What Not to Miss on Disney’s Magic Kingdom Resort Crawl

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There’s so much to see and experience at the Magic Kingdom area resorts, I can hardly wait to share it with you! In this area are the original resorts of Walt Disney World, those present on opening day, October 7, 1971, but others have been added, and they are all spectacular. You’ll only find Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas in the Magic Kingdom area.  Let’s explore them together – Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The Deluxe Villas we’ll look at are the Villas at Bay Lay Tower, the Villas Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

I’m a history buff, and I love to know where things started, so we’ll start with the two original resorts, and work toward the newest ones, then explore the Villas.

contemp resort

Contemporary Resort – This deluxe resort is an icon with its A-frame shape and the monorail passing through the center. The resort actually consists of four buildings, but the Contemporary Tower, as the A-frame structure is known, is generally what people think of when they hear Contemporary Resort. Within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom, the 14 story Contemporary Tower with its magnificent Grand Canyon Concourse which houses the monorail station, shopping, restaurants, and a 90 foot mosaic mural is a favorite among guests who seek deluxe accommodations. One side of the tower boasts Magic Kingdom park views – so you can watch fireworks from your room or balcony, and the other side views Bay Lake – allowing guests to experience the Electrical Water Pageant each night. Two pools, one with a waterslide,  two whirpool spas, and a water playground for kids, parasailing, watercraft rental, wakeboarding, water-skiing, tubing,  fishing, volleyball, tennis, and jogging trails mean outdoor recreation is abundant and varied. Guests can also enjoy Movies Under the Stars, an indoor arcade, or a special Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage complete with snacks, beverages, and a view of Magic Kingdom’s “Wishes Nighttime Spectacular” fireworks.  Enjoy fine dining at the award-winning California Grill, character dining with Mickey and Friends at Chef Mickey’s, international-themed dining at The Wave, or quick-service dining on bakery items, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, or pasta at the Contempo Cafe. Room service is also available ’round the clock. Do some shopping or pick up forgotten items at The Fantasia Shop or Bayview Gifts. Beyond the tower rooms, there are Garden Wing rooms, most with either 2 Queen beds and 1 Day bed, or 1 King bed and 1 Day bed. Garden Wing Deluxe rooms have 1 King bed and 1 Queen-size sleeper sofa.

  • The Villas at Bay Lake Tower – This property shares the pool and other recreation amenities of the Contemporary Resort, but also has a pool just for Bay Lake Tower guests – the Bay Cove Pool. The restaurants of the Contemporary Resort are also available for use by Bay Lake Tower guests. Room types include: Deluxe Studios, 1 Bedroom, and 2 Bedroom, as well as Grand Villas with 3 Bedrooms. Deluxe Studios have 1 queen bed and 1 double size sleeper sofa. 1 Bedrooms have 1 King bed and 1 Queen size sleeper sofa, 2 Bedrooms have 1 King bed, 2 Queen beds, and 1 Queen sized sleeper sofa, and Grand Villas have 1 king bed, 4 Queen beds, and 1 Queen sized sleeper sofa.

polynesian resort

Polynesian Village Resort– Located on the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Polynesian Village Resort (the resort is returning to its original name as a long refurbishment nears completion), is reminiscent of a tropical paradise. This resort, which was also present on opening day of Walt Disney World, offers wonderful views of Cinderella Castle, the Electrical Water Pageant, and fireworks from Magic Kingdom. Sit on the beach, or enjoy the two pools – the Polynesian East Pool and the Nanea Volcano Pool (**Nanea Volcano Pool is currently closed during the renovations, and is due to re-open in early 2015 with an expanded area to include a children’s play area and hot tubs**).  As at the Contemporary Resort, here you can enjoy Movies Under the Stars, rent a boat, gather ’round a campfire, go fishing, play volleyball, or take a jog on the jogging trails. Polynesian Village Resort offers Club Disney, a children’s activity center, where children ages 3 – 12 can enjoy supervised activities, movie, snacks, and dinner while parents have some time to themselves. Ohana is the dining location for a character meal at breakfast and a Hawaiian style feast at dinner. Guests can enjoy a luau at Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, which includes hula, fire dancing, and more. The Kona Cafe offers family-friendly American cuisine, and sushi!  For quick-service, casual dining, stop by Captain Cook’s. Room Service is available from 7 AM to Midnight. Many rooms have a theme park or lagoon view, and most have 2 Queen beds and 1 Day bed. Standard view rooms have only 2 Queen beds. The Polynesian Village Resort also offers Club Level rooms with theme park, lagoon, or garden view, as well as a 1 Bedroom suite. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is also on the Monorail line, and guests can hop on the Monorail to Magic Kingdom, or to the Transportation and Ticket Center to transfer to the Epcot Monorail line. A boat is also available to take guests to Magic Kingdom. To reach all other parks, Disney Bus Transportation is necessary.

If you would like to know more about Disney’s Magic Kingdom Area Resorts, I’d love to help you make some plans and get the best value on your next magical Walt Disney World vacation. My services as an Independent Travel Agent with World of Magic Travel Services (the preferred travel agency of Chip and Co.) are always free, and I can make planning your vacation a pleasant experience for you as I take care of all of the tedious parts. Contact me for a free price quote and for more information at jeri@worldofmagictravel.com.

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Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Victorian themed, but completely modern, the Grand Floridian has become Walt Disney World’s flagship resort.  A live orchestra plays in the gorgeous lobby, and the romance of the Victorian era is all around.Nearby is Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding Pavilion.  Two pools, one with a 181 foot waterslide, a kids play area, and cabanas for rent join the activities found at our other Magic Kingdom Area Deluxe Resorts – Boat Rentals, Movies Under the Stars, a Campfire, arcade games, fishing, and jogging, to make your stay at Grand Floridian one with a variety of recreational opportunities to choose. Children ages 4 – 12 can set sail on a Pirate Adventure Cruise, searching for hidden treasure.  Choose from four different pirate adventures, where kids can have fun, and get a snack along with their treasure at the end.  Fine dining is definitely on the menu at Grand Floridian, with Citricos Mediterranean inspired cuisine, Narcoossee’s sumptuous seafood, and Victoria & Albert’s  elegant, AAA five diamond award winning avant-garde menu.  All of  these fine-dining establishments have a semi-formal dress code. Character dining is also available at 1900 Park Fare, where you can have a Supercalifragilistic breakfast with Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh, kids 4 – 12 can enjoy an hour of games, stories, and cupcakes at a Wonderland Tea Party, or the whole family can attend a buffet dinner with Cinderella and Prince Charming at Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner. (**For a limited time, Citricos is offering a character Breakfast or Brunch with Cinderella and the other Disney Princesses while Cinderella’s Royal Table is closed for refurbishment. January 9, 2015 – March 2015**). The Grand Floridian Cafe offers casual dining, and quick-service sandwiches, pizza, burgers, soup, and salads are available at Gasparilla Island Grill. 24 hour room service is available as well. Senses, a full-service spa and health club will pamper you with massages, body treatments, and more, or you can enjoy a workout! Rooms are available in the outer building or the main building. Outer building rooms offer theme park, garden, or lagoon (Seven Seas Lagoon) views, and 2 Queen beds and 1 Day Bed, or 1 King bed and 1 Day bed per room, with the exception of a Deluxe Room with a garden view, which has only 2 Queen beds. Main building rooms are Club Level service rooms,  and have standard or theme park views, with the standard view room available with 2 Queen beds and 1 Day bed, or 2 Queen beds, or 1 King bed and 1 Day bed, or 1 King bed and 1 Double-size sleeper sofa. Main building Deluxe King Rooms have either 1 King bed, or 1 King bed and 1 Day bed. Outer building rooms with club level service include a Standard room (2 Queen beds and 1 Day bed, or 2 Queen beds, or 1 King bed and 1 Day bed, or 1 King bed and 1 Double-size sleeper sofa), a 1 Bedroom suite (2 Queen beds and 1 Double size sleeper sofa), and 2 Bedroom suites (2 Queen beds, 1 King bed, and 1 Double size sleeper sofa). Another resort on the Monorail line, guests can take the Monorail to Magic Kingdom, or to the Transportation and Ticket Center to transfer to the Epcot Monorail line. A boat is also available to take guests to Magic Kingdom. To reach all other parks, Disney Bus Transportation is necessary. Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a wonderful choice for honeymooners, anniversary trips, or just romantic getaways.

  • The Villas at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – The newest of the Disney Villas opened in 2013. The Villas at Grand Floridian aeration choices with the Grand Floridian Resort, a true for dining options. The Villas offer Deluxe Studios, 1 Bedroom, 2 Bedroom, and Grand Villas with 3 Bedrooms. Deluxe Studios have 1 Queen bed, 1 Queen size sleeper sofa, and 1 Twin size pull-down bed. 1 Bedrooms have 1 King bed and 1 Queen size sleeper sofa, and 1 Twin size pull-down bed. 2 Bedrooms have 1 King bed, 1 Queen bed, 2 Queen size sleeper sofas, and 2 Twin size pull-down beds. And Grand Villas have 1 King bed, 4 Queen beds, and 1 Queen size sleeper sofa.

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Wilderness Lodge Resort – Inspired by turn-of-the-century National Parks Service lodges, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is like stepping into the American Northwest. The lobby is immense and wonderful to explore.  You’ll hear the song of crickets in the background, as you take in the 80 foot tall fireplace, teepee chandeliers, rocking chairs, wood carvings, and more. The pool actually begins inside the lobby as a bubbling hot spring which runs outside and over a waterfall into the Silver Creek Springs Pool. A water slide, kiddie pool, and two spas (one hot, one somewhat cooler) are in the main pool area. There is a beach area along Bay Lake, but only wading is allowed, the rest is roped off. You can rent a bike or a boat, or enjoy many of the other outdoor activities available at other deluxe resorts. If you’re just visiting Wilderness Lodge on your resort crawl, and want to know as much as possible, you might take the Wonders of the Lodge Tour, which highlights the lodge’s architecture, landscaping, and artwork, including all the paintings, totem poles, and metalwork. Tours are available at 9 AM Wednesday through Saturday. You can certainly eat well at Wilderness Lodge. Roaring Forks Snack and Arcade is the counter service location for breakfast, burgers, specialty sandwiches, salads, fruit, pizza, and more. Entertainment comes from the waitstaff at Whispering Canyon Cafe. Don’t want to ruin the fun, so I’ll just say that meats are smoked on site and reservations are recommended. If you’re interested in fine dining and food from the Pacific Northwest, Artist Point is the restaurant for you. Rooms at Wilderness Lodge are available with Standard, Courtyard, or Woods views, and can sleep up to 4 adults with 1 Queen bed and 1 Bunk bed, or 2 Queen beds, or 1 King bed. Club Level rooms are Standard or Deluxe, with the Standard room having 1 Queen bed and 1 Bunk bed, or 2 Queen beds, and the Deluxe offering 2 Queen beds and 1 Queen sleeper sofa. Guests can travel to the Magic Kingdom via bus or boat, and to all other parks by bus.

  • The Villas at Wilderness Lodge – You may remember that we were visiting the resorts in the order in which they arrived at Walt Disney World. But, while the Villas at Wilderness Lodge were the first villas in these resorts, it makes sense that we’d visit the villas as we got to each resort. The Villas at Wilderness Lodge opened in 2000, and embody railroad hotels from the American West in the 1860s. While the villas have access to all the recreation options of the Wilderness Lodge, they also have their own Hidden Springs pool. Likewise, dining options are the same for the Villas. Villas have three room types, Deluxe Studios (with 1 Queen bed, 1 Double size sleeper sofa and 1 Twin pull down bed), 1 Bedroom (with 1 King bed and 1 Queen size sleeper sofa), and 2 Bedroom (with 1 King bed, 2 Queen beds, and 1 Queen size sleeper sofa).

All of the Deluxe Resorts in the Magic Kingdom area offer: free parking, valet parking at an extra cost, complimentary local newspaper, ATM, valet laundry and cleaning service, express check-out, voice mail, and free wi-fi.

Villas have room amenities that vary, but in general all villa Deluxe Studios have at least a mini fridge, microwave, and coffee maker.  Larger Villas have full kitchens, and some Villas have in-room laundry facilities.

Transportation: As the first three of the above resorts are on the monorail line, if you are wishing to visit all of the Magic Kingdom area resorts, transportation is available via monorail station at each of those resorts. Wilderness Lodge Resort is not on the monorail line, and therefore requires either a bus ride to another of the resorts, or a boat ride to Magic Kingdom and a short walk to either the Transportation and Ticket Center to get on the Resort Monorail line, or an equally short walk to the Contemporary Resort to access the Monorail there. Guests can walk to Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary Resort, or take a boat launch from Polynesian Village or Grand Floridian. Disney Transportation System Buses are available from all resorts to the parks, as well as to Downtown Disney.

This should help you to know a little more about each of the Magic Kingdom Resorts. And, if you’re interested in visiting all of them, I hope this will help you to navigate transportation, as well as know a little bit about what to explore at each resort.

Have you stayed at any or all of these resorts?  Which is your favorite?  Have you done a resort crawl?  This is a fun one, and so simple as so many of the resorts are right on the Monorail line.  If you’d like to visit Walt Disney World and stay in the Magic Kingdom area resorts, I’d love to help you with that!

I’m Jeri, and I’m a Disney Addict!  I’m also an Independent Travel Agent with World of Magic Travel Services, the preferred travel agency of Chip and Co. and Disney Addicts.  I am always happy to offer my free services to you to help make your next vacation a little more magical!  Contact me for a free quote at jeri@worldofmagictravel.com

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