When I first started going to Disney, it was always myself, my mom, and Big J (who was about 5 at the time). Before we bought into DVC we always, with only one exception, stayed in studios: at Wilderness Lodge, at Boardwalk Inn, and at Coronado Springs. The sole exception was when Michael came with us one trip and all 4 of us stayed in a 1-bedroom villa at Boardwalk. I absolutely loved that one bedroom. It was an eye opener. Having all that space while on vacation?! YES PLEASE! Then we bought into DVC and had the option to always have all the space.
Sooo, considering the fact that I want all the space when it is just my own family, you know when I am going to bunk with an entire other family that I really, really want all the space. Since I
begged, pleaded, and nagged calmly and rationally convinced Lisa & Rob to join us and bring their kids along, I was going to need a multi-room villa. Then my mom said she would be joining us, and well… I booked a 3-bedroom grand villa at Saratoga Springs.
I can hear what you’re thinking: “But Katie… I’m pretty sure you’re reviewing a 2-bedroom villa at Bay Lake Tower, not a 3-bedroom grand villa at Saratoga Springs.” You’re right. At the 11 month out mark I booked the grand villa at my home resort, but then at the 7 month mark I switched to BLT. Unfortunately, it was just a smidge too many points to stay in a 3-bedroom grand villa at BLT, so we split up and let my mom have her own 1-bedroom villa while my family and Lisa’s family shared a 2-bedroom villa. All caught up now?
Since we drove down and stayed at a Disney Springs resort Sunday evening, we were able to drive to Bay Lake way before standard check-in. We checked in the lobby (first impressions: so airy and “contemporary”!), but our room was (unsurprisingly) not ready, so we left our stuff in the car and headed over to Epcot. It wasn’t until pretty late in the day that we were notified our room was ready… and I was totally ready to go check it out! Check this out – I actually took a walk-through video!
When you walked into the villa, you were in a nice little foyer, maybe a teensy bit cramped, that had a closet – for coats, for suitcases, whatever. I kept my suitcase in there the whole week. Immediately to the left was the second bedroom with attached bathroom, and immediately to the right was the third bathroom. Yes. You read that right. The THIRD bathroom. The 2-bedroom villa at BLT has THREE bathrooms. Do you know how vital that is for a group of 7?!
Stepping further into the foyer and to the right brought you into the main area. The combined kitchen / dining room / living room. Off of the main area was the master bedroom with attached bathroom, and also off of the main area was a laundry room (an actual room! as in an actual, legitimate, complete, you can walk into it room!).
The main area was nice. The couch and armchair opened up into a double bed and a single bed, and I am kicking myself for not getting pictures. Little J slept on the single and Little A & Little H slept on the double. When the furniture was opened up into beds, there was pretty much zero walking space, but when everything was closed up the room was really open. The kitchen was like 1/3 the size of my kitchen at home but it felt so much more… organized? That isn’t really the word I’m looking for, but basically I would swap my kitchen for the BLT kitchen in a heartbeat. Appliances included (I really hate my stove). And look at this dining table! I love the bench seating so much.
I forgot to take pictures of the master bedroom and bathroom, but that’s okay because I remembered that I have video. The bathroom had the standard jacuzzi tub by the vanity, with a separate shower. The shower had a bench seat and you could switch between a regular shower head and a rainfall shower head. In theory I really loved that, but in practice… the water pressure sucked for the rainfall shower head (honestly, I think all water pressure at Disney sucks, but it was especially bad for the rainfall thing), but if you stuck with the standard shower head, the rainfall one leaked. That doesn’t sound bad, because you’re already getting wet, but it consistently leaked cold water. No matter what. That was miserable.
I did remember pictures of the second bedroom, more because we got there before Lisa & Rob and I was taking pictures to send to them. There were the standard two queen beds, with a table & chairs and a dresser with a t.v. This bedroom had its own balcony, too! The attached bathroom had the usual shower/tub combination, and a toilet. The sink was outside the shower area.
And can we circle back around to this laundry room? I know most of you are going to be reading this and rolling your eyes at me, but this laundry room was the number one most awesome thing in our room. All of the 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas have a washer & dryer in room, but most of them are just the stacking unit type in a little closet… I completely geeked out over the walk in laundry room. From my earliest memory, we have always had an actual laundry room… until this house. We just have a little closet that barely holds our washer and dryer. I miss having a laundry room. I miss it so much.
So, that was the actual villa. Bay Lake Tower is a part of the Contemporary Resort (in fact, on the DVC website it is listed as Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort), but it is not in the main building. From the Contemporary you need to either walk outside on the ground level or use the Sky Way Bridge to enter BLT. Unfortunately, with no restaurant in BLT that means you have a trek to get coffee or a quick meal. Usually we get Disney travel mugs, the kind you get with Disney Dining Plan (even if we don’t actually get DDP), and will caffeinate ourselves every morning, but we didn’t here. The walk just wasn’t worth it.
I really loved walking to Magic Kingdom. I think that was my absolute favorite part of staying here. Instead of dealing with that crazy giant crowded security area, there is just one smaller security checkpoint. One time there was a family in front of us and one time we were the only people there. Security was a breeze, and then bam we were ready for the Magic Kingdom!
I also love being on the monorail, although again you have to cross over to the Contemporary for that. I do wish that the Epcot line didn’t go only to the TTC – I would much prefer to just get on the monorail at the Contemporary and not get off again until I was at Epcot, or vice versa.
In the end, I am glad that we stayed at BLT. I mean, eventually I want to stay at every Disney resort, but I have especially always wanted to stay here. I don’t think I’ll ever set out to stay here again, but it was a fun stay. The theming is awesome, the rooms were perfect, and the views were absolutely stellar. But transportation was awkward, and that can really kill a Disney trip fast.