Contemporary vs Beach Club - need advice

So I’ve done a lot of research on Beach Club, because I thought we wanted to be around the EPCOT area, but now, my kids have said that MK is more important for them. So now I’m looking at Contemporary.

My problem is that I had previously chosen Beach Club because of Stormalong Bay, the Boardwalk area of shops and restaurants and the chance of catching some fireworks from at least the Beach area of the resort. I can’t afford the Theme Park view of the Contemporary Tower (an extra $100 a night when we’ll be there!), but I can afford the Garden Wing.

  1. Is there somewhere we can go on the hotel property to watch the MK fireworks (not the park)? Is that a thing that people do?

  2. I’ve been told that Stormalong Bay is the best pool in Disney. But how does that Contemporary pool compare? Does it have the walk-in entrance or sand in the pool? How about depth of the pool compared to Stormalong? I know it’s got a slide (they all do), but is it a good one?

  3. What are the restaurant options like?

  4. What about non-pool (non-park) things to do? My guys will be 12 and 14, so not into kid things, but certainly would enjoy biking or walking or marshmallows at a campfire, for example. They also would have loved the Kitchen Sink ice cream at Beaches and Cream, mind you.

  5. Can you walk to MK from the resort or does the monorail stop there? Which is the better option for RD?

  6. Finally, on check out day, we want to hit MK. Can we leave our car parked in their parking lot, even though we checked out or do we need to move it to the TTC area?

Thanks for any help and advice.

I’ll answer what I can…

  1. There is a deck, I believe on the 4th floor where you can watch the MK fireworks.

  2. The CR pool is a cement hole in the ground; not even in the same league as SAB.

  3. California Grill is my favorite restaurant in WDW - but it’s a signature and therefore quite expensive. The Wave is a TS that gets generally good reviews. Chef Mickey is a CM; probably not what your teens would be interested in. The Contempo Cafe is the QS, but I’ve never eaten there so I can’t comment. HOWEVER - you can hop on the monorail and have 7 very highly rated restaurants at the Poly and GF just a few minutes away. You can also take a boat to WL and have another 2 to choose from.

  4. With no kids of my own, I’ve never really paid much attention to activities, but my general impression is “not much” other than an arcade (assuming it’s still open).

  5. The walk to MK is one of the best things about staying at the CR; it’s about 10 min on a well-marked path. You can also take the mono, but it actually takes longer as you have to stop at the TTC, Poly, and GF before you get to the MK.

  6. No first hand experience doing this at the CR, but I don’t think you have to move your car; I didn’t have to at POP.

Travel from Epcot to MK is a bit of a pain. Seriously. It’s a long bus ride that shares with YC and may or may not share with Swalphin and/or BW. So if you’re planning extensive MK time, plan for CR then give the tweens freedom to explore anything on the Monorail (Poly, GF) or within a boat ride (i.e. WL/FW).

SAB is really awesome if you have little kids (the sandbar pool is exceptional). If you’re planning on making pool time a central part of your trip, it’s neat and unique and the lazy roundabout (it’s not exactly a “river” like at BB or TL) is nice, the slide is long (but a little bumpy), the theming is extraordinary. But otherwise, all the pools are nice and will meet the bill of a place to get wet and splash around and cool off. Peak depth will be about the same in both pools.

We did a split stay AoA/YC last year then Pop/BC this spring - mostly HS/EP while at BC/YC, mostly MK from AoA/Pop; the walk/boat to HS/EP was really really great.

What about the Poly, you can monorail to both EP & MK, pool is more interesting than Contemporary. Can walk to TTC and get bus to water parks.

I agree with @Tate, have you considered the Poly? Monorail or boat to MK, short walk to TTC for monorail to EP- walk to GF. Two really nice pools!

The Poly is almost a $100 more than the Contemporary for a standard view. I’m putting it in the “maybe I can convince DH” category, but I certainly wouldn’t be able to afford an extra $300 over that for a theme park view. But again, is there somewhere on the property people go to watch the fireworks at the Poly? That would be my only choice. We’re going next March. I get one day at a resort (cruising, so it’s already an expensive trip) and I want to make it count.

Does Poly have it’s own parking lot or are you parking at the TTC?

Own parking lot. Used to be great watching fireworks from the beach, the incident at the GF has meant they have been closed but that hopefully won’t be permanent. There’s other places to watch from, including the pool, terrace at Sam’s Grog Grotto, Ohana if you get a table by the window. Poly has a good view as it’s straight on with the castle, though the new bungalows have effected this, but the fireworks are in the air.

Recent reports are that they are allowing people to watch Wishes from the beach.

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stayed at both
BC best pool by far but for my family poor food options. The QS has limited options and is essentially in a gift shop. The other food option is buffet and $$$ but could go to boardwalk for additional options but is a longer walk

CR can watch fireworks from deck but is sometimes crowded. Pool is average but really was not near as crowded as BC so my kids (under 10 with both stays) really like it. Cannot see illuminations much from BC some rooms with HS firework view I’ve heard

Ate at both Contempo Cafe and Wave and loved both. Your kids probably too old for CM and costs a ton so would skip.Also haven’t been to Cali grill as our kids are still young As @mossymom said have many other options quickly on monorail

So busy with Disney and a quick swim didn’t check other options at CR but does have nightly movies did marshmallows at BC and kids loved

Yes can leave your car we did for most of check out day

both are great but to me loved walking to Epcot and Uber to MK

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We watched Wishes from the MK boat dock at Grand Floridian in May… it was nice.

While it’s certainly convenient to MK, I find Contemporary to be quite boring, in general. I do like the restaurant options, but the QS at Poly is better. If I were in your situation I’d probably stick with Beach Club and book Cali Grill as a special dinner one night when you’re planning to be at MK anyway… then you can watch the fireworks from their roof deck!

If you’re staying a week or more than another option could be a split stay, with the longer part at an MK resort and the shorter part at Beach Club… best of both worlds and in my experience not nearly as much hassle as it seems like it could be.

Funny enough, I showed my DS (who will be 12) a video of the Contemporary, BC and Poly pools. He thought the Contemporary pool was the most interesting. What do kids know, lol?

We are only doing the one day in the World, and the kids chose MK. We are only staying one day in a WDW resort, because we’ll be coming off a week long DCL sailing. While we’ve done many years touring WDW, we’ve always stayed off site, which I do recommend for long stays and comfort. But this is my one chance to stay on property. I never have and always wanted that one experience. I have to balance it with DH, who’s really only going on this one day because the airfare home was cheaper if we left a day later.

Yeah, I sold it like that without telling him the resort and tickets would more than eat up the savings, but he loves me, so he’ll forgive me when he gets over the sticker shock… eventually. :blush:

So, here’s me trying to make everyone happy. My kids have never seen the fireworks (but will see SW fireworks show on the Fantasy) and they do enjoy swimming and arcades, so that’s how I ended up with the short list I have.

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If the only park you are visiting is MK then stay on a monorail resort. If you’re kids chose MK then go to the hotel you most want to stay at.

We have stayed at BLT (connected to the Contemporary) twice. The pool at the Contemporary isn’t bad. It might get 5 ft deep at it’s deepest point? The slide is basic but still fun. There’s a nice snack bar in the pool area as well as a few hot tubs and a separate “quiet” pool (the circular one that’s closest to the lake). There are also water crafts right there to rent - though I heard rumors that the sea raycers are out of commission for a bit due to recent events? Don’t take my word for that though!
We also took the ferry from the CR to the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness several times - other food and activity options (Whispering Canyon, Hoop-Dee-Doo, Chip-n-Dales Campfire, etc.). Staying on the monorail track means easy access to the Poly and Grand Floridian too.
The food in the CR is good. We ate QS meals at Contempo Cafe several times and have no complaints. There is also a good sized arcade on the main floor by the shops and restaurants.
The monorail goes right through the middle of the CR so easy to travel to other locations. We preferred to walk to MK (only took us 5-10 minutes!). We also had no complaints about getting to Epcot from CR. We took the monorail from CR to the TTS and then switched over to the Epcot monorail - door to door service!

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