Walk to the Magic Kingdom From Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When visiting Walt Disney World, just staying on Disney property may not be enough. Some families want to be within walking distance or a quick monorail hop of their favorite park. For those who want to be able to walk to the Magic Kingdom, there’s no better place to stay than Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Disney World resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort, one of original Walt Disney World hotels, is often thought of as “the hotel that the monorail goes through”. Despite the close proximity of the monorail, the resort isn’t overly loud, and is actually very comfortable.

If you need a good night’s sleep every night and don’t always have an easy time getting it, you will probably be pleasantly surprised. Depending on your room location, you will hear the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Water Pageant early, but otherwise the rooms are pretty quiet, especially late at night.

Disney Contemporary Room

Rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Booking a room at the Contemporary can be a little confusing, because there are several room options. The hotel actually has three sections. The tower is the iconic A-frame building that includes most of the restaurants and shops, plus the monorail. The garden wing is a smaller section to the right of the tower as you’re looking at the water. There’s also the newer Bay Lake Tower, with has rooms in several sections, with varying views. (Some can see the Magic Kingdom fireworks at night.)

You’ll find that rooms in the garden wing are cheaper, but if you have your heart set on staying in the main building, make sure that’s what you book. The most expensive rooms offer a Magic Kingdom view that will thrill the kids or look out at the water—worth it only if you plan on spending lots of time in the room.

The rooms were recently refurbished in 2021 along with the lobby remodel, and now have a Pixar Incredibles theme as opposed to the ultra-modern “Jetsons” sort of feel of before. Many rooms also offer a sleeper sofa, accommodating five in the room. There are lots of outlets, and free wireless internet access is included. The service seems to be consistent across the property: my travel companions and I needed to get a lot of work done while we were attending a convention and the signal worked well in multiple locations.

Disney resort bathroom

Dining and Lake Buena Vista Amenities

The resort itself offers several popular dining options. The California Grill offers fabulous views from atop the tower and delicious food, so it’s a popular sport for watching the fireworks at night. If you are traveling with small children, make sure you book breakfast or dinner at Chef Mickey’s, which is hosted by Mickey and friends. The new and improved Steakhouse 71 which opened during the park’s 50th anniversary pays homage to The Contemporary’s past, with high-end dining for both breakfast and dinner.

Entrance to the Wave Restaurant at Disney Contemporary Resort

There are also several quick service spots, including a lobby coffee spot, the Outer Rim bar and a convenience store. Next to Chef Mickey’s is The Contempo Cafe which resembles a mall food court—except for the Disney-level prices.

Transportation around to the parks is offered via monorail, boat, or bus. You can literally get off the elevator from your room and hop onto the monorail to get to the signature park. If you’re not in a hurry it’s easiest to just walk to the Magic Kingdom. Expect for the whole walk to take about 10-15 minutes. You can take a monorail to Epcot, but you’ll need to take a shuttle bus to both Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

If you want a break from the theme parks, the resort also offers a large pool as well as the Sammy Duvall Watersports Center which offers parasailing and other fun water sports on the lake. It’s a nice way to take the afternoon off.

If you haven’t filled up every day with park visits, there’s a fitness center and spa on site for getting rid of the post-park stress. 

You can also catch a free shuttle to the extensive Disney Springs complex for a wide range of dining, drinking, and shopping options. There are several sizable stores on site in the hotel though stocked with souvenirs, which now include Marvel and Star Wars items.

If your room faces the lake, you’ll get a nostalgic Water Pageant show at night: a quite cheesy and patriotic sound and light show like you see below, the objects set up and then hauled away each evening by boat.

Disney Contemporary nostalgic light show

Booking Your Stay Within Walking Distance to Magic Kingdom

Although this isn’t really a luxury resort, it’s priced like one because, well, people are willing to pay it. Rates seldom drop below $350 even in the garden wing and $600+ for a standard isn’t unheard of. Most of the suites are more than $1,000 per night. You can find out more information by visiting the official Resort website. Check rates at  Hotels.com or Priceline.

Want to see some other options? Check out our multiple Orlando hotel reviews

Article and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted at the hotel as a press attendee at a Florida tourism conference. Updated January 2023 with help from his daughter Alina, who worked at The Contemporary as part of the Disney college program.


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