If you’ve ever taken time off from the parks to go resort hopping in Walt Disney World, you know that exploring Disney’s many resorts can be almost as much fun as a day in your favorite park! Whether your tastes run to the extravagant luxuries of a bygone era, or the savannahs of Africa, or maybe a South Pacific island getaway, there’s a resort for you. And nowhere is the signature style of a resort revealed more than in its lobby, where it announces its character to guests and welcomes you to linger awhile. Here are our favorite Walt Disney World resort lobbies – check them out next time you’re on property, and you may even be inspired to book your next stay on the spot!
10. Art of Animation Resort
Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort has a lobby that is a cartoonist’s (or an aspiring cartoonist’s!) dream. It’s full of artwork of Disney favorites in various stages of animation, and there’s enough to keep you riveted for hours here! Make sure you look up to check out the one-of-a-kind chandelier affixed with sketches of different Disney characters. With comfy, stylish seating and plenty of artsy lighting, this lobby almost reads like an art gallery of all things Disney!
9. Contemporary Resort
Full disclosure: we’re not the biggest fans of the mid-century modern design and décor of Walt Disney’s Contemporary Resort (although we know many people who swear by it!). But one thing we do love at this resort, and the reason for its inclusion in this list, is the fact that Disney’s Monorail Transportation runs right through it! Where else can you sit back and enjoy a coffee or snack in your hotel lobby, while watching monorails zoom by – inside your resort? Regardless of the theming of the Contemporary Resort, no other resort on property offers this magical experience.
8. Boardwalk Inn
To describe the lobby of Walt Disney World’s Boardwalk Inn in terms of “carnival décor” would be misleading. It’s a charming space with a soaring coffered ceiling, gorgeous wall paneling, classy yet comfortable traditional furniture, and a fresh white and pastel palette that’s accented with hits of greenery. All of which provide a neutral backdrop for period pieces that recall the resort’s amusement park theme: elephant statues, a miniature boardwalk with rollercoaster – and who could forget the antique carousel?
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7. Polynesian Village Resort
Ahhhh, what could be better than a vacation within a vacation? From the moment you step into the Polynesian Village Resort’s lobby, you’ll be transported to an island in the South Pacific. You can’t miss the big Tiki statue and fountain as they welcome you to the lobby, and the hints of lush, tropical vegetation throughout give you the feeling you’ve embarked on a rainforest island journey. There are charming colorful glass balls of varying shapes dangling from the ceilings, and subtle island-y architecture and details. We do find ourselves missing the old waterfall just a bit, but the entire lobby is so open – and has stunning views of Cinderella Castle! – that it makes this list.
6. Port Orleans French Quarter
We simply adored the Port Orleans French Quarter lobby while staying at this resort! It’s designed to look like a street in the New Orleans, from the brick walls to the lampposts to the central fountain featuring festive jesters on unicycles. But don’t forget to look up for the best view – there’s a stunning atrium of glass and wrought-iron overhead that’s made to impress! Everywhere are fun nods to the Mardi Gras theme of the resort that beckon you to celebrate your vacation to the max.
5. Port Orleans Riverside
Yes, we’re pretty big fans of both Port Orleans lobbies! The lobby of the Riverside resort is almost Grand Floridian-esque, just on a more intimate scale. There are stately white columns supporting an expansive ceiling (which of course wouldn’t be complete without elegant chandeliers!), and the old south style is given a fresh, comfortable take – you won’t feel like you have to keep your kids off the furniture. Everything’s light, bright and airy, and our wait in the check-in line here was the most enjoyable of any of our stays in a Walt Disney World resort!
4. Yacht Club Resort
The lobby of the Yacht Club has perhaps the most adult feel of any lobby in Walt Disney World. It’s full of opulent, old-world, nautical charm, a mood set by the massive globe in the centre of the lobby, and continued in details such as the porthole windows and ship’s wheel accents. The wood floor positively gleams here, and the chandeliers and matching wall sconces manage to be stately but not oppressive. It’s the perfect place to sit for a spell, losing yourself in the fantasy that you’re a member of an elite New England yacht club.
3. Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Walt Disney World’s flagship resort transports guests back to Victorian times, surrounding them with opulent sophistication and elegance. The lobby of the Grand Floridian lives up to its name – it’s a massive, decidedly grand space, with enormous birdcages, crystal chandeliers, fresh flowers, sweeping staircases, and even its own orchestra! And if all that extravagance makes you hungry, visit during the holidays, when you can sample baked goods out of the life-size gingerbread house.
2. Wilderness Lodge
Walt Disney’s World’s Wilderness Lodge is arguably the best themed of any WDW resorts. It’s expansive, it’s wood-filled, it has enormous totem poles – and it’s glorious! You’ll immediately feel like you’ve entered a rustic yet impressively up-scale cabin for a weekend of skiing and relaxing by the mammoth stone fireplace. For guests whose idea of the ultimate vacation is getting away from it all, this is the perfect resort lobby! Plus, where else can you see hot springs erupt from the floor?
1. Animal Kingdom Lodge: Jambo House
No list of top Walt Disney World Resort lobbies would be complete without an entry for the unforgettable Animal Kingdom Lodge! It’s similar in many ways to Wilderness Lodge’s lobby, and we can’t say enough about this evocative, multi-storied space. It’s topped with a stunning, vaulted, thatched roof, and underfoot lies a teak hardwood floor. The unique chandeliers were created to resemble Maasai shields, and there’s a ton of authentic African artwork throughout the lobby that will have you believing you’ve just teleported to a high-end game reserve resort in Kenya. Venture to the back of the lobby for the best view in the house: the balcony overlooking the savanna, where you can spot African wildlife to your heart’s content. Animal Kingdom Lodge holds a special place in our hearts, and its lobby is one of the reasons why!