Tied with Disney’s Polynesian Villages Resort for oldest resort at Walt Disney World, Disney’s Contemporary Resort has seen a lot of changes since it opened in 1971! This award-winning deluxe level resort close to Magic Kingdom is recognizable by the distinctive A-frame of its main building. It was also, incidentally, the site of a very famous press conference by Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. But what continues to draw visitors to the Contemporary Resort today? And is it the right resort for you? Here are our top pros and cons to help you decide.
There’s really no contest – location is the biggest pro at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! No other resort puts you within a 5-minute walk of Walt Disney World’s most popular park, Magic Kingdom. It’s perfect for parents with small children who could benefit from a mid-day nap, and it’s also perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to waste time waiting for transportation to and from their resort!
2. Fireworks Viewing
Given its proximity to Magic Kingdom, it’s not surprising that there are some stellar firework viewing areas at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! You can always splurge on a room with a view of Cinderella Castle, but that’s not your only option here. There’s an observation deck on the fourth floor of the resort that gives you a great view of the firework action, or you can make a reservation for dinner at California Grill, where you can wait for a table by the window for amazing views; the lights will also dim and you’ll hear the music that accompanies the fireworks from the lounge, dining room and viewing platform!
Who doesn’t love a monorail? Disney’s Monorail System is one of our favorite ways to travel at Walt Disney World, and it just so happens that the monorail runs right through the lobby of the Contemporary Resort. From here, it’s just a short ride to the Magic Kingdom, or you can spend some time resort-hopping at the other deluxe resorts (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort) connected to the Contemporary by monorail.
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4. Relax and Play
There’s so much to do at Disney’s Contemporary Resort that you’ll wish you’d booked a longer stay here! You can start your morning with yoga under the Skyway Bridge, shoot some hoops at the basketball court, and of course soak up some rays at the white sandy beaches before zooming down a waterslide or relaxing in a hot tub. You can even rent a cabana by the pool; it comes complete with a tv and fridge! And don’t forget the Pixar Play Zone, where your kids can experience an evening full of Pixar-themed food, games and character adventures!
Dining options are always a consideration for us when choosing a resort at Walt Disney World, and you’re in luck with Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Chef Mickey’s is a great option if you’re looking for character dining, and it has a ton of kid-friendly fare. California Grill is one of the best places to view fireworks outside of Magic Kingdom, and Contempo Café is perfect for one-stop-shopping when you’re on the go or looking for a quick bite for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Our favorite restaurant on site is The Wave of American Flavors, a real hidden gem with mouth-watering dishes and staff eager to cater to any and all dietary preferences or restrictions. If you’re lucky enough to stay at the Contemporary Resort during the holidays, there’s a whole world of seasonal goodies open to you as part of the gingerbread Christmas display. In short, you just can’t go wrong with food at this resort!
6. Elevator Magic
Hop on an elevator anywhere in the main tower of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, press your floor number, and wait for the magic to happen! As the elevator comes to a halt, you’ll hear Disney characters (including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Chip) announce the floor that you’ve arrived at. It’s just another of those little magical details we love so much about Disney!
The rooms in Disney’s Contemporary Resort are beautiful, and ultra-modern. In fact, they’ve been described as some of the nicest rooms in all of Walt Disney World. But what they don’t have is the more obvious theming of some other Disney resorts. You won’t find African art, Victorian elegance or Mardi Gras elements here, let alone Mickey and friends. The décor is very much what you’d find at any other high-end contemporary hotel – which might not be what you’re looking for on a Disney vacation.
While it’s the most reasonably priced of the resorts on the monorail line, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is still a long way from affordable. The $400-plus nightly price tag can be prohibitive for a lot of Walt Disney World guests – especially given the fact that there’s no typical “Disney theming” to enjoy. Still, if you’re looking for a comfortable, luxurious hotel that’s as close as you can get to Magic Kingdom and has fabulous views of nightly fireworks and access to the monorail – it may just be worth it for you!