21 FACTS About Disney’s Contemporary Resort (2024)

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort has some of the most interesting facts to learn about any Disney hotel.

Before and during our stays on Disney property, we enjoy learning new information about our resort. This enables us to appreciate all the little details even more when we’re there!

Below, you will discover these facts, along with some activities to enjoy around the resort.

21 Contemporary Resort Facts:

Fact#1: The monorail goes directly through the resort

contemporary resort facts

You heard that right! Disney’s iconic “highway in the sky” transportation system contains a stop inside the main concourse of the hotel. That means guests staying at the resort don’t even have to step outside until they’re exiting at the gate of the Magic Kingdom!

A follow-up fun fact about the monorail is the story of Bob Gurr, an infamous Imagineer in charge of many things, including the monorail.

The monorail’s top speed is about 60 miles per hour, though it never goes that fast anymore. One of the initial test runs of the transit system, with Bob Gurr at the wheel, featured the monorail flying through the resort at top speed.

With just inches of clearance in every direction, those aboard had their lives flash before their eyes! Bob Gurr promised to never do it again, and the monorail now maintains much slower speeds for guest safety.

Fact #2: The Contemporary  is the closest resort to Magic Kingdom

Of all the resorts in Disney World, the closest to Disney World’s flagship park is the Contemporary.

contemporary to magic kingdom

You can actually walk straight from the resort into the park in just a few minutes!

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Fact #3: The Contemporary Resort is flanked by two bodies of water

The Seven Seas Lagoon sits in front of the Contemporary Resort and was actually dug out during the construction of the Magic Kingdom!

Disney used this dirt to pile on top of the utility corridors of Magic Kingdom. All of the guest areas of the park sit on top of the dirt from Seven Seas Lagoon!

Behind the resort is Bay Lake, a natural body of water. Since the Contemporary Resort’s pool is right next to it, it offers great views, especially during sunsets!

Fact #4: The Contemporary Resort has three pools

Speaking of the pool, the Contemporary Resort has three of them!

There is a main pool that features a 17-foot-high waterslide, hot tubs, and cabanas.

contemporary resort facts

In addition, there is a separate “bullseye” pool located nearby.

Bay Lake Tower also has its own pool, but that is not accessible to guests of the main Contemporary Resort.

Fact #5: The Contemporary Resort is 14 stories tall

contemporary resort facts

The resort stands at 184 feet tall and features 14 stories.

Disney keeps their buildings under 200 foot height to avoid laws requiring blinking lights to alert aircraft. Blinking lights would ruin the façade of many buildings, so a lot of their tallest structures are a few feet below that mark.

Fact #6: The mural in the main concourse area is historic

The Contemporary Resort is known for its iconic look and monorail access but also gains notoriety for its iconic mural located in the main concourse.

contemporary resort facts

The artwork, created by Mary Blair, is 90 feet tall and painted on all sides of the central walls. Mary Blair is most known for her work on “It’s a Small World,” but she was a valued Imagineer in many ways within the Disney company.

The mural features all sorts of unique characters, including a rather famous error in the painting that resulted in a goat with five legs!

This silly goat is assumed to be an error in the design, as an extra leg was accidentally added to one of the goats during the mural’s creation. It has remained ever since and is a fun representative of the resort to those in the know.

The five-legged goat has gained increasing attention over the years, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, via increased online Disney engagement. It is now so famous that Disney itself has bought into it, even selling merchandise for it!

Fact #7: Opening Day was October 1st, 1971

contemporary resort facts

The Contemporary Resort opened with Magic Kingdom on October 1st, 1971, as one of two original hotels. The other one is the Polynesian Village Resort, located nearby.

The third member of the Magic Kingdom resorts, the Grand Floridian, opened 17 years later in 1988.

Fact #8: “I Am Not a Crook”

President Richard Nixon’s famous “I am not a crook” speech following the Watergate scandal was made at the Contemporary Resort!

The resort features a large convention center area, and the speech was made in one of the ballrooms.

You can actually go explore and stand in the same spot where the words were spoken. The Ballroom of the Americas is the specific one if you are interested.

The famous line happens at the 30-second mark below!

YouTube video

Fact #9: It was was almost named “Tempo Bay Hotel”

The resort was initially intended to be called Tempo Bay, but workers had been consistently using the project’s working title, “The Contemporary.”

Roy Disney eventually decided that the official name was not as good as the simplified Contemporary name, so that’s what it is called now!

Fact #10: Lego-like construction was used to build the Contemporary

contemporary resort facts

A unique modular building strategy was used to construct the resort, which was relatively new at the time. Steel framing for the resort makes up the resort’s A-frame, and separate rooms would be built at the same time to slide into place within the frame.

This method was meant to save time and money since both the building frame and rooms could be worked on at the same time, but it didn’t quite work out as intended.

The construction went way over budget, and Disney wasn’t very happy with their U.S. Steel partner.

Fact #11: Hidden Mickeys can be found all over!

One fun FREE activity to do at the Contemporary is to find “Hidden Mickeys.” We know of at least 22 that you can search for around the resort. You can learn more about each of them HERE.

Fact #12: The Contemporary Resort used to be a little more “Contemporary”

Disney re-themed the rooms in the resort to fit Pixar’s “Incredibles” film just a couple of years ago. While some guests enjoy the more “Disney” touch, the whole resort has lost a lot of the original Contemporary character it previously had.

At one point, the main concourse was filled with trees and benches!

Fact #13: The Contemporary Resort is one of eight Deluxe Resorts

Disney has seven other Deluxe resorts, a handful of Deluxe Villas, five Moderate resorts, and five Value resorts. Each category reflects the amenities (and price) of the resorts. Disney also has its own campgrounds!

Fact #14: The Contemporary Resort has three restaurants

The resort features three total full-service restaurants.

Chef Mickey’s is the most obvious, as guests get a view of the character dining buffet experience as they pass through the resort aboard the monorail.

contemporary resort facts

Steakhouse 71, a recent reimagining of The Wave, features a family-friendly upscale dining experience.

Lastly, the resort’s priciest and highly lauded dining experience, the California Grill sits atop the resort on the 14th floor.

It offers spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom park and surrounding areas.

Fact #15: The views are awesome!

If you are looking for a view without the full dining experience (or simply unable to secure a reservation), you can always try to visit via the California Grill Lounge instead. If all else fails, all guests can still get the spectacular rooftop view via the staircases located on both sides of the resort.

contemporary resort facts

To save yourself some stair climbing, you can even take the elevator inside up to the 11th floor, head out the side doors, and finish the stair climb to earn the amazing views!

Fact #16: A great place to see fireworks!

The Contemporary Resort offers excellent views of the Happily Ever After fireworks at the Magic Kingdom park.

Even if your room is not facing the correct direction, you can head down to the main concourse or connecting bridge to the Bay Lake Tower to see (and hear) the show.

If you want to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks without being in the park, this is a great spot.

Fact #17: Bay Lake Tower

Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club Resort, was added next to the Contemporary in 2009. The area was formerly home to the North Garden Rooms of the main Contemporary Resort but was re-used to build upwards.

Fact #18: The resort has over 1,000 rooms

contemporary resort facts

The entire Contemporary Resort now has over 1,000 total guest rooms, including 633 Deluxe Rooms and 23 suites. Most rooms are located in the main building, but there is a separate building area with additional rooms called the Garden Wing.

Fact #19: The Contemporary Resort has free movie nights

The Contemporary, along with all other Disney resorts, offers free nightly “movie under the stars” events as entertainment for guests.

Along with movies, Cast Members also host poolside games, s’mores making, and more!

Fact #20: The Contemporary Resort has beach access

Located just down the path from its pools, the Contemporary Resort has a great sandy beach on the shore of Bay Lake.

You can sit and relax, enjoy the views of passing boats, and take a second to breathe, away from the crowded parks.

Fact #21: You can travel to other resorts on a boat

The Contemporary Resort features boat travel to and from other resorts, including Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge.

Related – Contemporary Resort:

What was your favorite fact about Disney’s Contemporary Resort?

Please leave a comment below. 🙂 I’d also love to hear if you know any more!

Scott K
Scott K

Scott is the owner and creator of Resort Rat. He and his family were bitten by the Disney bug in 2017 on their first DW visit with kids. They have been on a Disney bender ever since, visiting the park numerous times per year. He loves writing about Disney, especially the incredible resorts. You can learn more about him on his author page. Or hear more about the Resort Rat story on this page.

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