RUMOR: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort to Be Gutted to Become Modern Luxury Resort

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This rumor is out there, but seems to be picking up some steam…

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has remained for the most part the same since 1988, with the exception of new lobby floor installed in the last decade.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has remained for the most part the same since 1988, with the exception of new lobby floor installed in the last decade.

It appears Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts Bob Chapek is not a big fan of the current Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Walt Disney World’s flagship hotel and often most expensive per night. Similar to the recently initiated shakeup in housekeeping for Disney World, Chapek feels as if the Four Seasons Resort Orlando is putting them to shame when it comes to what a luxury resort on-property should be. So, what’s the solution? To completely gut the 28-year-old Magic Kingdom area resort, of course.

A room at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Walt Disney World
A room at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Walt Disney World

Obviously, many executives at Walt Disney World are trying to talk Chapek out of this massive remodeling as the Grand Floridian makes quite a bit of money and is often well-liked by those who stay there. One of the proposed alternate plans would involve constructing a new flagship hotel for Walt Disney World just north of the Transportation and Ticket Center. Reportedly, they have had no luck in changing his mind as of yet and Chapek is still moving full speed ahead with his plan.

Should it come to fruition, all of the rooms and the lobby of the resort will be completely gutted and rebuilt with a more modern-luxury theme, perhaps along the lines of the new hotel being constructed at the Disneyland Resort.

As it stands now, this project may not even be in the design phase as of yet, but it seems as if it will come to fruition should Chapek remain at helm of Parks and Resorts for the foreseeable future.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.


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  • Will never happen. Also Chapek and his family should banned from ever setting foot on Disney property ever again, and Disney needs a new parks chief who will undo every single thing he’s ever done. Capitalism is a very bad system and needs to be abolished.

  • […] this week, this rumor from WDW News Today was blowing up the social media feeds of many a Disney fan, myself included.  […]

  • It looks like Bob chapek is going to do something stupid because the grand floridian resort is very pretty the way it is right now Bob chapek is going to do something stupid like gut the grand floridian resort and because of this rumor bob chapek should get his head examined
    Because walt disney probably won’t like this stupid choice because it’s ridiculous.

  • We believe that this would be very wrong and like many, we have stayed at this beautiful resort many times and it is not meant to be a contemporary style hotel rather it is meant to be Victorian as seen in the name, “Grand Floridian.” That would be like renovating the Yacht and Beach Clubs to be more contemporary as taking away the whole theme of the name Yacht and Beach or even like gutting out Main Street USA to be more contemporary buildings, again taking away from the whole theme of the name. We feel that these unique themed hotels and their names are what make Disney what it is all about. Here’s a suggestion, buy the Hyatt Grand Cypress and totally renovate it to compete against the Four Seasons Orlando as the Grand Cypress also comes with its own golf courses. Taking away the uniqueness of the Grand Floridian would be like taking away a piece of Disney’s whole identity. -Michael and Ariana

    • Michael and Ariana,
      Funny you should mention renovating the Beach Club…. as Disney already has renovated it. I tried to find a link to photos of the original lobby but was unable. It was MARVELOUS.
      Travel Channel did a review of it many, many years ago, and that may be around somewhere.
      It had wicker furniture, very light, bright, inviting.. stay awhile feel.
      Band’s played in the evening, and there was a lobby bar, Riptide that was entered directly from the lobby or from Cape May. If you went into Cape May now and look to the right, that’s where it was located.
      I’m personally not a fan of the recent look Beach Club lobby. But that’s just me.
      Arial’s was a seafood restaurant with a huge aquarium.
      Yacht Club used to have a very polished floor and a ships wheel that sat outside Captain’s Grille (formerly Yacht Club Galley).
      I wonder if the polish smell may have been irritating to some.
      I couldn’t agree more w your comment about the Grand. I hope Disney doesn’t change it.
      As for the Grand Cypress, we’ve stayed there in the past. Really nice!!! Disney has gotten out of the golf course business too. Arnold Palmer Golf Management runs them. I remember in days gone by, Disney advertised 99 Holes of Golf. Golden Oak sits on what was Eagle Pines. My wife scored a hole in one there. Most if not all of Osprey Ridge is now Tranquilo Golf Club, part of the Four Seasons. Eagles Pines and Osprey Ridge used to be the Bonnet Creek Golf Club which opened in 1992.
      We haven’t been to WDW since last October, 2016, but I seem to recall the monorail monologue saying, as the monorail passed from the Poly to the Grand that the Palm and Magnolia are part of the PGA Tour each fall…. well, that ended in 2012.

  • IMO, GF should probably just get salvaged and then torn down completely. On-site, a new flagship “themed” hotel (right now, WDW is planning a luxury hotel that is going to be “Star Wars” themed) would be built. It’s theme would probably, IMO, be Frozen. It would look like an ice palace instead of a regular hotel. And it would be a “kid-friendly” luxury hotel.

    The 29-year old GF is not really “kid-friendly”. IMO, it has reached “functional obsolescence”, and is getting too expensive to maintain. I mean, the restaurant, V&A’s (yes, I’m talking about the restaurant with the controversial “no children under 10” rule), is too expensive to eat in and maintain, the hotel rooms are getting too expensive to maintain (heard at least 80 “terrible” reviews on TripAdvisor), and the style is too out of date.

    I hope, one day, the GF would be completely demolished and replaced with a more “kid-friendly” luxury hotel. And probably, the rooms would be less expensive than the GF, and the restaurants in there would be more “kid-friendly” and less expensive too.

  • We specifically booked our week long stay at the Floridian because of the largeness of their rooms and wonderful amenities. He can go blank himself if he wants to modernize it. Tell him to play with the Contempory- that implies modern. I love everything about the Floridian all year long.

  • Has there been any more updates on this? There was mention in January but I haven’t heard anything since them. Please let me know.