Guests Forced to Walk Through Construction Site to Reach Boat Launch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Shannen Ace

Guests Forced to Walk Through Construction Site to Reach Boat Launch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Last month we reported that construction has moved to the Sugar Loaf building at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa as the resort continues to be updated. Sugar Loaf is the latest building to be refurbished, after Big Pine Key and Boca Chica both reopened.

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There is scaffolding covering both long sides of the building, behind white construction walls.

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We didn’t see crew members or equipment on this side during our most recent trip.

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The stairwell at one end has been completely dismantled.

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As we saw at the other buildings, the stairwell be reconstructed.

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All that remains is the roof gable and two sections of support leading from the roof to the ground. Tarps cover some of the openings in the building where the stairs used to exit.

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White paneling was removed, leaving concrete blocks exposed.

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Around the corner, we found the crew members working on the other side of Sugar Loaf. There are two cherry-picker vehicles parked on this side.

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The crew members were working at an upper corner of the building.

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One crew member was sitting on a scaffolding pole to pass materials to the crew members on the top level.

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The large black pipe running down the scaffolding next to them could be for water drainage or to dispose of materials no longer needed.

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The white tarp around the top level of the scaffolding keeps items from falling and helps protect workers.

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There are large pieces of plywood sitting on the level crew members were working on.

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The walkway beyond the pool entrance is blocked off.

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Several A-frame signs help direct guests around the construction sites.

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The boat launch to Magic Kingdom is accessible down the sidewalk past Big Pine Key.

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There were some crew members still working at the base of a Big Pine Key stairwell.

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To reach the boat launch, guests walk next to this line of construction walls, and basically through the construction site.

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The walls keep guests out of the dangerous areas, but construction materials are staged on the grass next to the sidewalk.

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We walked past fencing and planks of wood.

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Guests walk past Narcoossee’s, which has been closed for refurbishment since last summer.

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Red shingles have been removed from sections of the restaurant’s roof, revealing black weather-proof sheathing. Crew members were working on the front of the building, just visible over the construction walls.

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Around the corner from Narcoossee’s, guests walking to the boat launch enter a section lined with green temporary fencing.

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Behind the fencing is more construction materials, sitting in a stretch of dirt.

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It’s rare that guests are forced to walk this close to construction.

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This is more than just a staging ground as crew members were actively working on the other side of the temporary fencing.

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There are several cinder blocks in stacks near the boat launch.

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The fencing leads guests all the way to the dock on the other side of Narcoossee’s.

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From the dock, we can get a look at the back of Narcoossee’s that sits on the water. As previously reported, white scrim hangs from frames around the edge of the patio balcony to catch any stray shingles or construction materials that could fall from the roof.

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Ladders lead up to the top of the tower at the center of the roof.

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We can get an even better view of Narcoossee’s across the water. We then saw crew members working across the roof.

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The red shingles will likely be completely removed and replaced.

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Reportedly, when now-former CEO Bob Chapek took over the Parks & Resorts division in 2015, he felt that the Grand Floridian was not up to standards. The comparisons to a Four Seasons didn’t befit the current state of Walt Disney World, and so it was no longer suitable as the flagship resort. But rather than shift focus to another resort hotel, the company decided to make changes.

It began with the Enchanted Rose Lounge, which replaced Mizner’s Lounge. It was given a “Beauty and the Beast” theme. Cítricos followed with a new “Mary Poppins”-inspired design. When the Grand Floridian Spa reopened in January 2022, it was revealed that it, too, had been remodeled. All the rooms of the resort are still being updated and some “Mary Poppins” theming has been added throughout guest buildings. The refurbished Victoria & Albert’s opened last summer.

Disney finally confirmed in December that the lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort would also be updated.

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Author

  • Shannen Michaelsen

    Shannen has been a Disney Parks fan and lover of dogs since childhood, despite Pluto's attempt to eat Shannen's Minnie Mouse doll the first time they met. They've made up now. You can email Shannen at shannen@wdwnt.com.