A Review of Disney World’s Top of the World Lounge

by on May 4, 2015 18 Comments

Filed under: Dining, Drinking, DVC, Resorts, Walt Disney World (FL)

Disney World’s Top of the World Lounge is an upscale bar combining spectacular views of the sunset followed by spectacular views of Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show. Perched high atop Bay Lake Tower, the Disney Vacation Club resort that is the counterpart to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Top of the World Lounge is close to Magic Kingdom yet a world away from the busy atmosphere of the park.

Bar with monorail mural at Disney World’s Top of the World Lounge (Photos © Sarah Graffam)

My husband and I recently had a chance to visit Top of the World and invite you to come along for a peek at this exclusive Walt Disney World spot. Why exclusive? Because access to Top of the World Lounge is open only to Disney Vacation Club members (and their guests) staying at a Disney resort.

Whether or not a visit to Top of the World Lounge is likely in your future, why not have some fun getting an inside look at one of the best lounges in Disney World.

© Sarah Graffam

Sunset view from Top of the World Lounge

© Sarah Graffam

Fireworks view from Top of the World Lounge

Ambience

To gain access to the lounge, DVC members must first show proof of membership to a Cast Member at a podium in the Bay Lake Tower lobby and then are escorted to an express elevator that takes them to the 16th floor of the Tower.

Upon exiting the elevator, guests go through a covered area past an outside observation deck and then inside to the bar and lounge. Top of the World Lounge features outside observation decks at the back and front of the resort, with the deck facing Magic Kingdom providing lots of space to watch Wishes.

The lounge itself has a modern vibe that reflects the style and ambience of Bay Lake Tower and the Contemporary in a setting of classy neutral tones. With several tables (including some high tops), cozy seating areas, and chairs at the bar, there is seating for approximately 75 guests. Behind the bar is a hint of the view outside, with a bank of windows featuring a mural of a speeding monorail.

In addition to the seating in the main room, there is a small side room with banquette seating, two small tables, and a curtain to pull for privacy. A party of 9-10 can have their own secluded gathering here. Another great feature of this room is several very nice art prints showing scenes of Tomorrowland.

When it comes time for Wishes, the lights are dimmed and Wishes music can be heard both inside and outside the lounge on the observations decks. Although many tables have a view of the fireworks, guests often temporarily abandon them for the more immersive experience of viewing Wishes from the observation deck.

© Sarah Graffam© Sarah GraffamFood

Top of the World Lounge features a small menu of light appetizers and snacks. We were happy to sample them all, which were reasonably priced from $8-12.

© Sarah Graffam

BLT flatbread

First up was the Bay Lake Tower BLT flatbread (with brie, bacon jam, tomato, and arugula). Let me tell you, lately Disney has mastered the art of flatbreads, and Top of the World’s version had an added touch of sophistication. The smoky flavor of the cheese balanced well with the bacon jam and tomato. This was the dish at Top of the World Lounge that I would definitely order again.

© Sarah Graffam

Beef sliders

Less impressive were the Beef Tenderloin Sliders. Although the bread and meat were well seasoned and well complemented by Boursin cheese and caramelized onions, the meat was slightly tough. The horseradish crème served on the side was mostly crème, with none of the kick expected from horseradish.

The Florida Rock Shrimp Salsa featured avocado and crispy plantain and was loaded with whole shrimp. This dish, served in a small bowl and with tortilla chips, had a mild to medium spiciness. I thought it could use a bit more acidity but appreciated the generous portion of shrimp.

© Sarah Graffam

Rock shrimp salsa

Last for the appetizers was the nicely presented soft pretzels with two dipping sauces, a spicy-sweet cream cheese and a mustard dipping sauce. The pretzels were served nice and hot. They were well salted, and I appreciated that I had a glass of water on hand. Although both dips were good, the cream cheese dip was the clear winner at balancing out with the salt of the pretzels.

© Sarah Graffam

Pretzels with two dips

For dessert, Top of the World offers a seven layer cake with salted caramel sauce. This delicious cake has layers of chocolate cake, yellow cake, mousse, and ganache. Yum! It is definitely large enough to share with a few good friends.

Fun fact: Top of the World Lounge is partners with The Wave … of American Flavors restaurant at the Contemporary. Food is prepped at the Wave, then finished in a kitchen below the lounge and delivered up to the lounge via a dumb waiter system.

Drink

In addition to Disney’s standard menu of bar drinks, Top of the World Lounge offers several signature drinks, including three signature cocktails and two non-alcoholic specialties. A few of the drinks use a piña colada mix among their ingredients, including Monorail Yellow, the Tip Top Colada, and the non-alcoholic Little Monorail.

© Sarah GraffamMy husband found the Bay Lake Sunset cocktail, mixed with vodka, rum, pineapple juice, and grenadine, pleasant but too sweet for a second go-round. I went with the Maschio Prosecco Veneto, which was a great complement for all of the appetizers (and excellent with the seven layer cake).

Our server noted that because Top of the World offers many of the wines and beers available at the Wave at the Contemporary Resort, it has a larger selection than many Disney World restaurants.

© Sarah Graffam

Crowd Flow

Top of the World Lounge’s current hours are 6 PM to midnight. Seeing Wishes is the main reason that many people, especially families, visit the lounge, and so we were not surprised to find just a few people in the lounge and on the observation decks when we arrived just after 6 PM. On a typical night when Wishes is at 10 PM, our server said the lounge remains fairly quiet from 6-8:30 PM or so and things really start to pick up around 9-9:30 PM. On the night we were there, it was wonderful to enjoy the pre-Wishes quiet. Several tables were available up until about 9 PM, around 9:30 PM all but one table was occupied and there were a few seats at the bar, and at 9:40 PM all seats were taken.

Access to Top of the World Lounge remains one of the very best perks of being a DVC member. A quiet spot to enjoy some appetizers and drinks can be a rarity in Disney World. Just be ready for a few more people to join you around the time of Wishes. Please share your experience if you have had the chance to enjoy being at the Top of the World!

Posted on May 4, 2015

18 Responses to “A Review of Disney World’s Top of the World Lounge”

  • So to be clear. As long as you are a DVC member & staying on site you can visit, right? We’re at the Poly on points in August. I am really thinking I need to visit.

    • by Sarah Graffam on May 4, 2015, at 7:48 am EST

      Yes you can, and you should definitely pay a visit. Enjoy!

      • …and just to be clear, does this apply to DVC members that are staying onsite, but not using points? We’re members and usually stay at BLT so it’s never been an issue, but we’re going to be paying cash to stay at YC on our upcoming trip. We love TOWL and might still like to swing by on our next trip.

        • by Sarah Graffam on May 4, 2015, at 12:25 pm EST

          I would say yes based on the DVC member site, which says “Disney Vacation Club Members staying at any Disney-owned-and-operated hotel at Walt Disney World Resort (whether they booked with vacation points or cash) may enjoy access.” Probably a good idea to have your member ID card on hand; you could call over to BLT first to make sure.

  • If you are renting DVC points can you access the lounge?

    • by Sarah Graffam on May 4, 2015, at 9:51 am EST

      The DVC member site states that access to the lounge is for DVC members and those in their traveling party only, so those renting points don’t qualify. The Cast Member at the check-in desk is supposed to check for proof of membership either on a Key to the World card with a DVC membership notation or a Club Member ID card.

      • by Bryan Klinck on May 4, 2015, at 11:20 am EST

        Some people have reported that they were able to get in on rented points because the Key to the World card says DVC on it and the CM didn’t bother to check that they were actually members. Other reported that the CM was more diligent and did not let them in (which is the technically correct thing to do). I don’t know what has happened since the advent of Magic Bands.

  • We are DVC members and love going to Top of the World just for the fireworks. We have been several times at night. Once we were able to go up right when it opened to get some great views during daylight. We watched Hallowishes from up there and it was amazing.

  • Do you have to order anything or can you just go for the fireworks?

    • by Sarah Graffam on May 4, 2015, at 10:52 am EST

      No need to order anything. In fact, you can access the observation deck without going into the lounge.

  • There are a few nights of the year when only DVC members staying at BLT can access the lounge around July 4 and the winter holidays.

  • We’re DVC members staying on points in June. The rest of our party will be staying at the Contemporary. Can we bring the rest of our party with us? All of our dining reservations and FP+ are with them.

  • Are kids , ages 10 and 12 allowed in the lounge ?

    • by Sarah Graffam on May 4, 2015, at 9:41 pm EST

      Yes they are. Lots of kids come up with their parents to watch Wishes and they can be in the lounge as well.

  • THE place for New Year’s Eve. We go every other year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow6Nq_y06Y0

  • One of my favorite DVC Member perks! I love going up here before dinner at the Contemp or during a Monorail crawl.