Disney World's new 145,000-square-foot Convention Center is an addition to Walt Disney's visionary Contemporary Hotel, completed in 1971. A new two-and-a-half-acre entry plaza joins the two buildings and leads to a new porte-cochere entry for the Hotel. The addition contains a 45,000-square-foot main ballroom that holds 3,300 persons and can be divided into three multipurpose spaces, a 7,000-square-foot ballroom, three prefunction spaces, five meeting rooms, and a full-service kitchen with loading facilities.
The Convention Center’s horizontal silhouette, reinforced by a strong color palette, contrasts with the vertical, gridded facade of the Hotel. Four major forms create the collage-assemblage: the curved, striped primary volume of the main ballroom and prefunction gallery; the entry canopy, a skylighted outdoor porte-cochere for cars and buses; and the two rotundas, one connecting to the Hotel with stairs, escalators, and a glass block bridge, and the other accented by a square-punched window, which presents an iconic form on the more visible west corner.
The sequence of interior spaces, which culminates in the main ballroom, heightens the memory of these forms. Defined by a triangulated, polished aluminum grid, the ballroom ceiling is an illusive, reflective multiprism that appears to float over the space, restating the object-frame theme of the parti.