Walt Disney World/Disney Resorts
Hi. I'm looking for help on choosing a WDW Resort. I'm leaning toward the CR but am not sure if I want to spend that much money. I will be arriving on a Saturday (from a Disney Cruise) and leaving on Monday. My plans for Saturday are to go mini golfing (I want to go to Winter Summerland), then go to Downtown Disney for lunch and shopping. At night, I plan on eating at 1900 Park Fare. Sunday I'm going to MK. I'm hoping to get an 8:00 am reservation for CRT so I will need to go to MK early. Then on Monday morning, I'm planning on going to Chef Mickey's for breakfast and don't really have any other plans for the remainder of the day. I want the transportation to be convenient and am wondering if the CR is really the only resort that will be convenient for all of this. I've never stayed at a WDW resort and have not used their transportation so that will all be new for me. I should also mention I will have a 5 year old daughter with me. Any help on this would be really appreciated.
For the MK portion of your stay (Sunday, breakfast at CRT and the Chef Mickey's breakfast Monday) no resort is more convenient than Contemporary. The big plus is being able to walk to/from MK, so getting there very early is no worry. The Contemporary isn't cheap, though - as you've seen. It's certainly possible to spend much less and still be in a Disney resort, with Disney transportation to get you where you need to go, but only you can decide if it's worth giving up some convenience in order to save some money, given that your trip is only 2 nights. Downtown Disney and the mini golf you mentioned are not close to the Contemporary - in fact the MK area is pretty far from both of those other 2 areas. A more central location at a lower cost would be a moderate resort like Coronado Springs. Coronado is the only moderate with some of the amenities of the deluxe resorts. The 2 Port Orleans Resorts (also moderates - Riverside and French Quarter) are also pretty convenient for your trip. At the moderates, you'd need to take a bus everywhere - although they do run boats to Downtown Disney from the 2 Port Orleans resorts. There's also Wilderness Lodge, which is near the MK and should be priced more than the moderates but a bit less than the Contemporary. From there you'd take a boat to MK or Contemporary, and bus to Downtown Disney or mini golf.
I believe Disney does run early morning buses for character meals from the resorts - this isn't necessary if you're at Contemporary since you can just walk over to MK for your 8am CRT, but you can most likely arrange for it from any of the resorts by asking about it when you check in. As far as your daughter, all of the resorts are popular with kids - with many kid-friendly features and amenities. I would imagine your daughter will be thrilled with whichever resort you stay at. Definitely the most convenient & relaxing will probably be the Contemporary, and from there you'd also be able to see the Wishes fireworks without dealing with the crowds in the MK, and you can see the Electrical Water Pageant on the lake each night around 10pm. The beach is a great place to view the pageant, unless you have a room in the tower on the lake side. The fireworks can be seen from just outside the 4th floor, or a room in the tower facing the MK. It's a great resort - if you can justify the price, I'd stick with that one, since it's only 2 nights.
Have a great time, whatever you decide!