Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
|Disney's Grand Floridian
Resort & Spa
|Location||Magic Kingdom Resort Area|
|Resort type||Deluxe Resort|
|Opened||July 1, 1988|
|Theme||Victorian seaside resort|
|Areas||Main Building (Suites 4001-4030, Rooms 4201-4430), Sago Cay (Rooms 5101-5528), Sugar Loaf (Concierge Rooms 6101-6424), Conch Key (Rooms 7101-7518), Boca Chica (Rooms 8101-8528), Big Pine Key (Rooms 9101-9528), and the Villas (Villas 1101-1622)|
|Rooms||867 rooms, 147 villas|
|Suites||25 suites, including the Victorian Suite, the Roy O. Disney Suite, the Walt Disney Suite, and the Grand Suite|
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a AAA Four Diamond Award–winning, Victorian themed luxury hotel and spa located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The property opened on June 28, 1988 as the Grand Floridian Beach Resort. The name changed to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa during the fall of 1997. The resort contains 867 rooms among six buildings at an average of 400 square feet (37 m2) per room. A standard room can sleep up to five people. The resort is owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
The Grand Floridian is categorized as a deluxe resort, one of four types of accommodations at the Florida site. It is also distinguished as Disney's flagship and most opulent resort.  The resort has received designation in the Florida Green Lodging Program.
History and influences
The Grand Floridian was inspired by the Victorian era beach resorts built along Florida's east coast during the late 19th century and early 20th century; its exterior is modeled after the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, California, with red gabled roofs and white walls. Additional design inspiration was taken from the Belleview-Biltmore Hotel in Belleair, Florida. The resort's outer lodge buildings — Sago Cay, Sugarloaf Key, Conch Key, Boca Chica and Big Pine Key—are named for islands in the Florida Keys. The hotel's main building features a five story lobby, a replica cage elevator, stained glass domes, and Italian marble floors with inlays of various Disney characters. During daytime hours, a grand pianist performs in the main lobby while a house orchestra plays on the second floor balcony every evening.
Initially, Walt Disney wanted a Polynesian resort (reflecting Adventureland), the Contemporary Resort to echo Tomorrowland, and other resorts that mirrored the 'lands' of the Magic Kingdom. Main Street and The Grand Floridian act as analogous reflections. The resort was designed by the Disney company and executed by the architectural firm Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo.
Along with Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, the Grand Floridian sits on the shores of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon near the Magic Kingdom. The hotel occupies land that had been earmarked for an Asian themed resort during the initial development of Walt Disney World Resort in the late 1960s. In 1988 The Beach Boys filmed a music video for their song Kokomo. In 1992, a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) convention center opened adjacent to the hotel, which contains a business center.
The hotel has completed some major renovations in recent years. Since 2007, all guestrooms, restaurants, retail shops, and common areas of the resort have been updated. In 2011, the Grand Floridian Spa and Health Club underwent an extensive 18 month remodel. In 2013, the hotel completed a remodel of all pool areas along with the installation of a beachside fire pit and children's water area themed to Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Completed in 2013, the Disney Vacation Club building at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa houses 147 villas and studios. The Villas continue the theme of Victorian-era Palm Beach resorts found in the Grand Floridian while catering to the needs of DVC guests. The expansion makes the Grand Floridian the second monorail resort to receive a DVC addition, following Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort which opened in 2009. Like Bay Lake Tower, The Villas at the Grand Floridian features its own lobby and porte cochere, and guests can check in and out and access concierge services without needing to visit the Main Building. The Villas also include a leisure area (including BBQ pit) adjacent to the resort's spa. A covered walkway links the Villas to the main building. Villas and studios include split bathrooms alongside subtle Disney theming to Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Mary Poppins.
- Victoria & Albert's - A critically acclaimed restaurant at the hotel, with a menu created nightly and an award-winning wine cellar. The restaurant has received AAA's prestigious Five Diamond Award each year since 2000 and currently is the one of three Floridian restaurants to receive the award (the other restaurants are at The Breakers Hotel and Four Seasons, both of which are in Palm Beach.) As of January 2008, children under 10 are no longer permitted. The restaurant offers 3 experiences, each with its own menu and wine list: the main dining room, Queen Victoria's Room, and the Chef's Table.
- Cítricos - American food with a Mediterranean inflection. Serves dinner nightly. It operates in a location that was formerly an Italian restaurant called Flagler's that operated until 1997.
- Narcoossee's - A waterside seafood restaurant with an open kitchen and views of Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom fireworks show, Wishes. Serves dinner nightly.
- 1900 Park Fare - Buffet dining with Disney characters including Mary Poppins and Cinderella. Inside this restaurant is "Big Bertha", an organ built in Paris and used from 1909 to 1955 in a Grand Rapids, Michigan amusement park called Ramona Park. The organ's instruments include pipes, drums, bells, cymbals, castanets and a xylophone, and are played by a piano-roll score. It plays short concerts periodically during mealtimes. Serves breakfast and dinner daily.
- Grand Floridian Café - Traditional American fare, with fresh fruit, seafood, and burgers. Serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
- Garden View Lounge - A small tea room located off the first floor lobby, serving traditional afternoon tea and offering character themed parties.
- Mizner's Lounge - A bar and lounge serving drinks and appetizers.
- Gasparilla Island Grill - A 24-hour counter service restaurant with an adjacent arcade.
- Beaches Pool Bar and Grill and Courtyard Pool Bar - Poolside bars at the main pools, which in addition to drinks also offer some light meals and snacks.
Recreation and Amenities
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa offers one of the most complete experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort.
- Courtyard Pool - Situated between the guest room buildings, the pool features zero-entry access, a jacuzzi, cabanas and the Courtyard Pool Bar.
- Beach Pool - Located beachside between the main resort and Villas, the zero-entry Beach Pool offers an Alice in Wonderland water playground for children, as well as a slide, jacuzzi, cabanas and the Beaches pool bar.
- White Sand Beaches - The resort fronts the Seven Seas Lagoon and features a stretch of man-made white sand beaches, which continue to the nearby Polynesian Village Resort.
- The Captain's Shipyard - A marina containing various watercraft rentals, including fishing excursions and a yacht. The yacht, named The Grand One, is a 1.5 million dollar boat which launches from the Grand Floridian. It can be rented for $550 an hour for up to 18 people. The yacht is popular for wedding receptions and is often used to watch Wishes Fireworks show over Cinderella castle from the Seven Seas Lagoon. It was given for free from SeaRay because Walt Disney World has purchased many other boats for use around the resorts from SeaRay.
- Arcadia Games - Connected to Gasparilla Island Grill offering a variety of arcade games.
- Senses Spa and Fitness Center - Senses - A Disney Spa is located adjacent to the Villas building and offers a full selection of spa treatments as well as a 24-hour fitness center for the use of Grand Floridian and Polynesian guests.
- Jogging Trail - The Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village have an interconnecting jogging trail which is approximately one mile in length.
- Shopping - Located within the Main Building is a variety of stores. Commander Porter's and Summer Lace offer mens- and womenswear, while Sandy Cove Gifts & Sundries offers groceries and Disney merchandise. M. Mouse Mercantile offers further merchandise, while Basin White offers luxury bath products from the Basin ranges.
- Ivy Trellis Salon - a full featured hair and beauty salon on the second floor.
- Lobby Entertainment - The Main Building lobby features live music in the form of piano and singer during the daytime, and a dedicated orchestra in the evenings.
- Convention Center - Situated to the right of the lobby upon exiting, the Grand Floridian features its own convention center.
- Walt Disney World Transportation System - The resort has its own Walt Disney World Monorail System station, as well as a water launch to the Polynesian Village Resort and the Magic Kingdom. Buses provide access to all over Walt Disney World attractions.
- "AAA/CAA Four Diamond Lodgings". AAA. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- "Grand Floridian Construction Project". Laughing Place.
- "Green Lodging Program Designated Properties". Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- Kurtti, Jeff (1996). Since the World Began: Walt Disney World, The First 25 Years. New York, New York: Hyperion. p. 125. ISBN 0-7868-6248-3.
- Dunlop, Beth (1996). Building a Dream: The Art of Disney Architecture. New York, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 107. ISBN 0-810931427.
- "Walt Disney World A History in Postcards".
- "The Beach Boys Kokomo Soundtrack Cocktail".
- The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa http://disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com/destinations/resorts/grand-floridian-villas/
- "Victoria & Albert's". Disney. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- Sharkey, Joe (16 April 2002). "BUSINESS TRAVEL; ON THE GROUND: In Orlando". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Disney World bans children from fanciest park restaurant". Associated Press. 9 January 2008.
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