Warning Issued to Guests Staying on Property at Disney World This Summer

in Featured, Hotel, Walt Disney World

A collage of three images: one shows a modern living room with a red couch, the second image is obscured by a red cross, and the third displays a scenic lawn leading to a tranquil lake.

Credit: Disney/TikTok/Canva

A warning has been issued for guests planning a Disney World vacation and choosing to stay in one of Disney’s Resort hotels during their trip.

Planning Ahead For a Dream Disney Trip

Springtime is prime time when it comes to finalizing plans and bookings for many guests’ summer vacations at the Most Magical Place on Earth. For many fans of Disney’s Central Florida theme parks, tickets have been purchased for months as part of a vacation package that also includes a multi-night stay at a Disney World Resort hotel.

Night view of a waterfront promenade with illuminated figures and palm trees, a calm river reflecting city lights, and buildings in the background under a cloudy sky.
Swan and Dolphin Hotels/Credit: Becky Burkett

Then again, there are some guests who choose to take flight by the proverbial seat of their pants and instead purchase their tickets on the first day of their visit to the parks and even book their resort hotel stays only a day or two before arriving.

It’s a slippery slope for sure, as Disney World’s resort hotel rooms book up quickly, especially for dates in the summer and during the holiday season.

Cinderella castle at night illuminated in blue lights, with a crowd of visitors enjoying the view, and holiday decorations visible on the left.
Credit: Becky Burkett

One guest recently did just that, and though she was able to book a room, her race to secure accommodations during her stay at Disney World on a trip she took to celebrate her birthday meant there was little time for extras–like reading the fine print.

A Trip to the Parks to Celebrate a Birthday

Recently, Disney World fan Nicole Cruz planned a trip to the parks to celebrate her birthday. She had dreamed of staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for years, and since it was her birthday, she decided to treat herself. But rather than a treat, Nicole was in for a surprise–and not a good one.

Nicole booked a room at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but she did so just one day before she arrived, so she missed some very important details. 

A luxurious hotel at twilight with illuminated windows, featuring a large outdoor swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and lounge chairs.
Credit: Disney

The Development of Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened to guests on October 1, 1971–the same day the Walt Disney World Resort welcomed its first guests through its gates.

Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering–then called WED Enterprises, Welton Becket & Associates, and United States Steel Corporation, Disney’s Contemporary Resort was built through a process known as unitized modular construction.

Aerial view of a large industrial construction site with unfinished structures, scattered equipment, and vehicles near a winding river.
Credit: Disney Parks

During the early stages of construction, the central elevator shaft was erected, after which crews assembled the iconic A-frame of the resort hotel, forming its 150-foot-tall skeleton. Several miles away, workers were busy building the rooms that would eventually be guest rooms at the hotel at a rate, per Disney, of 40 rooms per week.

After the rooms were finished, each of them was a standalone unit featuring bathroom fixtures, sliding glass doors, and air conditioning. Each nine-ton room was moved to the construction site of the hotel. They were then slid into the building frames by huge cranes, similar to the way dresser drawers slide into a dresser. When the hotel opened, it had 140 guest rooms.

Construction site of a large modern building with exposed skeletal structure, featuring a tall crane, under a blue sky with fluffy clouds, surrounded by greenery.
Construction of Disney’s Contemporary Resort/Credit: Disney Parks

Today, however, the Contemporary Resort consists of the original A-frame structure, as well as Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club location, and, as Nicole discovered during her visit, a separate structure that houses another section of guest rooms

Not At All What Was Expected

She arrived at the hotel, feeling excited about the experience, but she soon discovered something she didn’t know about her dream Disney World Resort hotel: there’s a lesser-known section of the hotel in which the guest rooms include what is described as a “Garden View.” It’s called the Garden Wing.

Interior view of a modern multi-story building with extensive glass walls, illuminated by natural light, featuring multiple floors visible and a spacious atrium.
The interior of the iconic A-frame Contemporary Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort/Credit: Becky Burkett

However, according to her videos, the garden must have been removed, as she didn’t see any gardens during her visit. She posted a TikTok video about her ordeal that included a warning for other guests looking to book a room at the Contemporary Resort.

Nicole cautioned others not to “book the ‘garden view’ room, no matter how tempting the price may be.”

@nickyycruz

pro tip dont book the “garden view”room 🥹 no matter how tempting the price may be

Not only was her room not located in the iconic A-frame tower of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but it was also located so far from an elevator that hotel staff told her it would be better for her to take the stairs, which ended up being more like a hike than merely walking upstairs to a guest room.

There Were a Few Silver Linings in Her Story

It wasn’t quite the experience Nicole had anticipated and hoped for, but she was able to find some positive things about the guest room in which she stayed, and she touched on some of those things in a follow-up video that she later posted to explain how she ultimately ended up in what seemed more like Disney’s Contemporary “Motel” than Disney’s Contemporary Resort. 

@nickyycruz Replying to @baker ♬ original sound – Nicole Cruz

Nicole thought she had booked a room in the main A-frame Contemporary Tower of the hotel that included a garden view. Instead, she had booked a room at the Contemporary Resort that was located outside of the A-frame tower in the Garden Wing structure. 

View from a balcony at night overlooking a festive scene with fireworks in the sky and illuminated buildings below. the open balcony door reveals an inviting room interior.
Credit: Disney

Caution: Read the Fine Print

Though Nicole’s guest room was located outside the iconic A-frame of the Contemporary Resort, she and her guests were still entitled to the same perks enjoyed by other guests of the resort, including early theme park entry at select Disney World theme parks.

They could still enjoy offerings inside the main A-frame tower, including Chef Mickey’s restaurant, the California Grill restaurant and bar, and the delightful, brightly-colored murals by Imagineer Mary Blair that can be found throughout the hotel.

Two images of a colorful mural displayed on the ceiling of a modern building, depicting vibrant scenes of daily life with stylized figures and patterns.
Murals by Imagineer Mary Blair at Disney’s Contemporary Resort/Credit: Becky Burkett

Ultimately, Nicole failed to do something that she would caution other guests to be certain they do when booking a room at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: read the fine print, which states that the rooms are located “adjacent to the main building.”

in Featured, Hotel, Walt Disney World

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