by Ken Storey
Even as we come off of a softer than usual summer attendance wise at local theme parks, Disney is looking towards their next big rush.
Disney Vacation Club, the timeshare division of the company, is rumored to be building a second large tower near the Contemporary Resort. DVC already has a presence near the Contemporary with the Bay Lake Tower resort. That 295-unit tower shares the same theme and check-in area with the Contemporary. The plans for the new tower are still in the works with no official indication on when or if the tower will be built.
There are three possible locations for the tower near the Contemporary Resort. The most likely location would be the southern Garden Wing. These outdated rooms are outside of the Contemporary’s famous A-frame building and include surface parking nearby. Bay Lake Tower sits where the Northern Garden Wing rooms once were. The Southern Wing might prove to be a bit
difficult with access to DVC services. Currently, DVC members staying at Bay Lake Tower can use the amenities at the Contemporary but not vice versa. Having a second resort with a similar setup would mean guests at the Contemporary would have amenities on either side of them that they cannot access.
There is a hotel pad north of the current Bay Lake Tower where the announced but never built Persian Hotel was going to go before the 1973 Oil Embargo derailed those plans. The site is rather close to
Currently, some of the most expensive rooms at Walt Disney World (and in all of Central Florida) are the Polynesian bungalows on Seven Seas Lagoon. Those DVC units can go for an upwards of $3,000 per night. Tom Corless, a local theme park blogger who first broke the news of the new rumored tower, says that the new tower will likely have units priced at or even above the Poly bungalows. Corless also points out that the new tower will see an updated, luxury-focused design much different than Bay Lake Tower.
A third possible spot for the new tower is where the current convention center sits. The historic convention center (where Nixon gave his famous “I am not a crook” speech) has been on the chopping block for years now.
As convention needs change this smaller meeting center has been overshadowed by more updated ones at various other Disney resorts. It was remodeled a number of years ago but still feels rather dated when compared to ones at Coronado Springs, the Boardwalk, Swan and Dolphin, and other WDW options. Recently, the Yacht Club filed permits to expand and update its own convention center. That convention center sits across Crescent Lake from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and next to the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. Those resorts all feature massive convention centers with the majority of the commercial space at the Boardwalk Resort focused on convention goers.
The thought is that once the Yacht Club’s convention center opens its expansion the convention center at the Contemporary will close, helping shift the majority of convention goers at WDW to Crescent Lake. This may help alleviate some of the overcrowding at
If past behavior is any indication, we won’t likely hear anything official on the new DVC tower for many years. Bay Lake Tower itself was nearly half built before Disney even acknowledge that it existed.