Walt Disney World's Bay Lake

Across the Water Bridge from the Seven Seas Lagoon and behind Disney's Contemporary Resort is the beautiful Bay Lake. A natural body of water with two small islands Bay Lake is about one mile across and 35 feet deep. When Walt Disney and his staff were searching for property in Florida to but Walt Disney World, Bay Lake was one of the reasons that they chose the spot they did. Walt believed that it was an attractive feature that would add amenities and value to his guests.

Bay Lake from Contemporary Resort MarinaBay Lake from Contemporary Resort Marina
However Disney believed that the lake needed to be cleaned up before it would be suitable for the Lakeside retreats that he envisioned. The muddy lake with poor water quality was drained and dredged of 8 feet of mud, before they came across the lovely white sands on the bottom. Then they refilled the lake and those powdery white sands now offer 5 miles of sandy shores around the Magic Kingdom Area Resorts. Disney's Beaches however are for sunbathing only, as there's no longer swimming allowed in the lakes due to fears of natural occurring bacteria and an ameba that make their home in the untreated lakes of Florida.

Contemporary Resort MarinaContemporary Resort Marina
Bay Lake is home to two islands, the larger one is Discovery Island and used to offer a wildlife habitat attraction, however it never did very well compared to other vacation delights. It closed when Animal Kingdom opened and offered a much grander experience. The smaller of the two islands is named Shipwreck Island and is located between the Contemporary and Wilderness Lodge resort, directly in front of the waterbridge. The waterbridge was unique at the time of it's construction and connects Bay Lake with the Seven Seas Lagoon by means of cars traveling under a bridge of water, the "bridge" is a canal through which the various watercraft travel between the lake and the lagoon.

Bay Lake Water Taxi to the Magic KingdomBay Lake Water Taxi to the Magic Kingdom
Today Bay Lake is home to three Walt Disney World Resort marinas at the Contemporary, Fort Wilderness, and Wilderness Lodge. All three resorts offer transportation boats run regularly between the Bay Lake resorts and the Magic Kingdom, as well as other lakeside hotels. The marinas also offer several types of recreational boat rentals to guests. Special fireworks cruises also depart from the marinas or Bay Lake, and at the Contemporary the swashbuckling fun of the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage is a fan favorite. The Contemporary marina is also a popular departure point for parasailing over this lovely stretch of water.

Parasailing over Bay LakeParasailing over Bay Lake
Stocked with 70,000 Bass back in the mid-1960s, Disney's restrictive fishing policies (catch and release only) have seen that number grow and multiply. No angling is permitted in Bay Lake, however two hour fishing excursions can be arranged leaving from any of the marinas. Largemouth Bass between two and eight pounds are the most common catch.

Pontoon Boat on Bay LakePontoon Boat on Bay Lake
Even all these years later I think that Walt had it right. Bay Lake adds a visually attractive feature that offers guests fun activities and amenities adding a special value that you can experience few other places.

Thanks so much to DisneyContemporary.com and WildernessLodgeSite.com for use of their Bay Lake Pictures. Do you enjoy the offerings that Bay Lake brings to it's guests? Do you have a favorite lakeside activity? Leave a comment and let me know what value this natural retreat offers you!

Stacy Hedlund wrote on Fri, 08/12/2016 - 06:46:

Stacy Hedlund's picture

My grandfather was instrumental on this project. I have a few slides he took while working as a foreman than 1967-1969.

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