Posted at 1:02 pm by taryngirl, on December 17, 2020
We are DVC owners at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. When we were first deciding whether or not we wanted to buy in, this is where we toured. We love the location the most, which offers a quick walk to Magic Kingdom, and the monorail to Epcot. The views of Magic Kingdom and the lake are great!
Since there were only two of us, I booked a Deluxe Studio, Standard View. The Deluxe Studio offers spacious accommodations including a kitchenette with small fridge, microwave, toaster, sink and a balcony. It features one queen bed and a double size sleeper sofa.
For two people this Villa is perfect. It would also be fine for a family of 3 or 4. There are some other Villas that offer a split bath or 2 bathrooms which is better for a family of 4. Our room was clean, and everything was fine! I’d definitely stay here again.
We also checked out some of the shops on the Contemporary side. Everything was decorated for Christmas!
We absolutely love it here and would definitely stay again!
Posted at 8:08 pm by taryngirl, on November 23, 2020
An opportunity arose for me to do a quick trip to Florida to visit both Disney World and Universal Orlando, and I couldn’t resist! Several things fell into place…I had DVC points to use from a canceled trip in May, my Annual Pass was expiring on November 17th, and Universal Orlando offered me an amazing deal that I couldn’t pass up! Throw in the free flight I was able to get with my Southwest points, and that was just the cherry on top. I was excited to check out how things are running post-Covid since I have clients scheduled to travel within the next couple of months.
This post is going to deal with everything specific to Disney World and the protocols in place at the resorts, the parks and the restaurants, as far as my personal trip is concerned. My cousin Alex traveled with me.
We started off with a a 7:00 a.m. flight on Southwest from the Philadelphia Airport. We booked offsite airport parking at Smart Park. Starting there, the attendant at the booth was wearing a mask. The shuttle bus driver was wearing gloves and a mask. There were two other parties on the shuttle with us.
Once at the airport, we did the self-service check in. The workers behind the counters were wearing masks. All security workers were also wearing masks. They still are doing regular security. Shoes off, coats off, and everything goes on the belt through the scanner. Once we got to our gate, people were definitely social distancing and not sitting next to one another. There were constant announcements about mandatory mask wearing, and what types of masks were permitted. They did have some available if needed. Southwest is currently not utilizing the middle seats on their planes, unless there are family members that sit right next to each other. They are seating every row.
As always (pre-Covid I did these things!), I had my Clorox wipes to wipe down my seat, tray, etc., and my hand sanitizer. The only beverage available on the flight was water, and they had prepackaged snacks.
In summary, I felt super safe in the airport and on the flight! Everyone was being respectful, wearing masks and social distancing.
Once in Orlando, we were using Disney’s Magical Express transportation from the airport to our resort. This service has changed! They no longer send you the yellow tags in the mail to attach to your luggage. You are responsible for getting your own luggage from baggage claim and taking it with you to the Magical Express bus!They do not deliver the luggage to your room anymore! Since we flew on Southwest, we arrived on the A side. The Magical Express is located on the B side. This means that we had to go to baggage claim on the A side, then go back up and across the entire airport to the B side and downstairs to the Magical Express location. (They also are not doing airline check in at the resorts. So you also bring your luggage with you when leaving the resort and getting on the Magical Express.)
Here you can see the plexiglass up at the counters, as well as some signage.
The lanes are numbered and the cast member will tell you which lane to enter. There are signs all along the lanes with these social distance markers.
The cast member scanning our bands to enter the bus assigned us specific seat numbers. He had a map of the bus with a dry erase marker, and was marking off the seats he assigned. They are utilizing only every other row and are filling the bus from back to front. We were first in line so got the very last seats! (As a side not, there was a girl next to us who was assigned to another bus. She asked if she could sit near the front, and the cast member told her she could sit on a bench until the bus filled up and then could sit in the front. She didn’t like that answer and proceeded to the bus.)
The Magical Express delivered us to Bay Lake Tower with our luggage. The lobby is small and it was chaotic! This was mostly due to Bell Services and luggage. People who did not have a room ready or were checking out but not yet leaving the resort had to check their luggage with Bell Services. Our room was not ready (as indicated by the text we had received while at the airport). So our plan was to check our luggage with Bell Services and then head to Epcot. A note! The monorail to Epcot was not running at the time so we had to take a bus.
We waited for a bus and once it arrived, the bus driver assigned us seats using a seat number. He was wearing a mask.
There are dividers up between seat numbers.
Standing is not permitted so the handles were zip tied up.
None of our buses were ever even nearly full. I felt very safe on the Disney bus transportation!
Once we arrived at Epcot, signs were everywhere!
Everyone has to pass through a temperature screening.
They used handheld thermometers.
Everyone also has to pass through security which is very different! They no longer go through your bags. You walk through a metal detector with your bag on you.
These signs on the ground are EVERYWHERE! Spaced 6 feet apart! Every ride, every kiosk, every store check out, EVERYWHERE!
Up next are attraction queues. The above signs are all along the ground/floor. Also, they are not using every seat/row! This is Journey Into Imagination with Figment. They did only one row per car. This was the same for Pirates, Mine Train and Small World as well.
You know the fun area once you exit the Figment ride? It’s CLOSED! It was so quiet. Normally it’s chaotic with people everywhere. We found this to be a trend for every interactive attraction. (At the end of Spaceship Earth, all activities closed. Pretty much any interactive piece at any attraction is inaccessible.)
This is the queue for Living with the Land. Barriers are up between the rows of the queue.
On the boats, you can see the dividers up between seats. They also were not seating every row on this ride, but there was no line so they were spacing us out.
Here you can see Soarin’.
These signs are all around the popular photo taking areas. There are also cast members carrying handheld signs that say this same thing. They were approaching people who were removing masks for pictures.
Moving onto dining now…
This is Coral Reef Restaurant, which is a table service location. Everything is one way in, one way out. Every dining location, shopping location, etc. Doors are specifically marked ENTER or EXIT only. They have limited indoor seating and are not using every table. If you want a table service meal, it’s very important that you have a reservation! I saw them turning people away if they didn’t have a reservation.
Another very important note, all quick service locations are MOBILE ORDER ONLY! This includes resorts and parks. Even if you only want a muffin or an orange juice. It’s all on the My Disney Experience app, or you scan a bar code located at the location.
There is no grab and go section that is self-serve at the moment. Drinks are not self-serve either. Once you scan the QR code, it takes you right to the menu for the dining location. Here you choose your pick up time. You do not have to be AT the location to order. You can be in your room, somewhere around the resort, in a ride line, etc.
After that, the menu will pop up and you can scroll through and click on what you would like. You pay right through the app with either you credit card on file or you can add a different card.
Once you arrive at the location you can click that you are here and they will begin preparing your food. Just a note…we found that it took a good 10 minutes or longer for the food to be ready once we clicked we are here. So we began clicking it as we were walking on our way before we got there. Once the food is ready for pick up, the notification changes and it tells you what number table to go to to pick it up. They have multiple stations so people aren’t picking up at the same station at the same time. They are marked with big numbers on the floor.
After you pick up your food, if you ordered a drink, you move to a different station, and someone will get it for you. This is the Contempo Cafe drink station area:
The food is served in bags that are sealed, and packaging that is sealed. I removed my sticker before I remembered to take a picture!
Next up is the resorts. This was in our Villa at Bay Lake Tower.
You will notice that they are back to individual serving sizes of the toiletry items.
The remotes are packaged in plastic stating that they have been sanitized.
One last picture I took was at the monorail located inside the Contemporary Resort.
We did have our temperature screening and security done here on our way to the Magic Kingdom. This allowed us to bypass those things at the Magic Kingdom.
Overall, we felt very safe during our entire stay. There are hand sanitizer stations everywhere for use at your discretion. No one is spraying it on you. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone was complying with the mask mandate and social distancing. The only time you could remove your mask was if you were stationary off to the side eating or drinking. If a cast member saw someone walking and eating or drinking, they did remind them of the rule.
Capacity at the moment is maybe 1/4 of what it is normally. So there were so many less people. Many of the ride queues went way out onto the walkways. Adding to capacity will definitely affect this. What seems like a crowded area really isn’t, because the line is continuously moving. It will be interesting to see what happens once they expand the capacity!
From the Beach Club, we walked to the Epcot Skyliner Station. We wanted to take a ride and check it out, as we hadn’t gotten to take a ride yet. This station is located outside of the International Gateway, which is the back entrance to Epcot. Our plan was to ride it to Disney’s Riviera Resort so we could also check that out! That is Disney’s newest resort.
You can see the Skyliner routes in the maps below. These are not my pictures, but I love the satellite aerial view! For our route, we took it straight to Riviera Resort without having to get off in between.
Here you can see the Epcot Station.
(Here’s France in the background, and you can see where they are building the new Remy attraction.)
Once up in the Skyliner, you can really see some “behind the scenes!” This is the construction of the new Remy attraction in France.
Once we land at Riviera Resort, there are signs directing you where to go.
Walking through this area, there are two AMAZING mosaic walls!
The grounds are beautiful here! It’s a very quiet, less bustling atmosphere. You almost forget it’s a Disney Resort.
I thought I took more pictures of the inside, but I guess not! We walked into the lobby and checked out the store there. It came across as a little more upscale than a regular Deluxe level resort. Kind of like a mini Grand Floridian as far as “feel” goes.
If you have an extra half hour or so, check it out!
Posted at 6:04 pm by taryngirl, on February 11, 2020
On our arrival day, we only had dinner planned and no parks. Since the trip was planned well within 180 days, we had slim pickings for a dinner reservation! We didn’t want to use a park day, so were limited to resorts or Disney Springs.
Ale & Compass was available and since we were staying at the Boardwalk, it was very convenient. To get to the Yacht Club, you can either take a short walk, or take the boat. Either way, it’s super easy!
All of the Christmas decorations were up, and it was really beautiful at night!
We arrived and checked in at the podium and they informed us they were running about an hour behind. WE WERE STARVING! So this was not good news for us. But we stuck it out. We walked around the lobby and to the store.
A quick stop at the Market to check out the menu. This is the Yacht Club’s quick service option. Just a note the menu is super limited and there are limited tables to sit here to eat!
Some of the holiday items at the store:
They finally buzzed us and our waiter was apologetic about the wait. They had an extensive wine list:
I had read so much about the Parker House Rolls and Spreads, so I had to order them!
They were reallllyyyy good, and all of the spreads were good in their own way too!
Megan ordered the Catch of the Day:
The rest of us ordered the Bacon and Vermont Cheddar Burger. This was also really good!
I would definitely eat here again!
After dinner, we walked over to the Beach Club lobby to look at the gingerbread display. It really is amazing! It’s carousel that actually moves. There are hidden Mickey’s on it also, so you can look for them!
And Megan wasn’t really leaving until she found them all…
Posted at 2:51 pm by taryngirl, on December 11, 2019
On our departure day, we had some time to kill, so we hopped on the monorail and made a stop at the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian. The Grand Floridian is so…..GRAND! I absolutely love the lobby. At any given time there may be live music, it smells so good, and the decor is amazing. I had been wanting to try the quick service option, Gasparilla Island Grill, so that was our choice for a meal. To get to the restaurant, you actually walk through the lobby and exit the back doors.
The “food area” is u-shaped. On the left you can get pastries and order specialty coffees.
Straight ahead is the “hot” section. Sandwiches, pizzas, etc.
And then on the right you can get cold sandwiches or salads.
This is Kinsey’s kid pizza, and not pictured is the Artisan Burger. I forgot to get a picture! Everything was really good and I would definitely return here to eat again for lunch or dinner.
One other note…there is both indoor and outdoor seating here. It was way too hot to sit outside, but it would be very pleasant if the weather was normal. The scenery is really nice!
Back during our August trip, my oldest could not go along with us due to her soccer schedule. I felt terrible about it! Sooooo, we had some DVC points left and I scheduled a quick Friday through Monday trip with her best friend for her 13th birthday in November. It was a total surprise! Here is the reveal:
I should have kept taping, they were crying tears of joy!
Our flight was the day after Thanksgiving. We were staying at the Boardwalk Villas in a Studio the first night, and then a 1 Bedroom for the next two nights. A quick trip on the Magical Express…
We arrived around 6:30 p.m. to our resort. We had dinner reservations at Ale & Compass, so the plan was to drop things off in the room and freshen up some.
I have a subscription to Touring Plans, and through that had requested a specific room. I requested 4055 and we got:
All Studio Villas have a small kitchenette area that includes a coffee maker, microwave, small fridge, toaster and sink. This is super convenient for quick breakfasts in the room.
One Queen bed with a pull out sofa.
And a twin size bed pulls down underneath the t.v. The table collapses. This is big enough for a small adult to sleep on!
Here’s a quick video of the view from our balcony!
I love this view! This is considered a Garden/Pool View, but as you can see, we can see the boardwalk and the lake. We also could see the fireworks perfectly from here which you will see in a future post!
I really try to eat Mickey waffles every time I go to Disney. This trip was no different! I checked the online menus before staying here and was super happy to see them listed!
We were heading to Epcot today and weren’t in a super hurry. We had some FP+, but they were for later and we weren’t planning on rope dropping anything.
We stopped at the food court on the way to the bus stop.
Here are the various menus for the different “windows.”
There really is something for everyone. They also have the grab and go cases available, cereal, bagels, pastries, etc.
Chrissy opted for one of the Breakfast Flatbread Pizzas and a side of Potato Barrels. I tried a bite and it was yummy!
This is my go-to meal. Mickey Waffles with Sausage (no bacon, so extra sausage) and Breakfast Potatoes. SO GOOD! I don’t know what it is about Disney sausage, but it’s my absolute favorite. Especially with the waffles.
I would also have this the next day for breakfast…
The V.I.Passholder Event is the entire reason we took this quick trip! It was advertised we could check in from 6:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. However, we noticed this set up in Fantasyland and had a chat with the Cast Members. They said we could check in starting at 5:00 p.m. So we did! There were a few different check in areas around the park so we didn’t have to go all the way out to the entrance to get our wristbands.
They actually were having technical difficulties with the iPads that were scanning our Annual Passes or MagicBands. She ended up having to manually input our numbers.
You can see the time of the even was 10:00 p.m. until midnight officially.
After we got our wristbands, we headed to use our next FP+ that Chrissy secured immediately after Winnie the Pooh. This would make FP+ #5 for the day. It’s a Small World!
I swear I see something different every time I ride this!
Right after we scanned in to the ride, my friend secured our 6th FP+…Pirates of the Caribbean.
We were getting hungry for dinner, and we had discussed previously that neither of us had ever eaten at Casey’s Corner! So that’s where we decided to go. It’s located on the corner at the end of Main Street, and you can definitely smell it when you walk past! We knew we were going to share something and decided on…
Buffalo Chicken Loaded Fries (These were AMAZING! I loved them!)
Footlong Chili Cheese Dog (Also AMAZING!)
The fries were so good. I can’t imagine Buffalo chicken on a hot dog though! I despise the yellow squeeze cheese. So was super happy that this was shredded cheese on the top! This was plenty of food for two of us. They did allow us to upgrade from regular fries that come with the meal, to the specialty fries for a slight uncharge.
From dinner we headed to Adventureland. We had a little bit of time to kill before our FP+ at Pirates, so we went into Tortuga Tavern to have a seat and do some work on our phones. It was starting to become a more regular rain so we had to poncho up! (I never take a Disney vacation without a poncho.)
After Pirates, we hit our 7th FP+ Splash Mountain. It had started raining and we were wet anyway, and we had ponchos to wear the entire time! So off we went.
After Splash Mountain, we headed towards the castle. We had reservations for the After Fireworks Dessert Party, so we had to check in first at Tomorrowland Terrace.
We received our wristbands and were escorted to one of the grassy areas.
Even though it was raining, the fireworks were still amazing!
They had just added a new cone here called the Hei Hei cone, which I just had to have. My friend opted for this masterpiece, which has also been on my snack list forever!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Dole Whip! You can pick vanilla, pineapple or swirl.
I had a bite and it was really delicious.
Hei Hei Cone–pineapple dole whip with raspberry soft serve in a blue cone.
This was good. It was a little more sour than I was expecting! But it was still good. We found a spot in Frontierland to watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade that was going on.
After the parade, we headed to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to use our FP+. Then, for the first time since the new presidency, we checked out the Hall of Presidents. My friend, who is a history lover had never seen it and she was excited!
Onto our third FP+…the Haunted Mansion.
Right after we scanned through with our FP+, we secured a 4th FP+.
We took a quick jaunt through Fantasyland and went straight for Pooh to use our 4th FP+.
I had to check out the shop that has tons of ears! I love these Small World ones!
We made our way to the room after lunch, so we could drop off some stuff from our backpacks, and to get good pictures and videos of the room! Prior to the trip, I had requested a specific room through Touring Plans. I really wanted a refurbished room and had read that they for sure were finished with the Love Bug section, so I chose one there facing the “garden” area vs. the parking lot.
This was the Love Bug section:
Our room was in this specific section, but not facing this courtyard area, rather we were facing the parking lot. It was no big deal at all though…WE GOT A REFURBED ROOM!
The sleeping area. The table folds down when you pull the queen sized Murphy bed down. It’s a regular mattress!
The beverage center.
That door slides closed to section off the bathroom sink area.
Separate toilet and shower area with another sliding door.
Some other pictures from around the resort.
The Fantasia section
The pool bar
Overall I was very pleased with this resort! I’ve never stayed at any of the All Stars. I was expecting it to be completely crowded with people and noisy. It was the opposite! I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again in the off season, or for a quick trip!