BACKSTORY (Oct. 1, 1971–Present): Edited from Wikipedia:
The Contemporary Resort is one of two resorts located on property when Walt Disney World opened in 1971. Before the construction of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, it was considered the complex's flagship resort.
The Contemporary Tower, the most prominent of the resort's four stand-alone buildings, was built as an A-frame with outer walls which slope inwards around an inner atrium. This design was a collaboration by Disney, the United States Steel Corporation, and Los Angeles architect Welton Becket. To construct the building, steel frames were erected on-site and modular pre-constructed rooms, designed by California architect Donald Wexler, were lifted into place by crane. Most of Disney's Polynesian Resort and the Court of Flags Resort were built the same way, except rooms were stacked instead of slid in.
On November 17, 1973, President Richard Nixon delivered his famous "I am not a crook" speech in a ballroom at the Contemporary in front of reporters from the Associated Press.
In 2005, Disney began an extensive renovation of Disney's Contemporary Resort, and was completed in 2009. The project saw the updating of the main lobby and all guest rooms, the addition of several restaurants and gift shops, and the demolition of the hotel's north wing to make way for the Bay Lake Tower, which opened in 2009.
From the Walt Disney World website:
Disney's Contemporary Resort is an ultra-modern Disney Deluxe Resort, made up of a towering A-frame high-rise building—the iconic Contemporary Tower—and complemented by one garden wing annex. This lakeside Resort is the only hotel in Walt Disney World Resort to have the Walt Disney World Monorail System pass through the main concourse.
Boasting views of nearby Space Mountain attraction and Cinderella Castle, the Resort overlooks 4.5 miles of shoreline along Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon and is the closest hotel to Magic Kingdom theme park. At the hotel's award-winning California Grill restaurant on the 15th floor, dine in comfort as you behold nightly fireworks from the park. You can also pick up the monorail on the fourth floor to easily make your way to Magic Kingdom theme park and Epcot theme park.
The Contemporary Tower is home to most of the Resort's facilities, including Registration, Guest Services and the 4th floor Grand Canyon Concourse. In addition to the monorail station, this main hall houses 2 restaurants, various shops and a 90-foot, floor-to-ceiling ceramic mural created by Disney Legend, Mary Blair, celebrating the Grand Canyon and the Southwest.
The sprawling grounds include a marina, pools, restaurants, recreational facilities, a health club, tennis courts and convention facilities. Whether your wish is to relax on the white-sand beach by the pools, indulge in a revitalizing massage or savor sensational food as you take in stunning views, Disney's Contemporary Resort is sure to meet all your needs.
Disney's Contemporary Resort has been designated by the Florida Green Lodging Program, recognizing the Resort's environmentally responsible practices.
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