Posts Tagged ‘Contemporary Resort’
by Sarah Graffam
on October 2, 2015
Exploring Magic Kingdom’s resorts as a “day guest” is a great way to experience the Disney magic outside the parks. This article wraps up a tour of Magic Kingdom resorts for day guests, whether you’re staying off-property or at another Disney World resort. Part 1 focused on touring the Polynesian and Grand Floridian and offered some general day guest tips and strategies. In Part 2, let’s take a look at touring the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness Resort, including their overall ambience, dining options that make them worth a day trip, and other fun things to do on a visit to these resorts.
Atmosphere. Monorail transportation is a fun and convenient feature of all three of Disney’s monorail resorts (the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary). But the Contemporary is where the monorail is an integral part of the resort’s ambience by passing directly through its atrium. Although the monorail and multi-floor lobby make the Contemporary seem more like a center of activity than a place to relax, its wide open spaces keep foot traffic well dispersed and provide a visual break from crowds in Magic Kingdom. Take your time browsing in the several shops or find a good vantage point for watching the next-arriving monorail.
Tip: The Contemporary is a 10-minute walk from Magic Kingdom; it and the adjacent Disney Vacation Club resort Bay Lake Tower are the only resorts within walking distance to the park.
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by Seth Kubersky
on July 9, 2015
Take a Best Week Ever grand circle tour of Disney’s Grand Floridian and the other WDW monorail hotels. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
Welcome aboard another Best Week Ever, where we’re off on a “grand circle tour” at the Vacation Kingdom. That phrase may have brought to mind the iconic Walt Disney World Railroad, but there is another kind of transportation loop at the Magic Kingdom — and this one is (mostly) free to enjoy, well without paying admission anyway. I recently spent an afternoon exploring Walt Disney World’s monorail hotels via foot, boat, and (of course) monorail.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
I began my tour of the WDW monorail resorts at the recently retro-named Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort because it is the easiest to access from the Transportation and Ticket Center’s parking lot. (The hotel’s parking lot is reserved for guests with room or dining reservations, and we’d never sanction sneaking in…)
Current map of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
The “Poly” has seen plenty of changes in the last couple years, and the transformation isn’t finished yet, as you can tell by the construction walls that confront you along the approach from the TTC.
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by Savannah Sanders
on March 4, 2015
The Disney Parks were designed with families in mind, to serve as escapes from the real world where parents and kids can have fun together. But have you ever noticed that a certain element of the family tends to be overlooked? Do you know what it is? It’s the demographic Disney forgot: teen boys. Now I’m not a teenage boy, but I do have a teenage brother who loves Disney World, despite the lack of commercials and ads directed toward his age group; and so, I sat down with him for the scoop on what Disney World has to offer teen boys like himself. Last time, I covered the Best Disney World Restaurants for Teen Boys; but for today, I’m focusing on where to stay in this installment of The Demographic Disney Forgot: Best Disney World Resorts for Teen Boys.
6. Art of Animation Resort
The Cars Wing of the Art of Animation Resort
Disney World’s newest Value Resort is a celebration of animation and lets guests walk right into the middle of several popular Disney films, such as The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Pixar’s Cars, and Pixar’s Finding Nemo. The Art of Animation Resort is unique in that it offers family suites which accommodate up to six family members, as well as more heavily themed rooms than what you find at other resorts on property.This particular resort may sound like a surprising pick for teen boys; but my teen Disney Bro has loved this resort since the first time he visited and was quick to name it to this list. The Cars wing is by far his favorite. You really do feel like you’ve walked into Radiator Springs with the life-size Cars characters, the Cozy Cone Motel, and other familiar fixtures from the hit film. The resort’s food court, Landscape of Flavors, is also a big hit with my teen Disney Bro. He likes the build-your-own stations where he can tailor dishes to his own tastes; and he thinks the Big Blue Pool is pretty cool as well. This pool is the largest hotel pool at Disney World and has underwater speakers playing Disney tunes! It’s amazing! The Art of Animation is bright, colorful, and packed with Disney characters, so it may not be for all teen boys; but if your teen still smiles at the sight of Nemo and Simba and Mater, or perhaps possesses some artistic talents, this resort may be for them.
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by Daisy Lauren
on November 20, 2014
by Derek Burgan
on November 15, 2014
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Contemporary Resort. After examining some of the value resorts on Disney property, including Pop Century and Art of Animation, it’s time to head straight to the top of the WDW resort food chain and see the benefits a deluxe resort brings to the table. First stop, The Contemporary. As a long time Disney fan, I have wanted to stay at The Contemporary since I was a little kid, but my parents always booked hotels off-site to save money. As an adult planning my own trips, I would often price out a stay at The Contemporary, only to end up choosing a cheaper alternative myself. I’m not a big fan of the cliche you only live once, but if there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that the biggest regrets are not doing things when you have the chance, because those opportunities may not be around forever. So whether it was philosophical reasons, or the fact that I felt the awesome Contemporary Resort Monorail Toy Accessory was taunting me, I decided to fulfill a near lifelong dream and book a stay at The Contemporary this year.
Now that it is crossed of the bucket list I can report back that…. I loved it. The stay confirmed several things I thought The Contemporary would be like, and opened my eyes to amenities I did not know much about before. Today we are going to countdown six takeaways from my experience, starting with…
# 6 – A Million Dollar View
View from Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
The views from The Contemporary A-Frame building are spectacular. One side faces Bay Lake, the other faces the Magic Kingdom. Waking up in the morning we could see Disney’s Polynesian Resort Village, the Grand Floridian, the monorail passing by, ferry boats in the lake, the Walt Disney World Railroad, and not to mention the Magic Kingdom itself, with icons such as Cinderella’s Castle and Space Mountain. I’ve stayed at on-site hotels at various theme park resorts, and hotels across the United States including Las Vegas, Boston, San Diego, Times Square, and Hawaii, but this was the most amazing view I have ever had. I was able to enjoy fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant, two of my favorite things at WDW, from the room. I was speechless. I knew it would be good. I didn’t know it would be this good.
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by Natalie Reinert
on November 10, 2014
Sunset over the Seven Seas Lagoon from California Grill — perhaps just as impressive as the Magic Kingdom fireworks view.
Since its opening, Disney’s Contemporary Resort has always featured fine dining on its 15th (top) floor. At one time, the space was the Top of the World restaurant which had entertainment and dancing. These days, it’s California Grill, and is at the top of many Disney diner’s lists. The restaurant is not just popular for its panoramic views of the Magic Kingdom, surrounding resorts, and the nightly fireworks show. California Grill’s menu features one of the more interesting selections at Disney World including some of the best sushi to be found at the resort, a notable wine list, and a show kitchen that gives the dining room a nice energy.
Very much in demand, California Grill can–and does–command some high prices for its meals. Entrees start at $35 (for the potato gnocchi) and quickly make the jump to $50 (for the bison tenderloin).
What we found while scanning the menu, though, was just what we had found at Carthay Circle a few months ago–the really interesting flavors seemed to be on the appetizer menu. As nice as roast chicken is, I make it all the time. And bison tenderloin sounds great, though hardly unique, but I’ve never seen bison “summer sausage chorizo” on a menu in my life. Before this night, that is. Reservations made, we spent the next six months getting very excited for an evening of drinks, fireworks, and an array of appetizers for dinner at California Grill.
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by Angela Dahlgren
on October 7, 2014
Mom and Dad sharing a special moment
Today, I’m going to share my experience attending the Wishes Fireworks Cruise. I first went on this cruise in 2011 and again in September 2014. This most recent time, it was a birthday surprise for my dad. If you know me personally, you will understand just how hard it is for me to keep a secret. The cruise can be booked as early as 180 days in advance, but mine was booked about 90 days beforehand. That’s 90 whole days I had to keep my lips zipped…I barely made it! After a fun day at the parks and a delicious dinner at The Brown Derby (Yes, he was spoiled rotten!), we arrived at the Contemporary. We led my confused dad through the lobby and outside to the marina. He had no clue what this birthday surprise could be!
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by Scott Wurzel
on July 6, 2014
When Disney Imagineer Bob Jani looked out over Seven Seas Lagoon at night he saw a black gulf, void of interest. It was late 1971 and Magic Kingdom, Polynesian Resort, and Contemporary Resort opened soon. The lifeless lagoon, formed from draining the swamp that dominated the land Magic Kingdom occupies, would presently be filled by ferries and water attractions, including a water ski show. But something was missing. His mind turned to his hometown of Los Angeles, where any body of water reflected myriad lights every night. Somewhere this need to fill the dark with twinkling lights sparked the idea of the Electrical Water Pageant: a train of barges sporting colorful animated lights.
The final float in the aquatic scene.
A brochure given to guests in the Summer of 1972 entices the guest to “watch porpoises leap . . . seals play . . . even a sea monster breathe fire!” Guests were directed to see the Pageant nightly 9:00 PM through 10:00 PM along Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon, advice that is still good today. The whimsical attraction’s appeal eventually inspired the Main Street Electrical Parade — even copping the song “Baroque Hoedown” as its theme.
Today the Pageant is one thousand feet long and features 25-foot tall screens on fourteen barges. The show is split into two parts: an aquatic theme featuring King Triton and various sea creatures followed by a patriotic salute. Total time, nose to tail, is about ten minutes.
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by AJ Wolfe
on April 12, 2010
To me, dining at a restaurant with a beautiful view makes the meal taste just a bit better. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived so much of my life in snowy trundra and urban wastelands (where very few restaurants have wonderful views); or maybe I’ve just always been the type of eater who’s greatly influenced by surroundings like table location, smells, sounds, crowd level, etc.; but an incredible view from my table is something I’m willing to fight for.
So, whether you want to do some people-watching, see the Magic Kingdom fireworks or Illuminations from your table, spend your dinner spotting African wildlife, or just relax with a tranquil lookout, here are a few Disney World dining spots that I think afford incredible views:
California Grill Sunset
The California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort is probably my top suggestion when someone wants an outstanding restaurant view. From the top floor of the resort, the floor to ceiling windows offer amazing views of the whole of Walt Disney World — and the rest of Orlando. Watching the sun set behind the Grand Floridian Resort, or catching the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks show from this location, will probably be one of your grandest memories from your vacation.
Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room
Because this is one of the most well-known “good view” locations, it’s also one of the very crowded! Guests line up nightly to wait for Rose and Crown‘s outdoor patio tables where the view of Illuminations is one of the most spectacular in Epcot, but I also suggest booking a table for lunch. Sitting outside on the lovely patio, watching the boats glide back and forth over World Showcase Lagoon, and taking in the detail of the other pavilions within your view is a wonderful way to spend a mealtime.
View of Giraffe from Sanaa Table
Sanaa‘s casual, relaxed atmosphere and tucked-away location make it a wonderful place to detox after a hectic morning in the theme parks. But what I find enchanting about this place is that it’s the only Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort restaurant that actually has a view of the hotel’s main draw — the African animals on the savanna. Go for lunch or an early dinner to guarantee plenty of daylight, and request to be seated next to one of the restaurants large picture windows. Expect to see giraffe, zebras, Ankole cattle, African birds, and other incredible animals.
Another one of the best views in Walt Disney World, ‘Ohana‘s wall-to-wall windows give guests a generous view of Seven Seas Lagoon, the Polynesian Resort grounds and Volcano pool, and the major landmarks of the Magic Kingdom. Book a spot here when the restaurant opens for dinner at 5pm to take in the relaxing late-afternoon and evening sunlight spilling over Seven Seas Lagoon, or make an advanced dining reservation just in time to catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant!
The View From Tokyo Dining
An excellent restaurant for sushi gourmands, Tokyo Dining also offers one of the best views in Epcot’s World Showcase. During the day, look out over the World Showcase promenade and amuse yourself with some wonderful people-watching; in the evening, schedule your meal in time to see Illuminations: Reflections of Earth explode over World Showcase Lagoon.
Other great spots to enjoy the view, in my opinion of course, are Narcoosee’s, in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort; Cantina de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico — I imagine the new incarnation opening in the Fall will have some astounding views of the World Showcase Lagoon; and Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue, where you can enjoy a stunning view of Expedition Everest from the seating area.
What are your thoughts? Any additions to the list or experiences you can share about great views from Disney restaurants — and whether or not they make the meal better for you?
You can find more Disney Restaurant information from AJ Wolfe over at The Disney Food Blog.
by AJ Wolfe
on March 9, 2010
AJ Wolfe from the Disney Food Blog returns with information about a Disney attraction not advertised in the brochures!
Drinks Available at Ohana and Tambu Lounge
While we all enjoy hitting the theme parks for some great attractions during our Disney World days, there’s still fun to be had once the parks close! I’d like to introduce you to a tidy little excursion called the Monorail Crawl
When people think about “alcohol + Disney World,” they usually have visions of drinking around the World in Epcot, fond memories of Pleasure Island, or thoughts of indulging in one of the delectable new menu offerings at the Mexico Pavilion’s La Cava del Tequila.
But the original way to have a grand evening of imbibing in Disney World was to visit one of Disney’s resort hotels around Seven Seas Lagoon. And if you’re going to visit one…why not visit them all? Thus, the birth of the Monorail Crawl — it’s a great way to resort hop, but still feel like you have…you know…a purpose!
Here’s How It’s Done
When taking part in the Monorail Crawl, participants can begin at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, or Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Have a drink at your starting point, then load up on the monorail and head to the next resort hotel. Pretty simple, eh?
Jazz Band Outside Mizner's Lounge
You can even think up themes or games for each hotel, e.g. have a Hawaiian-themed drink at the Polynesian, a classic liqueur at the Grand Floridian, then a good old draft beer at the Contemporary (just be sure to do them in the right order!); or have three members of your party each bring a recipe for a new drink to sample — try one of the new recipes at each new resort!
However you plan to spice up your Monorail Crawl, be sure to designate a driver or two.
Some Favorite Watering Holes to Consider
Mizner’s Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: This snazzy spot is the perfect place to begin your crawl. Relax in the lounge with a classic cocktail while you listen to some live jazz.
Outer Rim Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: This will take you from the Victorian decadence of the Grand Floridian into the George Jetson age! The Outer Rim Lounge offers deep, cushy chairs and an incredible, floor to ceiling view of Bay Lake and the Contemporary pool. If you hit it at the right time, you can even see the Contemporary’s movie on the beach from the Lounge! Click through images of the full menu here.
Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Resort:
Outer Rim Lounge Bar
A Hawaiian-themed paradise of a lounge, this one features live music from the islands as well as a big-screen TV (which could matter if it happens to be game day!). Schedule your crawl so that you can hit the Poly in time to watch some of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from the Lounge’s huge picture windows, or get your drinks to go and watch the Electric Water Pageant from the beach.
Remember, this activity can cost as little or as much as you’d like; you don’t need any theme park tickets, and you don’t even have to pay for parking!
Last Minute Suggestions
Here are a couple of suggestions that might make the Crawl even better:
- Schedule this excursion when you’re staying at a monorail resort. As fun as it is when staying elsewhere, it’s even better when you can just monorail it back to your resort and head to bed at the end of the evening.
- If you’re staying at another property, take a Disney bus or a shuttle to the starting point. You’ll be glad to not have to drive at the end.
- Bring friends! While a small party is fun, sharing the Crawl with a crowd can make it even more of a memory.