Grand Lobbies á la Disney

All of the beautifully themed Disney resorts evoke a positive response upon entering the lobby. But some of them make you giddy with delight, maybe even causing an involuntary “WOW”.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Lobby image

Teddy Roosevelt would exclaim “bully” to Walt Disney World® Resort’s dramatic depiction of an early 1900s national park lodge. I challenge you to keep your jaw from dropping open on your first encounter with its awesome eight-story lobby. Celebrating the grandeur of the National Parks of American’s Northwest, it’s a marvel where walls of split logs and rugged rock surround the huge, open expanse filled with oversize leather chairs and Native American crafts of beaded moccasins, feathered headdresses, textiles, and drums. Two authentic 55-foot Pacific Northwest totem poles overlook rustic stone and hardwood floors topped with Native American rugs, tepee-topped chandeliers, and a bevy of “park ranger” staff who roam the lodge attending to guests. A favorite pastime is relaxing in rocking chairs fronting the massive, 82-foot-tall fireplace composed of rockwork replicating the diverse strata of the Grand Canyon.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby image

In the imposing, five-story thatch-roofed lobby of Walt Disney World Resorts’ version of a safari lodge the first impression is nothing but wow! Resplendent overhead chandeliers formed by Masai shields and spears tower over the boulder-lined lobby. Safari-chic seating areas offer hand-carved coffee tables, handsome hand-woven rugs, richly tinted rattan and cane chairs, and relaxing leather sofas adorned with African textile throw pillows. A rope suspension bridge spans the lobby and draws the eye to balconies carved with graceful antelopes and a 46-foot picture window framed by branches of an intricate ironwork tree. The centerpiece of the lobby is the one-of-a-kind sacred Ijele, a 16-foot, dazzling mask created by the Igbo people of Nigeria.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney's Grand Floridian Lobby image

Walt Disney World Resort guests’ preferred gathering spot is the soaring five-story Grand Lobby topped with stained-glass cupolas and massive filigreed chandeliers. Strewn with potted palms, cushy seating, and extravagant flower arrangements, it’s at its liveliest in the late afternoon and evening hours when entertainment rotates between a relaxing piano player and a dynamic “big” band. Because the resort possesses a popular wedding chapel don’t be surprised to see white-gowned brides frequently roaming the lobby. If you’re in luck a Cinderella coach with footmen and white ponies will be on hand to whisk away the newly wedded couple.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel lobby image

This Disneyland® Resort hotel’s nature-themed, majestic lobby is favorite meeting place for guests. An accolade to the turn of the 20th century Craftsman style constructed of stone and native wood, it features massive arched beams hung with Mission-style chandeliers and comfy seating around the grand piano. Better yet, each afternoon and into the evening is storytelling and live entertainment around the great hearth where there’s a fire lit year round.

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Cara Goldsbury Luxury Disney image

Cara Goldsbury is the author of The Luxury Guide to Disney Vacations and The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World Resort. She is Chief Executive Concierge at Glass Slipper Concierge®, a travel agency specializing in Disney vacations, and has appeared as a leading Disney expert on two Travel Channel specials, Disney Splurge! and Disney Royalty. She has also been cited numerous times in national news articles, in such notable publications as Forbes Traveler, as an expert on the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Disneyland® Resort, Walt Disney World® , Walt Disney World® Hotels



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