First time staying at Bay Lake Tower!

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by jeffy169, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. jeffy169

    jeffy169 Earning My Ears

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    Hey all! My wife and I recently bought our first DVC membership at Aulani. We are using our points this year for our anniversary trip in a few weeks, and yes that means I have 2 angry daughters who are staying home this time, LOL! Being our first stay at BLT and our first use of our DVC I was hoping to get some recommendations from more seasoned DVC members on what little extras we may be able to take advantage of? We are planning on visiting the Top of the World Lounge. Thanks for all your help!
     
  2. CookieandOatmeal

    CookieandOatmeal DIS Veteran

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    If you are a blue card holding member, make sure to ask about DVC discounts when dining and shopping.
     
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  4. lovin'fl

    lovin'fl DIS Veteran

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    Been DVC since 2006 and we have our first, sort of, BLT stay coming in March. DH and I did 3 nights in studio a few years ago but this will be 5 nights in a 1BR with twin DDs-20. Just realized how much of a point eater that booking was (more than the 2BR BWV I booked today for Sept 28). So I hope it's good.

    We do like TOTWL and hope to get up there. We booked 2 nights at AKV prior to the 5 at BLT so we'll do AK and AK area dining while there (and DS). We booked monorail and MK and Epcot area dining while at BLT (and, by the way, the Wave is a hidden gem...we just discovered last year...so good). Looking to get the CG brunch but not holding my breath. I have a search on TP for it.

    As for locations...we have lake view just like last time. Last time, studio stay, we requested near skyway bridge and got very first one off of it. It was noisy as we could hear Wishes music piped into the bridge each night as well as that electric water pageant thing and the movies under the stars and boat horns. It was the outside of the C (even number) facing the lake but also towards the CR. This time I will request inside the C (odd number) and high floor (I may just request the floor TOTWL is on).
     
  5. DduzDis

    DduzDis Mouseketeer

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    The walk from MK to BLT after HEA is fantastic. Make sure you close down MK and walk past the full lines for buses. It makes the appreciation for the location that much better. :)

    We have not done California Grill yet (two young, picky eaters with us usually), but our next adults only trip will have it on the schedule.

    And congratulations! That first 'Welcome Home' is a a great experience.
     
  6. kniquy

    kniquy DIS Veteran

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    If you have the blue membership card there is a DVC lounge at Epcot that you can visit. Some people hang out there for awhile, but we have used it for just a little break from the crowds, grab a little snack or free soda and be on our way. Definitely ask for a DVC discount any time you are shopping or at a TS restaurant.
     
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  7. kboo

    kboo DIS Veteran

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    We have made California Grill a regular dinner stop (early) since we started staying at the Contemporary. It's one of our family's favorites. There was plenty of space for our toddler to have a quiet little meltdown behind our seats and not be in anyone's way. I think it may have won in the "Best View" category of meltdowns. BTW, @DduzDis, they have the usual kid-friendly options for dinner, ranging from chicken tenders, to pasta to grilled fish/chicken - it is surprisingly kid-friendly, especially around 5pm!

    We also enjoy the walk to and from MK. We have always stayed on the outside of the "C" (even numbered rooms) and enjoyed the view, even from the standard room. A higher floor is definitely better, and we have liked the more peaceful views from the north wing, though I can see the attraction of being able to see the hotel and monorail too.

    If you have any discounts (DVC or AP or TiW), the Wave is a GREAT value, especially for breakfast. With the discount it ends up being not much more than Contempo Cafe (the QS) for breakfast, and it's much healthier and more filling. And most of the time, you don't need a reservation.

    I found the shopping on the 4th (?) floor on the Contemporary to be almost some of the best resort shopping - second only to the Grand Floridian, I think.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  8. CraigInPA

    CraigInPA Since June 1974

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    I second @kboo recommendation of The Wave. No view from the restaurant, but good food and service. In many respects, I enjoy The Wave more that the California Grille.
     
  9. Alyson A

    Alyson A Mouseketeer

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    I just love this post and question because it seems like I hear more negative than positive about BLT and we just love it! We've stayed at a number of DVC resorts and most often we stay at BWV because we love the view of the water, the energy, proximity to the two parks, etc. But, we also like to make each vacation interesting by doing different activities and staying at various resorts (i.e. Dining with an Imagineer, Wild Africa Trek, Painting with a View, etc.) It is only our 14 year-old son, my husband and me, so we are pretty flexible and go-with-the-flow people. I was nervous about our split stay at BWV and BLT in August but WHOA, we loved BLT. To save on points we requested a studio standard view and loved our first floor location with a view of the courts, near the pools. Not ideal to some, I loved walking out on our nice-sized patio to people watch in the morning, shaded by huge palm trees and enjoy a little coffee. While we liked the BLT pool, we REALLY liked the pools at the Contemporary (and are definitely renting a cabana there next time)! There were plenty of chairs, a fun slide, and a beautiful, ample beach with gorgeous sand. The beach portion also had comfortable outdoor loveseat couches you could sit (and really, I could have sat in all day)! Behind the 'family-type' pool is a very pretty pool that was a little more low-key near the water. I swear it looked like something out of a commercial! I stood near the water just to take everything in. It made me feel so lucky to be there. Another thing we loved was the short, but peaceful, boat ride to Wilderness Lodge and Geyser Point. We love sitting outside at Geyser Point to have lunch and enjoy the outdoor ambiance that location offers. Very calm, and less bustle than being in the heart of the action. Others have mentioned the close proximity to MK and the other two resorts and the convenience of going to the Contemporary for lunch. Of course, I find the TOWL very special -- we are by no means 'VIP' type people but really feel like VIPs when we are there. I'll also throw in that I loved walking to the Contemporary in the morning to grab coffee/latte in the lobby at Joffrey's. They swirl a Mickey right on top of your coffee! I can't say my heart is tied to any one resort -- I like each of the ones we stay at for different reasons -- but BLT is close to the top. It's different. Some say it is less "Disney" to them, but it felt luxurious and comfortable at the same time. I wish you a wonderful anniversary and magical stay!
     
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  10. drusba

    drusba I went to Iowa once, and it was closed.

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    I am guessing you did not reserve standard view because it is usually unavailable at 7 months out. If you have lake view or theme park view, make sure you put in a request through MS for high floor.

    California Grill in Contemporary is one of the best (but be aware it is costly, although a 10% DVC discount helps). You should also consider reserving the Hoop Dee Doo review in Fort Wilderness, a dinner and show that has been running for over 40 years. Being at BLT allows easy access to it because a boat runs between Contemporary and Fort Wilderness. Chef Mickey's buffet/character meal at Contemporary is also good (and also a 10% discount; for dining and other discounts go here
    https://disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com/media/dvc/languagespecific/eng/member/justformembers/perks/MM_2018 Perks list_WDW_Jan_R8.pdf). The Contemporary's 4th floor has one of the best Disney resort merchandise stores on site. And that is another discount at WDW: DVC member's get a 20% discount at all Disney owned and operated merchandise stores, which is most stores at the parks and hotels. The Contemporary actually has many good things but has one big downside -- it is stark and ugly inside and outside; fortunately Disney avoided that problem when doing BLT.

    You said you are going in a few weeks. That means you will be there for the beginning of Disney's Christmas season. All the decorations at MK should be up and you might want to try to reserve Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party for one of the nights you are there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  11. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

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    I am another person who enjoys the food at the Wave!:)
     
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  12. lovin'fl

    lovin'fl DIS Veteran

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    Maybe we should delete this thread so as not to make everyone aware how great the Wave is ;)
     
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  13. TiggerBouncy

    TiggerBouncy DIS Veteran

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    The acronyms in this site amuse me. No one who isn't familiar with this site would understand a word of that sentence.

    "Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we keep the PC on the QT? 'Cause if it leaks to the VC he could end up MIA, and then we'd all be put on KP." - Adrian Cronauer
     
  14. mnasf

    mnasf DIS Veteran

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    We love the convenience to the MK. Walking to and from the MK is so easy. Top of the World Lounge would be fun for you. California Grill and Chef Mickey's are things we often do, too. If there is a DVC event when you are there that is fun, too. Have a great time!

     
  15. BEASLYBOO

    BEASLYBOO OKW/Disney... my happy place.

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    Contempo and The Wave both have those darn Tillamook Cheddar Grits.... a sin! The Wave Bar is also nice! The one negative, BLT's pool is too small and too shallow. We pop over to the Contemporary pool.
     
  16. cmoliver5

    cmoliver5 Mouseketeer

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    The other hidden gem of BLT is essentially being able to take a bus from resort to resort. When we stayed there last we would do this to get to the Crsent Lake area for example. A quick walk to the MK bus loop and then hop on a bus to either BWV or BCV/YC and you’re there. Pretty much any other resort would necessitate either a bus to a park and then transfer or an Uber/Minnievan.

    There’s also a Joffrey’s just inside the CR lobby next to the bus loop which is very convenient when heading out to a park in the morning.
     
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  17. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    I second many of the ideas already mentioned. Since it does appear you'll be there at the holidays as drusba mentioned, make sure to visit various resorts for their decorations. You can hop on a boat for the Wilderness Lodge which has the best decorations given its setting as a Northwest lodge. From there, I highly suggest you walk to Ft Wilderness (via paved bike path, about a mile one way) and take in the holiday decorations there, as well. A lot of the RV owners really put on a show. They're a hidden gem. Grand Floridian also has elaborate decorations. CA Grill is good, but it can be noisy at dinner if you're wanting a quiet, romantic spot. We prefer the Sunday brunch--it's tough to get but well worth the effort if you can. Obviously, the ability to walk to MK (and the bus stops there) is a huge plus, and you have immediate access to the monorail. Definitely take advantage of TOWL. Get there 45 minutes early, grab a libation, and then stake out a spot on the deck. You can still watch it even if you show up 10 minutes ahead of time, but you'll likely be stuck toward the back of the viewing area. If you have a lake view, chill a nice bottle of bubbly or wine, and one evening, be sure to make time for the EWP. You will have an excellent view of it. The pool at BLT is nice enough, too, so take a plastic glass full of your favorite beverage at night and hit the hot tub by the big slide. Depending on timing, you might catch EWP from there, though I doubt you can see much; still, you'd be able to hear it.

    In short, we've enjoyed all our stays at BLT. Our home is VWL, and it's still our preferred place to stay. However, BLT makes a strong case for being our second favorite resort.
     
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  18. holden

    holden DIS Veteran

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    Enjoy a leisurely walk back to your resort after the MK fireworks while everyone else waits for buses, monorail and boats. This is one of the reasons we bought our DVC at BLT. That walk is priceless!
     
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  19. jerseygal

    jerseygal DIS Veteran

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    I have heard that the Wave is a “best kept 1 Table Service Meal”. We had a great meal there last Friday, I had delicious salmon and DS had such a delicious beef, so tender, truly fabulous filet, yummy). Did a split stay 2 night Poly, have been there before, love the 2 bath studio and convenience to Transportation Center, walkable and 3night studio lake view at BLT, first time. Gorgeous lakeview 11th floor studio overlooking pool, loved waking up to the beautiful sun and view! Enjoyed TOp of the World Hallowishes, great way to finish my birthday after an AWESOME dinner at the Boathouse, best fillet I ever had! So yummy! Beautiful non humid sunny weather this trip!☀️Enjoy your first stay at BLT!PS.Our last day, Tuesday was a Resort day, we relaxed and changed it up at the Contemporary pool, loved the hot tub there and lovely pool. The quick serve by the Contemporary pool has greater lunch selection, delicious, better selection than quick serve at Bay Lake. Good quality lunch at Contemporary quick serve at pool, can refill mug there as well, staff does it for you. Heard that staff is hoping for self serve refillable option at Contemporary pool in future,:goodvibes:thumbsup2
     
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  20. jerseygal

    jerseygal DIS Veteran

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    :laughing::laughing:
     
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  21. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

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    I agree wholeheartedly with you about BLT’s pool!
     
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