This article shares a timeline of the renovation and refurbishment progress at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in 2023.
Disney’s Grand Floridian is undergoing a multi-year renovation and refurbishment. So far, we’ve seen several completed projects, including new rooms and other updates around the resort.
With that said, considerable updates, including the refurbishment of the Grand Floridian’s main building, are now underway. It seems we’ve finally reached the home stretch–but how long will it take?
Unfortunately, we don’t know the timeline for the construction work on the main building. For various other buildings on the property, it’s taken approximately three months, often with construction going on at two buildings simultaneously.
However, I think we can all agree on one thing–the main building and its tremendous lobby are beastly in size. So, it’s likely this project will take some time.
Below, we’ll take a before and after look at the changes that have already been made. Additionally, we’ll look at what’s going on with the main building and lobby. Moving forward, we’ll continue to update this article until we reach a final outcome.
This article was updated on September 5, 2023.
September 2023 Update for Grand Floridian
We visited the Grand Floridian on the first day of September and found construction walls had been removed from the lobby. From my observations, the only work that’s been completed so far is the paint.
Formerly, everything had a coat of white paint. Now, we see lots of beige, which adds a contrast.
From my understanding, the rest of the lobby will be completed in the future.
Speculation is that the lobby will be completed after the upcoming holidays. However, I have not been able to confirm that with anyone who works at the resort. So, we’ll continue to keep watch until the work reaches a final outcome.
Outside, exterior work continues as the scaffolding extends to the side of the main building near the villa’s pool.
An additional covered area has been installed at the side entrance.
August 2023 Update for Grand Floridian
Here is a recap of our experience from August and those updates:
As some of you know, I recently had breakfast with friends at the Grand Floridian. Upon our arrival, we were asked to park in the cast member lot.
A security guard at the entrance indicated that many guests (40% per him) who visit the Grand Floridian for dining reservations cancel their reservations. He said they only use the reservation as an excuse to park at the resort. Needless to say, we all felt disrespected.
It is unfortunate that some guests might go to this extreme to do such a thing. But I would hope a whopping 40% would not. That said, I was dressed up more than usual and was not prepared to walk approximately a half mile in the heat to the resort.
Had I been aware, I would have parked at the Magic Kingdom, taken the tram to the TTC, and then the monorail to the Grand Floridian. That would have taken longer, but it would have been much better than having to deal with construction and traffic.
Normally, I wouldn’t mention this sort of thing. But if you have a dining reservation at the Grand Floridian, you’ll want to be aware of how the resort is currently handling guests.
When I arrived at the resort, I stopped to talk with a manager. She did not care and told me that valet members were available to take guests back and forth from the resort to the parking lot.
I can assure you no valet members were taking guests back and forth when I arrived. After our meal and a brief visit, I asked the valet if they had someone to carry me back to my vehicle. They did not. But when I mentioned my conversation with the manager, he apologized and went out of his way to find a driver.
As we drove past a less-than-half-full resort parking lot on the way back to my car, the driver even said that it was ridiculous and profusely apologized for the inconvenience. He was the only person I encountered who acted as he worked in the hospitality and tourism industry.
These sorts of things happen from time to time, and I’ll be the first to admit they are the type of thing that makes me upset. I’m not entitled to special treatment, nor do I want to be compensated for an inconvenience.
But when I visit a hotel to spend money, I want to be treated like a guest, and I imagine you do, too. It is also worth noting, with no disrespect to anyone, that some people who might be considered elderly were making the same trek into the resort when I arrived. This was one of the tackiest things I’ve ever experienced visiting Walt Disney World. At the very least, those guests should have been accommodated.
As far as construction goes, scaffolding covers a good portion of the back of the main building.
A makeshift tunnel has been erected to let guests come and go from the back of the lobby.
Inside, the lobby construction walls have been shifted to the back. No actual work in the lobby has been completed.
After our meal, we sat in the lobby for a while to visit. During that time, we saw several workers painting the ceiling. From time to time, loud construction noises interrupted our conversation.
The only notable change I’ve seen so far is that the ceiling has been painted a beige color. You can see in the photo below that the construction worker is painting the white panels to match the rest of the new color.
Since our last visit, we haven’t seen too many visible changes. But I’m hopeful that the actual lobby portion will be done quickly when it gets to that point. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see it!
Grand Floridian Buildings Completed to Date
The following buildings at Disney’s Grand Floridian have been completely refurbished and are now open.
- Conch Key
- Boca Chica
- Big Pine Key
- The Villas Grand Floridian
- Sugar Loaf
- Sago Cay
Sago Cay was the last building to reopen. Meanwhile, work has begun on the main building. As of this update, the club level in the main building has been suspended, and those rooms are now under construction.
Here is a photo of Sago Cay, the last exterior building to be completed at the Grand Floridian.
Here are a few photos of other buildings since they’ve been completed, starting with Conch Key.
In the photo below, Boca Chica is the building on the left side, sitting behind the pool. Big Pine Key is to the immediate right.
Big Pine Key was one of the first buildings completed. However, rooms in this building were converted to resort studios for Disney’s Vacation Club. This new room type is specific to this building.
The Villas at Grand Floridian building was the first to see construction work completed a little over a year ago. Since this was the newest addition to the Grand Floridian, it didn’t undergo nearly as much construction as the other buildings on the property.
Grand Floridian’s Main Building Renovation
One of the reasons we decided to start this timeline is because of the construction expected at the resort’s main building. We visited Disney’s Grand Floridian on June 13, 2023, and found that walls were being installed around the back of the main building.
It appears that exterior construction will begin immediately behind Grand Floridian Cafe and extend to the end of the building where Gasparilla Island Grill is located.
From what we’ve seen so far, all of the buildings have received new siding and new roofs. They’ve had a complete overhaul.
But even with the construction woes, the resort looks fresh and pristine. In the picture below, you can see where the newly installed wall extends the length of this side of the building.
As I walked toward the edge of the resort, I noticed this sign indicating where to find Gasparilla Island Grill.
While the restaurant is still accessible, you can’t dine on the patio during this time.
Here is the cutout. These walls were being installed while I was taking photos. So I imagine we will see more where the green barriers are placed.
It was amusing to see mattresses rolled out of the main building. It reminded me of a time a few years ago when a few NBA players called the resort home. Of course, those times were not amusing in any way. But I remember sitting at the Beach Pool and seeing extra long mattresses and huge suitcases being carted into the hotel.
Here’s a look back at the main building from Sago Cay, which is now complete, landscaping and all.
Thankfully, the Grand Floridian walkway to Magic Kingdom is once again open.
Grand Floridian Lobby Refurbishment
Now for the moment that you’ve all been waiting for– the Grand Floridian lobby refurbishment. Last December, Disney announced the resort’s lobby would receive an update. Their article stated that the lobby “will maintain the classic theming you know and love with some fresh new enhancements.” (Disney Parks Blog)
As of this second week of June, a section of walls has gone up surrounding the front portion of the lobby closest to the main entrance. It was surreal to see the piano player entertain guests a few feet beyond the wall. For some strange reason, it reminded me of the scene with the band playing as the ship sank in the movie Titanic.
Thankfully, whatever the outcome of the lobby, the circumstances will not be so dire. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see fresh flooring and furniture updates in the space.
In addition to the lobby, you might notice the upper floors of the resort have all been walled-off. It is likely that almost every surface will be touched in this remodel.
Here is a photo of what the lobby walls look like from the main floor.
I can happily report that the floral arrangement has been moved to greet guests from the lobby’s resort-side entrance. We’ll have more updates to come, and I’ve been collecting a few photos to eventually put together a before-and-after post of the lobby.
On another note, a new DVC Tower Hotel is under construction between the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian. Therefore, the former scenic walkway between the hotels is closed.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to take the construction pathway between the resorts. If traveling from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian, you might prefer to take the resort boat to the Polynesian and then monorail back to the Grand Floridian.
Recently, a new construction path between the Grand Floridian and Polynesian opened. This new path is straightforward and no longer requires guests to cross the road.
We have a separate article on the construction progress at the Polynesian.
Upcoming Construction at Disney’s Grand Floridian
Additionally, the following items have not been mentioned. But we assume they will be refurbished with the rest of the main building:
- Garden View Tea Room (off the back of the lobby)
- 1900 Park Fare (Character Dining that hasn’t reopened.)
What’s Already Been Completed at Disney’s Grand Floridian?
As you may know, Disney’s Grand Floridian celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2023. Therefore, extensive work has been completed around the resort over the last five years that led to this renovation.
Here are some of the changes.
Grand Floridian Walkway to Magic Kingdom
In late 2020, a walkway opened between the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom. This new walkway allows guests to walk to and from the resort to the Most Magical Place on Earth.
During construction work on Sago Cay, the walkway was temporarily closed in 2023. However, it has now reopened, and guests can once again use the walkway at their leisure.
Narcoossee’s, one of Grand Floridian’s signature dining restaurants that sits over the water, underwent a complete refurbishment. It reopened a few months back with a new look and menu.
Related: Grand Floridian Restaurants Guide
Unfortunately, we haven’t stayed at the Grand Floridian since the rooms were refurbished. We’ll plan a new stay when the construction dust settles.
Here is a look at one of the newer rooms. Many of the rooms feature touches of Mary Poppins in the design elements. So far, these rooms have received rave reviews.
Here is a look inside The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian. Their lobby received new rugs and furnishings this last year.
These photos were taken around the holidays. If you’ve visited the Villas before, you might tell the color palette was changed to a light blue on the upper floors.
And if you haven’t ever visited, I would encourage you to stop in on a future visit to see the Mary Poppins fountain in the center of the lobby.
Conch Key Lobby
We stopped at Conch Key in April to check out the newly renovated building lobby. Each building on the property has a small lobby with similar decor.
Here are a few photos of the transformation.
Artwork featuring Mary Poppins hangs on the far wall.
Gasparilla Island Grill
Gasparilla Island Grill, the Grand Floridian’s counter service, was significantly refurbished in 2017. We stopped in recently and discovered they have several updated menu items.
We have an updated review of Gasparilla Island Grill available that includes a preview of those new menu items. We found the menu much improved but think it could still be better.
Enchanted Rose Lounge
In 2019, the Enchanted Rose Lounge debuted at Disney’s Grand Floridian. Inspired by Beauty and the Beast, it’s one of the nicest lounges you’ll ever visit.
When Enchanted Rose opened, it was a tell-tale sign of what was to come at the resort. Unfortunately, however, those changes were significantly delayed as we headed into the next few years.
Related: Enchanted Rose Lounge Review
Citricos is one of the Grand Floridian’s signature restaurants. It’s located on the second floor of the main building, only a few steps away from Enchanted Rose Lounge. Citricos was completely renovated and reopened with Mary Poppins theming in 2021.
Victoria and Albert’s, immediately next door to Citricos, also reopened from an entire refurbishment in 2022.
Hopefully, these construction updates were helpful in planning your next trip or visit to Disney’s Grand Floridian. Make sure to check back often for updates!
For more information about the resort, all of our articles are listed in our resort guide:
You might also enjoy the following:
- Disney’s Boardwalk Refurbishment and Construction Updates
- Disney’s Beach Club 2023 Updates
- Walt Disney World Hotel Refurbishment Schedule
In the Comments
What do you think of the construction progress at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa? Would you plan a stay here during the refurbishment?