Earlier this month we discovered the secret of last-minute cancellations at DVC resorts, and after our spontaneous New Years Eve trip to the Polynesian, I kept checking availability in case something new popped up.
And something did: Bay Lake Tower, Deluxe Studio, Lake View, the last Friday of winter break, only 19 points!
This was our first time at Bay Lake Tower, and it’s different from most other Disney Vacation Club resorts. The lobby is tiny, there are no restaurants or markets, and the room was definitely the smallest studio we’ve seen. But these are not necessarily bad things, because… Location Location Location:
Bay Lake Tower is connected via skybridge to the main tower of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, perhaps the most iconic of all Disney hotels. Taking the elevator from our room down to the 5th floor, we could walk across the bridge and into the main lobby of the Contemporary, a cavernous area containing quick service and buffet restaurants, two huge Disney shops, a DVC-style market, a kid’s club, and of course, the famous monorail.
All of this was so close it felt like we were part of the same resort, and that’s really what Bay Lake Tower is: a DVC extension of the Contemporary. While we had to walk a hundred steps for food or shopping, Bay Lake has enough activities to rival a small cruise ship. It didn’t take long before we were comparing a 3-night Disney cruise with the idea of 3-nights at this resort.
The pool was nice, though not large, and there were two slides: the usual tall twisting slide for all ages, and a short kid-sized slide perfect for little ones in life vests. Between the pool and the building itself, there is a large courtyard filled with outdoor games.
In addition to the usual foosball table, corn hole, and life-size connect-4, there was a pool table, ping-pong table, a giant chess set, a putting green, a bocce ball court, and two shuffleboard courts. All of these are in a beautiful area surrounded by the circular tower and looking east out over Bay Lake.
The community hall was great, convenient to all the outdoor games (we borrowed putters for the boys) and filled with all the fun activities usually found at DVC resorts. Tons of board games, toys, building blocks, tables for coloring (with paper set out and cups of crayons, markers and colored pencils), multiple video game stations and a big tv playing the Disney Channel.
Those are all free, but they offer some paid crafts as well. Jamie spent time painting with the boys, and each took home a wooden model they (mostly) painted themselves. Henrik had a small bird house ($4), and Kasper brought home a treasure chest ($5).
After dinner in the main tower, we took advantage of another unique feature of this resort: walking to the Magic Kingdom! The fireworks were due to start any minute, so we walked as fast as possible to the main entrance, through security, and on to Main Street to watch the show over the castle.
This was another first, watching the fireworks from inside the park, and as soon as they finished the crowds were pushing for the exit. But the park was still open for a few hours, so we swam against the current and took in a couple rides, enjoying the late night atmosphere.
It was a late night for the boys, but they had a blast. I’m eager to go back sometime when they are a bit older, because nighttime photography in the Magic Kingdom is a lot of fun! I especially love all the colors and lights in Tomorrowland.
With no real food options in Bay Lake Tower, I got up early to retrieve breakfast from the quick service dining across the bridge. Their vegan Mickey waffles were outstanding, and the boys enjoyed the regular pancakes. It was a cozy breakfast in our room, leaving the balcony door open to savor the cool morning air.
Most of our resort activities (the golf, the painting) took place that morning, but after checkout time we took the monorail to EPCOT. This wasn’t as nice as I anticipated, mostly due to the time it takes to ride two monorails and the unexpected crowds at EPCOT. Next time we’ll relax in the room a bit longer and then enjoy our afternoon at the resort.
I have plenty of video from this trip to work on (though I need to work on my Polynesian video first!) so expect an update sometime soon with a better look at our room and everything we did. Bay Lake Tower is definitely in our list of favorite resorts, and I look forward to checking out their 1 and 2-bedroom villas in the future!