As the “reimagining” of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa grinds along, I try not to look at it too closely. The reality of the situation is quite depressing for enjoyers of the resort’s previous Victorian theme.
Over the past year, the satellite buildings traded in their warm feel for desaturated blue and geometric furniture.
Ornately detailed carpets replaced with modern, abstract watercolor carpet a toddler could design and install.
Even fans of this new look are forced to admit the modern details clash with untouched parts of the building. The resort’s original Victorian theme is at odds with Disney’s modern resort updates.
Warm Main Building Repainted Blue and Grey
The main building at the Grand Floridian is now receiving the same “de-theming.”
The scrims have just begun to come down on the upper levels of the main building, revealing more of the same tired look most of Disney’s deluxe resorts are in the process of receiving.
Warm “Hidden Mickey” wallpaper has been replaced by blue paint in the congierce area and grey paint in the hallways.
One begins to wonder how the Beach Club, Grand Floridian, and Yacht Club differentiate themselves when all of their updates sport the exact same color scheme.
The upper levels of the Grand Floridian main building look quite strange from the lobby, as the dark hallways and bright lobby do not mix well.
Destruction of Marble Flooring
The lower two floors of the lobby have skated by mostly unscathed, but they’re next. The elevator connecting Levels 1 and 2 recently had its genuine marble drilled out, replaced with grey tilework.
Marble has also been drilled out of the lobby near the off-theme Beauty and the Beast bar in favor of faux wood textures printed on large tile slabs.
Losing Edge Over Competitors
I’d also be remiss not to mention the axing of the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, a major blow to this resort. That was something the Four Seasons didn’t have. Yet another advantage of the Grand Floridian lost to the Disney greed machine.
You might ask, how could all of this happen? How could Imagineering go in and do the exact opposite of what the Imagineers who came before them did? Replace yellow with blue? Replace Victorian with modern?
The truth is, Imagineers had little part in the development of this project.
Trying to Right a Sinking Ship
According to sources of Mickey Views, leadership at Walt Disney World is well aware of what their Vegas-hires have done to the hotels. Their previously uniquely themed resorts now have cheap, modern accutroments which clash with the untouched areas of the resorts. When the Grand Floridian main building is refurbished to look like the Springhill Suites by Marriott, why pay eight times more per night for the same thing? Location is quickly becoming the sole advantage Disney’s hotels have to lean on.
Allegedly, the Las Vegas talent is on the way out at Walt Disney World, and executives anticipate having to reimagine the just-reimagined resorts again. Particularly, the execs already want to re-update the update to Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.
Poor Attention to Detail
Also, if Disney’s reading this, there are STILL tarps on top of the skylights. Even during the resource-intensive repainting of the entire ceiling the past few months, these tarps were not removed. They’ve been there, painters tape and all, for over 5 years now.
Disney gets away with this stuff because nobody raises a stink. “Who cares?!” I’ll take the accusations of caring too much about minutiae. It’s minutiae that made Disney, and it’s the lack of attention to detail that is killing it. Imagineers spent lots of time and money sourcing those skylights several decades back, and the filthy state they’re in is beyond unacceptable.
Hopefully, one day, Disney’s Grand Floridian returns to its Victorian look. In the interim, we can only pray they don’t drill away any more marble.