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.
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.
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.
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?)
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.
In true luxurious, super-exclusive fashion, there’s even this sweet little private area. Pull the curtains and have your very own party!
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.
Bar seating is substantial and the chairs are very comfortable.
Time to take advantage of that full bar by ordering a couple of fun drinks and some small plates to go with them.
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.
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).
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.
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.
I went for the Top of the World Sunset – a combo of orange and pineapple juice with Grenadine.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!