The Art & Architecture of a Disney Resort
Newly re-designed with a contemporary flair
Passionate performance meets stylish design at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. A recent transformation added a fresh and sophisticated look to the resort’s entertainment architecture, which was designed by Michael Graves as a part of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s vision.
Enhanced lobbies provide guests with an immediate and renewed sense of arrival, while an extraordinary fabric brightens up the cathedral height center-ceiling in the Dolphin lobby. Special attention was given to the resort entrances to create a memorable first impression, and a strong color palette was chosen to convey a sense of awe.
From coral and teal facades crowned with multi-story namesake statues to expansive murals in public areas, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has been described as a colossal work of art. Both resort lobbies boast over 1,000 new custom lighting fixtures, including dramatic chandeliers artistically crafted in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Woven metal and handcrafted tropical Pao rosewood accents complete the newly refurbished space, as well as imported Asian Golden Onyx counters on all guest service desks throughout the resort. A new contemporary art collection boasts a number of pieces commissioned for specific areas, and many of the furnishings and light fixtures were custom designed for this project.
One of Graves’ original themes was water and is demonstrated with fountains in several scenic locations throughout the property. The most visible fountain, located on the causeway between the Swan and the Dolphin, cascades nine stories through five magnificent seashells into a 54-foot clamshell. This Dolphin fountain entertains guests who stroll by and savor the cool mist. Guests in the lounges, restaurants and public spaces of the resort can also enjoy the spectacular views of this magnificent fountain. Twinkling fountains in giant clamshells also sit atop the Swan’s seven-story wings.
Statues of the resort’s namesakes sit atop both the Swan and Dolphin. Each of the two 56-foot tall dolphin statues and two 47-foot swans, weigh 60,000 pounds. These nautical statues are works of art that represent the mythological and contemporary symbols of water, chosen by Graves to further entertain the beholder.
The Disney resort’s distinct architecture has been its signature since opening. The buildings complement Florida’s tropical landscape. The exterior walls of the main structures are hand-painted murals in colors that represent the lush Florida greenery. In 2007, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort was voted #70 on a list of the top 150 architecture projects selected by the American public. This poll was conducted in conjunction with the American Institute of Architect’s 150th anniversary.