I recently had the opportunity to stay at the Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers next to Disney’s Contemporary Hotel in Orlando Florida for the third time. The first two stays were very good and I had looked forward to another stay. We had a two-bedroom, three-bathroom suite on the second floor overlooking the Boat Nook Marina and pseudo-fire pit.
The room was bright and decorated with Disney themed items – modern Mickey Mouse artwork and abstract paintings of the Contemporary Hotel and monorail. Upon closer inspection the room began to show signs of wear and tear. In the living rooms/kitchen/dining room area there was a full-sized refrigerator, oven and microwave, a long table with bench and chairs, a couch and two chairs (one of which folded out into a single-sized bed.) and large, flat screen TV. The couches were stained and one of the chairs had a hole in it. The rug was torn and very worn, the island in the kitchen had chips and peeling wood on the sides. The extra linens and pillows for the fold-out bed smelled very musty.
There were three bathrooms. One large master bathroom with a bathtub and stand-alone shower. Large sliding doors separated the bathtub from the bedroom so that you could open them and see the TV or view from the windows while in the bath. The toilet was enclosed by another door ensuring privacy if the sliding doors were open. The bathroom was filled with H2B Bath Amenities that featured pictures of Tinkerbell and Mickey Mouse. The second bathroom was in the main living area and had a bathtub/shower combination, toilet and sink with almost no counter space. The tub had rust stains and some broken tiles. The third bathroom was in the second bedroom. It had a large counter with sink and separate enclosed toilet and bathtub/shower combo.
The main grounds and common areas are all well-kept as is the pool area. There is a large pool with slides, splash park for children and hot-tub. There is a pool “bar” that serves drinks and snacks. The pool was crowded, but there were still deck chairs available around 4pm when we arrived. Disney team members run pool games that kids can participate in – there was a game of Disney bingo going on while we where there.
On the fifth floor there is a walkway from the Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers buildings to Disney’s Contemporary Hotel. The walkway is covered, but not enclosed. It’s a great and easy way to get to the hotel from the towers (however, in pouring rain you can get a little wet.) Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers guests can take advantage of all the amenities at Disney’s Contemporary Hotel. There are several shops, an arcade, several restaurants and outdoor activities including another pool.
The number one reason to stay at the Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers is the location. It’s the absolute closest hotel to the Magic Kingdom and only about a 5-7 minute walk to the front gates. In addition, the monorail stops inside Disney’s Contemporary Hotel providing direct access to The Magic Kingdom, the transportation center, Disney’s Polynesian Hotel and Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel as well as Epcot Center via the transportation center (you must switch monorails there.)
Nothing at Disney is inexpensive, however you can save some money by making some meals in your kitchen. It was very easy and convenient for us to bring breakfast items and eat before leaving for the parks. We also had snacks and drinks that we stored. We ate lunch and dinner at the parks so the kitchen didn’t get that much use. You can also order room service to your suite. One negative was that the used room service trays seemed to sit in the hallways for days before being removed. Someone down the hall from us put a tray outside their suite on Monday night and it was still there on Wednesday morning.
As a Disney Vacation Club member you can use your points at any of the Disney Vacation Club properties or hotels. Even though the Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers is my “home” property, we can stay anywhere. Given the condition of the rooms and how quickly they seem to be deteriarating (the Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers opened in August of 2009) we may decide to try out other Walt Disney World Vacation Club properties in the future. It’s also worth noting that we did ask the staff about the condition of the rooms and they said that the management was considering making some refurbishments but that nothing had been confirmed.
What is your favorite Disney Vacation Club resort?