Posts Tagged ‘Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa’

DVC Monthly Preview – December 2017

by on November 28, 2017

Welcome to our second installment of the DVC Monthly Preview here on the TouringPlans blog. If you missed last month’s debut, you can read it here. Read on for a quick recap of DVC news and other information about Disney’s best kept secret.

Booking Windows

This month, here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in December, you will be able to book for dates in November 2018. It’s a great time to catch the end of Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, or to attend some of the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties. For all other DVC resorts (7-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in July 2018. If you are planning a Fourth of July trip, you’ll want to start looking at availability right away.

For last-minute trips, besides Aulani, there is very little availability listed for December at DVC’s last-minute resort availability page. You sometimes can get lucky searching for resort availability in case of last-minute cancellations.

DVC News

On the first two Mondays in December, Disney Vacation Club is hosting Moonlight Magic at Epcot, a free after-hours celebration for members. The event will include a DJ dance party, refreshments, Disney characters, and access to select attractions.  Reservations are currently full for the event, but you can check here for an opening in the event of cancellations. DVC began offering these after-hour parties as part of its 25th anniversary celebration in 2016, then continued them in 2017. News is coming out about a full slate of Moonlight Magic events in 2018, and we’ll have more details in next month’s installment.

Epcot Night View

Moonlight Magic at Epcot is 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Dec. 4 and 11. Guests with reservations can enter the park as early as 7:30 p.m.

As of this writing, availability remained for DVC’s Christmas Eve holiday dinners, the Frozen-themed event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from 3 to 5 p.m. and the Wild West Winterland at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort from 4-6 p.m. Price is $74.95 for adults and $39.95 for children (ages 3 to 9), plus tax and gratuity. Call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to book the dinner.

If you’re celebrating the New Year at Walt Disney World, DVC has a Screamin’ Monsters New Year’s Eve Eve Dessert Party from 10 p.m. to midnight on Dec. 30. Along with tasty snacks and desserts, characters from Monsters, Inc. will visit, and there will even be a selfie station with Boo’s door. Price is $82.50 for adults and $42.50 for children, plus tax and gratuity.  Call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to book the party.

We know a lot of DVC members have been clamoring for this next item. Just in time for holiday shopping, resort-specific merchandise is now being sold at the Shop Disney store. Don’t forget that members get a 20 percent discount on purchases.

If you’re interested in the current Walt Disney World ticket offers for DVC members, purchases must be made by Jan. 3, 2018. Members can get 25 percent off a Platinum Plus Annual Pass–that’s the one that gets you into the water parks. Members can also get a 7-day ticket for the price of a 5-day ticket. The bonus to this offer is that once the ticket is activated, guests get six months to use the other days, perfect for DVC members that take multiple shorter trips.

Annual dues projections were released in early November. The highest increase was at Aulani, which saw its dues go up 7.19 percent. Most other increases were in the 4 to 5 percent range. One property, the brand new Copper Creek Villas, actually saw a slight decrease.

Budgets will be formally ratified at the 2017 Annual Meeting for the Disney Vacation Club Condominium Association. Members can attend the meeting and ask questions afterward at 2 p.m., Dec. 7 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Convention Center. RSVP here if you’re interested in attending.

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Walt Disney World Fourth of July Celebrations

by on June 21, 2017

Fourth of July Celebrations at Walt Disney World

©Rikki Niblett

Fourth of July and fireworks. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, right? Walt Disney World is ready to celebrate the good old red, white, and blue in fantastic fashion. So, if you are wanting to salute all nations, but mostly America, they have some great ways to do it!

Magic Kingdom

Celebrate with Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky which commemorates the Fourth with brilliant fireworks that are all choreographed to patriotic music. The best part about this fireworks spectacular is that they are shown on two nights – July 3 and July 4 at 9:00 p.m. So you have two chances to catch this unique and special show.

You also don’t want to miss The Muppets Present…Great Moments in History. During the show, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie Bear and friends reenact famous moments in American history all in a fun manner. This is a live show that is performed daily in Liberty Square.

Another must see during the holiday is the Flag Retreat which takes place at 5:00 p.m. each day in Town Square on Main Street U.S.A.

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will be shown twice on both July 3 and 4 – once at 12:00 p.m. and once at 3:30 p.m.

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever April 13, 2017: Wilderness Lodge Resort Update

by on April 13, 2017

Hello, friends! It’s that time of week again when we share our best week ever! However, this week is going to be a little different. My family has opted for Silver passes this year, meaning our passes were blocked out this past weekend. Since Disney parks were out of the question, I set out to tour Disney’s Wilderness Lodge instead. The lodge looks amazing walking up to it early in the morning.

The front porte cochère is so grand! Right away I was a little surprised there wasn’t more activity despite the early hour. I’m used to seeing all sorts of folks buzzing around at a Disney property. Poking around the resort later it looks like half the rooms are under renovation, which explains why things were quiet. While that does mean there’s some construction noise, I think it’s worth staying here for the slim crowds.

But wait, there’s more! Come with me for a tour of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe, and a sneak peek at the Easter Eggs on display at Disney’s Grand Floridian.

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Piano at Disney World: Live Shows and Fabulous Props

by on February 13, 2017


Piano Entertainment at Walt Disney World

Disney World guests can choose from an array of extravagant entertainment from full-scale stage shows like Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to nightly theme park spectaculars like Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. The wow factor of these shows in undeniable, but Disney World also features numerous fantastic smaller-scale acts inside and outside of the theme parks. Among these, it is surprising how many of my favorites feature some extremely talented pianists.

Disney World Hotel Bar Tour

The incomparable Yehaa Bob (photo by Brian McNichols)

This article takes a look at some of these fantastic piano acts and how you can make them part of your Disney World visit. Plus, just for fun, we point to several Disney World attractions and other venues where you can spot fabulous piano props and theming.

Live Piano Entertainment to Include in Your Disney World Plan

Yehaa Bob Jackson at River Roost Lounge. With a great big personality and a rollicking good time of a show, Yehaa Bob entertains resort guests and long-time fans at River Roost Lounge located at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. During his show combining music and comedy, Yehaa Bob is a master at getting his audience singing along, dancing, and cheering each other on. Each guest becomes part of the fun as Yehaa Bob visits tables and poses for photo ops. It’s no surprise that Yehaa Bob, who has been entertaining Disney World guests since 1997, was a Legacy Award recipient in 2013, one of Disney’s most prestigious awards for Cast Members, Crew Members, and Imagineers.

Where and when: Shows take place every Wednesday through Saturday night at Port Orleans – Riverside’s River Roost Lounge at 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM. The show is family-friendly, there is no cover charge, and you can just enjoy the show or grab a table and order drinks or food.

What else to do: Before or after the show, consider taking a walk along the Sassagoula River that goes from Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside to its Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

Casey’s Corner Pianist. It’s easy to rush by Magic Kingdom’s Casey’s Corner at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. on your way to the next attraction, but slowing down for at least a few minutes when the Casey’s Corner pianist is performing will pay off big time. I guarantee that you will be massively impressed by the talents of the pianist playing lively Disney and ragtime tunes. The music will also greatly increase your immersion in the Main Street, U.S.A. atmosphere. Get even more involved by making a request.

Where and when: 20-minute sets usually start around noon and run until 6-7 PM outside of Casey’s Corner hot dog stop. You can check a specific date here or obtain the Magic Kingdom Times Guide at the front of the park.

What else to do: Grab a hot dog at Casey’s Corner or an ice cream across the street at the Plaza Ice Parlor to enjoy while you watch the show.

Enjoy live music played by the Casey’s Corner Pianist. Photo courtesy of Disney

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SATURDAY SIX: The Best Resort Specific Merchandise at Walt Disney World

by on January 7, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Best Resort Specific Merchandise at WDW! Longtime readers of this fine blog series will remember that we have looked at the Best Souvenirs at Disney, the Best at Universal, and even the Best Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exist. Heck, we even risk our lives and sanity each and every month to deliver you the fabled Disney Outlet Store Photo Report. So it is safe to say, we like merch. Now, one of our favorite types of theme park resort merchandise is the stuff you can get at the onsite hotels. When looking at them back at home, they instantly remind us of the great times we had on vacation and the places we have stayed at. Disney has always been the industry leader at incredible resort specific merchandise, but several years ago the company switched to a more homogeneous look for much of its hotel merchandise. With a very similar style of logo for various resorts all on the same type of items (t-shirts, coffee cups, keychains, etc), it was like Disney was running a Zazzle account writ large. Thankfully, more original merchandise has started to make its way back to the resorts, along with some old favorites. Today we’re going to look at our favorite resort specific merchandise, starting with…

# 6 – Camper Keychain at Fort Wilderness

Believe it or not, Disney’s Fort Wilderness campgound has one of the highest amounts of great resort specific merchandise on property. From great looking pins and shirts to amazing prints, Fort Wilderness offers an array of unique items that most other WDW hotels can’t compete with. There’s even a Fort Wilderness air freshener! Our absolute favorite piece of merch is the Camper Keychain ($9.99). Not only is this an incredibly creative keychain compared to what you’ll find at other resorts, the headlight of the camper is a working flashlight! Talk about the Disney Difference, and be prepared to talk about your Disney vacation when your friends and family back home see your cute keychain.

Fort Wilderness Camper Keychain.

The camper’s headlight is an actual working flashlight!

Plastic Mason Jar Travel Mug.

Fort Wilderness Air Freshener with “Wild Woods Scent.” To be fair, while we say it is unique that Fort Wilderness has its own air freshener, we will stipulate to the fact that no one would want an All Star Music air freshener anyway. We do wonder what the scent of “Pop Century” would be though….

The SATURDAY SIX mobile sits outside Coronado Springs with the inside smelling like Fort Wilderness.

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Review: Thanksgiving Weekend at Walt Disney World

by on December 5, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’re familiar with the TouringPlans Crowd Calendar, you know that major holidays at Walt Disney World can be intense when it comes to lines and crowds. But this year, I abandoned all logic and spent Thanksgiving with my family at Walt Disney World. I survived, but would I do it again? Read on for my Review: Thanksgiving Weekend at Walt Disney World.

November 23rd

My concern over the holiday crowds and never ending lines wasn’t limited to the confines of Walt Disney World. Actually, I was more concerned over what awaited me at my local airport since my family and I were flying into Orlando the day before Thanksgiving. One of the busiest travel days of the year!

Fortunately, our Frontier Airlines flight was scheduled to depart at 7:00 A.M.; and while the queues for security had already been extended, we made it through with plenty of time to spare and with no delays.

I was shocked when we found that there were no lines for Disney’s Magical Express at Orlando International Airport. Maybe because it was still early in the day? Or maybe Disney was more than prepared for the holiday rush? Regardless, we walked right on our bus bound for Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. We had never stayed at the French Quarter as Port Orleans Riverside is the Moderate Resort we gravitate to; but, thankfully we loved the French Quarter! It was smaller and more intimate, yet never once felt crowded or chaotic.

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Walt Disney World Introduces New Highway in the Sky Dine Around

by on November 29, 2016



Have you ever wanted to take part in a progressive dinner at the Walt Disney World monorail resort restaurants? With the brand new dining adventure called Highway in the Sky Dine Around, you’ll be able to do just that.

Guests will be able to enjoy a five-course meal that will include cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert and will feature stops at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Plus Guests will receive a VIP guide and a private viewing of Wishes.

The event begins at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where you’ll check in at The Wave… of American Flavors where you’ll enjoy a specialty cocktail. From there, you’ll head to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort where you’ll enjoy a variety of island-inspired beverages and appetizers.

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Five Disney World Resorts to See During Your Vacation

by on November 14, 2016



Resort Hopping is one of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World! Visiting the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, and The Polynesian Village Resort are as much on my trip to-do list as Pirates of the Caribbean or devouring a Mickey Premium Bar. That being said, I feel that guests who skip the resorts, or who don’t know they are allowed to visit the resorts, fail to achieve the full Walt Disney World experience. So for those who don’t know, anyone is allowed to visit the Walt Disney World Resorts, even if they’re not a guest of that resort or of any resort on property. But why should you? That’s what I intend to address in my five Disney World Resorts to See During Your Vacation!

© Sarah Graffam

Grand Floridian lobby

The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Let’s start with Walt Disney World’s flagship resort, shall we? The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa boasts a Victorian Florida theme and is Disney’s take on luxury and sophistication. But no need to worry about feeling out of place or having rambunctious kids in tow. While the Grand Floridian Resort is like stepping into an old fashioned postcard, this is a Disney World Resort after all!

How to Get There

If driving your own car or a rental car, the Grand Floridian Resort is located at 4401 Floridian Way in Orlando, Florida, just off Seven Seas Drive.

Free transportation to and from the resort consists of Disney Buses, Ferry Boats, and the most famous mode of Disney transportation of all, the Monorail! A 1 mile walking path between the resort and the Polynesian Village Resort is also provided, offering views of the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Wedding Pavilion, and the Magic Kingdom Park in the distance.

Why You Should Visit

The Lobby

A number of Walt Disney World Resorts boast awe-inspiring lobbies, and the Grand Floridian’s lobby is at the top of the list! In addition to a grand staircase, a cage elevator, and enchanting Disney-inspired tilework under your feet, the Grand Floridian’s 5-story lobby is topped with stained glass domes and massive chandeliers. Tip: For the holidays, a life-size gingerbread house and a towering Victorian Christmas tree occupy the lobby and are must-sees!


The Grand Floridian’s women’s boutique

Live Music

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, a live pianist and the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra alternate playing popular turn-of-the-century tunes and Disney songs!

The Shopping

The Grand Floridian Resort offers more shops than any other Walt Disney World Resort, which is why it’s one of my favorite locations to hunt for resort exclusive merch, Disney Dooney and Bourke bags, and that perfect souvenir to take home.

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Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort to Offer Private Water Taxi

by on November 8, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Disney is looking for ways to provide additional transportation options for Guests, therefore, they are now offering a private water taxi from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

This new water taxi offering will take Guests directly to any destination around Seven Seas Lagoon for $20 each way, per family. (Do keep in mind that return service must be booked separately and this private boat ride may not be available from the Magic Kingdom.)  Each boat will be able to accommodate up to 10 passengers. The private experience is based on availability from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and to make a reservation, Guests should call the the Grand Floridan recreation line at 321-318-8212.

To access your private water taxi, Guests should visit the Marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, located next to the Sugar Loaf building.

This option may come in handy when attempting to get from one resort to another, especially for something like dining reservations.

The water taxi is not replacing current transportation options, but is instead being offered in addition to current offerings.

1900 Park Fare Holiday Brunch Returns to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

by on September 13, 2016

1900 Park Fare

©Rikki Niblett

If you are looking for a great way to enjoy the holiday season, consider booking a reservation for the seasonal holiday brunch at 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Guests will have the opportunity to indulge in an all-you-care-to-eat brunch buffet that includes items such as custom-made omelets, carved meat stations, Mickey waffles and more.

In addition, Guests will be able to meet some of their favorite English-inspired Disney characters, such as characters from Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland.

This meal will cost $37 for adults and $22 for children (ages 3-9). In addition, the Disney Dining Plan will be accepted.

This seasonal event will be a character dining experience available on select dates from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Reservations can be made for the the following dates:

  • November 20-26; 12:45-2:10pm
  • December 18, 2016-January 1, 2017; 12:45-2:10pm

Guests can make their brunch reservation from 12:45 p.m. until 2:10 p.m. and reservations can be booked by calling (407) WDW-DINE.