The sleek and modern Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World has become well known for its proximity to the Magic Kingdom and for its spectacular views of Bay Lake (and, of course, Cinderella’s Castle), but there are still plenty of secrets that the average guest or first-time visitor to the resort may not know. Here are six secrets that might just help you develop an even greater appreciation of the futuristic Contemporary Resort.
6. It’s One of the Best Places to Watch the Fireworks
While there’s perhaps no better place to experience the Magic Kingdom fireworks show Wishes than from right in front of the castle on Main Street USA, many long-time Disney goers know that the Contemporary Resort might just be a close second. If you’re lucky enough to nab reservations at the resort’s award-winning restaurant California Grill, there’s an outdoor walkway located right outside the restaurant that offers a spectacular view of the fireworks (and the soundtrack is piped into the restaurant, so even though you’re not inside the theme park, you won’t miss a thing). If you can’t get a reservation at the California Grill, another prime fireworks viewing location can be found on a small outdoor balcony situated on the fourth floor of the resort.
5. There’s a Secret Garden
With all the fun and excitement of the Walt Disney World theme parks, sometimes a quiet place to relax can be hard to come by. Many Contemporary Resort guests and visitors have no idea that there’s actually a tranquil butterfly garden tucked behind the resort that’s home to beautiful flowers, lush plants, and, of course, vibrant butterflies. If you’re looking for the butterfly garden, it’s not far from the resort’s well-known metal Mickey structure that’s a popular spot for photo opportunities.
4. There’s a Massive Mural Inside
Okay, so a giant mural probably can’t be considered a “secret,” but many guests may not realize its significance. The resort is home to a 90-foot-tall mural themed that celebrates the Grand Canyon and American Southwest, and was created by Disney legend Mary Blair. Blair played an important role in drawing concept art for Disney classics like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, but better yet, she is also credited with the distinct look and feel of the beloved “It’s a Small World” attraction at the Magic Kingdom.
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3. You Can Choose Your View
While you’re always welcome to request a room with a particular view while you’re checking in to most Walt Disney World resort hotels, when booking your room at the Contemporary Resort, you’ll want to be sure to secure your choice of view ahead of time. The hotel now offers rooms with your choice of view, from a garden view room to a Bay Lake view to a stunning view of the Magic Kingdom. All located in the section of the resort known as The Tower, you will, of course, pay a bit more for a view of the lake…and even more if you want to see Cinderella’s Castle from your room window. If you want the convenience of a Tower Room (they’re close to all the shops, restaurants, front desk, and monorail station) but at a slightly lower price point, be sure to inquire about the Garden Wing, which are often the least expensive rooms of all of the hotels on the Magic Kingdom monorail hotels (the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian).
2. There’s a Ton of History
Today, the Contemporary is know for its futuristic A-frame tower design, but many first-time visitors or guests may not realize that they are standing inside one of the two original Walt Disney World resort hotels. Back when it was first being constructed, the hotel was called the Tempo Bay Resort Hotel. And believe it or not, all of the guest rooms were prefabricated—meaning they were built off-site and then hoisted into place after the structure of the hotel was in place.
1. It’s the Ideal Hotel for Monorail Enthusiasts
The Contemporary Resort is one of three Walt Disney World hotels that are located on the Disney monorail loop—but only at the Contemporary will you see the monorail actually traveling through the hotel because the monorail station is located inside the resort. Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members particularly enjoy the Contemporary Resort because it was the first DVC location on the monorail loop (now called Bay Lake Tower), and remains the absolute closest location to the Magic Kingdom.