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Review: Top of the World Lounge at Disney World’s Bay Lake Tower

Join us as we visit one of the most exclusive spots in all of Walt Disney World, Top of the World!

This classy lounge is located high atop (natch) Bay Lake Tower, the Disney Vacation Club property that’s adjacent to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Because of its great vantage point, Top of the World boasts incredible views of its surroundings; and it’s a muy popular viewing area for Magic Kingdom’s fireworks displays.

Menu Cover

With an extensive bar and some signature light snacks and desserts, Top of the World makes for a great place to relax and grab a bite and a drink in the evening. I recently had the opportunity to visit the exclusive spot with a friend who is a DVC member (that’s right; you can’t get in unless you’re a DVC member). We thought you’d enjoy tagging along for the fun.

Atmosphere

Yup — top of the World Lounge is an exclusive perk, available only to Disney Vacation Club members. When it first opened, only DVC Members who were staying at Bay Lake Tower could access the lounge. But later, DVC members staying anywhere at Walt Disney World were invited to enjoy the lounge. For the last few years, access to Top of the World has been determined on a year-by-year basis.

Gaining access is a snap (provided that you qualify to enter, that is). Simply show your room key to the check in desk in the Bay Lake Tower lobby, and you’re escorted to an express elevator that will whisk you to the top floor.

Once there, step into the splendor that is Top of the World.

Comfortable Seating Area

Much like Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the decor reminds you of something modern and retro all at once. You get the feeling that you’re envisioning the future from forty years ago.

And check out this completely fabulous chandelier! Far out! I swear, it’s like the Jetsons are going to walk in any minute. (Speaking of the Jetsons, don’t you wish you had one of those conveyor belt taking-a-shower-and-getting-dressed-all-at-once things? No? Just me?)

Chandelier

The lounge is intimate — there’s seating for only 77 people. There’s all of this sorta mixed, comfy-couch seating in the middle, and tables with chairs around the outside.

Seating Area from Another Angle

In true luxurious, super-exclusive fashion, there’s even this sweet little private area. Pull the curtains and have your very own party!

A Cozy Private Table

Once you pry your eyes off the gorgeous chandelier and spin around, you’ll find another showstopper — this incredible monorail mural, which depicts two different Disneyland trains. You can practically feel it whoosh by, can’t you? I think that’s kinda the point. In a way, the shiny glass picture provides the same feeling of movement that the real monorail brings to the Grand Canyon Concourse in the Contemporary.

The Spectacular Monorail Mural

Bar seating is substantial and the chairs are very comfortable.

Bar Seating

Time to take advantage of that full bar by ordering a couple of fun drinks and some small plates to go with them.

Eats

The Standard Disney Bar Menu is in play here, of course, but like many spots around the resort, you’ll also have a few custom options to choose from. I love the nod to old Contemporary cocktails with Monorail Yellow.

Drink Menu — Click to Enlarge

In addition, there are also some intriguing Non-Alcoholic Specialties, which are perfect for the younger members of the crew, or the designated driver (if you aren’t taking the monorail home). :-)

Non Alcoholic Drink Menu — Click to Enlarge

The list of available Appetizers is small, but they all sound pretty fantastic. There are also even a few options specifically for kids, so you can come up here for a quick dinner before catching the fireworks.

Food Menu — Click to Enlarge

I was visiting Top of the World with a friend, and we both decided to have a drink and order some plates to share — perfect for a time of quiet conversation and a wind-down from the busy day we’d had at the parks.

Here we tried the Bay Lake Sunset, with vodka, rum, and pineapple juice.

Coconut Elixir

I went for the Top of the World Sunset – a combo of orange and pineapple juice with Grenadine.

Bay Lake Sunset

To accompany our drinks, we ordered a few items to share. We began with the Soft Pretzels and Dips. They’re served with two dips — Spicy-Sweet Cream Cheese and Mustard Dipping Sauce.

I like the presentation here. It reminds me of the Crisp Breads and Dips Appetizer at Victoria Falls Lounge over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But this one has pretzel bread sticks!! Which makes it the clear winner in my book.

Soft Pretzels and Dips

There was also an intriguing Farmers Cheese Plate on the menu. C’mon. You knew I was getting that.

There were some really interesting things going on here. First off, there were four cheeses — Midnight Moon Cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Purple Haze Goat Cheese, and Black Diamond White Cheddar Cheese (my favorite!!!). The various cheeses provided nice contrast. I wasn’t wowed by the Crackers, however, especially with those nice pretzel bread sticks just inches away. Couldn’t they have sprung for some fresh bread of some sort?

On the other hand, the other accompaniments were top notch. The serving of Apricot Compote and Honeycomb were substantial. And while there wasn’t any Almond Brittle — we received Marcona Almonds instead — I wasn’t complaining. The fancy almonds from Spain were a nice, upscale touch.

Farmer’s Cheese Plate

After our snacks, we decided that something sweet would surely hit the spot. I had heard raves about the Seven Layer Cake served here, so we decided to share a piece.

Seven Layer Cake — Side View

I’m not really sure how you count to arrive at seven layers. But it really doesn’t matter. This is a laminated dream of Chocolate Cake, Yellow Cake, Mousse, more Mousse, and Ganache. It’s all set on top of a lovely drizzle of salty sweet heaven known as Salted Caramel Sauce. And I love the cute little caramel Mickey!

Seven Layer Cake for Two

This was pretty awesome. Rich and chocolatey, it wasn’t dry, and it was certainly big enough to share.

After taking in the stellar view from the observation deck, we were ready to call it a night.

Overall

What’s my take on Top of the World Lounge? Pretty simple: if you can swing it, GO. Fun atmosphere, decent eats, good view. Done.

Go for the quiet serenity of the spot (which is rarely busy outside of Fireworks time). Go for the tasty snacks, and interesting drinks. But if for no other reason, go because it’s one of the very few spots in Walt Disney World that feels, well, quiet. I’m not gonna lie. It’s fun to go someplace that feels a little bit exclusive. And I could spend hours looking at all the cool concept art prints that cover the walls.

However, that whole serenity thing goes out the window when you’re within an hour of the fireworks. If you’re there for the show, go early and grab your seat!

Have you had the opportunity to spend an evening in Top of the World? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience!

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25 Comments

  1. Julie says:

    Is the mustard sauce more of a brown mustard? Not a huge fan of yellow mustard. Looking forward to trgi g this in 3 weeks!

  2. Julie says:

    Trying this :(

  3. Lawrence says:

    I felt the mustard tasted like a honey mustard (sort of like the snyders honey mustard pretzel bits), it was quite good to me. (I hate yellow mustard)

  4. Tricia says:

    I so have to make time for this on a trip. It is always on the list and never happens.

  5. Glenn says:

    Do you know if they allow guests who are renting DVC points (but not at BLT) to visit the lounge?

  6. Matt says:

    This looks great.. we will have to stop in when we are there next week! :)

  7. Steven says:

    this place is awesome—beautiful & has an amazing view….but 1 bottled Longboard is over 10 bucks.

  8. Joanne says:

    @Glenn, technically you have to be a DVC member staying at a Disney World property to be able to access the lounge. However, if you are renting points it will really depend. I have been asked to show my DVC member card on previous visits but have also been permitted access when showing just a room key also. Since room key are slowly but surely being phased out in favour of Magic Bands, I suspect it is likely that you will have to show a membership card in future.

  9. Glenn says:

    @Joanne – Thank you for the info.

  10. Chrissy O. says:

    The fact that this is exclusive to DVC members is pretty irritating, like it’s violating civil rights or something of those of us who happily inhabit value and moderate resorts. Boooooo.

  11. Traci says:

    In “my plans” for 3 weeks and 1 day from today!!! Can’t wait!

  12. Maureen says:

    Chrissy O-I’m not sure if you were serious or not- but as DVC members we pay a CLUB membership-so I don’t think anyone’s civil rights are being violated ;) You are perfectly welcome to join the club!

    We stayed at BLT (our home resort) on our last WDW trip. We didn’t eat at the Top of the World, but it is a lovely spot. We enjoyed going up just to watch the sunset, spectacular!

  13. Catherine says:

    The menu pictured has changed. They now have stuff like sliders and I had a batch of potato chips with bacon and blue cheese. No more cheese plate. Can’t say if they have the cake anymore, I didn’t look.

  14. Paul says:

    Catherine is right. When we were there in early December the menu was not as good. The flatbread was a pepperoni pizza, not beef flatbread (which was excellent) and the crab cake and 7 layer cake was gone. :( The menu was very disappointing, but the views of Wishes and MVMCP fireworks were awesome! We will go back for sure, but not for the menu.

  15. Sam Winston says:

    For an exclusive place. I think the menu is a bit sparse.

    I know this site is desert centric. But the menu there, as shown…is nothing interesting.

    Two flatbreads; which seem to be on every bar menu with minor variations, and a twist on the standard bar menu crab cake, A rather common cheese plate with supermarket water crackers, and for desert….yet another salted caramel uninspired option trucked in from Desert Disney Central. How difficult would be to add a meat option to the cheese plate with actual ‘bread’ instead of water crackers to make a proper Charcuterie plate.

    I know they might not have a kitchen…but even something as simple as that could be delivered and held until service. Heck, they can heat up the frozen crab cakes.

    The Lounge at the Wilderness Lodge offers more inspired things for bar food…seared tuna with seaweed salad, Charcutere plate (With Cheese and Pickles), Chicken “lollipops”, House Made Chips (Crisps) with dips, Fondu, and very over priced Edamame.

    Still, it’s very nice space and decorations are top noch…but for the food. It’s a fail.

  16. catherine says:

    the menu is even more limited now. I do believe it is correct that they no longer serve desserts. and the cheese plate is gone entirely.

  17. Karen says:

    We loved watching the fireworks here in October 2012 but I felt bad for the service staff. The placed was jammed and there was only one bartender and 2 servers and they were having a crisis with getting clean glassware. We sat at the bar and had a drink until the fireworks started and the bartender was totally out straight trying to stay on top of all the orders. I realize it is a weird place to staff since it is quiet the vast majority of the time with a burst of busy at fireworks time but I hope they have added to the staffing there.

  18. joe says:

    is that 7 layer cake available anywhere in wdw ? or only in the lounge

  19. Mark D. says:

    The menu here seems to change VERY frequently, so I wouldn’t get hopes up for any particular item. Just go for the atmosphere a view and see what they have.

  20. Matt says:

    I wanted to thank you for this review, I had no idea this place existed until I read your review in January, right before our trip out there.. We went there for my wife’s birthday. I would have liked to have a little more variety for the food menu, but I understand it is a bar, not a restaurant.. We split the pretzel stick and the cake. The pictures really don’t do it justice.. it really is a big piece of cake. It was very good! I had them put a candle on there for her. :)

    We enjoyed watching Wishes from the balcony. It was cool that they play the same soundtrack as in the park.

    We will be sure to make at least 1 stop there every trip!

  21. AJ says:

    Matt — So glad you enjoyed!

  22. Mari Zaldivar says:

    Cheese plate has been eliminated for quite some time (2-3 years). We always visit but the menu is not good. How can you enjoy a glass of wine without cheese?
    I’ve written to Disney Customer Relations, DVC, etc but they have never replied. Many DVC Members I know share the same complain. We rather visit California Grill at Contemporary Resort and enjoy the same view and watch the Fireworks from there instead ( more food selection in their menu).

  23. Henry Zaldivar says:

    Cheese plate has been eliminated for quite some time (2-3 years). We always visit but the menu is not good. How can you enjoy a glass of wine without cheese?
    I’ve written to Disney Customer Relations, DVC, etc but they have never replied. Many DVC Members I know share the same complain. We rather visit California Grill at Contemporary Resort and enjoy the same view and watch the Fireworks from there instead ( more food selection in their menu).

  24. Dawn Angelo says:

    We are not DVC members but will be staying at Bay Lake Tower. Can we go up to the lounge?

  25. Dawn Angelo says:

    Thanks! :)

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