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When Did Disney Contemporary Resort Open?

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort, a staple of the Walt Disney World Resort, is recognized for its iconic A-frame structure and the monorail system that runs directly through the hotel. But when did this architectural marvel first open its doors to the public?


Disney’s Contemporary Resort officially opened its doors to the public on October 1, 1971. This iconic resort, known for its innovative A-frame structure and monorail system, was one of the two original properties located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida.

The Grand Opening

Disney’s Contemporary Resort officially opened on October 1, 1971. It was one of the two original properties located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, the other being Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The resort’s A-frame main building and its proximity to the Magic Kingdom theme park quickly made it a popular choice for guests.

The Visionaries Behind the Resort

The conception and construction of the Disney Contemporary Resort involved several key individuals and organizations:

  1. Welton Becket & Associates: The architecture firm responsible for the resort’s design.
  2. Don Wexler: The design architect who planned the prefabricated guest rooms.
  3. WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering): Collaborated on the design.
  4. United States Steel Corporation: Handled the construction and devised the innovative prefabricated modular room concept.
  5. Mary Blair: The artist and animator who designed the large-scale, 90-foot-high mural in the Contemporary’s atrium, known as the “Mosaic”.

The Evolution of the Resort

Since its opening in 1971, Disney’s Contemporary Resort has undergone significant changes and renovations. In 2005, Disney embarked on a substantial renovation of the Contemporary Resort, which was completed in 2009. As part of this renovation, the North Garden Wing was demolished to make way for a separate Disney Vacation Club resort. The Bay Lake Tower, a 15-story addition, officially opened on August 4, 2009.

In June 2021, Disney Parks Blog announced a redesign of the rooms, blending monorail motifs with Incredibles characters. The resort’s lobby restaurant, The Wave… of American Flavors, was set to close to make way for a reimagined dining experience in time for the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration.

Unique Features and Amenities

Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers a range of unique features and amenities to its guests. These include a variety of accommodations, dining options, recreational activities, and convenient amenities. One of the major advantages of the Contemporary Resort is its prime location, providing guests with easy access to the Magic Kingdom park.

Impact on the Disney Brand

The opening of Disney’s Contemporary Resort had a significant impact on the overall Disney brand. As one of the two original properties at Walt Disney World Resort, the Contemporary Resort showcased Disney’s commitment to innovation and unique experiences. The resort’s design and construction methods were considered groundbreaking at the time, with modular guest rooms being assembled off-site and then slid into the main structure.

Major Milestones

The Disney Contemporary Resort has seen several significant events and milestones since its opening. These include President Richard Nixon’s famous speech during the Watergate scandal, the official dissolution of The Beatles, the construction and opening of the Bay Lake Tower, and the resort’s 50th-anniversary celebration.

Future Plans and Recent Changes

While Disney has not officially announced any specific future plans for the Contemporary Resort, the company is known for its continuous efforts to improve and update its resorts, so more changes could be announced in the future. Recently, the resort has undergone a significant refurbishment, with many hotel rooms redesigned with an Incredibles theme.

In conclusion, Disney’s Contemporary Resort has been an integral part of the Walt Disney World Resort since it first opened its doors in October 1971. With its distinctive design, innovative construction, and commitment to providing a unique guest experience, the Contemporary Resort continues to be a favorite choice for many Disney visitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the dining options available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort?

Some of the dining options at Disney’s Contemporary Resort include the California Grill, Chef Mickey’s, The Wave… of American Flavors, and the Contempo Café.

What are the different types of accommodations available at the resort?

The Disney Contemporary Resort offers a variety of accommodations, including standard rooms, suites, and villas. The resort also includes the Bay Lake Tower, which offers deluxe studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas.

What recreational activities are available at the resort?

Recreational activities at Disney’s Contemporary Resort include pools, a fitness center, a marina for various watercraft rentals, tennis courts, and a video game arcade. The resort also offers specialty cruises and fishing excursions.

How many guest rooms does Disney’s Contemporary Resort have?

Disney’s Contemporary Resort has a total of 655 rooms. This includes 394 rooms in the tower and 261 rooms in the garden wing.

Is Disney’s Contemporary Resort located within walking distance to any of the Disney parks?

Yes, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is located within walking distance to the Magic Kingdom park. It’s also the only resort with a monorail station located inside the hotel, providing easy access to Epcot and other Disney parks.

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