View Full Version : Booked at Contemporary Hotel for Disneyworld. Any advice?

08-04-2004, 08:30 PM
We are going to see the inlaws in January (hiss, boo) and since they are in Florida I convinced DH to spend half the trip at Disneyworld. We decided to book the Contemporary Hotel since the monorail goes through it and it is so close to the Magic Kingdom. We figure this will be convenient for returning mid-day for snacks, naps, etc.

Any tips people can give us?

08-06-2004, 01:55 PM
Iíve been lucky enough to vacation at WDW a few times and we did stay at the Contemporary when I was a teenager. I donít remember too much about staying there but my Mother still mentions hearing the monorail all night long the two nights we were there. I think the Contemporary has outbuildings that you can request a room for instead of the main building that the monorail passes through. They may have fixed this because it was 20 some years ago and Iím sure if it is a problem the resort will try to accommodate any request you make to change rooms.

Before my parents became Vacation Club members we stayed at a Magic Kingdom Resorts usually the Polynesian. I think it is especially nice to stay there when you plan to spend most of your time in the Magic Kingdom. To get to the other parks you will need to switch monorails or take a bus. If you have a car you can drive to the parks and get free parking because you are a guest on property.

We just returned from our first Disney trip with DS and had a great time! We stayed at Old Key West and used the bus system to get most places but when we wanted to go to other resorts like The Boardwalk we took a car because it was much easier, you donít need to change busses.

If there is anything specific I can help you with just let me know!

08-06-2004, 09:44 PM
Thanks Michelle!

Frankly I think the vast majority of our time will be at the Magic Kingdom just because at ages 2 and 4 the kids probably won't be interested in much else. We might venture somewhere else briefly (say if they want to meet characters who are at another park or to see the fireworks show at Epcot) but I am not really expecting to do that.

Hmmm, I've never heard about the monorail noise in the Contemporary. Don't they stop running it at night anyhow? I'll post on the wdwig boards about this. Thanks for the tip! It's still early enough that I could probably switch rooms.

Did you use the Fastpass? I haven't been to WDW since they instituted that and I was wondering if it works like it is supposed to or if it is just inconvenient/a hassle.

Did you rent a stroller at Disney or do you think it would be better for us to pick up a $10 throwaway umbrella stroller at BRU/Walmart?

Kimberly H
08-07-2004, 06:06 AM
Helen, I like this site for info: http://allearsnet.com/pl/planning.htm

That's the link to the planning page, though I think it defaults to the homepage anyway - just use the menu bar at the top. There are FAQ's for traveling with infants and toddlers, including photos of the various strollers available.

We're debating Disneyland vs. WDW for our fall 2005 trip - WDW would win hands down but my family is in CA near 'Land so we'll see...

08-07-2004, 12:08 PM
Hi Helen,

Thanks for your help with the bed for DS. I donít know what time the monorail stops running. All of our Disney trips have been in the summer because my Dad is an educator and the parks are open later in the summer. This may effect the monorail system.

Another good park for kids is MGM because of the shows like Playhouse Disney with Bear and the Big Blue House plus The Little Mermaid. I would spend a half a day at MGM but your right that The Magic Kingdom has the most for young children. I like going to the meals with the characters for photo opportunities. The lines can be long in the park to take photos with your favorites. The Contemporary has Chef Mickeyís that services all three meals with the characters. We also went to the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom for lunch with Pooh and they also serve breakfast and dinner. I donít know where in the Epcot but there is a Princess meal and MGM has a Villains meal. Food is expensive in the parks anyway, these meals can you time and you can get more interaction with the characters. None of the children with us were frightened of the characters but good friends of my parents also took their children and grandchildren the same week and the kids were scared of all the characters and most of the rides. They are 2, 4, 5 and 7 years old. I think a character meal would have been torture for these kids and a waste of money for the parents.

We do use Fastpass. I would take our passes to run through the Fastpass terminal then meet up with everyone in the next line. In July it seemed most Fastpass times were about an hour or two later so we would go on other rides. When we did Pooh with Fastpass we had time to ride Teacups, Dumbo and the Carousel then go back to Pooh. The wait time was about 45 minutes for Pooh and our Fastpass was for one hour later so we were able to do a lot in that hour. With Fastpass it took us about 10 minutes to get on the ride. The only thing is you can not get another Fastpass till the time stated on your first Fastpass so you can only get one at a time.

As for a stroller we purchased a P3 for our Disney trip because DS will nap in the stroller and I wanted him to be cool and comfortable. Our other strollers are a large and heavy Graco and a black Combi. We did go with a large group that included a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old and they rented a double stroller for the week. You can pay for this on the first day you rent and they avoid the pay line for the rest of the week. I think you also get a discount when you pay in advance. Most of the strollers were in good shape. They are usually hard molded plastic and do not recline but have a sunshade. They worked great for our group and even the 8-year-olds road sometimes. I would rent instead of bringing an inexpensive umbrella stroller.

Another thing we took advantage of all weeklong was Priority Seating. This is Disneyís version of reservations. Most we made the week were there but some can be made a few weeks in advance. Wait time can be long for certain restaurants and it can be hard for young children to wait for meals. You donít need to worry about counter service places, which I think the quality has improved in the past few years. But if you want a sit-down dinner Priority Seating can be helpful and are needed for the character meals.

I think a plan is helpful for Disney. You donít want the trip to go by and then feel like you didnít get to do much. It doesnít have to be ridged but a loose plan for the day is important.

Sorry this is so long!

08-08-2004, 10:02 PM
IKWYM about a plan, but then I don't want to be on a 'schedule' and get all stressed out because we keep missing it! On the other hand, we have 3 days JUST for the MK so I suspect that we will be able to plan a SMALL number of things for each day. Ilike the idea of the character breakfast, but as you say I am concerned that they might frighten the kids. I guess we'll just have to take it as it goes!

How far in advance do you recommend reserving the character meals?

08-09-2004, 11:40 PM
You should reserve as soon as you can if there is a meal and/or time that you REALLY want. The Cinderella Breakfast at MK is very hard to get. I tried the full 90 days in advance for a trip we are taking in October and I only managed to actually get a reservation one day out of four!

I would not discount the other parks either. Sarah also adores them all, especially MGM and Animal Kingdom. She also enjoys Epcot which is mine and DH's favorite.

I once posted a list of all the things that Sarah enjoyed by park, and you'll see that there is a LOT of things for younger kids at all the parks.


08-10-2004, 09:30 AM
Yes, the other parks are wonderful as well. We took our ds, who was 21 months at the time, to Disney in April.
I actually printed out a list (that I think Beth had posted in the Baby Lounge)of all the thinks Sarah had enjoyed there.
Here are a few things we noticed/did:
I'm so glad we went to the Animal Kingdom. They have train ride out to a petting zoo which Brig LOVED. There's also a great "safari" ride.
The shows didn't work for us (Bear in the Big Blue House and Lion King) because Brig is frightened easily by things like this.
We were able to keep our stroller open on the monorail when it wasn't completely full. You'll be staying so close that it will be nice to not have to fold/unfold.
Last- we did use the fast track system so that we could let Brig nap if he needed to. The best example I can think of is the Bear show (which we left early anyway). We went to the fast track table in the a.m. and picked up a ticket for a much later show so that Brig was able to nap and in theory would have been in better spirits for the show.
Have fun!!
We didn't try to see too much either. It ended up that Brig's favorite parts of the trip were the transportation- monorail (worth riding it around parks just for the view)and the trains at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.

08-10-2004, 11:08 AM
Sorry for the delay in answering, My Mom makes the reservations for character meals so I had to get in touch with her. She usually makes reservations 90 days in advance and thinks thatís the farthest out you can make them. Though, I did get reservations for a small group for lunch with Pooh two days in advance. You can always cancel the reservation if you decide it not right for your family. Maybe you can see how your children react to the characters your first day in the park to see if they are going to be scared of them, if they are just cancel.

I hope you have a great time!

08-15-2004, 08:42 PM
My family just took a quick (2 day) trip to WDW in june and are planning our next (7 days this time) trip for February so I thought i'd put my 2 cents in. :)

I have heard very little positive on the various Disney boards about the contemporary resort. If you are mostly concerned with location, I'd try the Polynesian. It always gets high marks and i'm fairly certain it's also on the monorail line.

I, personally, would buy a cheapy stroller rather than rent the Disney ones. They looked incredibly uncomfortable to me and I thought they were pretty costly for just one day.

One thing I haven't heard mentioned is the option of food vouchers for the parks. I read up on them for our June trip and ended up getting them and LOVING the bargain. I joined Hotwire savings club (hotwiresavingsclub.com) which has a 1 month free period plus a $10 back from your first purchase. It's 7.95 a month if you keep it going. The vouchers are available there and CAN be (not always) a great deal. The Quick and casual are 11.50 and work for most counter service restaurants. You get a side, entree, non-alcoholic drink and dessert plus tax and tip. Disney meals are huge so you can easily share. If you do a search at disneycentral.com, they describe the best places to use them. We went to Beaches and Cream which is a sit down restaurant at the Beaches resort and had TONS of food for a really tiny price. The desserts there are absolutely enormous and I think the kids remember that forever! :) They also have cheap tickets to the park (plus other theme parks too) and vouchers for the more expensive restaurants and character breakfasts. Being that this is the baby bargains site, I figured it was worth sharing. I also get movie tickets for 4.50 from the site which makes it worth te monthly charge for my family.

Sorry for the rambling. Good luck.

Mom to Alex 11-12-02

08-16-2004, 12:59 PM
We just back from Disneyworld trip in July. We had a great time and found that things went much smoother with always going back for naptime in the afternoon.

Here are a few tips and if you have other questions feel free to pm or e-mail me.

1. Disboards (www.disboards.com) has a ton of info be sure to go that site

2. Our best character meal by far was at the Garden Grill in the Land at Epcot. We had a PS a 5:15 and got there a little early. The charcters spent a ton of time with dd because we were there so early. Mickey brought her booster seat, Chip helped feed her chicken nuggets, Pluto kept licking her... She LOVED it.

3. The breakfast vouchers from hotwire savings club are a very good deal for the character breakfasts. The quick and casual ones can be if you go to the right places.

4. If you want to see Fantasmic which is a great show I would suggest getting the Fastamic dinner package. They offer it at three restaurants and basically you get to go to reserved seating for the show. Usually people get to this show between 1 to 2 hours ahead of time. At least my toddler would never have waited this long. We got there 30 minutes before the show with the package and had good seats.