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Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Celebrates 25 Years at Walt Disney World Resort

Michelle Baumann

by , Walt Disney World Public Relations

I have always loved how Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa captures the essence of seaside resorts of the Victorian era – a playful blend of nostalgia and modernism. I reflect back when the “Grand” first opened its doors 25 years ago today. I was lucky enough to be invited to the media VIP preview June 26, 1988, as a young journalist. The opulent resort made a dramatic first impression — a black tie gala with VIPs like Burt Reynolds, Governor Bob Martinez, the late Frank Wells and several of NASA’s original Mercury 7 astronauts in attendance. It was a night I will always remember. With its snow white towers and red shingled roofs, Disney’s five-story Grand Floridian remains the crown jewel of Walt Disney World Resort.

Walt Disney World Celebrates 25 Grand Years at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Nestled along the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, the 900 room flagship resort is a throwback to the splendor of an era long gone — like the resorts built by Henry Flagler at the end of the 19th century. While the resort has been enhanced through the years with a convention center, a spa and health club, Citricos, Victoria & Albert’s, a themed pool, suites and so much more, it never lost its elegance. A perfect snapshot of Florida’s past.


  • So looking forward to my first stay in November, only monorail resort I’ve never stayed in, though visited it many times

  • It was 25 years ago, September 1988, that my husband and I spent our honeymoon at the Grand Floridian! My favorite memory was being greeted by Mary Poppins every morning at breakfast. On our 20th anniversary we had dinner at Narcoossee’s. Although it looks like we won’t be spending our 25th there this year, we will be sure to visit on our next trip!

  • We were fortunate to stay there on our very first trip to WDW in 2002. It’s so beautiful and made our stay magical. Happy Birthday Grand Floridian Resort and Spa!

  • We stayed at the Grand Floridian in December 1988 with our 3 children and my parents. It was the first Christmas that it was opened. We all dined at Victoria and Alberts. Our two sons, 8 and 13 had to wear ties and dress shoes. Had a great time.

  • Happy Birthday GFR! This is our home resort when we visit with DW’s family. Excellent to say the very least.

  • Not just any old black-tie event either. If I recall correctly EVERY man in attendance had a tuxedo, supplied by Disney, and all 3 floors were full of tuxedos along the balconies. And of course the women were super decked out too. Wish I could find pictures of this.

  • Stefanie, those are DVC villas…

  • Wow! I thought that the Grand Floridian was older than that! What is the construction I’ve been seeing next to it? I believe it’s by the wedding pavilion? I can see it from the monorail.

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