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Old 02-14-2013, 10:32 PM   #1

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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Chicago
Posts: 10,622

Bay Lake Tower, 2BR TP View, Feb 1-11

We are BWV (16 years) and AKV (since it went on sale in 2007) owners and decided to try BLT. We went all out and got theme park view on the assumption that this might be the only time we attempt BLT. Just three of us this time (DW, Down Syndrome DD and me) Here is the report:


Taking the advice of someone on these boards whose name I cannot remember but who must have been born brilliant, I took a picture of the room number with my iPhone so I would remember the number, 8022, a dedicated 2BR that sits right in the middle of the building directly above the front entrance on the 10th fl. We had requested high floor and got it. There is a bit of illogic to the room numbers since the starting numbers do not match the floor number but the sequence is that the floors below 10 all started with 7 and the second number of any sequence gives you the floor (in our case the zero meant the 10th floor).

We had seen pictures of the rooms posted by members and reviewed many comments before going. The impression looking at pictures was not overwhelming and as some had commented it looked almost too modern, like plastic. New Impression No. 1: once you are in the rooms they really are nice, a bright but not overly modern feeling to them and everything melded together well. Also, that somewhat v-shape of the room from door to balcony gives you a very wide living room and you get ample space in the second bedroom despite that it is smaller in total sq ft than at other resorts. The dark cabinets in the kitchen and the lighting there was very good. Most ideal were the large windows in the living room, giving you lots of viewing space. The bathrooms were also impressive but suffered from what the other resorts also now suffer from because of Acts of Congress mandating lousy energy efficient lights -- you don't have enough lighting when looking in the mirror. (Only Congress can call making things worse an improvement and doing it to basic things like lighting, to your toilet with the result you always need to flush twice -- they mandated the use of less water but the result was that you use more -- and to your shower by requiring less pressure and water flow making it harder, and making it longer, to get clean.)

The sliding rather than closing doors to the bathrooms have been the source of prior complaints but I thought they were fine. They do have "locks" so to speak -- a little latch in the middle on one side of the door that you flip up after sliding it closed so it cannot be slid open because the latch catches the wall. What I am not sure of yet is whether I care for the dual water flow system, one from the wall, one from the ceiling, shower in the master bath. You can adjust it so you get only the wall flow or only the ceiling flow but it does not quite adjust completely. You still get drips from the ceiling flow if you adjust to just have the wall flow and those drips can be cold water.

One complaint (minor) is simply the result of the v-shape design that makes the living room very wide. The TV, which is the same size you find in 2BRs in other resorts, is almost too small for viewing from the couch on the other side of the room. In fact our remote had trouble working sometimes unless you stood up and got closer. Another complaint (also minor) is the door from the living room to the balcony. Is there a logical reason they decided not to put a simple lock on it? Instead you have to raise the door handle just the right height and then roll the lock in while doing that. We often had to repeat the exercise several times to finally get it to lock. I felt like I was living some engineer's revenge on normal people. The condition of the room was fine and thus we did not experience any of things we had seen complaints about.

View: We had an excellent view of the castle and I considered it good despite the parking lot, although that would have been a real eyesore from a lower floor. We, of course, also saw the monorail, space mountain, a portion of the lake, and GF in the distance. However, now I will state my opinion after being there. I actually got into the room directly across from ours that had lake view (engineers were doing some minor work on it while unoccupied for a day and one of the workers let me go look out the window). The theme park view is great for one thing (fireworks at night and seeing the castle), but Disney got its point charts wrong. The lake view is actually much more impressive and is an all day view, looking out at the huge Bay Lake, the former Discovery Island and even elsewhere. You see little at night but it is very peaceful. If we stay there again we are going for the much better lake view.


I have never been impressed with the Contemporary particularly internally where most things look stark and you often are looking at many slabs of stone walls. They did not make that mistake with BLT. The lobby, hallways, and building as a whole were impressive although leaning toward a plain but bright type of look. The areas outside were also very nice. I thought the pool was larger than the "small" I kept hearing and it was also impressive to look at. We went to look but did not go into the pool (temperature too cool for us the first five days, possibly just warm enough the rest but the slide was closed for refurbishment and the entire pool was being closed for some work by the time we left). I also cannot report on the Top of the World Lounge because despite our intent to try to make it there we never did, instead watching fireworks from the room two nights and not returning early enough any of the others. We had a rental car and found the parking very good, never being more than a fairly short walk from the front door.

The fifth floor walkway to Contemporary's fourth floor needs to solve a door issue. It is set up so the doors will open automatically if you have a room key but the ones at the Contemporary often had a problem not opening and guests pulled them open making loud grinding noises which i am guessing did not improve the situation with the doors (the rest of the doors did open automatically). You have to learn directions the first time because when coming back through the Contemporary there are no signs telling you where to find the DVC walkway which is off in one corner of the very large floor, hidden from view.

BLT CM's: I do not know if it is the result of prior complaints or just one of the many changes during Carol Bilby's reign but the CM's at BLT were almost impossibly nice to the point that if they got any nicer they would have had to move in with us. Welcome home was repeated often, we were greeted at arrival by someone who already had our name, and often when walking around I was approached and asked if I needed any help (do I look that lost?). Even when we went to the Contemporary the CMs were attentive. If this keeps up the new complaint is going to be how do you get them to stop being so overly attentive.

Restaurants: As noted we have never been impressed with Contemporary as a building. However, we did Chef Mickey's for dinner which we had not been to for over a decade and it was great; food was excellent and the characters were very friendly including dancing with kids. We also went to the Wave which has had mixed reviews for a restaurant that attempts to be on the "health" side of foods somewhat. We liked it despite that the menu is limited. Portions were large. The Cobb salad was good, I had excellent swordfish, DW very good lamb shank, and DD very good beef tenderloin. We also did the Luau which we had not done for over a decade. It has changed somewhat but still basically the same show and good enough to do once in a while. We were going to do Narcoosee's but unfortunately DD got sick that day and we could not go. Moreover, California Grill was closed for refurbishment so we could not go there. Otherwise we hit some of our park favorites for dinner -- Crystal Palace, Askerhus (that is becoming one of my favorites particularly for its salad, meat and cheese buffet bar), and Mama Melrose (love the Italian dishes there).

Weather: The weather was excellent if cool and some breezy days. Total rain consisted of a few sprinkles for a very short period a couple days. First five days it was close to 70 but in mid-40s early morning, 50s in evening. Interesting at this time of year is the transition from almost cold in the morning to very nice as the temp seems to go from 45 to 70 in less than two hours between 8 and 10. Last five days we got to mid 70s and possibly touched 80 a couple days, but mornings still had a chill and evenings still required a sweatshirt or jacket. Personally, I could "suffer" that weather all year long and die happy.

Crowds: Manageable to almost light during the week, as standby lines were under 30 minutes for many things that often are well over an hour to two hours other times of year The weekends were close to being crowded but still manageable. As we learned, this is actually one of the times of year many local residents come to the parks, particularly weekends, because of the lower crowds. Park hours were also longer on weekends. The second weekend (Feb 9 and 10) was more crowded than the first and that is apparently partly due to a Mardi Gras factor. It was Mardi Gras in Louisiana and schools close during that period with the result that many from Louisiana come to WDW -- when we went to Hoop Dee Doo Feb 9 more than half the crowd was from Louisiana and they had a hard time finding others when doing their "Where are you from" round through the room. Also, there were large numbers of foreign visitors, particularly from South America (must come here to cool off from their summer) and we often ran into and started conversations with many from other lands including South America, England, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Poland. It almost felt like a United Nations.


MK's new Fantasyland is going to be impressive when done. The area that is now open is well done and it does not in any way look like they decided to go cheap on anything. The new Little Mermaid ride is essentially just a flow through like the Nemo ride in the Living Seas but it was well done. (We wanted to do the new restaurant but I was unable to get a reservation even though I tried to reserve a few months out). They had a Gaston character walking around in the area near where the new Gaston counter service is and I was amazed but not surprised to see many young tweens to early teen girls surround him constantly. Dumbo was not where it had been forever but there are now two of them elsewhere (as many parents who have gone through the Dumbo age may attest, there are now two rides at MK with one too many letters on the end of their names)

We liked the new Test Track at Epcot but it is really just the old Test Track modernized with a lot of flashing lights and and new noises as you go along the same track you did before. They have redone for the better a lot of the gadgets you get to play with after getting off the ride. I just wish that they would actually do something with the former Wonder of Life Pavilion other than just turn it into a huge wine cellar during the Food and Wine fest. I still think that Captain EO is one of the best attractions at WDW and glad it returned.

If they are actually doing something to start building an Avatar land at AK, I did not see it or any new construction anywhere. Whether it is an improvement or I am just noticing it more, the bands that play in different areas (and interact with crowds) during the day are really very good. Kali was closed as we knew it would be for refurbishment. However, we did not expect to find Flights of Wonder closed, which it was at least day we visited.

You can tell the crowds are fairly low at Studios when you hit Fantasmic at MK and the show does not actually fill. I did not know Phineas and Ferb were so popular until I saw the almost three hundred person line waiting for a meet and greet. We decided to skip this time the new Captain Jack Sparrow walk through (where Narnia and Prince Caspian used to be) because the lines were forever enormous.

Golf: Played a few rounds. Courses are in excellent shape and the Arnold Palmer Golf Management Co. seems to be doing an excellent job. Discount was a tab better than 35% off the Disney resort guest rate. If you need clubs, DVC members can rent them for $20. There has been a reversal as to Osprey. I had previously reported several months ago based on a discussion with a Palmer co. officer that Four Seasons was to going to keep the arrangement of having the Osprey Ridge Course run by Palmer co. and open to all. That has now switched in the last month. Four Seasons will take over the course in August and it is actually going to shut it down for a while for a redo. Not known is how significant the redo may be (the possibilities being mentioned range from changing some holes and putting back an 18th to a major redo via a redesign from Faldo). Four Seasons is not saying whether the course will reopen to any other than Four Seasons's guests. My guess is it will be because the cost of maintaining an 18 hole course cannot be covered these days by allowing play only from guests at the particular hotel/resort. Nevertheless, you should assume at this point that there is some risk that your last chance to play Osprey might be before it closes in August (and most certainly that is likely the last chance you may have to play it with a DVC discount).

Owners Locker: I became an Owners Locker customer last October by first just storing clubs. Now also have the purple box. Why didn't I do this before? We thought we would not leave much behind but ended filling the box before we left. And in the afternoon when we left the email came that the two items, box and clubs, were back wherever back in storage is. This service is a must for those who keep returning.
Everything has to have a beginning and an end ... but it is not necessary to have a purpose in between.

Last edited by drusba; 02-15-2013 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:27 PM   #2
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Nice report. We were at BLT from 2/3-2/9 and had essentially the same experiences. Parks were only really crowded for parades and the hour that the MK was open after Wishes was a real bonus to us. Love love love the walkway back to BLT from the MK. Got stuck on the monorail--actually had to get off at GF and take a bus back-- but that was our only monorail downer. Weather was wonderful--DGD 5 went swimming but too cold for me!
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:10 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Great trip report!! Glad you enjoyed your stay! We LOVE that resort!!

The room numbers are really odd. A CM once explained to me that you have to subtract 70 from the room number to get the floor you are on. So, your room 8022 would be on the 10th floor and our room 8222 was on the 12th etc. I cannot really remember why except that it was some internal numberiing system exclusive to the BLT building.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:52 PM   #4

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Nice report, thanks for taking the time.

Which DVC resort is your favorite, do you have a non DVC favorite?


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Old 02-19-2013, 09:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for the report. Good to hear positive things about our home resort. Can't wait to stay there for the first time in October
When you Wish Upon A Star...
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by drusba View Post

Owners Locker: I became an Owners Locker customer last October by first just storing clubs. Now also have the purple box. Why didn't I do this before? We thought we would not leave much behind but ended filling the box before we left. And in the afternoon when we left the email came that the two items, box and clubs, were back wherever back in storage is. This service is a must for those who keep returning.
My wife checked into the storage situation and it didn't seem like something we wanted to do. She said, it was more of a BOX to put things and it was not very big. I was looking for something large enough to store more sizeable items. She has a nice fan we bring that is rather slender and only a few feet tall. Is there some "other" type of locker that will store larger items ?? Did we miss something in our search ??

1972 HS Band, Contemporary 1982 ($74 per night) with the Family, POR 2010 & 2011 with the family, now We own so we go a LOT !!

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Old 02-20-2013, 12:46 AM   #7
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We own at BLT and love it there. I have never gotten the Theme Park View but manage to get the Even number North Tower that gives us a bit of Bay Lake and Wishes from our Balcony at night. I have spent some time deliberating about which view to choose. My wife liked the View from the South Tower and the Water Show, I think a View of the Lake and Pool Area would be sweet.

There are so many excellent views. We may get a One Bedroom theme park view before Christmas just for fun. We spend most of the nights in our room so I like the night time view.

1972 HS Band, Contemporary 1982 ($74 per night) with the Family, POR 2010 & 2011 with the family, now We own so we go a LOT !!

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