Built as one of the two original hotels on property when Walt Disney World opened in 1971, the Disney Contemporary Resort completed a renovation in 2009. While the A-frame building now may look a bit dated, the interior is sleek and modern.
The theme may be less kid-friendly than that of some of the newer Disney hotels (like Disney’s Art of Animation), but with its location adjacent to the Magic Kingdom, and a monorail stop right in the center of the hotel, it’s a great hotel option for families.
If you are considering at stay at the Disney Contemporary Resort, here’s an overview of what to expect.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing and/or clicking on some of the links in this post may result in a commission paid to us. All opinions are our own. I stayed at the Contemporary as part of Disney Social Media Moms (at a discount), and for one night as part of a Disney Mom Panel event (at no cost).
Review of the Disney Contemporary Resort
Location of Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Of all of the Disney resort hotels, the Disney Contemporary Resort is my absolute favorite location. It’s within easy walking distance of the Magic Kingdom park, through a path that leads you right to the front entrance of the park. As a result, it’s one of the hotels within the Magic Kingdom Resort area. The monorail is also an option to get to the Magic Kingdom if you don’t want to walk.
If you’ve got young kids, and plan to spend lots of time at the Magic Kingdom, it’s the perfect spot. Those with strollers will probably prefer the walk rather than worrying about getting the stroller on Disney transportation.
Getting to Epcot is fairly easy as well – just transfer monorails at the Ticket and Transportation Center. However, if your plans include Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom theme parks, you’ll need to take a resort bus. For families who plan to spend much of their time enjoying the Magic Kingdom attractions, you’ll love staying at the Contemporary.
The monorail runs right through the A frame of the Contemporary Tower, and guests merely have to ascend to the fourth floor of the resort to access it. You can also use the monorail to get to the Polynesian Resort or to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. There’s also a parking lot at the Contemporary, but you will have to pay a fee to park there.
Rooms at Disney Contemporary Resort
The rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are among the largest on property. Most guests prefer to stay in the Contemporary Tower, which is the iconic A-frame main building. However, there are also some rooms in the Garden Wing, which is located outside of the main building. While I would have expected the Tower rooms to be loud given the magnitude of the lobby and the proximity of the monorail, they are actually very quiet.
A variety of different guest room types are offered:
Within the garden wing, you’ll find standard rooms, deluxe rooms, garden view rooms, one bedroom suites, and hospitality suites. Views from these rooms include the tower, gardens, pools, Bay Lake, and the parking lot. It’s a short walk from the garden wing to the tower.
In the Contemporary Tower, rooms include Bay Lake view, theme park view, and club level. While the views (especially the theme park view), can be absolutely gorgeous, you may consider how much time you’ll actually spend in the room. With all of the theme parks, plus the resort amenities, we usually only use the room to get ready and to sleep. In that case, you may want to save on the room view and spend your extra vacation money on food and souvenirs.
Amenities within the rooms include free WiFi, air conditioning, H2O toiletries, a refrigerator, and a coffee maker. Many rooms in some of the Disney deluxe resorts offer a sofa bed in the room, and some of the rooms in the Contemporary do have this feature. With a boy and a girl, it’s always nice for us to have the option for separate beds for the kids.
Amenities at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
In addition to the fantastic location, Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers many great amenities for families. These include a game room, several great gift shops, monorail access, and a fitness center. There’s also a business center within the adjacent convention center and an ATM. A concierge in the lobby can help with park tickets, dining reservations, or anything else that you may need during your stay.
Guests at the Contemporary may enjoy watching the Electric Water Pageant, a nighttime light show that takes place on the Seven Seas Lagoon. There are several viewing areas at Walt Disney World, including one at the Contemporary. You can also watching the Happily Ever After fireworks show from this viewing location.
There’s also a large feature pool at the resort, which includes a water slide, and two hot tubs. Cabanas are available to rent for an additional cost. There’s also a water playground area, as well as a separate smaller pool. A poolside bar is open seasonally offering some food and beverage options.
Want to enjoy other outdoor activities while at the resort? The Disney Contemporary Resort also has a basketball court, beach volleyball, motorized boat rentals, and catch and release fishing. An additional fee may apply for some of these activities.
Of course, a stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort includes all of the benefits of staying on property at Walt Disney World. These include access to Disney’s Magical Express, MagicBands, Early Magic Hours, earlier booking for FastPasses, package delivery from the theme park shops to your resort, and more.
Restaurants at Disney Contemporary Resort
While there are lots of restaurants at the Magic Kingdom, there are also fantastic restaurants at the Contemporary. In fact, we often leave the Magic Kingdom for dinner to walk over to the Contemporary to eat. There are lots of great options. These include:
Contempo Cafe: This quick service restaurant is one of my favorite resort quick service spots on property. It’s small but they have some great food, including delicious flatbreads. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I wouldn’t necessarily travel to the Contemporary specifically for the Contempo, but it’s a good option if you are staying there.
Chef Mickey: This classic Disney character meal is offered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s one of our favorite character meals, because it features the classic Disney characters and is such a lively time. Chef Mickey offers a buffet, so everyone in your party is likely to find something they want to eat.
It’s incredibly popular, so this is one that you’ll definitely want to book right when your dining reservation window opens.
The Wave…. Of American Flavors: I always think of the Wave as a bit of a hidden gem. It’s often overshadowed by the California Grill, but it’s a great choice for a healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The food is delicious, and there are lots of good menu options.
There’s also the Wave Lounge, an adjacent bar that is perfect for a quick drink before dinner, or if you have a short wait before your dining reservation. We like to make an early dinner reservation at the Wave on our Magic Kingdom day. We leave the park for a few hours, and then head back for the evening shows.
California Grill: Arguably one of the most popular upscale Disney restaurant, the California Grill offers award winning cuisine with gorgeous views. Located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Tower, this restaurant offers sushi and other gourmet entrees.
There’s also a lounge, where you can wait for your reservation. As a signature restaurant, there’s a dress code, so you’ll want to check that before departing on your vacation so you pack appropriately. You’ll need to check in on the 2nd floor of the hotel, and then you’ll be led to an elevator to the restaurant.
Other food/drink options at the Contemporary Resort include a lobby coffee bar as well as the Outer Rim lounge and room service.
To learn more about Disney’s Contemporary Resort, visit the Disney website.
You can also find some of the best hotels for a Walt Disney World vacation on this post.