Disney’s Contemporary – A Classic Resort

Contemporary Pool #2

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing our reviews of the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World.


My favorite resort on all of the Walt Disney World Resort property is The Contemporary.  I loved this resort since I was a child.  I loved the fact that a monorail ran through the center of the hotel because of its iconic A-Frame structure.  If you ask people what they think of, besides the castle, when they think of Walt Disney World chances are they will mention The Contemporary and/or the monorail.  There are so many reasons to love this iconic Disney original.

It is a great place to sit and people watch.

My home Disney Vacation Club resort is Bay Lake Tower because it is attached to The Contemporary via the fourth floor bridge walk.  After a couple of stays, the Contempo Cafe has become one of my favorite places to have a counter service meal.  I enjoy sitting down and having lunch at the Contempo Cafe.  The crowds at the restaurant are little smaller because more people are in the parks.   You can just sit back relax and enjoy your meal while watching people come and go and from time to time wave to guests on the express monorail.

It has dining with character.

The Contemporary is home to one of the best character dining experiences on property….Chef Mickey’s.  It is one of my family’s favorite dining experience and is, typically, our first sit-down meal of the vacation.  I’ve written a full review about the experience.  It is one of the few locations where all of the Big Five characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) are available.  Unlike in the parks, they will come to you while you sit back and enjoy your breakfast or dinner.  Children and adults alike can meet all these characters in 60-90 minutes which frees up time in the parks for attractions or other meet and greets.  To top it all off, it’s a fun time for all.

Chef Mickey #5

It has multiple places to watch Wishes.

Guests staying or visiting the resort have two locations where they can watch Wishes.  The first is the public viewing area off the Grand Canyon Concourse on the fourth floor.  The second is available only to guests eating at The California Grill on the 15th floor.  Both locations provide excellent viewing of the fireworks show.

There is also a third viewing location at The Top of the World Lounge in Bay Lake Tower but this location is only available to Disney Vacation Club members staying on points.  It is a nice experience with a lounge area where you can order drinks and light snacks before and after Wishes.  And the view is amazing.

Views #3

It’s just a short walk to the Magic Kingdom.

In terms of getting to the Magic Kingdom, it’s the best form of transportation available.  You never wait for your feet like you do with a monorail or with a bus.  Sure, your feet might get sore but there are plenty of attractions inside the Magic Kingdom where you can rest your tired feet for a while.  To me, there is nothing better than waking up at 8:00 am, heading out the door at 8:30 am, and being at rope drop by 8:40 to 8:45 am.  It’s a dependable schedule.  No waiting just head out the door and walk over.

Walkway to Magic Kingdom

Transportation to the other resorts is easy as well.  Guests are a monorail ride (with a transfer at the Ticket and Transportation Center) away from EPCOT.  While a bus can take guests to Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, and the water parks.

I had my first stay at The Contemporary back in 1977 in a first-floor garden wing room.  This is also the same type of room that my family had in 2009 when my wife and I took my daughter on her first trip to Walt Disney World.  Back in 1977, you needed a card to ride the monorail.


The garden wing room, in 1977, cost $48 per night.  I paid much more in 2009.

For the first 20-plus years of The Contemporary, California Grill was The Top of the World Lounge.  The lounge was more of a supper club where guests could listen to popular music acts of the era.  There was no Wishes or fireworks show.  As a result, there was no outside view area.  The evening entertainment was the show inside.  It varied from acts like Mel Torme to Phyllis Diller.  The dinner cost was between $9.50 and $13.50 while there was a $5 cover charge in 1972 which had risen to $7.50 by 1982.  There were two seatings for dinner 6:30 pm for the 8:30 pm show and 9:30 pm for the 11:30 pm show.

In the mornings, the Top of the World served a daily breakfast and lunch buffet.  On Sundays, a brunch buffet was served.

As the resort moved into the 80’s, the club became more of a lounge and less of a supper club.  Areas to watch the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom were added.  The Top of the World Lounge closed in 1993 and reopened in 1995 as California Grill.

For more Walt Disney World deluxe resort reviews,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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13 thoughts on “Disney’s Contemporary – A Classic Resort”

  1. This is a resort that I never really had a desire to stay at until lately. I think it would be kinda neat to have a room right in the main building and walk out and see the monorail passing through.

  2. I wish you could walk to the MK from the other monorail resorts because I’d do it each and every time. There’s nothing easier than a short stroll. If you’re waiting and standing a bus stop, your feet will hurt just as much and it will take longer. I LOVE the Contemporary for this reason…and because of the California Grill!

  3. There is nothing better than walking back to your room from the Magic Kingdom as you seen the large number of guests waiting for the monorail or buses to return after a long day in the parks!

  4. This is probably my favorite deluxe resort. Walking to Magic Kingdom is just so convenient. Personally, I prefer the rooms in the garden wing as they seem to be quieter than the main building, but it really doesn’t matter. The convenience just can’t be beat!

  5. Classic indeed! Unlike the transformation many other resorts have seen, for me, Disney’s Contemporary Resort feels just like stepping back into 1972. As mentioned, the BEST reason to stay here is the proximity to the Magic Kingdom. The rooms are large(r) and neatly appointed. We have twice had difficulty with the noise level in the Tower, but it’s hard to complain when you’re in Walt Disney World!

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