When I was a kid, I would have bristled at the thought of spending time in a Disney World Resort lobby instead of in a theme park. Now, as an adult, I appreciate relaxing in one of Disney’s many resort hotels. Though they may be split into Deluxe, Moderate, and Value categories, each resort is unique and has a different theme. One thing they all have in common, however, is that they offer plentiful seating, attractive décor, and access to various restaurants, food courts, and gift shops. Whether you’re spending a day resort hopping (made easier now with the Skyliner), waiting for a restaurant reservation, or are just looking for a place to escape the heat, make sure you visit a few of these resort lobbies on your next vacation!
7 – Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Resort
I didn’t think it was possible to add a new favorite Disney World resort lobby to my list, but the Gran Destino Tower instantly won me over. The lobby is comprised of two stories, and the downstairs doubles as a lounge. There are high windows that look onto perfectly manicured lawns, and the inside boasts tons of intricate wooden screens, hanging lanterns, and a fabulous painting of Walt and Mickey. The hotel’s décor takes inspiration from the classic Disney film “Destino,” and the warm colors and patterns give the lobby an Old World, Spanish-style touch. The lobby offers plenty of comfy seating, and it’s a perfect place to relax while sipping on coffee in the morning or cocktails in the evening. I can’t wait to spend more time here on my next trip!
6 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge is my favorite hotel lobby in the world. It’s so peaceful, so open and airy, and it looks out onto an amazing savannah filled with African wildlife. I’ve never been to a safari lodge in Kenya, but I imagine this is what it would feel like! When you’re not relaxing on one of the couches or gazing out of the multi-storied windows, you can walk around and peruse the authentic African artwork placed strategically throughout the lobby. If you’re hungry, Jiko and Boma are mere steps away, and if you’re looking for a place to have some fun away from the theme parks, cast members are often present to lead activities with younger guests.
5 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
There’s really no better feeling than relaxing in the Grand Floridian lobby, listening to the orchestra, and breathing in the scent of flowers as you gaze out over the grounds. Seven Seas Lagoon and Cinderella’s Castle are just a short walk (or monorail ride away), but it’s hard to rise from those comfy couches once you sit down. The Grand Floridian lobby lives up to what you would expect a deluxe Disney resort to look like- there are sweeping staircases, birdcages, chandeliers, and tons of fresh flowers. An orchestra or pianist is usually playing, and sometimes Cinderella and Prince Charming lead the lobby guests in a waltz. My favorite time to visit this lobby, however, is during the holidays- for the Christmas season, guests visiting the Grand Floridian can gaze upon a life-sized gingerbread house, which not only smells fantastic but also offers baked goods for sale. This massive space truly is magical, and luckily, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a hotel room to hang out here!
4 – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
I can’t think of anything that beats walking into the lobby of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. You pass the rushing waterfall and tiki torches into a tropical, air-conditioned paradise, with a lobby full of greenery and a stunning view out the back windows of Cinderella Castle. Every time I enter the Polynesian, it truly feels like home- after all, there’s a giant Tiki statue smiling at you in welcome! Guests can hang out downstairs on the couches, or wander upstairs through the gift shops and past Kona Café and Ohana. My favorite thing to do after a quick rest in the lobby is to stop outside for a Dole Whip and a stroll past the pool. While you’re there, don’t forget to ask the front desk for a lei; at this resort, everyone is wearing a necklace of flowers!
3 – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Wilderness Lodge has by far the coziest lobby out of all the resorts in Disney World. Sitting by the fire with a book isn’t usually at the top of people’s lists when visiting the most magical place on earth, but here, you can do just that! With the comfy seating, multi-story fireplace, and hot springs bubbling underfoot, it’s hard not to want to sit in this lobby and relax for a moment. Despite the ample space, the comfy décor and the crackling fireplace makes the Wilderness Lodge lobby feel intimate and almost makes you wish it was colder outside (almost).
2 – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Every time I visited the Contemporary as a child, I was always amazed at the monorail passing right through the A-frame hotel. No matter what the rooms looked like, I always wanted to stay there- and luckily, when I finally did get to stay there a few years later, it did not disappoint! An interesting thing about the Contemporary is that the lobby isn’t exactly on the ground floor entrance, near the check-in desk- it’s actually on the fourth floor, which is called the Grand Canyon Concourse. Here, there are lounges, gift shops, the famous Chef Mickey’s restaurant, and a great view of a beautiful mural by Disney Legend Mary Blair. There is so much to see and do in this lobby, and of course, the sound of the monorail rushing through never gets old! With the Magic Kingdom merely a five-minute walk away, hanging out in this lobby almost feels like lounging right at the theme park’s front gates.
1 – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
As a kid, my family mostly stayed in value resorts (such as the All-Stars and Pop Century), so I have more memories of enjoying low-key lobbies with an attached food court, arcade, gift shop, and doors leading out to the pool area. However, the Art of Animation lobby is anything but low-key; it’s bright, colorful, and perfect for fans of Disney movies and animation in general. The walls are full of artwork of Disney characters in various stages of animation, from rough sketches to fully painted cells. On the ceiling is a unique chandelier that contains more sketches of different Disney characters, and the check-in desks are affixed with rainbow lights. The resort focuses on four specific films: Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, and the music playing throughout the lobby has pop versions of songs from those soundtracks. It’s just such a fun place to be, and unlike some other resort lobbies, the Disney feeling is everywhere!
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