Contemporary Resort Theme Park View vs. Bay Lake View
When you book a room in Disney's Contemporary Resort or Bay Lake Tower, there's often a difficult decision to make: do you want the Theme Park View or the Bay Lake View?
The theme park view refers to a view from your room of Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and the Magic Kingdom Theme park. On the other side of the resort, the Bay Lake view refers to a view from your room of the main Contemporary Resort pool, the Bay Lake Tower pool, Bay Lake itself, and Discovery Island.
Having stayed in rooms on both sides of the resort and experienced both views, here are our pros and cons for the view selection:
Theme Park View
The theme park view is exhilarating. To wake up every morning to the sound of the Magic Kingdom train and ferry whistles, watch the monorail shoot around Seven Seas Lagoon, see the Astro-Orbiter spinning, and have a constant view of Cinderella Castle rising above it all is an unforgettable experience. Not to mention watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from your balcony!
However, when you get right down to brass tacks and the idea of actually living in that room -- especially if you have young family members -- remember that the Magic Kingdom side of the resort is going to be rather loud all the time. Those train and ferry whistles that seem so quaint at the beginning of your vacation will start to get old after they interrupt too many naps! Plus, this side of the resort is directly above a busy parking lot, where Magical Express and resort buses are coming and going all day, every day; guests are arriving and unpacking their cars; and guests have been known to smoke (which might bother you), and chat on phones outside the front doors. (Note: We got a useful comment on Facebook stating that guests could do the same on the other side of the resort! Good point, indeed; we've just noticed it more acutely on the front side of the resort.)
Additionally, the theme park view is about $55 more expensive per night than the Bay Lake view. When you add that up over the length of your vacation, it could be be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars.
Bay Lake View
The Bay Lake view is relaxing. Waking up to the scene of the sun rising placidly over the lake, seeing the birds on Discovery Island wake and take flight, and watching the pirate-y Disney transportation boats glide through the water to their Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness destinations is very basically a calming experience.
The sounds from the front of the resort are dampened, and while the sounds from the pool below can occasionally be heard, they usually don't interrupt too many naps or nights (especially if you're staying on a higher floor).
This is also a great spot to watch guests try their hand at waterskiing, and you'll often get to see people parasailing over Bay Lake!
The lower cost factor does help here as well. You're still in a beautiful room with all the access and amenities of the Contemporary Resort, but you're essentially getting a huge discount by staying in a Bay Lake view room!
However, you won't be able to see the fireworks from your room (though you will be able to hear them!), and that exciting Magic Kingdom vibe will be absent on this side of the resort.
What Do We Choose?
This depends on our length of stay, our budget, and our personal taste. Sometimes, we like the energy of the Magic Kingdom view, but more often than not, we prefer the relaxing, lower-cost Bay Lake view room.
Just remember, no matter what you choose, you'll still be in one of the best resorts on Walt Disney World property! Enjoy!