Legacy Project

Walt Disney World Dolphin & Swan Hotels

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Celebrating Disney, re-defining the guest experience

The award-winning Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan Hotels, designed during an era when hotels focused on delivering standardized guest experiences, presaged the rise of the boutique hotel and helped change the course of hospitality design. While their exuberant designs responded to Disney’s vision of entertainment architecture at a theme park, it was the idea of creating desirable, unique, and locally focused guest experiences that had a profound and lasting effect on both clients and other architects and designers.

Total design, immersive experience

Michael Graves, working with Principal Patrick Burke, used the site planning, architecture, and interiors to create immersive experiences throughout the hotels and their convention center, one of the largest in the Southeast. With supergraphics, artwork, exaggerated forms, and an outsized sense of humor, no surface remained untouched, and almost all of the furniture and furnishings were custom-designed. Later renovations overseen by Graves updated the guestrooms for the needs of modern travelers, including business people attending conventions who needed more technology-enabled work areas within the guest accommodations.

Project Lead

Michael Graves, FAIA. Also involved: Patrick Burke, AIA

Professional Credits

Associate Architect: Alan Lapidus


Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Americas)


2 million SF, 2,278 guestrooms, 178,000 SF convention center

Completion Date

1990, public are and guestroom renovations 2002


AIA New Jersey Award, Progressive Architecture Design Award

Concept Sketch
Elevator Lobby

Legacy Projects

At Michael Graves we create design that clients dream of. We not only care about what we create we care about who we create it for.