Landscape architecture firm EDSA was commissioned to develop the master plan and provide full service landscape architecture design for Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.
Located within Disney’s new Golden Oak residential community, this 443-room resort has 26 acres of space. EDSA’s design concept was created to fit within the natural environment. Set around a feature lake and adjacent wetlands, the resort includes meeting space, restaurants, a spa, fitness center, pools, a business center, multiple outdoor function areas and a recreational island. With its references to European design, the property’s design reflects a classic architectural style, while being attuned to contemporary resort living. The main resort tower and function spaces have been positioned to take advantage of views over the lake, landscaped grounds, golf course, wetlands and nighttime views from select guestrooms and the rooftop restaurant of the Magic Kingdom Park fireworks. Characteristic designs include loggias, colonnades, columns and arches, grand stairways and decorative metal work.
Working with the Mediterranean-style architecture, EDSA approached the landscape, hardscape and waterscape design with the intention of maximizing the indoor/outdoor relationships. Medjool Date Palms were used to create a canopy on the main promenade that leads guests to the various outdoor amenities. As partitions along the promenade, pillars of Italian Cypress help create a series of rooms including outdoor meeting rooms, an al fresco restaurant, function lawn and fitness center. They are partnered with Sylvester Palms to reinforce the decorum of the infinity-edge adult pool and lake. Finally, Crape Myrtle Trees create a tunnel gateway to Explorers’ Island.
For the Explorer Island, EDSA created a water canal to transition from the formality of the Mediterranean gardens to the natural organic feel of the recreational island. Explorer’ Island was conceived as a Citrus Plantation Estate built in the 1800s that sits on a bluff overlooking the lake. Nearly 50 mature Live Oaks, spanning over 30 feet wide, were transplanted from the neighboring Four Seasons Golf Course. The estate is home to a family pool with tiered stadium seating, offering “dive-in” movies played on a built-in screen; a lazy river; two waterslides; a climbing wall; a lakeside bar and grill; Kids For All Seasons kids club with a playground and outdoor recreation spaces. Naturally curved Sabal Palms line the lazy river creating a native Sabal hammock commonly found near Florida wetlands.
Along the west side of the lake, native ornamental grasses, oaks, Sabal palms and pine trees were used to help transition the formal gardens back to the surrounding native wetlands and canal that flows from Bay Lake. Overall, there are 114 different plant species on the property with a total of 2,500 trees and approximately 80,000 shrubs and groundcovers.
In operation since 1960, EDSA is a full-service planning, landscape architecture and urban design firm. Its portfolio of more than 500 completed projects in 100 countries includes plans, designs and built works in the areas of hospitality, entertainment, campus, residential, ecotourism, urban revitalization and mixed-use districts. It has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Baltimore, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.