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Contemporary Resort of the Past

Contemporary Resort of the Past

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The Contemporary Resort Hotel has been around since opening day.  It has changed and grown through the years.  Many things that guests have enjoyed there have now found a home at Walt Dated World.

Contemporary Resort hotel logo Walt Disney World

Shops at the Contemporary

Bay 'n Beach:  Sundries, beach accessories and souvenirs.

Contemporary Man:  Casual clothes and beachwear.  Tuxedo rentals were also available.  It was removed to accommodate an expanded Bay View Gifts.

Contemporary Woman:  Women's clothes, including swimwear.  It later became part of the expanded Bay View Gifts.

Fantasia:  An Opening Day shop, It moved on February 26, 2008 to the center of the Grand Canyon Concourse where the pin trading area used to be.  The arcade is now located in the old shop's location.

Kingdom Jewels, Ltd:  Men's and women's jewelry from around the world.  It later became part of the expanded Bay View Gifts.

Plaza Gifts and Sundries:  This gift shop also had FTD floral services.

The Spirit World:  This shop was later called Concourse Sundries and Spirits

Restaurants at the Contemporary

Grand Canyon Concourse Contemporary Resort hotel Walt Disney World

Coconino Cove:  This lounge was also referred to as Coconino Grove in the 1986 edition of Cooking with Mickey.

Concourse Grill:  Later called the Concourse Steakhouse starting in 1994.

Concourse Steakhouse:  It opened August 10, 1994.  It closed on May 31, 2008 and is now called the Contempo Cafe.  The name is a nod to what was supposed to be the original name of the hotel.  

Contemporary Cafe:  This precursor to Chef Mickey's had character breakfast and dinner.  It was renamed Chef Mickey's December 22, 1995.

Dock Inn:  This was a seasonal snack bar by the marina.

Grand Canyon Lounge

Gulf Coast Room:  One of the select Walt Disney World restaurants that required jackets for men (Top of the World also required them).  It open in 1971 and closed on May 28, 1988.

Mesa Grande Lounge:  This was later called the Top of the World Lounge.

Monorail Club Car:  This lounge overlooked Bay Lake.  It is now a lounge called The Outer Rim.  

Pueblo Room:  This eatery featured breakfast, lunch and steak dinners.  It later became part of Chef Mickey's.

Terrace Buffeteria:  Also known as the Grand Canyon Terrace.  It featured buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It later became part of Chef Mickey's.

Terrace Cafe:  Featured dinner buffets.

Top of the World:  Also known as the Top of the World Supper Club.  It featured dancing and celebrity entertainers such as Donald O'Connor, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Eden, Lou Rawls, Mel Torme, Kay Starr, Patti Page, Carol Lawrence, Jack Jones, Barbara McNair, the Four Tops, Frankie Laine, The Spinners, Peaches and Herb, and Phyllis Diller accompanied by the Bob Cross Top of the World Orchestra until June 29, 1981 when a show called Broadway at the Top premiered.  The entertainment charge for this show in 1981 was $7.50 for adults and $3.75 for children age 3-11.  Dinner cost between $9.50 and $13.50.  There was a Sunday brunch (with the fondly remembered "make your own" strawberry shortcake) and lunch during the day.  There was also a lounge for sipping drinks while watching fireworks.  Top of the World closed September 30, 1993 and became the California Grill on May 15,1995.  The Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort now has a Top of the World Lounge as a tribute that opened on August 4, 2009.  

Top of the World Contemporary Resort hotel Walt Disney World

Contemporary Memories and Pictures

Walt Dated World reader Ken sent this memory about Top of the World:  "Your section on the Contemporary Resort and, in particular, the Top of the World, revived great memories of the many hours I spent there.  It might be worth noting that there also was a daily breakfast buffet at the Top of the World in addition to the Sunday brunch.  In the late '70's I was dating a woman who worked in security and I often would drop her off at work at the Magic Kingdom and then head to the Contemporary for the fabulous breakfast buffet. To this day, it's the only breakfast buffet I've ever encountered that offered Eggs Benedict."

Top of the World Rooftop Walt Disney World

 Walt Dated World reader Jeff sent this picture of himself and his sister Kim on top of the roof of the Contemporary Resort from sometime in the 1970's.  Hopefully the area wasn't infested with paper wasps when the picture was taken like it is now!

Walt Dated World reader Helen has this memory about room prices: "Contemporary pricing trivia: $70/night garden wings rooms, $80/night Tower rooms, 1980.  As the family's resident insomniac, I was in charge of procuring reservations, which were at that time VERY difficult to get even months in advance, because Disney hotels were affordable enough back then that anyone could afford to stay there.  I worked so long at this, accumulating a 10 day stay, one cancelled reservation day at a time, that those prices are forever in my brain!"
She also had this to say about the room decor:  "Another thing to find that would be a cool addition to your site: a picture one of the heavy multicolor-painted (or maybe printed) plaster maps of Walt Disney World that used to hang on the walls of Contemporary Resort Tower rooms until the mid 1980's.  Most were scrapped, but I have corresponded with one very lucky fan who had one shipped to him, postage paid, by WDW when he asked for one for his den after he saw some being removed during his stay at the Contemporary."

 Wade Robinson sent in these super Contemporary Resort pictures from 1984.  You can see the map better in these. As well as a view of how the rooms used to be decorated.  Those look like some neat toys on the table!

Contemporary Resort Hotel rooms 1984 Walt Disney World

Contemporary Etc.

Fiesta Fun Center:  Originally used as exhibit space for conventions, this giant arcade had many mechanical games, such as themed shooting galleries, an auto racing game that used plastic overlays, skee ball, and video games.  There was also a theater for watching Disney films.  There was also a snack bar that was open 24 hours a day.  This area was then known as the Food and Fun Center and the movie theater was removed.  The area became a restaurant/bar called The Wave on June 7, 2008 and later became known as The Wave...of American Flavors starting in early 2010.  The arcade area moved to the Grand Canyon Concourse and guests looking for a snack can go to the Contempo Cafe.  

Marc Imme recalls the Fiesta Fun Center:  "As a kid, I use to play in the game room downstairs of The Contemporary Resort. I remember with fond memories that there use to be a sketch artist downstairs right before you entered the cafeteria that was open 24 hours.  He would be there year after year and we had his sketches in our rooms as a child at our home.  Every time I would look at the wall and see the sketch of myself, I would become sad because I wanted to be back at Walt Disney World ASAP!

David Maddox writes: "My family vacationed annually (April/Easter Recess) at Walt Disney World in the mid-late 80's.  My parents bought a 40 ft Pace Arrow motor home, and we would stay in Fort Wilderness.  My younger brother and I would go to the Contemporary's Fiesta Fun Center at night after the parks closed.  Being a cutting-edge 1980's-era arcade, it had the sit-down version of Sega's "Star Trek - Strategic Operations Simulator" arcade game (and, as I recall, the Polynesian's "Fun Hut" also had the game).  I spent A LOT of quarters there at the Fiesta Fun Center, and always appreciated the fact that the video games were always clean and very well maintained.  I also appreciated the fact that the ambient noise level was sufficiently low that you could actually hear the sounds of the video games."

Olympiad Health Spa: Men and Woman could use this spa, gym and sauna.

Contemporary Resort optical floor Walt Disney World

Contemporary Information From 1972

Contemporary Resort 1972 information Walt Disney World

(Special thanks to Wannabe, faddish, Dennis-in-ct, nonpolluting, Great Stone Dragon, SHY, tenanting, menthe, Doug Marsh and Rasa at Laughing for sharing their resort memories and/or pictures.)

This is an unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.  All copyrights acknowledged.  Please respect the work I put into compiling both existing and my own information on this site by not linking to any text or pictures without crediting that they were located on this site.
See ya real soon!