The Contemporary Resort is a hotel at Walt Disney World. It was one two hotels (the other was the Polynesian Resort) that opened at the same time as the Magic Kingdom, in October 1971.

The Contemporary is a whopping fifteen stories high and sits to the southeast of the Magic Kingdom, with the Seven Seas Lagoon on one side and Bay Lake on the other. The hotel offers an impressive view from the top; the roof provides a very good vantage point for the Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks. The fireworks at Disney-MGM Studios and IllumiNations at Epcot can also be seen, weather permitting, although they are much farther away.

The architecture of the Contemporary is unique. The basic shape is A-frame, but on a huge scale: the entire east and west sides of the building angle inward. Outside balconies at the top are thus set back from those below, while the opposite is true for the inside balconies. Inside, the center section of the building is a cavernous 14-story lobby, all the way from one end to the other. Right in the middle of the lobby is a 12-story mural, painted onto the walls of the elevator shafts.

The north and south sides of the Contemporary are clear glass, which keeps wind from whipping violently through the huge lobby and provides some stability to the structure. However, the hotel is not completely sealed. There is an opening in each of the huge windows on the north and south sides, big enough for a pair of monorail tracks and two monorails to fit through. The monorail route, you see, doesn't just stop at the Contemporary -- it stops inside the Contemporary. And the "express" monorail doesn't even stop -- it just slows down as it continues on its way to the Magic Kingdom.

Like most Disney hotels, the Contemporary has numerous facilities, including some for conventions. Most notable among the restaurants is the one on the roof: the expensive California Grill.

While it's arguable whether or not the Contemporary still lives up to its name, there's no doubt that it's one of the most distinctive and striking hotels in the country.

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