The History of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort opened in June of 1988 as the third resort on Disney World property. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort was opened as deluxe resort and was also opened alongside the monorail track, offering guests quick and easy transportation to Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort continues to delight guests today with its Victorian-Era charm, and is considered to be the most high-end resort that Disney has to offer. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is home to a full-service spa, and contains over 800 rooms and 6 buildings, as well as two pools and several dining options.

Construction and Design

The planning and development of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort began in the mid-1980s. There was a vision for a Victorian-style resort modeled after those that were popular on Florida beaches back in the day. The Grand Floridian Resort was constructed alongside Bay Lake and it included several lakeside beaches for guests enjoyment. The resort opened in June of 1988 and guests were impressed by its exquisite details and elegant design.

Grand Floridian Resort’s Stunning Beaches Photo: Disney

Updates and Renovations

There have been several notable updates and renovations that have taken place at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort throughout the years. In July of 1995, Disney’s Wedding Pavilion was opened onsite. With a castle view, this venue was perfect for Disney brides and their fairytale weddings.

Disney Wedding Pavilion
Disney Wedding Pavilion Photo: Disney

A concierge building was constructed in 1996, which allowed guests more opportunities for exclusive services and amenities. In 1997, a new restaurant called Citricos opened offering a Mediterranean menu. 1996 brought the opening of Narcoossee’s, a seafood restaurant situated near the shore of the lagoon. In 2013, Grand Floridian’s Spa & Health Club was refurbished and reopened as Senses- A Disney Spa.


The DVC villas at Grand Floridian Resort opened in 2013 and brought with it 147 villas for DVC members. The villa options include 1, 2, and 3 bedroom grand villas with the option of theme park, lake, and standard views. With DVC villas comes DVC accommodations such as kitchenettes, laundry rooms and machines, and more. Guests can also enjoy other recreational activities that Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has to offer like movies under the stars, campfire activities, poolside cabanas, motorized boat rentals, fishing excursions, specialty cruises, two pools, and an excellent view of the Electrical Water Pageant.

Grand Floridian water play area
Grand Floridian Water Play Area Near DVC Villas. Photo: Disney.

Original Dining Options

During its initial opening in 1988, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort had three operating restaurants which are still in operation today. One of these restaurants was Victoria & Albert’s, a fine-dining experience that is cultivated by top chefs and includes an ever-evolving menu. Victoria & Albert’s has won several awards throughout the years including the AAA Five Diamond Award yearly since 2000.

Grand Floridian Cafe was another original restaurant that is still serving today. Grand Floridian Cafe is a sit-down restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, featuring a casual yet sophisticated American menu.

Gasparilla Island Grille is the last of the original restaurants at Grand Floridian Resort. Gasparilla Island Grille is a quick-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and late-night bites.

Victoria & Albert's
Guests Dine at Victoria & Albert’s. Photo: Disney.

Overall, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort was constructed to be an elegant deluxe resort, and this remains true to this day. Its picturesque setting delights guests and keeps them coming back year after year. Have you ever stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort? Let us know what you liked about it in the comments below!

Featured Photo: Disney

Written by

Megan Woodard

Contributing Writer

Megan was born into a Disney family. Her first trip to Disney World was when she was only 18 months old. Now as an adult, Megan loves to share the magic of Disney with her two toddlers. Keeping up with Disney news and Disney World knowledge is a fun hobby for Megan. Disney World is her favorite place to be and continuously brings back her childhood joy.

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