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Last February we returned to Disney World for another vacation. We split our week between the Disney Parks and a 3 Night Cruise on the Disney Dream. The previous year was our first experience staying at a Walt Disney World Resort. We stayed at Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani Village.
Our stay at Bay Lake Tower was at a substantial savings versus rack rate. We once again rented DVC points to drastically lower the cost of our stay. This qualified us to be considered “guests of a DVC member” which gave us a huge perk. Bay Lake Tower has an exclusive lounge and observation deck on the 16th (top) floor that is exclusive ONLY to Disney Vacation Club members and their guests (more on that later).
We were stuck in what seems like inevitable traffic on the highway leading into Disney on a Saturday in February when our text alert arrived – our room was ready! This early check-in option was a great pick-me-up for these road-weary travelers. We finally made it to the Disney Park property and followed the signs to the resort. Bay Lake Tower sits right next to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. You follow the signs towards Magic Kingdom and Bay Lake Tower is right in between Contemporary and Magic Kingdom.
Since we received the online check-in text and our room was ready for us upon arrival, we simply checked in with the cast member at the hotel entrance. A bellhop loaded up our luggage and Bob parked the car. When I completed the online check-in process prior to leaving home, I had requested a room close to the elevator and on an upper floor. Both requests were granted and we were on the 16th floor just a few doors down from the elevator.
The lobby of BLT is actually pretty non-Disney in my opinion. It’s very modern and clean looking and aside from a couple subtle Mickey-themed pieces of art, etc, the Disney theme is fairly subdued (especially when comparing it to some of the other resorts).
Off of the lobby you will find a laundry room where you can do you laundry for FREE (we always take advantage of this), a community room where various art and other activities take place, bathrooms, etc.
We stayed in room 8637 in a Lake View Deluxe Studio Villa.
Our room was on the 16th floor where (we overheard from other guests, was mostly made up of Grand Villas). We had to scan our Magic Bands to gain access to this floor. The room was a fantastic location for us – it was only steps away from the elevator and the observation deck/Top of the World Lounge. To get to the Contemporary (hotel or monorail station) you simply walked to the elevator and took it to the 5th floor. The elevator doors practically opened to the walkway between BLT and Contemporary. It was less than a 5 minute walk from our hotel room to the monorail.
Our deluxe studio villa at BLT was a bit smaller than the same room type at AK. The bathroom was the most notably smaller. Overall though, for our family of 4, we felt like we had enough room to move around.
Here is the view when you first walk in the door. Bathroom and kitchenette are in the 2 doors on the right.
The kitchen had a starter supply of paper plates and bowls, as well as a few other paper products.
The bathroom had a starter supply of standard resort amenities including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and bar soap.
Walk a little further and you’re in the main living space of the room. We had a pull-out couch in addition to the bed. The balcony looked out onto the pool and the lake. The lake is the back access to 7 Seas Lagoon.
This room is not a fireworks view room, but as you can see, the lake is a beautiful backdrop.
Some of the resort amenities and perks that we took advantage of….
You can walk from Bay Lake Tower to Magic Kingdom.
Let’s just start with what WE consider the biggest perk to staying at Bay Lake Tower. Located right inside the parking lot of BLT is a walking path to Magic Kingdom. In fact, we were able to walk to the front gates of Magic Kingdom from our room on the 16th floor in about 10 minutes. It took us longer to take the MONORAIL to the front gates from our room! Plus, remember our awesome experience with Kingdom Strollers? We rented a double stroller and loaded up the kiddos in the hotel room. They stayed safe and sound right on into the park.
The same amazingness happened on the walk back to the hotel. For example, the night that we went to the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party. Landon was sound asleep and Lily was on the brink of exhaustion. We simply loaded them up in the park and both were snoring away as we rolled them right into our hotel room. (IF THAT ISN’T DISNEY MAGIC, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS!)
Bay Lake Tower is a monorail resort.
This means you can walk from your hotel room right to a monorail station. Your station is at the Contemporary, a very short walk from BLT. This makes getting to other monorail resorts a snap. We took the monorail to the Polynesian for the Spirit of Aloha dinner show and to the Grand Floridian for dinner at 1900 Park Fare.
It is also very easy to get on the monorail at Contemporary and take it to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Hop off the resort monorail and get on the other monorail to get to Epcot Center. We did this several times, including to get to the Princess Meal at Akershus. Don’t forget – you can push that stroller right onto the monorail as well. That means the kids can stay put in the stroller from your hotel room to Epcot Center!
It’s also worth mentioning, the view of the sunset from the elevator lobby in Bay Lake Tower is breathtaking!
You can watch Magic Kingdom fireworks from the 16th floor of Bay Lake Tower.
Again, this applies to DVC members and their guests only. You can enjoy food and drink as well as sweeping views of 7 Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom from Top of the World Lounge. Outside of the lounge is an large observation area. Music from the nightly fireworks show at Magic Kingdom is piped in and we enjoyed the show several nights this way!
Bay Lake Tower has a pool area (with a slide and a splash zone).
We made it in the pool a couple of times. It was nice and big with a zero entry side. From time to time there were cast members out at the pool organizing games and contests for the kids who were swimming.
There are several food options at Bay Lake Tower.
There is no restaurant in BLT (except for Top of the World Lounge) but you can order room service. We did this one night for dinner and everything tasted very good. Lily was ecstatic with her “rainbow bread” grilled cheese sandwich.
Of course, keep in mind you are just minutes away from Contemporary and that hotel has a bunch of dining options. Our 2 favorites? California Grill (seriously pricey but seriously amazing) and Chef Mickey’s which is one of our very favorite character meals to go to!
Would we stay at Bay Lake Tower again?
Very (very!) emphatically, YES. The hotel and its amenities were very nice, but the absolute best perk for OUR family was the ability to walk from BLT to Magic Kingdom. MK is our favorite park and the park where we spend the majority of our time each trip. To cut out all of the driving/busing/monorailing from a resort and/or the Transportation and Ticket Center saved us so much time, hassle and aggravation. The ability to watch the fireworks show from our hotel was so cool, and came in handy on more than one night when Landon went to sleep but Lily and I were still awake and were able to catch the show.
One of my favorite vacation memories of all time is the last show I watched with her on the observation deck. I held her up to watch the show and she sang along to the “Wishes” song. It was perfect. <3
I would love to hear about your experiences with Disney Resorts. Where have you stayed and why would/wouldn’t you stay there again?
Be sure to check out the other DISNEY POSTS I have written!