Disney World’s 50-year-old Contemporary debuts brand new ‘Incredible’ look

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Editor’s note: Walt Disney World hosted the authors to showcase the complex’s 50th-anniversary festivities. The opinions expressed below are entirely theirs and weren’t subject to review by Disney or any other entity.

It’s the week of the 50th anniversary of when Walt Disney World opened back in 1971, and as everyone celebrating a monumental “birthday” knows, it’s a good excuse for a makeover.

And Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which was one of the theme park’s two opening-day resort hotels 50 years ago, has been undergoing some big renovations for a number of months. While the resort has always been — and likely always will be — special thanks to being an original resort and the closest to the Magic Kingdom, it wasn’t sporting the freshest look … until now.

The Contemporary has doubled down on its classic roots: a blend of the mid-century modern aesthetic with a Tomorrowland type of futuristic feel.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

When you walk in the lobby now, it screams modern, cool and inviting in a way that is clearly from today’s era — all while reminding you of decades gone by.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

But that’s not the only change. All new to the property are a few superheroes.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The characters from the Disney Pixar film “The Incredibles” also lean into that same “mid-century modern yet futuristic” vibe as the hotel and can now be found in and around the rooms of the iconic monorail resort.

We won’t do a full review of the hotel right now since we are staying at the Contemporary as guests of Disney World to cover the 50th-anniversary unveilings and celebrations, but we couldn’t skip a chance to give you a peek inside the hotel’s just-debuted rooms, lobby and new restaurant.

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New room designs

Just as Disney promised, the rooms “blend a sleek monorail motif with some favorite characters from Pixar Animation Studios’ Incredibles films, including Jack-Jack, Frozone and Edna Mode.”

There are obvious nods to the Pixar film as you enter the room, such as a pillow with the superhero masks and the art in the bathroom — but other odes take longer to notice.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

For example, it’s easy to miss the subtle design on the lampshades during the bright daylight. You could also pass by the monorail in the bathroom mirror at first glance.

And until you put away your clothes, you won’t spot the Incredible’s suits also “hanging” in the closet.

(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

The outlines of the characters on the drapes stay mostly hidden until you shut the curtains at night, and you’ll miss out on the “accessories” in the bedside table drawers unless you, well, open them.

A sleek lobby and reimagined dining

It’s not just the rooms that got an overhaul. The lobby restaurant (formerly The Wave), is now reopening as Steakhouse 71, an ode to the year the magic began at Walt Disney World.

There you’ll now find classic menu items that virtually all have a story and a connection to Walt Disney himself.

Sitting area at Steakhouse 71. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Whether it’s a cocktail inspired by Walt’s personal favorite 5 p.m. beverage, a fruitier one that harkens back to when the roads that led to Disney World smelled of citrus or the 15-layer chocolate cake that pays homage to the 15-story building in which it is served, you get a classic Disney story from the past 50 years with your meal at Steakhouse 71.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

From what we can tell, work on some floors of tower guest rooms is ongoing and once these are complete, the Garden Wing out on the shore of Bay Lake will also get an update. This phased renovation allows for areas of the resort to still be open as workers reimagine different sections of the hotel.

(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

Related: Ultimate guide to visiting Walt Disney World Resort

With this all-new look and its forever great location, The Contemporary retains a strong spot on our list of the Best Hotels at Disney World.

Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

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