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The Magical Disney World Rooftop You Can Actually Climb To

There are so many beautiful views at the Walt Disney World Resort in Central Florida.

From the gorgeous landscapes of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Sunset Boulevard Imagineering of Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the incredible cultural designs of World Showcase at EPCOT, Disney World’s theme parks are full of photogenic spots that fill Instagram and social media. 

It’s not every day, though, that you get a whole new perspective of the Magic Kingdom theme park. Climb some stairs, however, and you will get an amazing new view of the Disney Park at this secret spot!

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Credit: Disney TipsGuests at the Lake Buena Vista Resort can find this little-known spot high above the Bay Lake area near the Magic Kingdom. Ensure you make time during your Disney vacation to get this incredible viewpoint off your Disney bucket list!

The Contemporary Rooftop Secret

Climb to the 15th floor of a popular Disney Resort Hotel and you will get a mindblowing view of not only Magic Kingdom, but also Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the ferries, Monorails, and Disney Enchantment if you time it correctly.

Yes, we’re talking about Disney’s Contemporary Resort and an area that not many Guests know exists! High on top of the iconic hotel building sits a small patio that many could assume was a Cast Member restricted area. No sneakiness or trespassing is required here, though, as this rooftop is open for Guests to get a new perspective on the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon.

On the opposite side of the rooftop, you’ll also be able to catch glimpses of EPCOT, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Expedition Everest, and the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Credit: Disney Tips

How to Access the Rooftop

To access this magical roof, Guests have two options. The first is to make advanced dining reservations at the California Grill restaurant.

The California Grill combines traditional Californian ingredients with a unique menu. While the food is delicious, the décor and views alone are enough to keep Guests returning time and time again. Diners are treated to spectacular views of Seven Seas Lagoon, the Magic Kingdom, and nearby Resorts including Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

One entire side of the restaurant features floor-to-ceiling glass windows allowing Guests to enjoy the beautiful view while dining. And the best part? Guests are welcome to venture outside onto the rooftop balcony overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon to enjoy a drink and the breeze.

The restaurant opened back in 1971 as “Top of the World” on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort and offered two dinner/dancing shows nightly. In 1981, “Broadway at the Top” dinner show was introduced with popular show tunes performed live. In 1995, Disney transformed the 15th-floor space into California Grill, along with the debut of its impressive wine list showcasing the finest wines from California vineyards.

Disney's California Grill

Credit: Disney

As part of Walt Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration – dubbed “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” – California Grill is currently offering a limited-time three-course menu with dishes inspired by past favorites as well as new market-fresh creations and a Signature Cocktail costing $137.

Guests can choose from the restaurant’s famous sushi such as the California Grill Sushi Classics Trio, featuring Blue Crab California Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll, Spicy Kazan Roll, and Fireball Sauce. There’s also the Duck á la Orange Pizza with duck prosciutto and confit, orange-black mission fig jam, pickled shallots, aged blue cheese, and arugula – an homage to the classic from Top of the World and a California Grill staple.

The Oak-Fired Filet of Beef with Black Truffle-Brown Butter Château Potatoes, Golden Raisins Vinaigrette, Cauliflower, and Black Garlic Butter is also a favorite, as well as dessert options like the “Five Magical Bites 50 Years in the Making”, which consists of Honey, Lemon, Carrot, Strawberry, and Chocolate flavors.

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Credit: Disney

The other method to get to the rooftop is to use the outside stairwells of the Contemporary Resort. These stairwells are located on each of the four corners of the building and all have balconies. They all have great views, but the higher you go the better the view will be.

The easiest and least sweaty way to get to the roof is to use any of the Disney Resort Hotel’s elevators and go to the highest floor it allows – the 11th floor. From there, find a staircase and climb to the 15th floor for those amazing rooftop views without the California Grill pricetag.

If you happen to be up on the roof during the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show Disney Enchantment, you will have a great view of them (just like at the bridge of Bay Lake Tower). The soundtrack is even played as you enjoy the fireworks spectacular over Cinderella Castle!

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Credit: Disney Tips

You won’t regret taking the time (and the energy!) to climb the stairs to the Contemporary’s rooftop. On a clear night, you can catch a different view of Space Mountain, Cinderella Castle, the new TRON roller coaster attraction, the bus depot, and more magical Disney World sights.

It is also fascinating to really see how long Main Street, U.S.A.s is. From the rooftop, Guests can make out the magical lights and shapes of the iconic theme park entrance, and get a feel for how big of an area the Magic Kingdom covers.

After being on the Contemporary Resort’s rooftop, the next time you think about running from Space Mountain to Splash Mountain, you’ll remember how far it looked from above!

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who loves to enjoy Disney's theme parks with a Mickey Premium Bar in hand! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her Air Force pilot husband. Find her children's book at @thebearandthehug_book