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.

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.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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Tim
Guest
Tim

If he does do this I imagine his foreseeable future will be easy to see. Meaning it will be short.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

Disney is THE WORST at trying anything “Luxury”. They really have lost the entire mindset of offer a service for a price, they really just want people to drop money for very little given in return. As Tom’s other article was reporting, they really can’t maintain cleanliness and service up to the worst hotelier chains in the USA. The best Disney can hope, is to turn the parks to a 3rd party, and let Four Seasons, Marriott and others come run their resorts for them. Disney has totally lost their way. Chapek has yet to impress anyone, inside Disney, and… Read more »

- -
Guest
- -

Thanks Kelly for your beautiful post. You truly are special.

Nana
Guest
Nana

I’ve stayed at the GF and totally disagree with you!

Joel
Guest
Joel

You lost me after Disney is THE WORST at trying anything ‘Luxury'”.

wayne pannabecker
Guest
wayne pannabecker

You seem to have some kind of vendetta against Disney. I love the GF. It is one of the best in the world for Luxury. I have stayed there many times. Esp at Christmas time.

Joey Joe Joe
Guest
Joey Joe Joe

Ever stayed at a Ritz Carlton?

Linda
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Linda

Instead of gutting the Grand Floridian they should gut chapek

Get right with God
Guest
Get right with God

Wait so the guy wants to do something to a hotel and your response is that he should be killed? That’s just sad

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

I’m pretty sure she means gut his current position within the company. Chapek’s influence on the Disney parks has, thus far, resulted in a very negative performance in his current role with the company.

Joe P.
Guest
Joe P.

Well they are getting ready to do a remodel of the Grand Californian at DL. This will be the first update since it opened. Have they done anything to the Grand Floridian since it opened?

minnie me
Guest
minnie me

Demolish the comtemp. It is outdated anyway

AnneMarie Calpin
Guest
AnneMarie Calpin

While I wouldn’t say demolish I would agree, Contemporary WAY more in need of a re-imagining. Grand Flo is what it is and I think even the luxury resort people love the current state/nostalgia (at least I do). The lobby is just that GRAND, IMO this is a waste of money and resources.

Ken
Guest
Ken

I kinda and don’t at the same time agree with you, I mean the grand Floridian can’t be replaced. It was walts vision of luxurious right outside of a theme et park. It’s already a beautiful resort with a few modern touches. It can go in to refurbished. But still I want it to keep its elegance. The Contemporary is a old resort, but it’s not that bad that you have to destroy the resort. Maybe just a refurbishment that’s all.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Disney’s best cannot compete with Best Western or Red Roof Inn, much less anything close to luxury. They’re cutely themed, I’ll give them that. And with busses make it easier to negotiate the huge crowds at parks from Disney’s poor crowd control, but, nothing luxurious about any of them, they’re terribly managed.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

This is the dumbest post anyone has ever made

Ryan B
Guest
Ryan B

I’m guessing you don’t read JimV’s posts.

Disney Pete
Guest
Disney Pete

Actually, yours is Anthony

Steve K
Guest
Steve K

Does anyone else hate this ‘Disney Pete’ asshole?
Most negative dude around lol
DINGO!

The dingo ate my baby.
Guest
The dingo ate my baby.

Seriously I don’t get it. Why do you keep using dingo as an insult? Is that a normal expression where you’re from? Are dingos known to be particularly negative? Are you trying to say ding bat? If you’re going to pick random things as insults, could you at least get creative with it? How about platypus? It’s not a beaver and it’s not a duck, that’s weird. See it’s a way of saying he’s weird. Hell you could could call him David S. Pumpkins and it would make more sense than dingo! Any questions?!???

Ken
Guest
Ken

For DIS UNPLUGGED? Lol that is his job. To give good criticism and bad criticism on what you should and not do.

Steve K
Guest
Steve K

Dingo baby sucks
Haha
Hes getting pissed :) :) :)

AJ
Guest
AJ

Despite some of the one line half-baked responses, Rob is correct! They are having huge problems and aside from ‘theming’, Disney resorts offer very very little, and are consistently inconsistent in service and cleanliness on our visits.

+ +
Guest
+ +

See all the Disney haters post’s above. You are very special people.

Patty
Guest
Patty

+ + I see the Disney underpaid PR team and the brainless have woken up. Good morning!

stupid
Guest
stupid

get a life you sociopath

Peewee Herman
Guest
Peewee Herman

I know you are but what am I?

Yolanda
Guest
Yolanda

I work at Disney and hear a ton of rumors, but this one hasn’t made it though. I doubt this will happen. It would be cool if any updates would come, but I just don’t see it. $$ For one primary reason. We are being whipped by higher ups than Mr. Chaptek to cut back. There’s NO interest in making an investment to improve the quality of the experience for guests, as this would be. They’re not into capitol improvements lately that wouldn’t be sponsored, would immediately offer pay back in self advertising or profit. I’d like to be wrong… Read more »

Rich
Guest
Rich

Fake Disney worker ^^^^

Andres
Guest
Andres

No Rich, she’s a CM there. I know where, she’s actually very nice and LOVES Disney to default. More than I can say for 99% of our managers and 75% of our co-workers, who see it as a crowd of idiots to ‘milk money out of’.

Rich
Guest
Rich

Another fake Disney worker ^^^^

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Nothing fake about it! Get a job at WDW – any role casting is willing to offer you – and you’ll see! Oh, wait… we’re on a hiring freeze. Thank goodness for the season cast. Oh wait… they’ve been let go. Well, thank goodness for overtime! Shoot! That’s right! Our roles have been cut.

Anonomouse
Guest
Anonomouse

Well when you have willing slave labor… I mean CPs, you’re unfortunately SOL

PrincessM
Guest
PrincessM

Patrick speaks the truth. So many of my friends have had their hours cut back or were CPs that can’t get hired on as FT or PT. Disney’s done so many budget cuts it’s ridiculous.

Lynne Parsons
Guest
Lynne Parsons

Each resort was originally matched to an area in the park…GF to Main Street…I don’t see them modernizing Main Street, so why would they modernize the GF….

Sara Jacobson
Guest
Sara Jacobson

LOL. Where did you get that information? It’s not even close and GF was not the original hotel that was to have been built on that spot. Ha ha ha!

Disneynut
Guest
Disneynut

This is true. Grand Floridian is to match Main Street. Contemporary is to match Tommowland and Polynesian is to match Adventureland. 100% true. Know your Disney!

AndrewZ
Guest
AndrewZ

Main Street has nothing to do with GF. I will pay you $100 if you can find me the source that said this.

Anonomouse
Guest
Anonomouse

The source is Lynn Parson’s head. Will you be paying me the $100 in cash, check, or PayPal?

Perelandra
Guest
Perelandra

Actually, you and Sara are both wrong and Lynne is correct. I DVRd and watched a special on the Disney resorts that aired within the last year (produced by Disney) and part of the commentary included an interview with a gentleman who stated what Lynne just mentioned. The Polynesian is supposed to reflect Adventureland in theme, Wilderness Lodge corresponds to Frontierland, Tomorrowland corresponds to the Contemporary, and the Grand Floridian to Main Street USA. So you all can laugh away, but Disney puts that material out there.

It doesn't add up
Guest
It doesn't add up

So you saw a show that you don’t know the name of but they just happened to give this info? Nice try Perelandra, or should I say Lynne Parsons? Main Street is based on Marceline, MS and Grand Floridian is obviously Florida. Same time period yes, but completely different themes because one is of simplicity and the other is of classic luxury. Also Wilderness Lodge can’t be Frontierland because it’s theme is the Pacific Northwest. FURTHERMORE, the Contemporary wouldn’t correspond with Tomorrowland because Contemporary is literally referring to to the present and not tomorrow.

Perelandra
Guest
Perelandra

Lol, So I don’t care if you believe me, I’m not Lynne and I certainly didn’t just make that up. I’m not that creative. You could probably google deluxe resorts and corresponding lands or something if it matters to you. I really could not care less if you believe that I made up seeing a special on Disney resorts. Just a FYI. I did not make that up. Disney put that out there. Argue with them about their corny theming correspondence. I thought it was kinda cool.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Saw the show. Gave history on Disney. VERY cool.

InWonderland
Guest
InWonderland

I love the Victorian era design of the Grand Floridian. I hope Disney doesn’t turn ANY of their resorts into a cookie cutter “luxury” resort.

David J Capelli
Guest
David J Capelli

Well that is just stupid!!

David J Capelli
Guest
David J Capelli

Get rid of the jerk

Joe
Guest
Joe

Does anyone have statistics on what the occupancy rate for the GF has been in the past couple of years? If it continues to be high then why bother changing it? People are paying the premium for a reason. I also like the Victorian era theme. It’s unique, and it’s Disney-esque. Meaning you are brought into a world much like staying at the Polynesian or Wilderness Lodge.

John
Guest
John

I used to work at the grand. As of last year, occupancy was always between 98 and 100% even during the slow season.

Rich
Guest
Rich

Fake Disney worker ^^^^

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Lol! I love how all the cast members are fake!

Ralph
Guest
Ralph

I love the Grand Floridian. Feel free to modernize the rooms, but the lobby is perfect. No changes needed. People love the themeing of the Disney resorts; they don’t need to be changed to be like the Four Seasons boring ultra modern luxury. If you want to make the Disney high-end resorts compete with the likes of the Four Seasons, you need to work on customer service. Better restaurant chefs, bartenders, front desk staff, maid service, etc., etc. That’s what separates the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Waldorf Astoria, Mandarin Oriental, and other super high end hotel chains from Disney resorts.… Read more »

Keith
Guest
Keith

This.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Ralph, I agree with you. IMHO, the issue w customer service is that CM’s, both trainers and workers don’t seem to stay in one place very long. They can and do shift jobs internally, or they leave completely. So, they don’t have a commitment to the job. They don’t learn the job. Plus so many guests use dining extras where an automatic 18% tip is added to your bill. Where’s the incentive to provide good customer service when you are guaranteed 18%. Personally, when asked, I hide the fact that I have a TiW card until the end of the… Read more »

ali
Guest
ali

Frank, you are talking about a small minority of CM’s, as the majority dont work in tipped positions. While TiW does add the grat,, 18% is only added when a party of 6 or more is dining on the dining plan, which is a much bigger chunk of tables every day, than TiW.

Nic Butterworth
Guest
Nic Butterworth

I own at the Villas at the Grand Floridian and bought a DVC membership there for a reason. The thought they would change the Resort so drastically is concerning and I would expect to be given the option to ‘get out’ of my membership if this came to fruition. I hope it is just a rumour!

Darrell
Guest
Darrell

If they did update it I think it would still be in the “Flo” style. My guess is thst the decorating and theming would be similar to the villas which would be in my mind the right direction

Nic Butterworth
Guest
Nic Butterworth

That would definitely be the right direction but to ‘gut’ it sounds far more drastic, and the general theming of the resort I think is still relevant for what they are trying to achieve.

Cap'n Crunch
Guest
Cap'n Crunch

So how’s Mrs. Butterworth doing? Do you think you could send me a couple of cases of syrup?

Keith
Guest
Keith

Well Chapek is correct with regard to Four Seasons as they are much superior in service and amenity….their vacuous decision to allow pets not withstanding

Scooby Doo
Guest
Scooby Doo

Ruck Rou Reith!

Becca Koerner
Guest
Becca Koerner

Would hate to see them ruin this hotel. The lobby is outstanding and it has the old Florida charm. Renovations sure but don’t lose the themes. If any hotel could use modernization, it’s the contemporary. Stayed there in October and couldn’t get over how abismal it was. Gutting that hotel would be a major bonus for them, as for now, they should rename it the outdated. Praying they don’t ruin the grand Floridian.

Jessie
Guest
Jessie

Disney needs to come back to their roots. The current management has forgotten the standards and ideology Walt Disney founded his company upon. If they would come back to their roots the rest of the business would flow naturally and take care of itself. IMO, they are ignoring, forgotten, or no longer believe in Walt’s dream. If this continues it will only continue to go downhill.

Disneynut
Guest
Disneynut

Agree 100% with your comment! They need to remember Walt’s vision for WDW. Yes, Walt wanted to make money, but he also wanted to give something to families, all families…not just wealthy families.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Amen! It is ALL about corporate greed. I’m surprised that there are not more earthquakes from Walt spinning in his grave continually. It is a no brainer how they have cheapened the brand and turned it from a G rating in to a PG13. They have also let the quality of the DVC go down the tubes while raising prices continually. The entire hotel area is rundown. A few years back our 10 year old was trapped on the bathroom in our room at Baylake because the door malfunctioned. It took over an hour for some with tools to get… Read more »

Lars
Guest
Lars

I just stayed at the Grand Floridian and loved it. Every time I look into booking a trip, the hotel is either fully booked or not available for discounts due to being near full occupancy. If Disney was worried about the Four Seasons or other generic luxury hotels, they should have no let them on property. If Disney wants to build a generic luxury hotel it should start from scratch. The mishmash of theming created by retheminig the existing building will potentially alienate the people who love staying there for the theme and the people who would want something to… Read more »

Alejandro
Guest
Alejandro

Not sure where you’re looking, we get 50% off regularly, and free dining plan to boot?!? Disney is having problems, they have ‘cheap’ reputation down here (Brazil). They’re offering huge discounted packages trying to get us up there. Guess we buy too much junk and food on property, worth it to let us in free.

Bob Babalima
Guest
Bob Babalima

People can actually afford these places?