Thanks to a very generous DIS Unplugged listener who wasn’t able to use her Disney Resort reservation due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, I was given the opportunity to stay in a two-bedroom villa at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower. I was able to bring not only my husband and my daughter, but my daughter brought a friend as well! Thanks so much, Julie! We had plenty of space and with three full bathrooms, we could all have our own private space to get ready each morning. Although this beautiful accommodation was gifted to me, I’ll be sharing my honest thoughts about how my stay was.
For those who aren’t aware, Bay Lake Tower is the Disney Vacation Club part of Disney’s Contemporary Resort and it opened back in 2009. It’s a completely separate building with its own dedicated lobby and pool area. It is also home to the Top of the World Lounge which can only be used by DVC Members and their guests. It’s important to note that you do not need to be a Disney Vacation Club Member to stay at this gorgeous location that's just steps away from the Magic Kingdom.
While Bay Lake Tower does not have a quick service or table service dining location in its building, all of the amenities nearby at the main Contemporary building have everything you could ever want or need and as a BLT guest, they're all yours. As you can see, the two buildings are very close together and just a quick walk away.
The sky bridge between the two is easy to get to from any room in Bay Lake Tower. When you walk across, you wind up on the level of the Contemporary where the majority of the restaurants and shops are located with the exception of California Grill which is on the top floor of the Resort. You have Chef Mickey’s which is an all-you-care-to-enjoy family-style meal, The Wave... of American Flavors – one of our all-time favorites, and the Contempo Café which is a quick service location. There is also an espresso bar downstairs on the lobby level.
There are two shops adjacent to each other in that main atrium as well – BVG and the Fantasia Shop – along with a small marketplace tucked back in the corner under the monorail that sells grocery-type items that you might need in your kitchen in case you forgot anything.
If you are going to Magic Kingdom, you can walk there at a very leisurely pace and arrive within 15 minutes at the very most. If you are going to any of the other theme parks or Disney Springs, it’s very fast and easy to get to the bus stop or to hop on the monorail.
As we were planning this vacation, I decided that I was going to do a little bit of cooking while we were there in order to take advantage of the fully-equipped kitchen and to save some of the vacation budget for special snacks instead of dining out. Side note: grab a couple of packets of salt and pepper while you're visiting a quick service location should you need it for your recipe!
At home, we use a meal kit service two nights per week and each one typically requires about an hour at the very most to prepare. I thought it might be perfect to use those meals while we were down at Disney, especially since not all of the restaurants that are open offer the ability to dine outdoors. Plus, the meal kits are packaged really well and travel quite nicely. Since I am not feeling too comfortable eating indoors with people other than my immediate family just yet, I was excited about this! I am sure some of you probably think I’m crazy for being excited to cook on vacation but I think it is a lot of fun because to me, it is different from cooking at home and when things are different they almost feel new and are definitely more exciting - at least they are to me. I feel the same way about doing laundry on vacation.
I will say that if you choose to do some cooking and/or baking while at Disney, be sure that you watch the oven a little closer than you do at home because all ovens are different. I found that using an oven I wasn't used to required a bit more monitoring.
A two-bedroom villa was a much bigger accommodation than my little family of four is used to, but I was so excited about having all the extra room. Let me tell you, it was absolutely incredible to have all of this space. We could all gather in the living room to watch movies while dinner was in the oven; it was just like home. I'm actually not sure if all four of us will be able to stay in a studio ever again!
Having two Queen beds in the second bedroom was fantastic as my daughter and her friend could each have a bed without someone having to choose the sleeper sofa. This room has a sleeper chair (twin size) and a sleeper sofa (double) in the living room as well, which we didn't use this time.
One of my most favorite parts about this beautiful villa was having a third, full bathroom. This was so handy and came to the rescue on more than one occasion during our trip. There wasn't a lot of counter space in this bathroom, but something about that corner sink really floats my boat; it was perfect.
The master bedroom was beautiful and spacious, too. I loved that there was a desk and chair in the corner as that was where I spent the majority of my time when we were in our room. I found myself missing the Electrical Water Pageant this time as I would've had the most perfect view of it from that spot had it been running. I'm hoping it will return soon!
Not only do you have a gorgeous soaking tub in the master bath, but the walk-in shower also has a full bench plus two shower heads!
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Bay Lake Tower – it was such a treat to be so close to the Magic Kingdom in a villa that felt just like home. If you're interested in learning more about other Disney Vacation Club villas, visit our sister site – DVC Fan.
On the other hand, if you're not a DVC Member and would like to receive a no-obligation quote to stay in this type of accommodation, one of the travel agents at Dreams Unlimited Travel would love to help you.
Lastly, below you'll find a video tour that I made of the two-bedroom villa I stayed in. Before you watch, please note that the video was unfortunately filmed in portrait mode. I know. I apologize in advance. If you can get past the black bars on either side, please feel free to give it a watch!
Please let me know in the comments if staying in a larger accommodation such as this one would make you feel more comfortable visiting the Walt Disney World Resort during the pandemic. It made a huge difference for me to the point where we had a studio reserved for a couple of nights last week and I upgraded to a two-bedroom villa during our drive down – I'll tell you about that stay in another article.