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Bay Lake Tower

Bay Lake Tower

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Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort (commonly referred to as Bay Lake Tower), is a Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club is a vacation timeshare division owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. It allows buying real estate interest in a DVC resort. Disney Vacation Club's President is Claire Bilby....

 resort located at the Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort , is the world's most-visited entertaimental resort. Located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida ; approximately southwest of Orlando, Florida, United States, the resort covers an area of and includes four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site themed resort hotels Walt...

. It officially opened on August 4, 2009.

Bay Lake Tower is located in the Magic Kingdom Resort Area, adjacent to Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Contemporary Resort is a deluxe resort at the Walt Disney World Resort. It opened on October 1, 1971...

, Bay Lake, and the Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom Park is one of four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort located near Orlando, Florida. The first park built at the resort, Magic Kingdom opened Oct. 1, 1971. Designed and built by WED Enterprises, the park's layout and attractions are similar to Disneyland in Anaheim, California...

. While Bay Lake Tower is designated as a standalone Disney Vacation Club resort hotel, it is considered an addition to Disney's Contemporary Resort and follows the same modern design. Bay Lake Tower occupies the land that was formerly occupied by a garden wing of the original A-frame
An A-frame is a basic structure designed to bear a load in a lightweight economical manner. The simplest form of an A-frame is two similarly sized beams, arranged in a 45-degree or greater angle, attached at the top...

 Contemporary Tower.


In November 2006, Disney filed plans for a project on the site of the Contemporary Resort's North Garden Wing and a construction fence was erected, encompassing the wing and part of its parking lot. On the North Wing site, Disney's Racquet Club was demolished by January 30, 2007. The North Wing itself was demolished between January 31 and April 6, 2007. Construction on the new building continued through 2007, without Disney ever officially announcing what was actually being built.

In February 2008, Disney gained approval from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is the agency of the government of Florida responsible for business and professional regulation.-Organization:*Professional Regulation...

 to begin selling Disney Vacation Club units at a property called "Kingdom Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort". Approval was granted for an initial sale of 75 units, with the Kingdom Tower ultimately containing 281 timeshare
A timeshare is a form of ownership or right to the use of a property, or the term used to describe such properties. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time in which they may use...

 units. The approval did not, however, state when Disney Vacation Club would actually begin selling units, only that they could do so. In preparation for the future sale, Disney incorporated a condominium association for the property on January 9, 2008 that would manage the units.

The project was finally unveiled on September 16, 2008 with its official name, Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Sales of ownership interests (timeshares) at the resort started September 28, 2008 to existing Disney Vacation Club members and on October 5, 2008 for new members.

Bay Lake Tower is the ninth Disney Vacation Club resort and the seventh located at the Walt Disney World Resort. It is the second Disney Vacation Club resort to be built in the Magic Kingdom Resort Area, following The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is a Disney Vacation Club Timeshare resort at the Walt Disney World Resort. Announced in 1998, the property first accepted guests in November 2000. The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge are adjacent to Disney's Wilderness Lodge, whose design is based on the...

 which opened in 2000.


Bay Lake Tower is a very popular destination at which Disney Vacation Club members may use their ownership interests to book vacations. Non-members may also stay in Bay Lake Tower villas on cash reservations made through the Walt Disney World central reservation office or web site, or via a travel agent. There is also limited availablility to trade into Bay Lake Tower using a RCI
RCI may refer to one of the following.*Radio Canada International*RCI, a Timeshare Exchange Company*Revival Centres International, an Australian pentecostal church*Royal Canadian Institute, an organization dedicated to the advancement of science....

 timeshare exchange.

The tower shares many design features with the original Contemporary Resort, tying it into the overall theme and feel of the resort, yet has a unique rounded-horseshoe shape that sets it apart. Because of the shape of the building, rooms have a wedge shape that give them a unique floor plan from other Disney Vacation Club villas. Also, rooms on the outside of the building have a different design from those on the inside. The differences are nominal, however. Rooms are decorated with a contemporary feel, using furniture, artwork, and accessories that all reflect the resort’s overall theme.

Bay Lake Tower features its own pool, water feature play area, pool bar, and bocce court in the courtyard at the center of the horseshoe. The pool has a spiral waterslide designed with neon light and glass brick accents to match the resort’s comtemporary feel. Guests staying in Bay Lake Tower are welcome to use the Contemporary Resort’s other pools and recreational facilities, but only those with a room in Bay Lake Tower may use its features. Access to the Bay Lake Tower pool area is key card controlled. The tower also has a Community Hall featuring games and family activities, and its own guest laundry room. Front desk, concierge, valet, bell services and transportation are shared services provided through the main resort. Bay Lake Tower does not have its own separate check-in area. It is connected to the main Contemporary Resort complex via a sky bridge. This affords guests in Bay Lake Tower villas the opportunity to use the resort's restaurants, amenities, and transportation.

Guest rooms

The units are the most expensive yet offered by Disney Vacation Club, presumably because of their proximity to the Magic Kingdom. Some of the resort's features include full-length windows with views into the Magic Kingdom or onto Bay Lake. Some bathrooms on the Magic Kingdom side include movable partitions to permit watching the park's fireworks displays from the bathtub. Toward the top of the tower, there are several two-story units that contain large windows. Like all Vacation Club resorts, the one-bedroom, two-bedroom and grand villa units contain full kitchens. The tower contains 295 Disney Vacation Club units consisting of 148 dedicated two-bedroom units, 133 lock-off two-bedroom units (which can be booked together as a two-bedroom unit, or booked separately as either a deluxe studio unit or a one-bedroom unit), and 14 three-bedroom Grand Villa units. There are no dedicated studios or dedicated one-bedroom units in Bay Lake Tower. Each villa is assigned to one of three booking categories: Magic Kingdom View, Bay Lake View, or Standard View; with the relative cost or number of required Disney Vacation Club points assigned accordingly. Although the Magic Kingdom can be seen from some standard and Bay Lake view rooms, the premium views of the park are given the Magic Kingdom view category. Standard view rooms tend to be lower-level rooms that overlook either the parking lot or a service area. The remainder of the tower is assigned the Bay Lake View category, with views primarily of either Bay Lake or the pool.


Similar to the California Grill atop the Contemporary Resort's main tower, Bay Lake Tower is capped with the Top of the World Lounge. The name pays homage to a former name of the California Grill. The lounge includes a viewing deck and also an indoor seating area with a full bar. A limited food menu is available. Only Disney Vacation Club members using their ownership interest to book their stay may access the lounge from 5 pm until midnight. A cast member in the lobby will verify a guest's Vacation Club identification before granting access to the lounge's elevator. All Bay Lake Tower guests may visit the viewing deck until 4 pm. The lounge features views of the Magic Kingdom theme park and Bay Lake, including its surrounding resorts. It is purported that on a clear day, the Florida city of Clermont
Clermont, Florida
Clermont is a city in Lake County, Florida, United States, west of Orlando. The population was 13,100 in 2008. The city is essentially residential in character and its economy is centered in retail trade, lodging, and food and beverage establishments, which are tourism oriented. The historic...

 is visible from Top of the World Lounge. During fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, the soundtrack is played both inside the lounge and on the outside observation deck.


The Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club is a vacation timeshare division owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. It allows buying real estate interest in a DVC resort. Disney Vacation Club's President is Claire Bilby....

 is a timeshare program, with Bay Lake Tower being one of the locations at which ownership interests are sold. The resort has not yet sold out, and is still being actively marketed by Disney Vacation Development, Incorporated
Disney Vacation Development, Incorporated
Disney Vacation Development, Incorporated, a fully owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company incorporated in Florida, owns and manages the Disney Vacation Club's operations....

. Contracts are also available via the secondary resale market. Ownership interests at Bay Lake Tower expire January 31, 2060.


While reviews for the hotel itself have been generally positive, the architecture of the building has been criticized by many. Due to its large scale, critics have called it a major overshadowing to the iconic A-frame tower. Others have called it "sadly conventional" and the disappointing last work of architect Charles Gwathmey
Charles Gwathmey
Charles Gwathmey was an American architect. He was a principal at Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, as well as one of the five architects identified as The New York Five in 1969...

, who coincidently died one day before Bay Lake Tower was to open to the public.

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