Planning Your Resort Day at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World

Monorail Disney's Contemporary Resort
Credit: World of Disney

I will admit, I long resisted staying at the Contemporary Resort.  It just wasn’t my style—I wanted more theme, more “Disney.”  But, now that I have tried it, it is one of my favorite places to stay at Walt Disney World for lots of reasons.  The convenience to Magic Kingdom is one reason—did you know you can walk to Magic Kingdom and have your own bag check along the way?  But, when you are thinking about staying at the resort all day, that doesn’t really matter.  What does matter are all of the fun activities you can plan into your day.  Here is how I would plan my resort day at the Contemporary Resort.

1. Sleep In and Take It Easy!

First, I would start by sleeping in and taking it easy.  I’m sure a lot of you feel like me, a Walt Disney World vacation can be a bit like a marathon of fun, and it is nice to have a morning to recharge the batteries.  Staying at the Contemporary means that you will have a spacious and well-appointed room, and you will have a good view no matter what category you’ve booked (even in the Garden Wing or Bay Lake Tower).  My preferred locations are the Main Tower or Bay Lake Tower with a Lake or Theme Park View.  The perfect way to wake up and start your day by looking out at the Magic Kingdom or at Bay Lake as the day is starting in the World.

2. Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s or The Wave

Next, I would enjoy a fun breakfast with everyone’s favorite characters:  Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto.  Chef Mickey’s is right downstairs and is a perennial favorite of Walt Disney World guests looking for a great character meal where you can meet the Fab 5. Breakfast is my preferred meal here for the foods offered, and a day away from the parks means you can schedule that a little later in the day closer to Brunch time. I also love the breakfast at the Wave if you are looking for a quieter start to the day. The menu there is very creative and the dishes are expertly prepared with fresh ingredients (yes, they have a Krispy Kreme doughnut French Toast).  Depending on the day of the week you choose to do your resort day, you could also enjoy Brunch at California Grill for a special treat.

3. Pool Time

After breakfast I would spend some time at the pool.  I like to visit the resort pools in the mornings because they are a little bit quieter with most people off enjoying their day in a theme park.  This also means that lounge chairs or tables in your preferred area of the pool will be more readily available.  I love to bring a good book and get in some reading and relaxing poolside, and then take a dip when it gets warm.  The Contemporary Resort’s pools are great for kids too with fun slides (hey, adults like those too).

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4. Snacks and Shopping

With a late breakfast and a big dinner planned, I might just grab a snack for lunch at Contempo Café.  This quick service resort location is one of my favorites on Disney property.  And while I’m there, I’ll spend some time browsing through the shops.  Fantasia Market in the middle of the concourse is full of toys and souvenirs, but my favorite is Buena Vista Gifts that has a nice combination of Disney merchandize with vacation “boutique” type items with name brands like Lilly Pulitzer, Tommy Bahama, Vineyard Vines, and Spartina 449.  Also while I’m on the Grand Canyon Concourse area I’m going to take some time to study the amazing Mary Blair mosaic mural, it is such a beautiful example of classic Disney art.

5. Visit the Marina

By this time I am probably ready for some more fun, so I’m heading out to the Marina to go out on Bay Lake in one of the Sea Raycer speed boats.  These are so much fun to tool around Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon—especially out in the open water.  If you have several people (and more kids than adults) you could choose to rent a pontoon boat for a more leisurely tour of the area by water. Check out the old Discovery Island out in the middle of Bay Lake, and all of the resorts in the area.

6. Resort Hop with the Monorail

Once I’m back on dry land I’m going back up to my room to freshen up for the evening.  My first activity is going to be some resort hopping via the monorail.  When the monorail glides right through your lobby you have to ride it as much as possible.  A fun way to take advantage of this great transportation option is to hop to the Magic Kingdom resorts for some appetizers or drinks before dinner.  You can stop at the Polynesian to go to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto or Tambu lounge.  Both have great options for small bites and specialty cocktails.  Then jump back on the monorail for the Grand Floridian.  Mizner’s Lounge is undergoing a transformation to become a Beauty & the Beast inspired lounge, so once that is complete it will be a very fun stop, but even in the interim there are some food and drink options here.  If you have your family with you and prefer not to do the lounges you could save your monorail tour for after dinner and stop for dessert at each resort to grab a fun cupcake, or you can do one of our favorite things to hop to the resorts looking for pressed penny machines.

7. Dinner & Fireworks at California Grill

Back at the Contemporary I’m going all the way to the top for a Signature Dining Experience at the California Grill.  The seasonal menu here is amazing, and the food and service are superb.  Inventive entrees, fresh sushi, delicious appetizers, and delectable desserts all come together for the perfect dining experience.  My preference is to dine during sunset if I can time it correctly (and yes, I Google the sunset time in Orlando for my dates when I make my dining reservations 180 days out).  The view is breathtaking, and to see a Florida Sunset from that viewpoint is a showstopper.  So even if I am finished dining before the Happily Ever After fireworks at Magic Kingdom, I am going to enjoy them from the viewing platforms.  With your dining receipt you can go back up for the fireworks.  I like to go out a little early because depending on the timing and where you stand you can see the fireworks at Hollywood Studios and Epcot as well.

This relaxing day would be the perfect way for me to enjoy the Contemporary, but there are other activities you could choose while you are there.  Because Bay Lake Tower is a Disney Vacation Club property there are all kinds of craft activities offered for a fee, there are pool games to enjoy in the afternoons, movies under the stars . . . the options are endless.  What is your favorite way to spend a day at Disney’s Contemporary Resort?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).