Thursday, December 15, 2011
Florida Holiday 2011 Trip Report - In Which I Heart Scopa Towers
After leaving Tampa, we headed over to Orlando and Walt Disney World to meet mom and dad, who had a studio room in the new Bay Lake Tower (sometimes called "Scopa Towers" for reasons that are unclear by the "Walt Disney World Today" podcast.) Now, I will admit that this oddly-shaped building (cylindrical from the ground, more like a "C" with the open side facing away from Magic Kingdom from above) didn't look like much when I saw it under construction a few years ago, but having stayed in it for a week... wow. WOW!!!
At the top is the view from our balcony at night, facing Contemporary Resort. Note the curving walkway in the lower-right. BLT isn't completely autonomous, having no restaurants or shops of its own. It's more like a weird new growth sprouting out of the older building. That said, everything you'd need including monorail access to Magic Kingdom and fast 'rail or boat transportation to the Bay Lake/Seven Seas Lagoon resorts, was just minutes away across this windy bridge. Had we stayed anywhere else, we wouldn't have seen nearly as much as we did in the time we saw it.
Our little room had a hell of a view. From our balcony during the day, we could easily see all the way to EPCOT...
...and Animal Kingdom. Everest was taunting me, but we'll get to that in due time. Here's the view from the windows near the elevators:
This one, you'll want to click for big. It's a rush just looking out the window and Cinderella Castle is practically across the street anyway, but look at all the New Fantasyland buildings you can see! Using this map as a reference, they've clearly been making lots of progress.
My gosh, we could even see the pyro effects in Illuminations from our room! All Disney resorts have their different advantages, but I think Bay Lake Tower won me over completely in terms of convenience and comfort (the rooms are small but much nicer than some college dorms I've seen) and just feeling right in the middle of the Disney Magic (trademark, copyright, patent pending, old joke, still funny.) And I haven't even mentioned one of my favorite features:
The Top of the World Lounge! Now, this semi-private bar isn't very large, but it's mostly a place to get drinks before headed out to their expansive balcony. More on that in a second.
I need to get my Tradition.
The balcony gives you an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom at night. My poor little camera was overwhelmed by the loads and loads of LEDs on the Castle (I have better pictures coming up in a later post). That's not what we came up here to see though...
You can watch "Wishes" from the top of the tower! Oh, but it gets even better!
On a later night, we came up and watched the special "Spirit of the Season" fireworks finale to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! This is a pretty big deal because MVMCP is what Disney calls a "hard ticket event"; that means you need to pay extra for it. Once we learned that we would be able to watch the only part of the party we were really interested in from Top of the World, we decided not to spring for tickets.
But look at all the fireworks! Some of them dwarf Space Mountain! As we'll see, Disney likes to celebrate the spirit of the holidays by blowing stuff up. Do not try this awesome thing at home, kids.
As for the Contemporary itself, Walt Disney World's oldest resort is amazing. I have vague memories of staying here during one of our very first trips to WDW when I was little. I just loved being steps away from the monorail and getting to see the Mary Blair mural almost every day. Every time I looked at it, I noticed more little details.
Everyone's favorite, the five-legged sheep.
This is way, way too adorable. And expensive. *sigh*
And I just love little details like this.
Tomorrow, we see how other Disney resorts celebrate the holidays.
On to Part Five!
Sketch of the Day! I'm so glad I made time to do this: