The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian — Great inside! Outside… Well, take a look.

Written by Werner Weiss. Posted in Disney, Disney History, Walt Disney World, Werner Weiss

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Published on October 24, 2013 at 9:45 pm with 23 Comments

The villas themselves are spectacular—exceeding even the high standards of the other DVC resorts at Walt Disney World. But the outside of the building could have been better.

Read the full YESTERLAND article HERE: The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian.

When you are done reading, please leave your comments below.

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23 Comments

Comments for The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian — Great inside! Outside… Well, take a look. are now closed.

  1. Wow, I’m surprised they approved the architecture of that building. Disney is usually so good at paying attention to details but the exterior really does look like an ugly box. It reminds me of an old condo complex in my hometown.

  2. We’re DVC members, and I don’t really find the exterior of the building all that offensive. The architectural style doesn’t seem bad; the main problem is that the building is a bit overscaled when seen next to the original buildings.

    Honestly, the exteriors of Saratoga Springs and Old Key West are less appealing to me, as they look more like motels than vacation villas. I just don’t really care what the exteriors look like, as the interiors are what I’m looking at when I’m staying there. The Grand Floridian rooms look FANTASTIC. I can’t wait to try them out.

    After hearing some rumors about the Polynesian DVC expansion, though, we won’t be buying any points at the Grand Floridian, because the plans for the Polynesian sound even better (some villas on piers over the water, for one).

  3. Not a fan of the new building. The problem is the blank exterior walls – the report is accurate in saying a building of that time wouldn’t have large blank walls. They are a huge distraction. The interior looks great. I bet there is an earlier design of this property that has it more matching the rest of the resort.

  4. “The Victorian era was before air conditioning, so the entire exterior would have had windows. The Villas building is a giant visual contradiction.” John Hench would be furious…. They really messed the view up with this monstrosity.

  5. The Victorian era was before air conditioning, so the entire exterior would have had windows. The Villas building is a giant visual contradiction.” John Hench would be furious. The really messed the view up with this monstrosity…

  6. Let me make sure I understand this…If I spend $600/night to stay at the Grand Floridian, my view is now of a giant Motel 6? Please tell me this looks better in person.

    • I agree.

      This is Disney’s White Elephant in the lagoon. But I bet a lot of people are going to be talking about it.

    • The view from the Grand Floridian hotel isn’t that bad. It’s the view from the Polynesian that is atrocious.

  7. The blank walls are awful and I’m more disappointed by the fact that the dormers do not have rooms! They make the GF oh so much more charming. People say what they will about this resort being “snooty” but it really is a gem. The octagonal segments are carried throughout the complex, true luxury having excess lounging, sitting, and viewing areas. This villa really destroys it!

    • I agree. I can understand that DVC members might want predictability, but I can’t imagine anybody being upset about getting a room with extra windows or neat dormers. If they had not wanted to compromise anybody’s window space, they could have been really clever and used the dormers to make 2-story villas like the Grand Villas in BLT

  8. The new building is completely out of scale compared with the meticulously detailed original resort. The new building decreases the original prominence from the lobby building at the GF. It is amazing how they could have messed this up so badly when they just as easily could have copied the design from one of the outer buildings at the resort.

    The building is too high and should have been maxed out at 4 stories with certain portions being stepped down to 3 stories. 6 stories continuously is too much. If they really needed 6 stories, they should have extended the lower two stories out further than the upper ones to give it a more substantial base. The current main expanse shown in the first image is way too large and should have been broken down visually into two smaller wings to make it not as imposing. The roof of the main structure should step down more instead of being too continuous.

    I don’t understand why they decided to leave the gabled roof empty space. That seems like prime real estate and could have easily been made into top-dollar suites like the Boardwalk Cottages. Also, is it just me or does the roof color not match?

    Its placement is also horrible based on the scale. Before there was nice separation between the Poly and GF but now there is a huge box.

    The views from the lagoon are definitely worse than some of those from the resort itself and ground level.

    The rooms though are amazing and really make those at the GF look dated and in need of a face lift. I could imagine those rooms being in the Plaza Hotel in NYC. The interior designers definitely got it right.

    Overall the new building reminds me more of the Grand Beach Resort in Orlando (a cheap knock-off of the Grand Floridian) than a resort that Disney would build.

    • Strongly agree with the above.

      The massing along the axis shown above is appalling and has permanently marred the Seven Seas Lagoon environment. Far to tall and blocky to compliment the existing GF. Shame on the exec who likely ordered the extra floors and the middling designers/architect who made it look like not much more than an airport Ramada from the South.

      I

    • The Grand Beach Resort in Orlando has more character.

  9. The style of the building appears to be heavily influenced by East Germany.

  10. One other critique–it now looms over the Wedding Chapel, taking away from what was once a beautiful, private location for a Disney Wedding. I know, as that is where we were married.

    • They have lost that lovely beach in the background.

  11. The blank walls don’t look great, but that’s an easy fix with some fake windows and balconies with flowers. Maybe it’s just not completely done yet. Lot’s of Disney projects open and then still have finishing touches added to them later on.

  12. I must agree with the article…the insides are glorious, but the exterior is gaudy. Besides the obvious scale issue, it looks like the architect got bored on the project and didn’t finish it (or Disney slashed the budget – again). How could anyone look at the exterior of this building and not see that there was a Huge problem here? Even before it was built. Disney designers used to care about sight lines, scale and perspective. I guess Kevin Yee has another item to add to the list of “Declining By Degrees” at WDW. At least Michael Eisner (for all his faults) knew architecture and raised Disney’s profile considerably. It appear that Bob Iger is less invested in this area of the business and it shows. I’m certain the architect of the original Grand Floridian is sobbing right now.

    The refined Grand Floridian now has a big, dumb cousin living next door to it. There goes the neighborhood!

  13. The bottom line is the Disney Vacation Club member is not offended but the nit pickers are.

    • Ya, cause Disney isn’t about fantasy and imagination. It’s about long-term contracts. Screw everyone else.

  14. I’m always awaiting the arrival of Whiney Guy Productions with perfectly themed theming and accommodations so I can invest and receive perfect returns.

  15. I couldn’t agree with Werner and Sam Gennawey more about the exterior architecture (or lack thereof) of the new VGF building. At the very least they could have placed the stairwells inside octagonal towers. Or thrown in some fake windows and shutters.

    And what is with the fake dormers on the roof? Why are they so out of scale? Why not simply place the 6th floor rooms inside the roof line and utilize real dormers for those balconies like with the top floor rooms in the original hotel or DVC rooms on the top floors at BWV, BCV, and VWL.

    • And if the need for consistency is the reason they eliminated the octagonal bays that exist in all other GF buildings; than why couldn’t they have incorporated some Victorian architecture in Grand Villas. All 6 Grand Villas sit on top of each other, so they could have easily added an octagonal tower running up the NE facing side of the building and provided a little extra sitting room in the master bedroom or home theater room.