May 7, 2009

Grand Elegance

Lovely, elegant, and grossly overpriced! The beautiful Grand Floridian Resort premiered during this 1988 to 1989 year of expansion and was almost immediately filled with guests looking for the ultimate Disney vacation accomodations.

Being of large family and a common sized wallet, we stayed at the Caribbean Beach. As it would happen, some distant family was staying at the Grand Floridian at the same time and invited us to a wonderful breakfast at 1900 Park Faire.

Driving to the resort, we were awestruck by the elegant entry filled with palms. The beautiful building took more than a passing inspiration from the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California.

This fine automobile set the stage for what we would see inside- and of course, a greeter was a new experience to be found on the Walt Disney World property! Something special was clearly ahead.
The interior lobby was stunning, and the view straight up just as spectacular!

The caliope at 1900 Park Faire filled the air with a touch of whimsy and victorian charm. The decor and the terrific breakfast were not the only attractions in the place.

Carousel horses and vintage prints on the walls. What a nice place to dine. An unexpected surprise- the characters made an appearance for free! Certainly that alone has changed in recent years.

Our happy little family certainly enjoyed the morning, and there's nothing like Chip or Dale to make smiles appear!

The manicured gardens and public areas invited our exploration. We gladly spent about an hour and a half or so walking around and taking in the sights. This is pretty commonplace for us, as touring the Disney resorts have become as much a part of a Walt Disney World vacation as the theme parks. We always schedule in time for a meal or a snack, wandering around, and just relaxing.

The marina was a quiet and pleasant place to stop. The very cool clock was a nice little touch. We would end of taking a water sprite later in the week, but it would be from the Polynesian Village (oops- Disney's Polnesian Resort!) instead.

The success of the Grand Floridian not only changed the physical face of the World, but it also showed Disney management that more expensive and exclusive offerings would be snapped up by a paying public with much money to burn. Regardless of your wallet size, a stop at this resort is just the thing for a bit of elegance and old world charm!
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company. Photos copyright Mark Taft.)

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