Disney Design and Decor Ideas

Finding design and decor inspiration on my Disney vacation.

Over the last few years, Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL has been a favorite vacay destination for us. Whether it is the ease of keeping two young children entertained or the inner kid in us, we love the magic that we find at Disney. As I was looking back through all the photos I’ve taken on our trips, I realized how many design and decor photos I have taken. As a result you get this post, where I am going to share my favorite Disney design and decor photos with you.

I promise it will not be all mouse ears or red & white polka dots!

It’s funny how one photo can inspire so many people differently. I think Pinterest is a perfect example of exactly that. Of course I’m am always on the look out for home decor ideas but I also love painting and creating. So I’ll take photos with the thought “I’d like to paint that one day.” Sometimes I do… sometimes I don’t, but the photo below is one of them.

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The fun is in the exploring.

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.”  – Walt Disney

During our Disney trips we try to stay at different resorts each time. We will also use one of our down days to explore other resorts to check out restaurants and see where we may want to stay next. It’s amazing how completely different each one is and the planning that must have gone into creating the theme and executing it just right. Did you know each Disney resort has its own signature scent? Seriously.

If you’ve been to Disney lately you will always see a new project or a renovation underway. I have to respect the constant need for improvement. Plus it will end up as another new adventure to check out once it’s completed.

So here go my faves!

The architectural designs:

Disney’s Beach Club Resort is one of our favorites. After a little Wikipedia search, I learned it was designed to look like a 19th Century Newport Beach Cottage by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Even though the guest rooms have been renovated a couple times since this resort opened in 1990, the exterior is still so relevant to coastal design today.disney-beach-club-resort-architecture

Many of the newer coastal homes built in our local NC area are adding these decorative details to the design. You will see a lot of different accents in the peaks of gable roofs, cupolas, and arched brackets on porch columns. Sometimes these are referred to as “gingerbread” details. But, I say the more the merrier. These design details are what customize the homes.

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Don’t forget the Trimmings:

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, also designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, is located directly beside the Beach Club but is a more subdued gray color. I love how no details is too small. The muntins (swooping window grill) in the transom windows above the doors made me stop in my tracks. It seems so simple but it’s almost like a permanent window treatment.

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Don’t get me started on a pergola. I think if you are wandering around any of the East Coast beach towns you will see so many variations of pergolas. Many times it is a smaller version over a garage door or window. I personally love a vine covered version over a back patio with hanging lights.

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The railings at the Jungle Navigation Co Ltd in the Magic Kingdom make me want to build a new house! Paired with the trim details on the top, the siding color really pops against it. Throw in some rattan chairs and palm trees and we’re in coastal design heaven.

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I have been crushing on all things related to a porte-cochere. So this enclosed breezeway at the Boardwalk made my heart skip a beat. The exterior trim details and the faux balcony are just perfection.

Hello gorgeous!

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Hello, from the other side…

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The lighting:

Lighting is one of my favorite design elements of any home. I love lighting on a big scale but I also love layers of light. You can better believe that Disney does lighting right.

My first job out of school was working in a designer showroom selling appliances, plumbing, and lighting fixtures. One of the first things we were taught about lighting was the importance of layers of lighting.

What to look for: 

You will see these layers applied in all types of rooms. Here are some of the most common types of light fixtures:

  • Architectural/Indirect lighting (Cove, soffit, valance, under cabinet)
  • Recessed (can lights, installed above the ceiling to be flush with the ceiling face)
  • Ceiling lighting (flush mount fixtures mounted directly to the ceiling)
  • Chandeliers (fixtures suspended from the ceiling, typically directing the light upward)
  • Pendants (also suspended from the ceiling but directs the light down)
  • Wall lighting (sconces)
  • Lamps (desk, floor, & table)
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Vignette seating with wall sconces & table lamps in the lobby of Disney’s Beach Club Resort lobby.


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The inside of my beautiful enclosed breezeway from Disney’s Boardwalk.


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Chandeliers in the lobby at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort


As you could probably guess, the photos above are all in what I would consider the decorative lighting category. The big statement pieces that command attention when you walk in. I know when we walk into the lobby of any of the resorts I will be greeted with gorgeous chandeliers that compliment the respective design theme.

What I didn’t expect was the lighting in our “recently refurbished” room at the Coronado Springs Resort. They were currently under construction while we were there but our room had already been remodeled (yay!). I didn’t really know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.

How cool is this!?

These little guys are automatic reading lights. I have no idea how they actually work but when you pulled them out the LED lights turned on. When you put them back down, they turned off! It was such a cool and practical idea, especially in a hotel room where you may need light but don’t want to disturb the others (specifically sleeping children) in the room.

LED-reading-light-automatic-bedsideLED-automatic-bedside-reading-light

Now let’s talk about the bathroom light. One of the best facial lighting is from the side. This is why the old Hollywood make-up mirror has the bulbs around the sides and top. Therefore, I am sure you have seen an updated version of this where wall sconces are installed on either side of the bathroom mirrors. Even though lights above the bathroom mirrors are the common installation it can actually create harsh shadows on your face. This can make it tough to get make-up even and shaving (for the fellas) a little difficult.

Disney designers did it again!

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This is like a make-up mirror on steroids! The designers were able to integrate the lighting into the cabinetry and it creates a perfect illumination for getting ready.

I will have to ponder how to accomplish this in a simpler installation.

We can’t leave the bathroom just yet.

I know barn doors have been around forever and have been on trend for the last several years. But in a hotel installation where space is at a minimum and privacy is even less, this was a perfect application. I also really like the concealed sliding track. I’m sure Disney did it for both design and safety but I like the contemporary feel it gives.

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Taking it outside.

If you have been to Disney, you will totally know what I’m talking about. If you have not, let me tell you about the landscaping. The gardens! The trees! The flowers! The palms! The plants! Oh my!

I think I may actually be in love with this tree.

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I was so excited when I saw these huge versions of the philodendron I just bought last weekend. Who knew they got this big!

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Birds of paradise are one of my all-time favorite flowers. To see them blooming in person is so cool.

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I love a potted plant. Layering potted plants is a great way to have  completed look. If you’re not sure what to put on the bottom layer, you can just add some dried moss to cover the bare dirt in your planter.

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Just in case you were worried I wouldn’t include any mouse ears or cartoon characters!

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Disney’s Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2018 Figment Topiary.


Disney Design & Decor Ideas

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