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Disney Vacation Club opens Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

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Disney Vacation Club, the time-share branch of The Walt Disney Co., opened its 12th property on Wednesday, The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Of course, one of the biggest advantages to this resort is that it is located on the monorail loop around Seven Seas Lagoon.

"It's like having your own home right here overlooking the Magic Kingdom," said Ken Potrock, Disney Vacation Club's senior vice president and general manager, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. "That's what we set out to do -- welcome people home."


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Like its neighboring resort, the Grand Floridian, the Villas are designed to make guests feel like they have stepped back in time. The facade clearly matches the architectural style of the 1900s with the white walls and red tile roof. The interior spaces are appropriate as a look and feel of a bygone era, as well.

"The main idea in the storytelling [of the Villas] is that it be connected back to the Grand Floridian," Walt Disney Imagineer Debbie Peterson told me. "That storyline really celebrates a Victorian, turn-of-the-century feel, and we definitely wanted to make it a seamless transition. So, we wanted to bring the elegance, but then we also wanted to make it feel updated. And then we added some fun and uniquely Disney touches, so it's different but it's part of the same property."

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In the midst of beautifully appointed studios and villas, two such new features stand out. In each bathroom that includes a bathtub, guests will find television screens projected from within mirrors so they can catch up on their favorite shows while relaxing or getting ready to go out to the parks.

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Perhaps an even bigger wow factor is the clever way Murphy beds are disguised as bureaus in the deluxe studios and one-bedroom villas. The use of the Murphy beds makes The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian the first DVC property to accommodate up to five guests in each deluxe studio. In addition to the space-saving design, the beds offer a touch of whimsy when they are unfolded -- murals with scenes from "Dumbo" (in the deluxe studio) or "Mary Poppins" (in the one-bedroom villa).

Why were these stories chosen?

"We started researching some stories from our Disney library, and we realized that "Alice In Wonderland" and "Mary Poppins" were both themes that took place at the turn of the century, and we said that we can have some fun making these connections with the Villas," Peterson told me. "The one last story that we discovered was "Dumbo," and it's actually a Florida story, so you'll see inspiration art with "Dumbo," "Mary Poppins" and "Alice in Wonderland" throughout the resort and the amenities."

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The penguins from the "Jolly Holiday" song in "Mary Poppins" are immortalized in a bronze fountain in the resort's lobby. This centerpiece is sure to draw guests in for a closer look, but don't miss the other visual reminders of the song and movie, such as the carousel horses.

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Next door, at the Grand Floridian, guests will find the addition of a water play area for young kids that is themed to "Alice in Wonderland," plus the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast, a nod to another catchy tune from "Mary Poppins." Unlike Disney Vacation Club's other monorail loop property, Bay Lake Tower, the Villas do not have their own swimming pool, kids' area or lounge. Those amenities are shared with its sister resort, which is within walking distance.

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There are 106 units in the newest DVC property, including six grand villas that each offer three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a full kitchen, a dining table that seats 12, a state-of-the-art media room and laundry facilities.

You can see a detailed description for each type of room in the new Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian on our AllEars.Net page. Videos and photos coming soon!



The previous post in this blog was Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin 2013 Food & Wine Classic - Review.

The next post in this blog is Review: Disney Cruise Line's Halloween on the High Seas.

Comments (4)

Ron Stalsberg:

Thanks for the great blog . The villas look amazing. As DVC owners, we will have to try and stay here in the future. Maybe get a few nights if were lucky.

Carolyn Shell:

My family, husband, daughter, son-in-law and three PERFECT grandchildren absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Disney World...all the rides, the clean parks, the patient and precious characters, the pleasant and sweet gift shop employees, and the unbelievable food EVERYWHERE! I feel so sorry for anyone that has never experienced the total joy of being at Disney World! We get so excited when we see the signs for Disney World and when we leave we relive our time there, but are sad we have to leave. Anyway, the joy that the Disney Company gives each guest is unmeasurable! Thank you so much for everything you do as it does not go unnoticed!

We are members at Bay Lake and for our trip in May we are spending our first night here and the rest at Bay Lake. I can't wait to stay here. I don't think it can top Bay Lake for me though because I love having our Magic Kingdom view from high up. I love the theme though and always have. It's honestly probably my favorite theme of all the resorts. I do think the GF won't be as convenient as BLT. The ability to walk to MK makes BLT even better when the parks are closing.

Amy Hensley:

I just got back from a three night stay at the new villas, and I have to say that they are even more beautiful in person than they are in your photos!
When I was there, they had only been open for a week, so there were still a few kinks. Our luggage got "lost" for about four hours upon arrival. Turns out after we checked in and left it with bell services that it never made it to the villas. However, the staff was wonderful and actually gave us a $75 credit on our hotel bill for the inconvenience.
There were a couple of negatives I noticed, however. The bathroom door locks were horrible. We had booked two studio villas and had the same problem with the locks in both. Concierge told us that they already had several complaints and that new locks would be installed in the next couple of weeks. The other thing is that, while the bathrooms were huge, the actual sleeping/living space in the studio villas was quite small. I would have preferred less space in the bathroom and a bit more in the other areas. There is minimal storage. Under the bed were two pull out drawers, but due to the furniture layout you can only open one of them. It was fine, because we didn't have too much. But I would imagine this could be an issue for someone who packs heavier than I do.
The only other complaint I had was that the walls were not very soundproof. You could hear your neighbor quite clearly through them, as well as stomping from overhead. I have stayed at the Grand Floridian in the Sugar Loaf building and didn't notice this.
I absolutely loved the location of the villas. It's an easy walk to the main pool and soda refill station there. I could actually sit on my deck and see the kids walk to the pool. I had a standard view in both studios. One was a lovely view of the wedding pavilion, the other of the fountain and beach, and partial pool. We saw several weddings with the coach - absolutely stunning!
We also had a nice stroll over to the Polynesian for breakfast. They have a path that runs directly there by the beach and it only took about 7 minutes.
All in all, it is a beautiful addition to the property. Maybe next time I go, the villas at the Poly will be open!
Amy

KRISTIN: Thank you for all the interesting and informative feedback!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 24, 2013 10:37 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin 2013 Food & Wine Classic - Review.

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