Have you ever wished on the second star to the right that your Fairy Godmother would grant you a magical Disney upgrade while vacationing at Walt Disney World? Yeah, me too. Keep on dreaming because as Cinderella says, “The dream that you wish will come true.” It came true for us when we were “pixie dusted” with an upgrade to the Grand Villa at Bay Lake Tower. Come along as we share this amazing space and some pointers on how to score a magical upgrade.

The Grand Villa at Disney's Bay Lake Tower blew us away. How we scored this magical upgrade? Pixie dust, some pointers, and perhaps luck!

The Grand Villa at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower blew us away. How we scored this magical upgrade? Pixie dust, some pointers, and perhaps luck! Photo by Sherry Boswell, Melodious Traveling Mom.

Walt Disney World already has its fair share of magic. But what happens when the pixie dust flies and you receive a shocking surprise? I’m talking about an upgrade at your Disney resort! That exact thing happened to my husband and me at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We checked in for our one night stay at a Bay Lake Tower studio. Here’s where it gets interesting: at check-in, the lovely Cast Member Dorothy notices we are celebrating our anniversary and tells us to expect a text when our room is ready.

So we take off for the Magic Kingdom. Having never received a text, we return at 3 p.m. to get our room number. Room 8430, off we go, and…our key doesn’t work. So we call them and wait. Then after 15 minutes, hubby heads back to the front desk. A bit frustrating when you are tired and just ready to kick back and relax. Then, you guessed it, a CastMember shows up to open the door. That’s when the magic happens. (Insert Tinker Bell sound effect here).

Disney’s Bay Lake Tower Grand Villa

An Unexpected Disney Upgrade

Holy Moly! We aren’t in a studio. Instead, it’s the Grand Villa. The villa has two separate entrances on two different floors! Every bedroom has its own balcony, plus the kitchen does too. AND we had a Magic Kingdom view. Too much truly, but we relished every moment.

Here’s what the Grand Villa at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower offers:

  • Sleeps up to 12
  • 1 king-size bed, 4 queen-size beds, 1 queen-size sleeper sofa & 1 double-size sleeper sofa
  • Full kitchen
  • Washer/dryer
  • 4 full bathrooms, including master with whirlpool tub

Grand Tour of the Grand Villa

Oh my goodness, we have won the Disney lottery! I was like one of those people on the home makeover shows that is simply going nuts over everything! And you can see why. Talk about being pixie dusted. Remember a few years back when Disney was surprising guests with FastPasses and stays in the Cinderella Castle Suite with the Year of a Million Dreams? Yes, this was on par with that.

I did manage to do the video, but we didn’t photograph it as well as we do when we visit resorts now. Lesson learned. Still, I think this manages to share with you the sleek modern design, Disney touches, and the prime location of the Grand Villa to the Magic Kingdom.

Looking for a magical Disney upgrade? We're sharing our pointers and taking you on a grand tour Disney's Bay Lake Tower Grand Villa.

What a view from the living room of Bay Lake Tower’s Grand Villa. Stylish, modern amenities and sleek design juxtaposed with Disney flair and a magical view. Photo courtesy: Disney.

The $ 64, 000 Question: How to Get a Magical Upgrade

So how do you replicate such an upgrade, you might ask? There is no formula, but I will say I think a few factors combined to make the pixie dust sprinkle down on us:
  • Don’t do the Online Check-In. If so, your room assignment is already processed and it is less likely that you will have the interaction necessary to prompt a magical upgrade.
  • Always tell the Cast Member about special celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries when making your reservation or at check-in. We are proof that it can definitely work out in your favor.
  • Be friendly and chatty with the Cast Member. They are working hard to make your Disney experience magical, but even they have less than stellar days (unimaginable thought that might be) and may need a smile and some kind words.
  • Ask for a room upgrade. All they can do is say no, right? And they might just say YES. Brace yourself: you could also potentially get upgraded to another resort.
  • Be patient. In the words of my new obsession, the Hamilton musical, be willing to “wait for it.” If your room isn’t ready, I say “Hakuna Matata” (no worries). That may actually increase the possibility for a surprise later on. My working theory on how this happened for us is that all the studios were filled throughout the day, and since Dorothy knew it was our anniversary, she made it possible for us to have one heck of a celebration.
  • It depends on what time of year and what else is going on while you’re vacationing. Don’t count on an upgrade at peak times or when a resort is fully booked for a conference. Probably not gonna happen!
  • Don’t expect an upgrade…but be perfectly willing to accept it if given!  Nothing starts a trip off on the wrong foot than to be mad about NOT receiving something you never were entitled to in the first place. Seems like common sense right? But I’m always surprised to overhear people at check-in being rude and presumptive.

Upgrades Are a Special Treat

If you receive one, then by all means, share your good fortune! But I would also suggest paying it forward and emailing Disney guest relations about your positive experience.

Planning your visit to the Magic Kingdom? Check out all our Traveling Mom posts about Magic Kingdom.And get packing with this Disney Packing List.

Now, if you were going to select your dream upgrade location, where would it be and why? Besides Cinderella Castle Suite of course!
Looking for a magical Disney upgrade? We're sharing our pointers and taking you on a grand tour Disney's Bay Lake Tower Grand Villa.