the last order.  Honestly, this was very surprising for me.  I haven’t experienced a kitchen so poorly managed, but then I considered that this was probably not really a kitchen and the main goal was to keep the few happy because all in all…most were there to drink.  Other items for order are an apple pie shake and house made chips.  When we were almost done with our drinks, she did bring us a plate of house made chips and said she was sorry again and that it was just an off night.  I bet it was.  We enjoyed watching the fireworks from our seats, football in high def and enjoyed a drink in a quieter, exclusive place that made us feel special.  3 out of 5 stars, but with proper service and food selection…this is a 5/5.  You cannot beat the view! I am not entirely sure I will make the trip there if I am staying at another DVC resort, but I would rather hang out there than in my room if I were staying at the Bay Lake Tower again!

FAST review

Food: I wouldn’t tell you to go to Top of the World Lounge for food.  Maybe some light snacking.  However, with the lounge only operating from 5-midnight (sometimes 11 pm), it seems more like an appetizer place than an after dinner snack, unless you have an appetite like my husband and can eat again directly after dinner.  Choices include single serving pizzas, flatbreads, sticky wings, soft pretzels, a shrimp and crab dish and house made chips.

Atmosphere: I highly suggest a stop by when fireworks are being presented at Magic Kingdom.  The music is pumped in via speaker and you can enjoy a much less crowded spot high in the sky than crowded on Main Street.  There is plush, comfortable seating and it is dark inside (unless you are there before the sun sets!).

Service: Not Disney’s finest, sad to say. Our waitress was sweet, but clearly overloaded with being the only server in the room. The bartender took a very long time to make drinks.  We are hoping we reviewed on an off night.

Tips: All DVC members and their guests are welcome to enjoy the Top of the World Lounge.  Make sure you have ID and your member card or that it has been linked to your magic band.  No DVC, No access. Aim for your visit to coincide with fireworks at Magic Kingdom for a spectacular experience (have I mentioned you want to go when the fireworks are displayed?

About Lauren Wallis

Lauren Wallis was destined to love Disney. Her Mother found out that she was pregnant with Lauren after her honeymoon at WDW. After moving to Florida in 1990, every school trip, family vacation and weekend getaway was at Disney World! Lauren attended the University of Central Florida and spent her weekends looking for the most delicious restaurants on a college budget. She and her husband have relocated and now live in Central Florida, just minutes from Walt Disney World. She has stayed at every single resort and is currently working on eating at every single restaurant! She has been on WDW property over 400 times…lucky Floridian!