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Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Opens Its Doors

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Today marks the 24th anniversary of the opening of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Nestled on the bay of the Seven Seas Lagoon, this 867-room resort is just a quick Monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom Park.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort

Back in July 1987, the resort was already well under construction. Looking towards the back of the photograph below, you’ll notice a Magic Kingdom Park without Splash Mountain.
Construction on Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort

Originally named Grand Floridian Beach Resort, the resort was renamed in July 1997 after the addition of the health club and spa in 1996.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Was Originally Named Grand Floridian Beach Resort

Estimated to open in late 2013, the resort will expand to include an estimated 147 villas as part of Disney Vacation Club, further adding to the Victorian elegance for which Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is known.

Look below for more posts from the Vintage Walt Disney World series:


  • We stayed at the Grand Floridian back in Christmas of 1988. My parents came with us and it was a special time for our family. One of the best things about the GF is Richard the doorman. We always stop and visit him when we are at WDW. He held the train of my daughters wedding dress at the Wedding Pavilion in 1998. He was still there back in Feb of this year when we visited.

  • Wow, time Flies! We like to go over at Christmas time to see the decorations and the Smell the Gingerbread house! The smell hits you as soon as you walk in, yummy!

  • I remember when it was being built. It is a very Beautiful property as is all the Disney Resort Hotels.I still have a Grand Floridian Resort watch in it’s wood presentation box.

  • My family and I visited Walt Disney World in December 1987 and I remember riding the monorail through the unfinished Grand Floridian station. Is it known whether or not the monorail had to close at any point to work on the station? In that great aerial picture, I see what looks like pieces of the station’s roof sitting on the ground.

  • I look forward to your vintage articles every week! You do such a great job! Thank you so much for posting these cool pictures. I remember when construction for the GF was happening and being amazed at how huge it was going to be.

    • Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoy the posts!

  • We love the Grand Floridian! Our first stay was in December of 2010 and we will be revisting it in late November of this year! Can’t wait!

  • Cindy, I agree. When we were there in Dec. 2010 it was awesome at Christmas. The Ginger bread house and smell are amazing.

    This is a 1st class resort.

    • @Jeff & Cindy – The Gingerbread house is one of my favorite things about the holidays at Walt Disney World.

  • At Christmas, this resort is so beautiful, with the smell of gingerbread in the air and decorations!!!

  • I love the Grand Floridian. It is so beautiful and I can’t wait until it opens as a DVC property.

  • I miss the beautiful monogrammed towels that were at the resort when it first opened.

  • My favorite Walt Disney World resort! We first stayed here in 1990 and it was magical! Great pictures! So interesting to see it under construction. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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