Walt Disney World has so much to do, including a wealth of hotels to stay at. Obviously, the theme parks are the star of the show but visiting and exploring these hotels is a fun pastime. Whether you’re taking a break from the heat of the day, grabbing a nice meal or looking for something interesting to do on a day outside of the parks, the resort’s vast array of striking hotel lobbies are worth seeing. In this post, we’ll count down our favorite ones at Walt Disney World.
Going to theme parks is usually a full day event and that is the way to get the most bang for your buck. But I’m an advocate of taking a break from time to time. Thankfully, Disney World makes that pretty easy for guests as there’s free transportation from every park to every hotel. I use the term ‘pretty easy’ loosely, as having a bus horror story is a WDW rite of passage. Even so, the point remains that it’s not hard to get to different hotels from parks.
Along those same lines, relaxing inside of a WDW lobby that you’re not staying at is perfectly acceptable. Going to a hotel to have a meal and then sitting around for half an hour or so after is a great way to get some energy back. It’s all the better if the lobby is beautiful! More often than not, there’s a lounge or bar or counter-service restaurant attached to the lobby to make it all the more enjoyable. I’ll try to take that into account while ranking my favorites but this is based off aesthetic more than anything. Let’s get to it!
10. Art of Animation
The lone value resort on our list has some beautiful drawings scattered around the lobby that are interesting to look at. While the architecture is lacking compared to everywhere else on the list, value resorts do win in terms of convenience. Right outside of the lobby desks is a large gift shop and counter-service restaurants that have nearly as many options as a mall food court. I’m not sure that I’d go out of my way to hang out here as it’s not as comfortable but it’s a convenient Skyliner ride away from Hollywood Studios if you want a bite to eat and to see some cool drawings!
The Crescent Lake Resort lobbies, just outside of Epcot, are less grandiose than some of our top choices but they are comfortable. This especially goes for the Yacht Club Resort which has some oversized chairs and masculine wood tones. There’s a large globe in the middle of the lobby and the symmetry of the stairs and décor are beautiful. The execution of the theme is well done. These interconnected hotels also have excellent lounges just outside of the lobbies.
Most of what I said about the Beach & Yacht Club is true for the Boardwalk. There are comfortable places to sit all around and the execution of the theme is well done, with miniatures of ferris wheels and carousels strewn throughout. I like that the Boardwalk’s lobby is elevated above the outside courtyard. That and the arched ceilings give it the edge over the Clubs across the lake. It’s a nice place to take a rest when drinking around the world becomes just a little too much for you. This is not me endorsing sitting in this lobby when you’re about to throw up. Please do not do that.
I’m of two minds about this one. I don’t especially like the Gran Destino tower addition to Coronado Springs as it seems a bit generic from the outside. That said, it really added some layers to the inside with a pretty bar to sit in and room for a beautiful tree at Christmas. Overall, it’s a lovely lobby on the inside and a nice place to sit. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to get to from any park other than Animal Kingdom.
The charm of Port Orleans – French Quarter begins in the lobby with a lively fountain and wall of windows facing out into the resort. At night the lobby comes alive with live music from the in-lobby lounge. There isn’t quite as much seating here as some others on the list but it’s a wonderful place to come explore, just like the rest of this quaint resort.
I know, I know. The Polynesian lobby isn’t what it used to be. I’d certainly prefer the lobby with an elaborate water feature. I prefer anything with an elaborate water feature! There’s still plenty to offer here though, as the Polynesian’s lobby houses so many amenities including a good store, bar, restaurant and multi-level architecture. This is one of the best resort’s to take a break from Magic Kingdom in.
4. Contemporary Resort
We’re cheating a bit here. The Contemporary’s actual lobby is downstairs and there isn’t a lot going on there outside of check-in and Steakhouse 71. But the third floor common area, and where everyone thinks of in the Contemporary, is buzzing. There’s several restaurants, stores, a striking mural and a monorail soaring through. It’s unlike most hotels in architecture, with the futuristic A-frame instead of the magnificent beams or soaring ceilings. At times it shows it’s age but if you soak it all in then watching the resort bustle while you eat some Peanut Butter Pie is a wonderful way to spend an hour.
3. Grand Floridian
Like the Poly, Grand Floridian’s lobby has so many entities connected to it that it’s hard not to be impressed. There’s three levels to look at, live music, and a number of restaurants and shops within a few steps. Like the rest of the resort, Grand Floridian tries to blow you away with the aesthetic and it’s largely successful with that in the lobby. My favorite view is coming in off of the monorail and looking down into the center of the resort. This is another good spot to take a break from Magic Kingdom.
As I’ve covered, there are plenty of wonderful lobbies to take a break from Magic Kingdom in. None of them beat Wilderness Lodge though. With the national park theme lodge being executed to perfection, there is no more relaxing place to sit in than here. If you get close to the window, there is running water starting in the lobby and going down near the pool. Wilderness Lodge also wins the award for best Christmas décor as the tree rising high above the lobby is worth a boat trip from Magic Kingdom.
Wilderness Lodge was a close second but Animal Kingdom Lodge wins because, well, animals! There’s real animals just outside of the door that you can watch from the lobby, especially if you’re at Kidani Village. Moving past that, Jambo House’s lobby and Wilderness Lodge share a lot of similarities in style and design. The bridge above the main part of the lobby is a favorite of mine, and all of the seating is wildly on theme and comfortable. If it’s not too hot, check out some of the seating just off the side of the lobby that overlooks the savanna. This is my favorite place to sit and relax in all of Disney World!
What are your favorite lobbies in Walt Disney World? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! Interested in a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our Planning Guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Top 10 Lists