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."
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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!
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