Granite countertops, crown molding, and marble tiling. Stainless steel appliances, cove ceilings, and state-of-the-art mirror TVs. Cherry wood furniture, freestanding tubs, and home theater systems. All of these luxuries and conveniences make up what guests will find in The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, a new extension of the Disney Vacation Club. I had the opportunity to walk through the model villas this past Thursday and was amazed at what is to come. Join me for a recap of what is sure to be a very popular option for accommodations in the near future.
Image: The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will feature posh furnishings and a variety of amenities.
In December of 2011, Disney Vacation Club, a timeshare program run by the company, announced the construction of its next resort, the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The Villas will incorporate the Victorian elegance and modern sophistication of its sister resort hotel which will neighbor the new area. As a result, guests will have full access to a variety of amenities including a white-sand beach, Marina, pools, spa, watercraft and monorail transportation, and more.
Images: The Villas (designated as “1″ on the above map) are just a short stroll away from dining, recreation, and transportation options afforded to those staying at the sister resort hotel.
Scheduled to open in October of this year, the Villas will offer larger accommodations than Disney Vacation Club has given to its members in the past. They range from deluxe studios that sleep 5 to three-bedroom grand villas that sleep 12. In continuing with Disney’s tradition of storytelling, the Villas will be themed around the classic film, Mary Poppins; in fact, a large fountain depicting scenes and characters from the film will be a major focal point when approaching the building. Similarly, Dumbo will also be found sprinkled throughout the resort especially when it comes to amenities for children. Adding to the magic of the Villas will be their location: a monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom.
Image: Construction continues on the Villas (left) in preparation for their debut this fall.
I was lucky enough to walk through the model rooms of the Villas last week with a Disney Vacation Club guide. In doing so, we talked about the details of the resort and all it will bring to guests. The Villas will have a separate lobby and check-in system from the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, similar to that at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village. An elaborate chandelier will be center stage in the lobby and incorporate themed elements found throughout the resort. There will not be separate eatery or shopping options at the Villas; however, one can speculate that Disney Vacation Club merchandise will be sold over at the Grand Floridian along with grocery items typically found in DVC resorts. I am eager to see how they theme the Villas’ merchandise to match the posh atmosphere of the resort itself.
Upon entering the hallways of the Villas, guests will immediately find themselves immersed in the fabled “golden age of travel” found at the Grand Floridian, a time when families explored the world and stayed at grand locations beachside. As mentioned above, elements of Disney’s Mary Poppins will be sprinkled into this theme. Victorian shades of blues, golds, reds, and greens will be found everywhere from the carpeting to the furniture and framed by pure white crown molding.
Images: The carpeting and vintage print from the hallway of the Villas.
Both studios and multi-bedroom villas will be available. The studios will feature one queen-size bed, a queen sleeper sofa, and one pull-down bunk bed meant for children. Linens and furnishings will compliment the colors and overall theme of the resort. A flat panel TV and Blu-ray player sit upon a dresser that hides the pull-down bed. A wet bar, small refrigerator, microwave, and coffeemaker will be in a designated area near the entryway to the room. Alluding to the configuration of the cabins on the Disney Dream, the bathroom area of the Villas will actually be split between two rooms so that more than one person could get ready in the morning at a time. One section will have a toilet and full bathtub while the other includes a vanity and sink area as well as a master walk-in shower. To top it off with a bit more added convenience and fun, the vanity will include a state-of-the-art mirror TV which displays the screen right in the glass of the mirror. I was most excited to see this during the tour!
Images: A deluxe studio at the Villas is approximately 374 sq. feet and sleeps up to 5 people. Notice the Dumbo details in the pull-down bed and the Mary Poppins song book prints on the wall.
One-bedroom villas will boast much more room and be approximately 844 sq. feet. They will feature one king-size bed in a separate master bedroom complete with chair and desk, a queen-size sleeper sofa and pull-down child’s bunk bed in the living room, and a full kitchen. The latter will have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances including a panelized refrigerator and dishwasher, and a farmhouse-style sink bordered by backsplash ceramic tiles.
Images: The Master Bedroom & Kitchen Areas of a One-Bedroom Villa
The living room is impressive with its cove ceilings, lush furnishings, and flat panel TV. It also has a Blu-ray player, chair, and several ottomans which open up for added storage. Once more, the Victorian era and Mary Poppins theme filtrate throughout.
Images: The living room of a one-bedroom villa.
The bathroom again is divided into two separate areas as in the studio. One added perk of this configuration is that guests will no longer have to enter it through the master bedroom. Because the room sleeps 5, like the studio, it will make getting ready before a busy day in the parks that much easier. The baths will include a mirror TV, freestanding tub with air jets, two vanity and sink areas, and a walk-in master shower. I was absolutely astonished at how large the shower will be; as you’ll see below, it was so big that it includes a bench and even allowed me to walk inside to photograph it!
Images: The extraordinary bath areas of a one-bedroom offer space and practicality.
Two- and three- bedroom villas will also be offered at the new resort. The first will sleep 9 and be approximately 1232 sq. feet, while the latter will sleep 12 and measure about 2800 sq. feet. Two full bathrooms (that’s four separate “bath areas” total) will be included in the two-bedroom and four in the three-bedroom villas. The layout is a bit different in the three-bedroom and will feature larger sleeping areas and bathrooms. There is also a living room and media room featuring a home theater system.
Image: The Proposed Layout of a Three-Bedroom Grand Villa
Guests at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be able to experience numerous recreation options and amenities at the sister resort. This includes multiple pools, water activities, the Seven Seas Lagoon beach, watercraft rentals, poolside cabanas, Senses – A Disney Spa, and Pirate Adventure Cruises. Similarly, fine dining is available at Victoria & Albert’s, Citricos, and Narcoossee’s. Other eateries include 1900 Park Fare which offers character meals, the Grand Floridian Cafe, and the Garden View Tea Room. Two views will be offered, garden and lake, and only add to the overall pleasantness of the resort.
Image: Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Although the Villas are sure to impress just about anyone, there are a few drawbacks that some members have pointed out as of recently. Next to the Grand Californian at Disneyland Resort, the Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will have the least amount of units available for use; only 145 units – studios and multi-bedrooms – will be built. This could lead to some guests having difficulty making reservations especially if you are not a DVC owner of this resort. Based on sales thus far, the resort will very likely sell out within the next few months.
Likewise, a few have pointed out that there is not much storage space in the studios. Looking at the pictures above, this is primarily due to the pull-down bed which takes up all drawers of the dresser except two which are reserved for electronics attached to the television. A closet is available though and there is a rumor of additional drawers being built underneath the bed although this was not featured in the model room I visited.
All in all, I am beyond excited that the Grand Floridian is going to be the next “home” for so many DVC members, myself included. For those who never thought they would be able to stay at the resort, this is a royal treat. The atmosphere, amenities, and location will make for a fabulous vacation away from the busyness of the normal routine. And that, in my opinion, is what makes life at Villas so very grand.
Category: Disney World