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Friday, April 12, 2024

EXPOSÉ: The Thematic Demolition of Disney’s Once-Victorian Resort

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.

Previous Victorian theme of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. (©Mickey Views)

Clashing Themes

Over the past year, the satellite buildings traded in their warm feel for desaturated blue and geometric furniture.

Inside the modernized lobby of the Sugar Loaf building. (©Mickey Views)

Ornately detailed carpets replaced with modern, abstract watercolor carpet a toddler could design and install.

Clashing flooring styles where the Victorian meets modern. (©Mickey Views)

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.”

Guest hallway in Main Building on Level 3, painted grey. Taken September 25, 2023. (©Mickey Views)

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Warm “Hidden Mickey” wallpaper has been replaced by blue paint in the congierce area and grey paint in the hallways.

Main Building concierge on Level 3, now painted blue with brass leaf wall sconces. Taken September 25, 2023. (©Mickey Views)

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.

Swatch book giving us a look at what to expect in the updated lobby. (©Mickey Views)

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

Last month, Disney drilled the marble out of this elevator car and replaced it with gray slate. Taken September 25, 2023. (©Mickey Views)

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.

Clashing areas of floor work in Grand Floridian’s lobby. (©Mickey Views)

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.

Mission statement for the resort’s reimagining: ‘Victorian meets modern.’

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

Plastic tarps, grime, and painters tape blanket the reverse side of the Grand Floridian’s artfully-designed Victorian lobby skylights. (©Mickey Views)

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.

Brayden
Brayden
Brayden produces quality Disney news commentary videos at Mickey Views. He is also working on feature-quality documentary films at "Address Unknown."

15 COMMENTS

  1. Brayden, my heart aches along side with you my man.. For those of us who grew up with Disney and the “magic” that the name alone entails, it’s hard to see what is currently happening all across property and the company as a whole. Everything from cleanliness to “retheming” of attractions and resorts has really been an eyesore and even a stain on the company. If there’s any hope for the future of the Disney and its namesake, it would be best if those in high places would go back to the basics and reimplement the standards and practices which it was originally founded upon!

  2. What a failed project. I can understand the desire to modernize the guest rooms making them more 2023 “deluxe.” But, not the common areas and not the lobby. That’s where the Disney magic still needs to happen. I go to Disney for Disney. If I want to stay at a Ritz-Carlton or Hilton I’ll go to Hawaii.

  3. We’ve stayed here in August 2019, club level main building. It was the vacation of my dreams. It hurts to see my favorite resort be demolished like this.

  4. So sad to see the destruction of the unique beauty of the Grand Floridian Lobby. Unique and beautiful no more! When will Disney get the message of its guests whether it’s the resorts or beloved attractions: refresh and enhance through the years but don’t destroy. Too often the “new” has not lived up to the Magic of the original. Yes to new offerings but don’t destroy the old ones in the process. There is room for both going forward!!

  5. Well I guess since they had to spend their money somewhere, for people can’t come to Disney World unless they take out a loan to pay for it, I remember coming to Disney World and staying ten days and have tickets and transportation for less then a thousand dollars, Now I can’t even afford just the room, the prices are so high that families can’t go anymore, and it’s not worth all the hassle to go.But they have the money to remodel,please leave the majic alone..

  6. Man, Iger and D’amaro really damaged the Disney brand over the last 5 to 6 years…The best thing that could happen right now would be the replacement of the management from top to bottom…they are killing the brand

    • What is happening to Disney is a shame. It was nice to go somewhere that value was part of the fabric
      And quality was expected.

  7. I used to work there and lovely as the theme was for the time, there have always been complaints about it looking outdated or not high level as that hotel has always strived to be. If your clients keep communicating update her, then you meet the client demands who can and do pay for it. For all pricing increases, you have to run a profitable operation or you serve none. A lot of energy here judging an incomplete job to which we don’t know the whole imagineer picture.

  8. JUST LIKETHEY REDID SPACESHIP EARTH,AND MADE IT INTO A CHEAP VERSION OF OLD SPACSHIP EARTH,
    EVEYTHING DISNEY RE-DOS TURNS TO GARBARGE, NOW THEY ARE AFTER SPLASH MOUNTAIN, YEARS HAVE GONE BY AND THOUSANDS HAVE ENJOYED SPLASH MOUTAIN THE WAY IT WAS, NOW ITS DECEIDED ITIS NOT RACEALLY CORRECT ENOUGH, EVEN THOUGH THOUSANDS OF ALL, ALL RACES ENJOYED IT THE WAY IT WAS . SO NOW GOODBYE SLASH MOUNTAIN, SURELY ANOTHER REMAKE DIASTER.THEY REDID KONA CAFE, IT DOES NOT LOOK POLOYNESIAN AT ALL………….JUST UGLY MODERN. WHO EVER HAS THE POWER IN THESE PAST FEW YEARS MUST HAVE A RUIN DISNEY SILENT AGENDA, BECAUSE THEYARE AND HAVE AND KEEP DOING.

  9. Hi love your passion Brayden for keeping the Disney Resorts the way there were. I watched your latest Youtube video and loved how long your extended segment on de-themeing the hotels. Most other news outlets would give this one minutes worth of attentions, but you gave it like 30 minutes. I wish that you worked at Disney and they’d listen to you.

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