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Disney's Contemporary Resort: A Review

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 10/1/2009

Disney's Contemporary Resort is perhaps the best known resort to any visitor to the Walt Disney World Resort. It's the hotel that we've all zoomed through on the monorail, either on our way to or coming back from the Magic Kingdom.

No doubt, many of you have wondered what it would be like to stay there. I know I certainly did and couldn't help but wish that one day I could stay there with a monorail station right beneath us. That dream came true earlier this year, with a five night stay in a tower room with a Magic Kingdom view. We were on the eighth floor and literally just a few steps from the elevator. Our room's location couldn't have been more convenient, and it was so easy to get to and from the monorail station. Indeed, once I was able to run back to the room, drop something off and then head back down in time to catch the very next monorail just a few minutes later!

The first thing that struck me when we first entered the room was how modern it looked, but also how welcoming the décor was. I'm a great fan of using browns and beiges in rooms, as I think they add a warm feeling, and that's very much what Disney achieved here. I had seen photos of the interior of the rooms here before, so I had an idea what to expect, but I was still pleasantly surprised. Somehow, with the look of the exterior of the resort, you half expect the rooms here to be steel grey – at least I did!

The rooms are very well sized, as you'd expect from one of Disney's deluxe resorts. Even with two queen-sized beds in the room, there was still lots of space, with a desk providing a good amount of workspace and a fold out sofa bed, which was certainly very comfortable to sit on, although neither of us sampled actually sleeping on it! There was plenty of storage here and we found the bathroom to be very spacious, although our only complaint was the design of the sinks in there. We found that it was all too easy to splash water everywhere, because they're quite shallow.

But the real treat was saved for the moment that we first stepped out on to balcony. Our Magic Kingdom view was exactly how I'd imagined it, with Space Mountain nearest to us and Cinderella Castle and the various lands laid out around it. Across Seven Seas Lagoon, we had a perfect view of the Grand Floridian, with the Polynesian to the left. What we didn't notice for the first day or so was that we could also see Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom way in the distance. It was amazing how much we noticed as the days wore on.

We spent a fair bit of our time exploring the Contemporary and, despite my many previous visits to Walt Disney World, I was amazed that we were still able to find new things to see. For example, I'd never seen the swimming pool at the Contemporary before, but I have to admit this was one of the least impressive aspects to the resort. The main pool didn't do much for me, although the pool nearest to Bay Lake was much more appealing. Still, considering I'm used to the Beach Club's beautiful Stormalong Bay, it's understandable that this was never going to compare.

Something that does compare very much is the shopping on offer here on the fourth floor's "Grand Canyon Concourse." I loved the stores and found a number of items that didn't seem to be available elsewhere on Disney property (and that's not the first time I've had that experience). Also on the fourth floor is an outdoor seating area, facing the Magic Kingdom. It's a great spot to watch Wishes from, but we also enjoyed just sitting out there during the day and watching the monorails glide past.

One of our other great discoveries was the Contemporary's new counter service offering, the Contempo Cafe. It offers a superb selection of items, with all the usual hot food that you'd expect for breakfast, along with some delicious pastries, while lunch and dinner is the territory of flatbreads and sandwiches and a few other treats. The cheese flatbread was very good, but the real star on the menu here was the Spice Crusted Mahi sandwich. It's so lovely to see such diverse choices at quick service places at Disney these days.

Of course, the Contemporary is also home to some superb table service restaurants. Let's be honest, it's hard to find a more fun way to start your day than breakfast at Chef Mickey's, and dinner here is excellent as well. Then there's the Wave, the newest addition, which I enjoyed for breakfast and I'm looking forward to sampling dinner there in due course. And of course, let's leave the best until last – the California Grill on the resort's 15th floor. Offering superb views, similar to those that we had from our room and with the bonus of prime viewing spots for Wishes each night, it's in a premium location. As for the food, well, I can't fault it and it's been my selection for a number of birthday meals and one Christmas dinner, which probably gives you a good idea of how much we love it there.

Not only is the Contemporary full of wonderful amenities and some excellent rooms, its location was a definite bonus as well. Being able to walk to the Magic Kingdom is a real treat and there's nothing like just popping downstairs to pick up a monorail over to Epcot (you must change trains at the next stop) or the Magic Kingdom.

I loved my first stay at the Contemporary and, although I know it will be a bit different, I can't wait to go back and sample their newest addition, Bay Lake Tower, on our next Disney visit.

About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, taking in a number of Disney cruises, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani in Hawai'i, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland on the way. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 10/1/2009

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