Now that the dust has settled and we’ve all regained our energy (yes, it took months) from our multi-generational jaunt to Walt Disney World, I wanted to circle back and answer the most common question people are shooting our way about the trip. Since I posted my first blog post about Disney, I’ve gotten endless emails and messages asking for advice on where to stay with a multi-generational group that wants to stay in super close proximity to on another, have some privacy but still enjoy as much of the trip as possible together.
Our trip included my parents, my family of 4 – including my 1.5 year old and 4 year old and, at least for part of the planning process, my husband’s mother. We wanted to stay together in one hotel and hopefully one large hotel suite because we don’t live in the same area as any of the grandparents. Those grandparents were ready to jump in and do breakfasts, pool time, activities and bedtime and I wasn’t going to deny them the opportunity (how selfless of me!). We weren’t sure we were going to be able to find something that gave us all privacy and space for the babies to sleep while the adults kept a regular schedule but we did and we loved it.
We stayed in a two bedroom “villa” at the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort.
The word “villa” made us originally think that the space would be a separate house or cottage but that is not the case. “Villa” describes a large hotel room that has a central door to the suite. Once you enter the suite, there is a full bathroom on the right, accessible to entire suite. On the left is a door/door way to a standard sized hotel room with a full bath and two queen beds. As you walk down the main hall, the suite opens into a kitchenette with a dining table banquette and a living room with a balcony off of it. The space also includes a full laundry room with washer and dryer. Off of the living space is the master bedroom with a kind bed and full bath, which also has access to the balcony.
We did hope that my mother in law would be able to join us on the trip and part of what we loved about the suite was that both the living room sofa and the living room recliners turn into beds (a queen and twin, respectively).
I feel like the Bay Lake Tower is a total hidden gem mostly because it is apart of the Disney Vacation Club but it’s a misconnection that only Vacation Club members can stay there. On top of that, it’s just behind the Contemporary so while the Bay Lake Tower has it’s own amazing pool, it’s a little quieter than the hub-bub of the Contemporary. We walked over to the Contemporary daily for breakfast with Mickey, to see the Monorail run through and to grab snacks and wine post parks, but escaped to the Tower for a quiet, easy environment.
Another huge plus is Bay Lakes is on the lake so you have access to the water activities (and the view!) and you are walking distance to the Magic Kingdom, which was huge for us with small children. We loved being able to walk over to the park first thing in the morning and know that we could wander back with just a quick walk if the kids were exhausted or over it.
I was hoping that we would avoid a super themed hotel/hotel room and the decor in the Bay Lakes Tower is very understated and leaning toward the modern side. It feels fresh and updated and not at all cheesy.
My parents said they loved getting to be a apart of bedtime but then being able to keep a more adult schedule by hanging out all together in the living room and the balcony after the babes were snoozing. Often on our trips, one adult has to stay back in a hotel while the babies sleep and the other adults get to go out to dinner and drinks – this time, we were able to get a moment kid free to reset and spend time together before another day of Disney-ing.
And one last bonus: we had an infant who couldn’t hang for fireworks time but a preschooler who could, so we would come back for the night, get everyone in their pajamas, put the baby to bed and walk our big boy to the sky bridge between the Bay Lakes Tower and the Contemporary to watch the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle. My parents took him one night and we took him another, it was such a treat for him to do his big boy thing one on one with each of us.
And just for fun, here’s a little video from our trip that I’ve been dying to share!
If you’ve traveled to Disney with a multi-generational family, where have you stayed??