Vice Presidential Suite at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

I’m going to let everyone in on the best-kept Club Level secret at Walt Disney World. I do this with some trepidation, to be honest, for purely selfish reasons: I don’t really want everyone to know about it, because then.. well, everyone will know, and they’ll want to stay there, and it might make it harder for us to get the reservations we want. But so long as you promise to not book this place up solid for the next 5 years, I’ll proceed.

Most folks have no idea that there are two Club Levels at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. There’s Atrium Club, on the 12th floor, which houses standard resort rooms that are decorated like all the other standard rooms in the resort. There are a couple King rooms on 12, but they are difficult to get because they’re by request only, so keep that in mind. The Atrium Club lounge is fairly large, and quite beautiful. It has balconies where you can stand and get the best view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks on Disney property. Now, the 12th floor is the very top of the “atrium” floors in the Contemporary, meaning it’s the top floor you can see if you’re standing in the Grand Canyon Concourse (you know, where the monorails are) and looking straight up. It has a killer view of the concourse area. But, as any proper fan of the California Grill at the Contemporary knows all-too-well, that top atrium floor is not the top floor of the hotel itself. California Grill is on the 15th floor, perched atop the hotel with long viewing decks on either side where patrons can see fireworks or stunning panoramic views of Disney property. Beneath the California Grill and above the 12th floor, however, there’s the 14th floor (yes, the Contemporary technically has no 13th floor). 14 is home to Tower Club, our consistent pick for the best Club Level at WDW.

Now, I’ll save my gushing review of the Tower Club experience itself for a future post. We’ll be there in a few months, and I want to get some really great photos to share with everyone. For this post, we’ll focus on one of the crown jewels of Disney Deluxe hotels: the Vice Presidential Suite, located on the 14th floor on the Bay Lake side of the resort.

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Look at this panorama. I’m awful at taking panorama photos, and it’s STILL breathtaking.

The 14th floor houses 16 total rooms. Yes, you read that correctly. 16 rooms. Total. What does that mean for you if you stay in one of these rooms? Well, a lot of things, but one of the biggest is that you get an entire Club Level lounge, and an entire concierge staff, essentially to yourself. The lounge is empty most of the time, except breakfast on weekends mostly, so you can sit in there for a solid hour and not see another soul, besides the 3 or 4 concierge staff who will constantly make sure you have everything you need. The most interesting and informative conversations we’ve had with cast members at Disney have been with the concierge team at Tower Club, since the service is so individualized and there are so few other guests for them to tend to. It’s fantastic, and they will always remember you if you go back in the future.

Full disclosure here: we did not pay for the VP Suite. We could never pay for the VP Suite. It was the definition of “pixie dust” for us from the Tower Club CMs on a trip a few months ago. Whether or not you actually fork over the enormous $$ to buy this suite or you get surprised by it as an upgrade, though, it’s about as much luxury as you’ll find at WDW. We hear a lot of folks claim that Disney hotels simply don’t measure up to non-property luxury resorts, but I can honestly say that, as someone who has stayed at a lot of luxury resorts and Disney Deluxes, this suite, and the entire 14th floor at the Contemporary, 100% measures up to any luxury resort I’ve ever visited. I’m sure not everyone will agree, of course, but that’s for them to explain on their own blogs.

The first thing you’ll likely notice in these photos is that the decor in this suite looks different than the decor in the rest of the hotel. That’s on purpose. The entire 14th floor is decorated in lighter, brighter colors. Instead of the dark browns and saturated colors on the other 12 floors, 14 is filled with tans, light greys, and more muted colors. It’s really beautifully done, and definitely enhances all the natural sunlight that pours into the floor during the day.

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Hey look, you get your own foyer, complete with your own fancy contemporary art!

The VP Suite takes up a total of 7 balconies worth of rooms. It’s bigger than our house, I’m pretty sure. It’s essentially a gigantic living room/dining room/kitchen, a foyer with a bathroom to the side, a massive master bedroom with two bathrooms in it, and an additional king bedroom that is the size of a standard room. If you’re really rollin’ in the dough, though, you can theoretically rent out the entire Bay Lake or Magic Kingdom block of rooms on 14, since they all connect, and have your own penthouse. This suite has 4 full, large bathrooms (2 with bidets, 2 with full tubs), two sleeper sofas, and a lounge sofa in the master bedroom. I have no idea how many people could sleep in it, but it’s a lot.

Here’s the “extra” bedroom:

You get a kitchen in this suite, which is pretty standard for all the suites at WDW. I don’t know why you’d need it, considering the amazing food at the Tower Club lounge is literally a step across the hallway, but hey.

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Check out the fridge. It’s programmable, if that’s your thing.

The living room area is gigantic, and incredibly comfortable. All the furnishings in this suite are super modern, but they don’t feel cold at all like a lot of your more sterile modern decor tends to feel. You can easily get settled in, prop your feet up, and chill to the soothing sounds of WDW Today on the TV with no trouble.

The couches are super comfy, too. That doorway you see near the TV is the entry to the “extra” bedroom.

You also have a big dining room area with a long table in it that can seat six people. If you’re like us and are a party of two, it’s disorienting and hilarious at the same time to sit at it. Sit at either end and yell across the table at each other. Pretend you’re rich people. Maybe reenact that dining scene from Beauty and the Beast. Go ahead, you’re on vacation.

The best part of this suite, however, is the master bedroom. It’s enormous, has two full bathrooms, tons of seating, and really feels insanely luxurious. The bed faces the beautiful view of the lake directly. There’s not much that captures that “Disney” feeling more than laying in bed and watching the boats ferry folks across Bay Lake in the morning. We loved opening the balcony doors and hearing the horns echoing up.

Here’s a close-up of that amazing lounge-couch thing past the bed:

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I could legitimately live on this thing.

Then there’s the view. The VP Suite sits right in the middle of the 14th floor, so you get a perfectly centered, dead-on view of Bay Lake. If you walk out onto the living room balcony area at night, it’s like the Electrical Water Pageant is performing just for you.

The 14th floor does not connect to the atrium area of the resort, meaning you can’t look down and see the monorail from the hallways. It’s completely closed off. I realize that’s not everyone’s jam, particularly if the main reason you’re wanting to stay at the Contemporary is to be able to see the hustle and bustle of the Grand Canyon Concourse and the monorails from outside your room, but for us it’s a real plus. We love how quiet the 14th floor is. You honestly have no clue that there’s a monorail and a mile-long line of strollers with screaming children in them impatiently waiting for their Chef Mickey’s reservations right below you. You also never hear a peep from California Grill, which is sitting right above your head. That’s a huge advantage in general of an older hotel like the Contemporary over some of the newer-constructed Deluxes: the Contemporary is solid steel (haven’t you seen that old US Steel commercial about the Contemporary from the 70s on YouTube yet? If not, go watch it right now, it’s fantastic), the doors and walls are thick, and the 14th floor is like an oasis from it all. It would probably seem very boring for children, I’m not going to lie. But for a couple, or two adults seeking a relaxing WDW vacation, it’s heaven.

So there it is. You’ve seen the Vice Presidential Suite, and you’ve heard about the awesomeness that is Tower Club at the Contemporary Resort. As I promised above, I will be dedicating an entire future post to the Club Level experience up on 14. But for now, I hope this glimpse will suffice.

Should you find yourself looking to splurge majorly on a once-in-a-lifetime luxury WDW trip, I would recommend the VP Suite at the Contemporary at the very top of my list. You won’t find a more peaceful view, or a nicer suite, or a better Club Level lounge and staff. You’d pay more for a suite at Royal Palm at the Grand Floridian and at Tonga at the Polynesian Village, and to be perfectly honest you won’t get nearly as great of an overall experience as you will at the Contemporary. Plus, you can step across the hallway at night, grab a glass of champagne, stand on the enormous Club Lounge balcony, and watch the fireworks from there. Most nights, you’ll have the whole place to yourself. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

A Stay in a Renovated Yacht Club Room

We recently had the great luck to check in to Disney’s Yacht Club Resort for a short Club Level stay there. We’d never stayed at YC before — in fact, the only time I’ve ever set foot in the resort at all was for a meal at the Yachtsman Steakhouse a few years ago.

I’ll admit that I didn’t have very high hopes for this stay.

Here’s the thing: the two of us aren’t real big fans of the EPCOT resorts in general. I dislike the theming and weird mini-balconies of Beach Club, and after a less-than-stellar experience at Boardwalk Inn last month I don’t know when we’ll ever be back over on that side of Crescent Lake. So when we booked Yacht Club last-minute, we went in with low expectations, hoping to maybe come out of it not hating it. It was literally the only deluxe resort with Club Level availability for our dates. That didn’t give us much hope.

Let’s just say we were so, so, so very wrong about Yacht Club.

Basically everything we experienced there was stellar. Not just stellar in terms of Disney resorts, but stellar in terms of being on par with high-end hotels anywhere. They’re really trying hard over at YC, and it shows.

One of the perks of booking a Club Level stay at a Disney resort is a curbside greeting from a concierge, who takes you immediately up to the club lounge to do all your check-in stuff. Here’s the thing, though: it rarely happens anymore. At least in our experience. Out of all the CL stays we’ve had the past two years, we’ve only been greeted curbside once, and that was at the Contemporary Resort. The no-curbside-greeting trend continued at YC. We’re OK with this, so it’s not a huge deal. We went inside, did a partial check-in at the main desk, then got whisked upstairs to the 5th floor Regatta Club.

The lobby at YC is really beautiful. I can see why it wouldn’t necessarily appeal too much to children, however, so keep that in mind. It’s very adult, in the sense that it’s meant to look like the grand lobbies of old steamliners. Lots of leather, nautical details, a huge globe, etc.

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Check out that globe!

The 5th floor itself is all Club Level rooms. It’s secure-access, meaning you’ll need to scan your MagicBand to be able to select “5” in the elevator. This is pretty standard at Disney resorts. When you walk out of the elevator, you see two concierge desks. That’s where they’ll check you in. We were immediately asked if we’d like a drink while we sat, so naturally we obliged.

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The welcome drink at YC is a strawberry-infused champagne. It was delicious. The trend of special Club Level welcome drinks is sadly dying at many other resorts, so I was thrilled to see it alive and well here. We had two apiece, cause vacation.

The Regatta Club lounge itself is very beautiful, having been renovated only a year or so ago.

Some photos of the seating areas:

The lounge itself isn’t enormous, but they utilize the space extremely well. It never felt crowded even when a number of the tables were taken. There is also some seating on the balcony overlooking the entrance to the resort.

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The serving areas were nicely laid out, too.

They had the standard CL espresso maker (Nespresso pod-based), as well as fresh coffee dispensed next to it. Iced tea, lemonade, and water were also available all day. The lounge closed briefly in between the posted serving times, typically for around 30 minutes total, but if you needed anything you just asked one of the folks at the concierge desks and they’d get it for you. I did this twice and they were very kind about it.

Snacks included Old Bay seasoned potato chips (THESE WERE HEAVEN), make-your-own trail mix, cookies, and fruit.

Breakfast was ample, with pastrami-style salmon with capers/onions/eggs, delicious cheese grits, cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, pastries and breads, tons of fresh fruit.

Dinner selections included shaved roast beef on toast with horseradish cream and onion jam, a chickpea salad, quinoa salad, a large cheese assortment, vegetables and hummus, and some kid choices like fancy PB&J and pigs-in-a-blanket. There is a chef from some of the restaurants on property that prepares the food now, which has become standard across all the CLs. This one was very creative. We loved the food he put out.

But here’s the most important part: the alcohol selection! For beers, they had Bud Light, Yuengling, Sam Adams Winter Ale, and Longboard Lager (the kind they also have at the Polynesian). Wines included a Cabernet, Chardonnay, Sparkling, and our favorite: a South American Carmenere. You don’t see those every day, and this one was delicious. Nightly cordials included Grand Marnier, Kahlua, and Amarula (the kind with the elephant on it, in case you’re familiar).

The staff in the lounge were some of the best we’ve encountered on property. You could honestly see the pride they took in keeping that lounge spotless and beautiful. We were truly impressed.

 

So you’ll notice I haven’t mentioned the room yet. There’s a reason for that.

The rooms here are all freshly renovated. When I say “freshly renovated,” I mean we were legitimately the first human beings to stay in this room since it was finished. Talk about smelling fresh and clean.

We’d initially booked a standard Club Level room, which includes two Queen beds and a pull-out sofa. We asked the concierge who checked us in if they had King rooms on the Club Level floor, since we had no idea and we’ve been to several CLs that don’t (I’m looking at you, Polynesian Village). She said they did, picked up the phone, and literally ten minutes and a strawberry champagne later we were in a brand-new King room with a lagoon view. That’s some serious pixie dust! Thank you, Yacht Club! We love y’all!

I could write a book about how amazing the renovated rooms are, but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves for a moment.

That bed might’ve been the most comfortable hotel bed I’ve ever slept in.

A few notes on the room renovation:

  • There is a ridiculous amount of storage in these rooms. We had a King room with a maximum occupancy of 2, and I swear we could’ve stored enough stuff for 3 large families in here and still had drawer space left over. The bed also had space underneath, since Disney’s going in the no-box-spring direction now, which I love.
  • The countertops are all real marble. They’re impressive. I was impressed.
  • There are little book-lights hidden in the headboard of the bed.
  • The shower was legit. You’ll wanna camp out in there.
  • It felt like staying in a really nice, very large stateroom on a ship. Obviously that’s the theme Disney is going for here, but I can attest to the fact that they got the theme immersion down 100% on this. It’s nautical, but doesn’t feel like you’re sleeping in a Long John Silvers circa 1989.

Are there Disney touches in the rooms? Yes. They’re subtle, but super adorable.

Here’s one:

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And here’s my all-time favorite: the curtains. It took me a few minutes to notice it, but once I did, I was in love.

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Our overall impressions of Yacht Club are incredibly positive. We went in expecting to be disappointed. We left hoping to come back and stay again soon. Yacht Club is officially our one and only when it comes to EPCOT resorts now.

As of this post, only the 5th floor rooms are fully renovated. That means if you want a renovated room and you’re staying at YC within the next month, you’ll only guarantee yourself one by booking Club Level standard rooms. The suites are NOT finished, but they’re located on other floors. We saw them working on one while we were there.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed our first post. We’ll be adding a lot more soon, so please check back! If you have any questions or comments, let us know.

Getting Started

Hey folks! We’re in the process of getting everything up and running right now in the hopes that this blog will end up being a source of information for adults looking to take a different kind of Disney trip. Since this is the very first post, I thought I’d take a moment to introduce ourselves and elaborate on why we decided to start blogging.

As I wrote on the About Us page, we’re a married couple in our thirties who loves Disney. Both of us took trips to WDW back in the 80s when we were very young and it’s been a place that’s always stuck with us in our memories. Our first trip together was in January of 2014, about six months after we got married. We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge in a beautiful “Honeymoon room” on the Club Level floor and we were blown away by our entire experience. When we booked it, we booked the room over the phone with Disney Reservations at basically rack rate, with the deluxe dining plan, and had absolutely no clue what we were doing beyond that.

Since that first trip, we’ve learned a lot.

We love Disney Deluxe resorts. We adore Club Level at those resorts. We love dining at Disney, particularly what Disney refers to as “Signature” dining (although we don’t do the dining plan anymore for reasons we’ll discuss on a future post). Essentially what we discovered on that first trip set the tone for all our subsequent visits. We have, however, learned how to do these kinds of deluxe experiences smarter than before.

This blog won’t be for everyone, and we understand that. If you’re a park commando couple who only sleeps and showers in their hotel room, our resort information won’t likely be helpful. If you’re a big fan of renting DVC points and staying in a villa with a kitchen so you can cook meals while at Disney instead of eating out a lot, our restaurant reviews won’t be required reading for you. But we do hope that we can assist those of you who, like us, have had trouble finding the kind of adult- and couple-oriented information on Disney World that you’re seeking for your trip. Whether you’re going to WDW on your honeymoon, for an anniversary, a romantic weekend, a getaway with a best friend or sibling, etc, our tips and reviews will be oriented toward fun, unique stuff to do together. We also hope we can help dispel the myths surrounding WDW as a place suitable for vacations only if you have a young family in tow. Enjoy Disney as an adult sometime! The beauty of WDW is that there’s plenty of room for everyone, adult and kid alike, to have an amazing experience.

We’ll be adding more content soon. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us if you have questions or want to suggest something for us to write about in the future. You can email us here. Also, please follow us on Twitter and Instagram!