August 2019 Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

 

Feature Article
This article appeared in the July 30, 2019 Issue #1036 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

 

Editor’s Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.

 

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STEP BACK IN TIME
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by Joan L. Feder
AllEars® Staff Writer

Bay Lake Tower

Join us on our monthly journey into the past as we explore the history of Walt Disney World and the Walt Disney Company. This time we take a closer look at Bay Lake Tower, which is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

From the very beginning in 1991, Disney Vacation Club members yearned for a property on the monorail line. For several years, the closest timeshares were The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. They opened in the Magic Kingdom resort area in 2000, but did not have access to the monorail. 

In November 2006, there was a glimmer of hope, but no official confirmation. Disney filed construction plans to replace the North Garden Wing at the Contemporary Resort. In January 2007, the demolition began. Florida approved Disney’s sale of timeshare units at the "Kingdom Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort", in February 2007. By April 6, the Contemporary’s North Garden Wing was just a memory. But it was not until September 16, 2008, that Disney finally announced what they were building. It was a freestanding DVC property that would share the theme and feel of the nearby Contemporary. By then, the project had a new name: Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The sales of timeshares began later that same month.

Bay Lake Tower opened its doors on August 4, 2009. It was the ninth DVC location, and the seventh at Walt Disney World. Standing 16 stories high, it contains 295 units ranging from studios to two-story, three-bedroom Grand Villas. A walkway connects the fourth floor of the Contemporary to the fifth floor of the Tower. This gives guests easy access to all the features of the Contemporary Resort. However, only those staying at Bay Lake Tower have access to its amenities. These private facilities include a separate check-in area, the Bay Cove Pool with its water slide, and a community hall.

Top of the World Lounge

Guests do not have to be part of the Disney Vacation Club to stay at Bay Lake Tower, but one of its biggest perks is only available to members.
The Top of the World Lounge has a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. Members and their guests can get access by checking in at a special desk in the lobby, and then taking the dedicated elevator to the lounge. The Top of the World Lounge is ordinarily open to all DVC members staying at any Disney owned and operated hotel. There are several blackout dates during the busiest times of year, however, when only DVC members staying at Bay Lake Tower are admitted.

Reservations can be made for Bay Lake Tower just like any other Disney resort. Whether you use DVC points or cash, there is one benefit of staying at Bay Lake Tower that everyone can enjoy, and that is its LOCATION. The Magic Kingdom is just a short walk or monorail ride away. You could not get any closer unless you were staying in Cinderella Castle!

RELATED LINKS

Bay Lake Tower Fact Sheet

Bay Lake Tower Photo Gallery

Bay Lake Tower Videos

Reader Reviews of Bay Lake Tower

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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AUGUST EVENTS

August 12: NBA Experience opens at Disney Springs.

August 16: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party returns to the Magic Kingdom on select dates for its 2019 run. Dates in
August: 16, 20, 23, 27, 30.

August 29: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

August 29: 2019 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival kicks off, along with the nightly Eat to the Beat Concert Series.

EDITOR’S NOTE: AllEars.net will be on hand for all of these events, so be sure to watch the site for full reports.

Check our Events page for a full schedule of upcoming events.

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AUGUST REHABS AND CLOSINGS

Resort-Wide

Disney Skyliner construction:
Walt Disney World is in the process of creating a new transportation system, Disney Skyliner, which will give you a bird’s-eye view of the resort while traveling via gondolas. During this time, testing and construction noise will be seen and heard throughout the resort, but noise should not be heard from Disney hotel rooms between dusk and 9 a.m. Skyliner will open on September 29, 2019.

The Walt Disney World Monorail system is undergoing ongoing refurbishment. As a result, normal service and/or routes may be modified. Alternative transportation options will be available during this time.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Work is underway on the 14-acre Star Wars-themed land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that was announced during the 2015 D23 EXPO. Galaxy’s Edge will open at Walt Disney World on August 29, 2019.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed for a short refurbishment from July 30 to August 1, 2019.

Epcot

Epcot Main Entrance Transformation – The Leave A Legacy photos are being removed from the entrance plaza. They are going to be moved into a setting just outside the park’s gateway as the entrance undergoes a significant transformation.

France Pavilion — A new French creperie is under construction and will be opening in 2021, near the new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventures, which will also open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.

Future World EastGuardians of the Galaxy-themed coaster will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world and will feature a brand-new ride system. Opening in 2021.

Mission: Space — A Space Restaurant is being built in a newly developed area located between Epcot’s Mission: SPACE and Test Track. Once completed, the restaurant will invite guests to travel to space for a dining experience in the stars. The new restaurant will be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, which also operates Tutto Italia and Via Napoli at Epcot.

Wonders of Life Pavilion is being reimagined into the Play Pavilion, and will feature first-of-their-kind experiences devoted to playful fun. The Play Pavilion will take guests into an innovative, interactive city bursting with games and hands-on activities.

Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World Railroad closed December 3, to make way for construction of the new TRON attraction.

Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland is closed for refurbishment through August 14, 2019.

Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House

Rooms are undergoing refurbishment through Fall 2019.

Art of Animation

Art of Animation Resort is currently undergoing some general refurbishment projects. During this time, the resort will be in full operation with all amenities available, including dining, merchandise and recreation locations. It is possible that construction may be seen or heard, but noise should not be heard from guest rooms between dusk and 9 a.m. No end date for these projects has been announced as yet.

Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Mizner’s Lounge is being expanded and will be re-themed to a Beauty and the Beast-inspired location. It is set to reopen in Fall 2019.

Old Key West

Disney’s Old Key West Resort is undergoing a wholesale refurbishment, which is expected to be completed in 2019. You can see some photos of refurbished rooms HERE.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

A new tower to be called The Cove is under construction. It will be located on the site of the Swan’s tennis courts, adjacent to Fantasia Mini-Golf.

The Swan’s Coffee Bar and Lobby Spaces are
undergoing a $3 million transformation. Its projected completion is sometime in Summer 2019.

Disney Springs

NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort will be a one-of-a-kind basketball-themed experience featuring hands-on activities that put guests of all ages right in the middle of NBA game action. There will be immersive NBA video productions and numerous interactive experiences and an exciting retail store that will offer something for all NBA fans worldwide. The NBA Experience opens August 12, 2019. AllEars.net will be on hand for this opening, so be sure to watch for a full report.

City Works Eatery and Pour House, a restaurant and bar known for craft beers from local breweries and around the world, plans to open its eighth location in Disney Springs West Side in Summer 2019.

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A complete list of known rehabs can be found HERE.

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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Each month, we like to share a few heart-warming Magical Moments brought to us by the amazing Disney cast members.

From: Carla N.: We recently had a magical moment while visiting Saratoga Springs. We were in the process of switching resorts one morning (which has never gone smoothly for us), when we called for Bell Services. While Mark, from Bell Services, was in the process of getting our luggage loaded, he happened to ask what our plans were for the day. When we told him we were switching over to Old Key West and were going to the main building to hail an Uber, he said, "Would you like me to just take you over there now (in his cart), if you don’t mind taking a scenic route?" We spent a lovely 10 minutes or so on a path we had never been on before, chatting and talking Disney with him. What a wonderful magical moment and what superb customer service. Thank you, Mark!

Melissa D.: My family visited Walt Disney World last month to celebrate my being in remission for Stage 4 ovarian cancer, along with my granddaughter’s first visit to the World and we had several magical moments. I was given a "Celebrate" button that they wrote "Cancer Remission" on, so I received a lot of congratulatory comments during our trip. Several times I would go to purchase a bottle of water or an ice cream bar and the cast member would simply say, "This one’s on Mickey!" My granddaughter even received a stuffed Dumbo from a cast member while we were just browsing through a shop. She is only 19 months old and she was overjoyed! Disney sure made our special trip extra magical!

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We just bet you have a story to tell about an unforgettable moment during your Disney vacation! Please send your favorite memory for inclusion in a future AllEars® via our Contact Us page. Thank you all for sharing!