Little Known Secrets of Disney’s Contemporary Resort
“The Monorail hotel”, “The Tomorrowland hotel”, whatever you call it, Disney’s Contemporary Resort has a remarkably underappreciated history. Disney’s Contemporary Resort is one of two Resorts that opened in conjunction with Magic Kingdom in 1971, and after undergoing a slew of changes both inside and out, its awe and allure is constant.
I’ll always remember looking out over the monorail platform on my way to Magic Kingdom as a child. Every kid hates the ferry/monorail portion of the journey to Magic Kingdom. Just when the “can we please just be there already?!” thoughts start to overtake that youthful excitement, the monorail passes through the Contemporary, inspiring awe and re-igniting that elation! I’ve learned, however, this Deluxe Resort has a lot more history to it than its monorail beam!
The Cruise Ship That Would Never Sail
Next time you visit Disney’s Contemporary Resort (or fly through it via monorail), pay close attention to the design. Imagineers wanted a futuristic-feeling Resort with a design element that would wow guests as much as the top-quality restaurants and accommodations inside. With lobby views from every interior guest room, Imagineers looked to cruise ships to draw their inspiration for this Resort. Now that you know where the design inspiration came from, see if you can spot the similarities in design next time you visit!
Walk the Beams
Back when Walt Disney World Resort first opened, the monorail system was one of the most innovative aspects of the construction plans. For the first time in history, a moving monorail carrying guests would not only stop, but pass directly over a bustling lobby packed with seas of guests making their way to the nearest shopping and dining locations.
In the 1970’s, now-Disney Legend Tom Nabbe worked on the monorail dispatch. He was responsible for keeping in contact with all stations as the drivers made their stops. When the communication system had been down for a lengthy period of time, Tom knew he had to keep that train moving. Tere was only one way he could talk to that driver- by walking the beams!
Tom revealed that he would occasionally walk from station to station to check in on the trains’ progress. I would love to see a Cast Member walking along those elevated beams to perform systems checks. How cool would that be?
The Nixon Conference
“I am not a crook”- Richard Nixon, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
My US History teacher should have told me that Nixon’s famous Watergate presser was broadcast live from the Contemporary. I definitely would have remembered that fact on the end of year exam! In the midst of the Watergate scandal, when our country was questioning the integrity of its elected leadership, Nixon did what all good Presidents would do; he took a vacation.
It was on his way back that he made a stop at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for a press conference that would go down in history as one of the most infamous. When asked about Watergate and, in turn, his alleged tax return fraud, then-President Nixon answered with one of his most famous quotes of all time “I am not a crook”. The Ballroom of the Americas is still in existence today, and next time you’re visiting the conference level, you can see for yourself where history was made!
The Contemporary Resort Today
You can dine with Mickey and his pals at the always-popular Chef Mickey’s. The Outer Rim boasts one of my favorite lineup of cocktail menus at any Disney Lounge. Take an elevator to the top of the (Walt Disney) world for an unforgettable meal overlooking Magic Kingdom. Contempo Café is a tried-and-true go-to for healthy and delicious meals to fuel Magic Kingdom days.
The only Resort within walking distance to Magic Kingdom, you can also choose to boat or ride that famed monorail to WDW’S most beloved Theme Park. With the recent addition of Bay Lake Tower, Disney’s Contemporary Resort holds its spot as the Resort’s most iconic hotel.
Now that you’re armed with these little-known secrets about this opening-day Resort, we want to know if you’ll explore the grounds on your next visit? Have you ever walked from the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to walk the monorail beams? Leave us a comment below and let us know!
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