Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Thoughts on Bay Lake Towers

I had never stayed at a DVC resort before, and although I enjoyed the "exclusiveness" of it (some of it we were excluded from... such as the Top of the World lounge), I didn't find it very homey. It was very posh and felt upscale, but not really like home. I'd compare it to a country club, kind of. A contemporary country club.

Exterior Appearance

I think they did a good job of blending the new BLT with the thirty-year-old Contemporary Resort. It almost looks like they were constructed at the same time, which I suppose says more for the timeless structure of Disney's Contemporary Resort (who'd have thought?). It does bother me that the windows of BLT have a rather green tint, while those at the Contemporary are black. They also did not match the railing on the balconies.

I didn't really think the building had much curb appeal, though. Rachel and I both thought that it was much prettier looking up at it from the back side by the pool. It felt much more inviting... looking up at from the pool, you were in the circle. The building was surrounding you. From the outside, it was closed off... you were out of the loop. This could be metaphorical to the exclusiveness of it as a DVC resort.

Convenience

We didn't mind checking in at the Contemporary, however it did make baggage transfer difficult. They took our luggage for us and had to cart it from the Contemporary over to BLT. We didn't valet and parked our car over at BLT, so we could've just as easily taken our own bags to the room (especially since we had so little luggage). Instead, we had to wait on our luggage to be delivered to the room. That was $12 wasted.

The Skyway bridge was nice and surprisingly not congested at the time of fireworks. I noticed that sometimes you had to put your card in to cross, and other times you didn't. If you weren't a BLT guest and really wanted to get over there, you could just wait for a BLT guest to put the card in and sneak in behind.

The automatic doors to the Skyway bridge opened at you when going from BLT to the Contemporary, which was weird. I actually had to back up a few times to keep the automatic door from hitting me.

BLT was convenient to the bus stop. Unfortunately for us, our bus took forever to come. The other buses (not to DHS) showed up in good time, though. It's all luck. You can never predict it.

Pool

The pool was pretty neat. The zero-depth entry was nice. It wasn't that big, though. I never got to go down the slide because we went swimming after the lifeguards had left, but it looked like fun. I wasn't crazy about the design... I didn't dig the tiles. They reminded me of an 80's bathroom. I don't know... it was just a bit too opaque for me. Rachel thought it was cool, though.

There was only one hot tub, and though it was in a great location (right by the lake), it wasn't very big. Luckily for us, it was never crowded when we were down there. However, it would probably be much more crowded during peak season. I felt like the resort wasn't very full that weekend. I mean, we had gotten a reservation just two days before.

Room - Studio

The layout of the studio was a little weird. You walk in and you have a bathroom on the left and then on the right, there's a door, which I am assuming could be connected to a one-bedroom to make a two-bedroom unit. The next opening on the left is the bathroom vanity. Then right behind the bathroom vanity on the other wall is the kitchenette. I found it odd that the kitchen sink was right behind the bathroom sink.

The unit wasn't very big, but it didn't really matter for us because it was just a two-night stay and we didn't have much luggage. I don't know how comfortable we would've been on a week-long trip, though.

The pull-out couch was new and stiff. There was no bounce to it at all. At first, I thought I'd be just as good off sleeping on the floor, but by the morning, I had adjusted. I would compare it to a not-yet-fluffy futon.

The bed, however, was very comfortable. Very bouncy. Very soft. Very nice.

My biggest complaint was mirrors. There were only two mirrors in the unit - one in the living area and one in the bathroom/kitchen. They were both small and high. In order to get a full-body view, I had to stand on a chair. I really could've used a full-length mirror. I believe they sacrificed function for style with the bathroom mirror. I wish they had made it wider and lower, spanning more of the counter top.

Now, the vanity in the bathroom was very high. It was probably four feet off the ground. It really came up to me right below my chest (keep in mind I'm only five feet tall). I don't know how small children could use it.

I really wish there had been a double vanity... his and her sinks. That would've been nice.

The shower had great water pressure, but the water wasn't always hot. I took a shower really late at night (like 1 am or something) and had no problem with hot water, but Rachel took a shower in the morning - probably when everyone else was taking a shower - and said that she couldn't get the water hot enough (then again, she does like her water scorching hot, so the average person probably would've been okay).

The toilet had poop on the handle when we got there. That was pretty sick-nasty. And yes, it was poop, because it came off. We had to clean it off ourselves because after Rachel left a note for mousekeeping "Please... clean poop off toilet flusher (not ours... sick!)," it was still there (they did do everything else on her note, though). Perhaps they didn't know what a "flusher" is.

What I LOVED about BLT

BLT had some FANTASTIC views of Magic Kingdom. There were a lot of big windows and you could look out and see Cinderella's Castle and Space Mountain. We lucked out got an upgrade to a Lake View room with a theme park view and could pick out different attractions, such as the Astro Orbitor, Big Thunder Mountain, and TTA from our balcony. Being able to watch the fireworks with music from our room was also amazing.

Would I stay here again?

Absolutely. But it's not my first pick. My favorite resort is still the Grand Floridian. I just love the old-timey elegance of it.... BLT's "poshness" was pretty cool, but not my first-choice atmosphere. Rachel has already told us that the next time we come to WDW, she wants to stay at the Polynesian, so I suppose we'll be heading there next.