Bay Lake Tower is a modern resort that sits adjacent to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. In the overall scheme of things, Bay Lake Tower is a Disney Vacation Club Resort. Like most vacation clubs, members use points to book stays here. However, you don’t have to be a Disney Vacation Club member to reserve a room at any DVC resorts.
While there are many benefits to staying at Bay Lake Tower, there’s one huge factor. And that’s being within walking distance to Magic Kingdom park. It’s a very reasonable 10-minute walk out of the lobby to the theme park entrance.
This Bay Lake Tower review will examine the deluxe studio villa guest rooms and what a vacation at this DVC resort entails. We’ll also look at those stunning views from the Skyway bridge connecting Bay Lake Tower and Disney’s Contemporary.
Bay Lake Tower Review
When I’m at Bay Lake Tower, I feel like I’m in Florida. The DVC resort has a very specific look with its modern architecture. However, the grounds around the property offer a variety of palm trees and southern shrubs. The unconventional mix of landscaping really works for the property.
In fact, it’s pleasant in a unique and unexpected way. This view below is the backyard of the resort that it shares with Disney’s Contemporary Resort. When you stay at either, you’ll have access to both resort’s amenities.
Speaking of both, you can easily walk over to the Contemporary by taking the bridge on the fourth floor. The SkyWay bridge is impressive with its curvy details.
You’ll often find guests out on the bridge taking in the views throughout the day. And it’s an excellent place to observe Magic Kingdom fireworks in the evening when they are available.
Here’s a view of the monorail coming by as I face Magic Kingdom from the bridge.
When the monorail passes, Cinderella Castle comes in to view. You can even see Space Mountain. At night it lights up and is even more special.
As you can probably tell, the views alone make a stay at Bay Lake Tower enjoyable. My only issue is I’m not so crazy about some of the rooms.
Bay Lake Tower Deluxe Studio Villa
Unfortunately, the deluxe studio villa was not what I expected. Having stayed in the Contemporary’s garden wing a year prior, I anticipated our room here at Bay Lake Tower to be equally satisfying.
Or at least comparable. Our garden wing room had been spacious, and we felt like there was plenty of room to spread out.
We had also stayed in a studio at the Grand Floridian Villas earlier in the month. That room had also been sizable and fell into the same room category as this one.
Unfortunately, our hotel room at Bay Lake Tower felt like a cracker box. It was so tiny that I had a difficult time getting decent wide-angle photos.
As you can probably tell the sofa bed and queen bed both sit extremely close to each other. And while the room, in all actuality, probably isn’t any smaller than any other studio villa, it felt that way.
That’s probably due to what I feel is a poor layout. Some of you might prefer this floor plan, but it didn’t work for our party of two.
The room has a standard flat screen television with a dresser space underneath.
In the corner, there was a table and chairs for two. But the tiny size of the living space doesn’t offer a lot of extra room to store the sofa cushions while the queen sleeper sofa is in use.
And the actual bathroom gets even smaller.
Over at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, we had a large vanity separate from the water closet. However, at Bay Lake, we find this one petite sink with hardly any counter space.
The guest bath has a tub with shower combination. At least that’s standard.
And here we find what is causing the space issues within the room. This large area, reminiscent of a walk-in closet. It takes up all the extra living and bath areas.
The kitchenette was in the middle of the room, and I found it functionally awkward. The left-hand side of the galley has an additional vanity area. Personally, I don’t care to do my makeup in the kitchen.
And while this is a nice space, it could have easily been added to the foyer. At least that’s how it is at all of the other Disney Vacation Resorts.
You’ll find all the usual suspects that come with a studio villa like a coffee maker, toaster, microwave, and mini-refrigerator.
Here’s a look inside the fridge. These are a tad bit larger than what you will find in a standard resort room.
A microwave is always nice to have while staying in a hotel. These do not come in standard Disney hotel rooms.
A drawer holds all of the things you need to make coffee, open a can, plastic ware, and other accompaniments.
Under normal circumstances, regular plates and bowls are available. But right now, all of the dinnerware is individually wrapped to help eliminate shared touched surfaces.
Lastly, we look at the balcony, which is a great space, even though we just had a standard view. There are actually three different room views at Bay Lake Tower:
- Theme Park View
- Bay Lake View
- Standard View
A standard view means you’ll have a view of the parking lot or an obstructed view.
However, I don’t think there’s anything too standard about a view of Space Mountain. From my understanding, all of the rooms at Bay Lake Tower offer a balcony. And had this stay been during a time where nightly fireworks were a thing, we could have sat here and enjoyed them from the privacy of our room.
Next time I stay here, though, I’ll probably look into reserving a Bay Lake view. Every time I looked out to this view from the hallways or the bridge, I remember wishing it had been our room.
For most, the rooms at Bay Lake Tower won’t be a deal-breaker. But for a family of four, the actual living space might “feel” similar to a value resort than the deluxe resort it actually is. So make sure you take these things into account when planning a stay here.
Now let’s take a look at the things I love about the resort. If you have read any of my reviews before, you already know I like to be objective. When I share with you things I don’t care for, I try to carefully observe how things work for us. Then consider them and think about how they would work for a variety of different groups.
I’ve also lived long enough to know “to each their own.” What I like, you might not, and that’s okay. So don’t take anything I say here personally. This is just how I see the world through my own eyes. Well, Disney World.
Back to Bay Lake Tower, these hallways are fun and fantastic. The room numbers are displayed on these long light fixtures that highlight the numbers. There are plenty of Mickey shapes on that carpet too!
And the elevator foyers are absolutely gorgeous. Here’s a secret, if you have a water view, you can walk over here at night to watch the fireworks in an air-conditioned space. (When fireworks are available.)
And the simple lobby of the resort is modern with plenty of palms.
Here’s a view of the backside of Bay Lake Tower from the swimming pool area.
Speaking of pools, guests staying at Bay Lake Tower can use the Bay Cove Pool or the feature pool and quiet pool at the Contemporary.
Even the pool has a modern vibe, and you might notice peaceful Bay Lake in the distance. It’s so hard for me to explain how extraordinary I find this space behind the two resorts.
If you think about it, the Magic Kingdom, with all of its constant busyness, is right there on the other side of the resort. But tucked behind Bay Lake Tower is this sanctuary-like retreat.
When I’m fortunate enough to spend time here, I’m always baffled at how private and relaxing this area can be. Besides a stay at Disney’s Beach Club (review here), nothing tops a stay here for me when it comes to seeking relaxation.
All of the Disney deluxe resorts have a water slide feature at their pools.
Bay Lake Cove pool also has a zero-entry area on one side of the pool.
There’s a kiddie slide for those not quite big enough to take on the larger one.
Even better, there’s a splash pad area. Parents can lounge, kids can splash.
Or moms you can leave dad with the children and hit the hot tub.
You can spend the entire day out here if you like. Even food is nearby at the Cove Bar serving a variety of beverages, snacks, and meals.
Here’s a look at the available menu items on my last visit.
Just outside the pool area you’ll find a large semi-shaded area offering even more recreation. Below is a look at the shuffle board and corn hole games.
Bay Lake Tower also has this contained bamboo garden with several nice places to sit.
Here’s the pathway over to the Contemporary from the back of the resort.
This pathway along the lake also has a marked jogging trail that wraps around both of the resorts.
It’s so pretty here. Make sure to take that resort day on your vacation.
Relaxing is what you are supposed to do on holiday!
The Contemporary offers an observation deck with a few seats on the opposite side of the bridge. You can walk on over and catch the monorail, eat at any restaurant, or do a little shopping and sightseeing. I have a full resort review of the Contemporary if you would like to learn more.
As far as dining options go, the Contemporary has plenty. Not only that, you can take the monorail to the Polynesian or Grand Floridian Resort for quick access to more dining options.
And don’t forget when you stay at Bay Lake Tower you have the following transportation options:
- Walk to Magic Kingdom
- Resort Monorail Service and Magic Kingdom
- Water Craft to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Ft Wilderness (when operating)
- Buses to other theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs
When available you can also take the resort monorail loop around to the Transportation and Ticket Center. There you can catch the Epcot monorail.
Final Thoughts on Bay Lake Tower
Thanks for joining in today on this Bay Lake Tower review. I hope that it answered any questions or help resolved any concerns you might have about staying here. Make sure to check with a travel agent when making reservations to secure the resort and room type that works best for your group.
Personally, I use Firefly Travels. They will be happy to provide you with planning information and rates here for your Walt Disney World Resort vacation.
If you are considering a stay at a Disney Resort you might want to also consider a few other favorites:
- Disney’s Yacht Club Review
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
- Disney’s Riviera Resort Review
- Coronado Springs Resort
You might also enjoy these Disney value resort reviews:
Lastly, you can view the full list of Disney Resort reviews here.
Will I stay at Bay Lake Tower again? If and when I do, I will probably elect to reserve either a larger room or choose a room over on the Contemporary side of the resort.
I’ve got quite a few values and moderate resorts I need to get to over the next year. But, rest assured, the Contemporary won’t be far from my mind.
And other than the deluxe studio, I really do like Bay Lake Tower.