Walt Disney World has something for everyone whether that be entertainment, fine dining, or shopping. Premiere spas and competitive golf courses also top the list. However, few know that the World also offers unique opportunities for collectors and artists to unite in a gallery known by its famous name, Wyland Galleries of Florida.
Before I get started, let me preface this by saying that I am not the most knowledgeable individual when it comes to great art. Sure, I know of a select group of painters or sculptors and even own some pieces, but for the most part, I am your average tourist when it comes to this genre. As a result, visiting the Wyland Galleries in both Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and Polynesian Resort was definitely an informative and pleasing experience sprinkled with a bit of Disney magic.
Image: Wyland, the namesake of the Galleries, is known throughout the world for his dedication to environmental conservation efforts.
In 1996, the Wyland Galleries first opened its doors and since then has served as one of Central Florida’s prominent showcases for exquisite fine art including original paintings, sculpture, giclees, and jewelry. Wyland, who the Galleries was named after, is a world renowned marine life artist who first began painting in the 1980s. As a scuba diver, educator, and explorer, his vast knowledge of the underwater world offers a sense of realism to his work which, in turn, has led to numerous conservation efforts around the globe.
Images: Wyland’s marine life paintings, sculptures, and photography have inspired many about the importance of environmental conservation.
Upon entering Wyland Galleries, one is immediately immersed in an experience like none other at Walt Disney World. A sense of artistic integrity filters throughout the space. Paintings line the walls, sculptures stand proudly on marble pedestals, and a variety of handmade jewelry sparkles in glass display cases. Knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer your questions, but is not overbearing. I found this refreshing after spending time in a busy theme park.
Images: Wyland Galleries’ ever-present theme is appreciating nature and our world for all it has to offer.
The Galleries offer artwork in many different forms. Both the traditional and eclectic can be found here. Paintings and sculptures focus on the beauty of nature in all of its glory. I was amazed at how realistic the pieces were and could only imagine how much time and effort goes into producing them. More modern approaches to art are also on display; though they may incorporate the use of nontraditional techniques, they still highlight the wonders of our environment.
Images: The Galleries incorporates both traditional and modern approaches in form.
While walking throughout the various parts of the Galleries, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the artists did add a bit of Disney flair to some of the pieces available. For those of us who like showcasing our love for Mickey and friends, additional paintings and sculptures are on display. I found many of these items unique and not kiddish; they don’t necessarily “scream” Disney and offer options for individuals looking for something more adult. My favorites include the paintings featuring various characters interacting with marine life. I also enjoyed seeing a sculpture that subtly portrays Ariel from The Little Mermaid enjoying life in the sea.
Images: Some of my favorites from the Galleries include this painting and sculpture featuring Disney characters.
Wyland Galleries also offers Disney paintings that focus more so on the characters. Those who enjoy displaying their love for different friends from the films will find many options. The colors and overall layout of each piece make them all beautiful. In keeping with the Galleries’ focus on the environment, all feature the characters interacting with nature. A few Disney-themed sculptures are also for sale.
Images: Disney Artwork at Wyland Galleries
In addition to paintings and sculptures, Wyland Galleries also has a variety of jewelry for sale. Necklaces, earrings, pins, bracelets, watches, and more are displayed and come in many different styles. This includes the Kameleon line of interchangeable jewelry that I mentioned on a recent episode of The DIS Unplugged Podcast. Although this happens to be my favorite, I also liked the pendants made with precious gemstones in colors like sea foam and sky blue.
Images: Jewelry at Wyland Galleries
In the end, Wyland Galleries has a little something for everyone whether you’re new to the art scene or are already an aficionado. Quite regularly, artists make appearances and discuss or even sign their work. Be sure to make a point of stopping by the next time you’re in town. Visiting is a wonderful treat even if you are just going to look!