The closest you can get to the Magic Kingdom, the skyscraper model resort offers fantastic views and quick access.
Food Choice (9/10)
Room Sizes (6/10)
Peace and Quiet (7/10)
Bay Lake Tower is the first DVC resort to feature direct access to the Disney monorail system, joined now by sister resorts located at the Grand Floridan and Polynesian. It is styled directly after the Contemporary Resort which it is attached to by walkway.
Bay Lake Tower is what we at DVCreservations.com call a magnet resort. We call it that because, unlike other DVC resorts, it is an expansion of an existing non-DVC structure rather than its own resort complex. Renters staying at Bay Lake Tower get use of all of the Comtemporary's features including some of the best restaurants in the DVC network, community areas, weight room, etc, but it does not have its own facilities. It did recently receive its own mini-lobby but a lack of personal touches there is noticable. You do not get the "exclusive" feeling you get at the other DVC resorts nor the feeling that you are at a "home away from home". Bay Lake Tower also has smaller rooms than some of the other resorts.
These drawbacks are of course balanced by the location of the resort; literally within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom. You get monorail service to Epcot as well as every restaurant and facility on the main lagoon.
Views vary wildly: You can view the magic kingdom, the lake or the parking lot. Our experience is that the best views, for the money, are usually lake views. The magic kingdom views are more expensive and you usually get a partial view of the parking lot anyway.
As mentioned, most facilities are joined with the Contemporary, however, BLT does have a singature pool of its own. Designers set the pool up within the interior of the tower's horseshoe configuration. This is a very pretty setup but it blocks out the sun completely starting early evening. Thus if you are into the sun and like to use the pool at all hours, we would suggest another resort stay. Although if its 100 degrees out, having shade isn't the worst thing!
The food, as said earlier, is some of the best in the Disney Vacation Club. Chef Mickey's offers a character buffet which is outstanding (get reservations early for this one!) and the Contempo Cafe may just well be one of the best counter service locations in all of Disney. Our one complaint here is that seating for the Contempo is hard to get during peak periods. We also recommend staying clear of Chef Mickey's during holiday periods as their pricing goes through the roof.
As you can see, Bay Lake Tower has huge advantages and some drawbacks. We recommend it for couples above families as better pool areas, theming and kid activities are found elsewhere. But if you like the monorail and location, there is no better place to stay.
If you are interested in booking BLT, make sure to do so early. 4-7 months ahead you can get 2-3 nights here and there but any extended stay needs to be booked 7-12 months out. Make sure to have a backup plan if you want BLT as many dates are not available. We always suggest looking to split your stay at BLT and another DVC resort, so you can get the best of both worlds. Don't fixate on the lower price of the STANDARD VIEW room. Those are almost always sold out, leaving you with the LAKE VIEW as the lowest price alternative.
Distance to parks by bus and monorail: Epcot 15 minutes, Magic Kindgom 5 minutes, Hollywood Studios 15 minutes away, Animal Kingdom 20.
Stay recommendations: Couples and families of 3 will find the deluxe studio a great fit. Families of 4 or more should seek a larger reservation.
Entertainment hints: Having a lake view has an added benefit. Every night a water pageant marches by the lake from resort to resort. It is a great way to end the night and the cherry on a very big sundae that is Bay Lake Tower.
More DVC Resorts
Current deluxe studio and villa resorts available for rental in the Disney Vacation Club system.