Monorail Resort Update – Grand Flo Construction and Courtyard Pool, Refurbished Contemporary Rooms, Lunch at Kona Cafe

Work continues at The Grand Floridian Resort and Construction Zone.  Six and a half months away?

These are the sounds that greet you should you be returning for a peaceful afternoon swim.

Or if you prefer, maybe take up a book on the balcony.  Rooms in this building start at $892.13 a night.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Grand Floridian is rocking Disney’s lowest guest satisfaction ratings these days.  Or if you’re still curious, try riding the bus to the Grand Flo from Downtown Disney Marketplace with a stop at Pleasure Island, Typhoon Lagoon, and Wilderness Lodge first.  Or if you’re going to Epcot, you could walk to the main building and wait for the Resort Monorail.  Then wait for the Monorail to stop at the Magic Kingdom.  And then the Contemporary.  And then the Transportation and Ticket Center.  And then you could transfer over to the Epcot Monorail platform.  And then wait for the Epcot Monorail.  And then ride the monorail to Epcot.  Or if you’re staying at Pop, hop on the bus and you’ll be there in less than 15 minutes.  Don’t get me started on the bus that the Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan, Dolphin, and BoardWalk share.  These are the people spending the most money on lodging and they have the lousiest transportation on property.  For $892.13 a night, Mickey Mouse should be driving your family personally in a limousine with a conveyor belt of appetizers circling the cabin and a Ciroc fountain in the middle.

A wall basically runs from one edge of the property over to the other.

That’s how close “The Annex” will sit next to the Beach Pool.  Hopefully they will come up with a better name.  “The Annex” is a little too Anne Frank for my tastes.  Considering the BCS is calling their college football playoff, “College Football Playoff,” Disney could get away with just calling it, “Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Disney Vacation Club Property.”  Or GFR&SDVCP.  Sort of rolls off the tongue.  I wonder if “New Fantasyland” would exist if Nintendo didn’t call their new Super Mario Bros. games, “New Super Mario Bros.”  Maybe attendance at Carousel of Progress would be boosted by a name change to “New Carousel of Progress.”  Probably not.

I was happy to see that the Beach Pool’s bar continues serving up some excellent food for lunch.

Gasparilla Grill is kind of lousy, even since its recent refurbishment, but the pool bar offers some unique, potentially healthy options.

You’re not going to do much better than a Crab Cake Sandwich full of crab for ten bucks.

I’ve seen some discussion as to whether this Alice in Wonderland play area “belongs at Disney’s Flagship Resort.”

I think it’s totes cute, but whatever.  The Grand Flo is full of people who also can’t afford to stay there.  It has its share of uppity folks, predominantly from “foreign countries,” but you’ll fit in just fine with your $40 Louis V Speedy and Dior Demoiselles purchased from your neighbor’s purse party.

Disney finally completed construction of the courtyard pool.

It’s fairly basic, though larger than a lot of resort feature pools.

It’s now encircled by a white plastic fence that is currently covered.

It continues to have its own pool bar and plenty of lounge chairs circling it.

One small section on the left is zero entry.  Water fountains gently shoot water upwards in the same area.

And there’s a hot tub.

Menu land, should you be planning a visit to one of the restaurants in the near future:

1900 Park Fare:


Grand Floridian Cafe lunch:



Dinner:

Narcoossee’s:



Citricos:


Victoria & Albert’s:

We’ll hop the monorail and head to the Contemporary.

Construction continues on the exterior of the Contemporary at the same time as a full room refurbishment progresses on the inside.

Bay Lake Tower has a new check-in and concierge desk.  When members first voted on whether they wanted a separate check-in/concierge desk at Bay Lake Tower, they voted it down due to higher costs.  As those staying at Bay Lake became increasingly fed up with having to schlep their luggage from the Contemporary over here, Disney decided to add a desk themselves.  Don’t worry – they’ll recoup the costs.

You can now do anything here at Bay Lake Tower that you could do over at the Contemporary’s first floor check-in/concierge area.

There isn’t otherwise much to see or do in the lobby.  There is, of course, a separate desk to sell you more Vacation Club.

Luckily, all Disney Vacation Club members using their own points to stay at any DVC property can continue using the Top of the World Lounge through 2013.  The only exceptions are July 3 & 4 and December 30 & 31, where access is limited to Bay Lake Tower guests.  Take a trip up to the Top of the World Lounge in this post.

I can appreciate the uniqueness of the A-frame design of the Contemporary Tower, but it’s always felt a little concrete-jungle to me from the fourth floor concourse.

All rooms, both in the Tower and Garden Wing, have been or will be refurbished.  This is what they look like.

You’ve got to love the cheese wheel Mickey pillows.

The television off to the right side of the living area might present some eye strain for those sitting on the other bed.  Bring those binoculars from Kilimanjaro Safaris.

The subtle A-frame design curtains were my favorite new addition.  I would totally steal them.  For whatever reason, the Contemporary Resort continues to be the only Deluxe resort that doesn’t offer its own uniquely branded merchandise.  You’d think the Contemporary would be among the easiest to design.  So take the curtains.  Disney deserves it.

The bathroom is spacious, though I prefer the layout where the vanity area and shower/bath area are separate.  I’m not doing my makeup while mom showers.  I’m just saying.

Hot dogs are a little more difficult to cook with the Cusinart pod-style coffee machines, but not impossible I’m happy to report.  And the iron-grilled panini is still an option as well.  Love those char marks!  Look for my upcoming e-book, “Resort Room Cooking For 1.”

The only other problem I think you’ll run into at the Contemporary is a lack of drawer space.  But you’ve got two large closets and the suitcase stand thing available.

Hard to beat a Theme Park View.  Larger, where you can also get a better idea of the size of the Magic Kingdom bus loop construction: http://www.easywdw.com/reports7/themeparkview.jpg.

Moving over to the Garden Wing, this is what the new hall carpet looks like.  It’s a little Green Eggs and Ham.

The old stuff down another hallway, where the refurbishment is currently ongoing.

We’re now inside a Garden Wing Deluxe Room, which I had never stepped in before.  Garden Wing Standard View rooms start at $371.  Garden Wing Garden Views start at $425, while Garden Wing Deluxe Rooms start at $480.  All are cheaper than Tower rooms, which start at $514 for Bay Lake View or $570 for Theme Park View.

The furnishings in this refurbished room are similar, with the exception of the king bed replacing the two queens.  You get 629 square feet in these rooms that also have two large windows.  That’s about 200 more square feet than a standard room in the Tower or the rest of the Garden Wing and just about exactly twice as large as a Moderate room.

The television is also much larger and more convenient to watch in the living area. The sofa pulls out into a queen size bed, so this room sleeps four officially.

The bathroom is similar.  There’s some room to store toiletries down below, but not much next to the sinks.  While the flat basin-style sinks might be modern-ish, I’m not sure how functional they are.

The other Deluxe feature is the addition of a stall shower. This is not the best picture of it.

And the standard tub-shower.

Other than the distance from the Garden Wing to the buses, monorail, and the Tower in general, the biggest deterring factor here is the lack of balconies. It looks like there are balconies from afar, but there is nowhere to step out.  You’re just a minute or two to the pool and boat dock over to Magic Kingdom though.

First floor rooms have patios.

To compare size and decor, this is a Garden Wing 1-Bedroom Suite that has not been refurbished.  Note the different headboard, bedding, pillows, and curtains.

Looking into the living area.

Dining room area.

One sofa pulls out into a queen.

The other into a daybed.

The bathroom off of the bedroom should look familiar.  It has a separate “water closet” area with a sliding door (that doesn’t lock).

A skinny shower is on the left.

Skinny shower.

The bathroom off of the living room, also with a separate “water closet.”

This time it’s a tub-shower.

Similar closets with a wider hallway.

One last look at the dining area.

The view is not quite as good as the Tower, but the water and trees are a bit more serene than a parking lot and Cinderella Castle in the distance.

Menu at The Wave.

Chef Mickey’s Breakfast.

Dinner. Two adults, an eleven-year-old, and a five-year-old would run you a cool $169.32 with tax and 18% tip.

Hopping back on the Monorail, we now find ourselves at the Polynesian Resort for lunch at Kona Cafe.  Kona is a favorite of many for a few reasons.  First, it’s located just a few steps from the Monorail on the second floor of one of Disney’s classic resorts.  The Polynesian is a destination unto itself and lunch at Kona is a great excuse to check it out.

Second, lunch is pretty inexpensive.  A much worse turkey sandwich would run you $9.39 or so at most quick services, including Cosmic Ray’s at Magic Kingdom.  For about $2.50 more here, you’ll receive “Kona Turkey Sandwich – Turkey Breast Roasted daily and served on House-made Bread with Caramelized Onion, Purple Haze-Hoisin Mayonnaise, Arugula, Tomato, and Bacon served with Asian Pear Slaw.”  That’s just one example.

You’re not going to find a Lapu Lapu in Fantasyland.

Dessert.

Kona has been testing sushi during lunch hours.  They weren’t when we visited on April 16th, but hopefully it will be a permanent addition.  Note that they prepare the sushi in the restaurant now instead of out at the sushi bar itself.  A recent review of dinner at Kona along with the various menus is available in this post.

Anthony from Sorcerers of the Magic King Blog joins us along with Spencer from WDW Fan Boys.  Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom blog is great for updates on what’s going on with the game.  They broke the story that limited edition cards would be available during last year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, for example.  The Fan Boys are mostly locals that offer a unique view of Disney World in weekly podcasts.

The $7.49 Pot Stickers – Work-seared Pork and Vegetable Dumplings with a creamy Soy-Ginger Sauce.  They were very good, but I thought the portion size was chintzy for the price.  That’s one thing I’ve noticed about a lot of Disney table service restaurant appetizers – they tend to run about half the price of an entree and come with 15% of the food.  I think you could reasonably expect six stickers to come out of the kitchen for nearly eight dollars.  Anyway, the one I had was full of pork and slightly sweet, crunchy vegetables.  The sauce was creamy and light without all the saltiness you get from dunking in soy sauce.  The seaweed salad on the side is more than just an accoutrement – dig in, it’s very good.  For flavor, I’d highly recommend them.  Just be aware you’re getting four for the price.

Anthony ordered the Polynesian Plate Lunch- Grilled Teriyaki Steak with Grilled Pineapple Salsa, Sticky Rice, and Pasta Salad.  As I recall, he would have liked more sauce on the steak and the pasta salad was on the bland side.  The rice was dry and also could have used sauce or something to liven it up a bit.  Otherwise, he was satisfied with the meal – good, but not great.  You’re not going to do much better on Disney property for 15 bucks though, particularly when steak is involved.

Spencer ordered the Polynesian Plate Lunch with Pan-fried Chicken with Coconut and Mango Sauces.  He also remarked that the rice was dry and could have used a dash of something.  It otherwise looks good to me.

I went with the $15.49 Kona Surf and Turf Burger Deluxe – Our Grilled Angus Burger topped with Brie, spicy Fried Shrimp, Black Garlic Aioli, and Asian Pear Slaw.  Although the entrees are listed with a side dish, you should have your choice of the slaw, sweet potato fries, or pasta salad.

The Pear Slaw was surprisingly fresh and crisp.  I was expecting something more finely diced than this.  Instead, it was full of crispy pears, red onions, carrots, peppers, and whatever else.  It was a much lighter, tastier option than french fries.

The server asked how I wanted the burger cooked, which I feel like is always a good sign.  I asked for medium and perhaps for the first time in my Disney World touring career, the burger was actually cooked to medium instead of bone dry.  I’m not sure the brie was the way to go.  Novel, sure, but slippery and the wrong kind of ooey-gooey.  Had I not typed “spicy fried shrimp” in the description. I wouldn’t have mentioned any spiciness.  There really didn’t seem to be any.  Other than those minor quibbles, this was approximately 307.4% better than your standard Disney quick service burger.  The bun was fresh and held the burger together well.  The greens on top provided color and a nice crunch.  It was extremely filling.

The Black Garlic Aioli was not the most attractive sauce I’ve seen in my life.  Overall, I was expecting more flavor.  The sum of the parts didn’t seem to live up to the potential.  Still, it was a hearty, interesting burger.

Service was friendly and efficient.  Kona was maybe 20% full, if that, at 1:30pm.  That’s another reason why Kona is a great choice for lunch outside of the theme parks – no reservation required.

That’s what’s going on around the Monorail these days.

Comments

  1. Carly says

    Great update! Thanks for all those menus. Nice to see current ones. Also thank you for the lunch review on Kona. I agree with it being a favorite place to eat! We are headed there in June and can’t wait to go! Think I’ll try the fish taco! Yum!

  2. angela says

    Excellent, thank you. Love Kona; love the fish tacos they serve at lunch.

    I thought the Contemporary rooms were updated just a few years ago? Maybe it was longer ago than it seems. Or perhaps that’s the problem with a place called The Contemporary: it needs constant updating to live up to its name. Lovely rooms though.

  3. Jill Marie says

    I just can’t understand why people would choose the Grand Floridian at all. It just doesn’t appeal to me. And the transportation really sounds awful. I’ll stick to Pop Century for roughly $90 a night and fairly short bus rides to the parks.

    I agree about the Contemporary…concrete jungle-like. To me, it looks like an airport in there.

    I don’t ‘get’ the Contemporary. (I mean, other than it being close to MK.) But I guess that’s because I don’t care for contemporary (or whatever this is supposed to be) decor. I mean, don’t get me wrong…the ‘decor’ at our choice hotel, Pop Century, is absolute rubbish. But it’s a cheap hotel so I don’t really care.

    Even if I had endless supplies of money, I wouldn’t choose The Grand Floridian or The Contemporary (well, or Pop Century either.)

  4. says

    Josh, out of curiosity, how long are you hearing the it’s going to be until the new bus loop is operational? It’s probably just my false sense of optimism but maybe it’ll be done in about a month or so?

    Also, you should definitely check out the new rooms at the Polynesian (still refusing to call it the “Poly”); they seem to surprisingly look similar to the new ones at the Contemporary.

  5. says

    Chef Mickeys menu on April 22TH, 2013. Is that pronounced twenty tooth and represents the exact number in the mouth of whoever actually prepared the menu or am I missing something altogether, which would not be unusual? Headed to WDW this weekend, but flying into Tampa and driving over, much easier than MCO.

  6. RebeccaMcK says

    Man, why did I read this post at dinner time….now I’m starving. All that food looked GOOD. And I can always count on you to order crab or shrimp if it’s on the menu, thanks – have you had the watermelon salad near the GF pool? Saw that on the menu. Not that I’ll ever get to try it myself, but the version of it at the F&GF booth at Epcot was great. And I think the Contemporary rooms look beautiful…I like modern decor. If I could afford it I’d live there, lol. Those Mickey “cheese wheel” pillows look like they’d make nice “sit-upons” (floor cushions) for kids while playing on the carpet or watching TV. I’m nowhere near getting DVC membership, but I talked to a rep yesterday so I’d get a free $40 Disney gift card (you have to be on the phone “tour” for at least 10 minutes to qualify) and he said all the Bay Lake Tower DVC units are sold out. But they’ll still sell them (since you could use it at different times than the other owners) or put you on a waiting list. Some day….some day. But in the meantime I’d love to stay at the Contemporary next time I go (or ONE of the next times, anyway). I dined at Kona Cafe once and would do it again. The Wave looks pretty good, too. I think those original hotels (Poly and Contemporary) just might be the best. And I might get their little toy monorail stations to add to the monorail set the kiddo is getting for Christmas, lol. Amazon has one while Disney Store has the other. Talking to the grandparents when they’re here next week about it, hehe.

  7. Sharon says

    Sticky rice is supposed to be bland and you should be able to pick it up and eat it with your hands if it’s done right.

  8. Micklessor says

    To each his own…we love the GF and always have. We like the laid back atmosphere and the “lightness” of the decor. It’s a relaxing change of pace for us after a day in the parks. We have not found the transpo to be an issue except for one long wait for an AK bus. We also like taking the boat back from MK.

    We are looking forward to our upcoming split stay at the GF and WL in Sept.

  9. josh says

    I don’t have a date on the bus loop. It looked to me like they were expanding the bus lot at Animal Kingdom as well. They don’t need to do much at Studios or Epcot because they have large charter bus lots they’re already using. My estimation is that construction will take several months if not longer.

  10. Donnis says

    Josh – Other than the two drawers under the safe, are there any drawers in the regular tower rooms (Bay View)? Staying at Contemporary for convention in Oct – $189 a night. Really a good deal, it seems. I plan to attend the convention for about 1 full hour a day :) .

  11. EchoVictor says

    ” For $892.13 a night, Mickey Mouse should be driving your family personally in a limousine with a conveyor belt of appetizers circling the cabin and a Ciroc fountain in the middle.”

    Bravo. Bra Vo.

  12. Phil says

    I’m also amused at how the deluxe-level resorts usually end up sharing bus service with each other. While it isn’t that much different than all the stops around Saratoga Springs, it just seems chintzy of Disney to combine Grand Floridian with Wilderness Lodge (to say nothing of Boardwalk/Swan/Dolphin/Yacht Club/Beach Club).

    I know people complain about Animal Kingdom Lodge being way out away from everything, but at least it gets its own bus and it only has the two resort stops.

  13. goofyjoe says

    That’s the same watermelon salad at the pool bar as at the Florida Local booth at the Flower and Garden Festival. Great stuff! But, like you, I’m not really digging the construction zone ambiance. It’s like they moved the old Test Track queue right outside your hotel room door.

  14. Melanie says

    Enjoyed seeing inside the rooms at the Contemporary. Would love to see more pictures like that for the other resorts. It would make a great addition to the resort reviews.

  15. Anonymous says

    There is just something about a photographer’s reflection being captured in a hotel bedroom shot, gives a boogie nights feel to it. Great post as usual are you an unofficial FanBoy now?

  16. says

    The latter two Contemporary rooms seemed unnecessarily large. Maybe it’s because we spend most of our time in the parks, restaurants or Downtown Disney so we don’t need six bathrooms or a dining table but I’d rather pay $100-$200 for a Value or Moderate room and spend the other $600 a night on… ANYTHING ELSE.

  17. keri says

    you can also successfully swap out the seaweed salad that they serve with the potstickers for any side option at kona’s, if you like it better than the official 3 options. you get a ton of it, though, so you’d better really like it. 😛

    i love the Mad Hatter themed splash area. it’s so cute and gives the Grand Flo some sorely needed character, though all the “britishy” characters attached to the resort continue to confuse me about the theme. you know, it took me a good 15 years to realize that it’s supposed to actually be “Floridian” themed (like ‘gilded age Florida’ and the Flagler railroad, I guess?) rather than only called that because it’s located at WDW in florida instead of california or something. that was 10 years ago now, and i still forget sometimes.

  18. SW says

    Couldn’t agree more about the transportation opens for the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Deluxes. It’s ridiculous! You pay the most and get the least effective transportation with the most stops. I’ve stated at the Grand Floridian and, when the monorail was working, getting to the Magic Kingdom was great. When it’s not, I’ve waited, along with hundreds of other people, over an hour for a boat that takes you about 200 yards. (A 6′ long foot bridge over the lagoon inlet would make it walkable in 5 minutes.) I’ve waited 40+ minutes for a bus to even show up, while trying to get back to the Grand from Hollywood Studios, at the same time watching 4-5 Pop buses come and go. (And when the bus finally got there, it left 50-60 people still waiting in line.) And once you get on that bus, you do stop first at the Contemporary and then the Polynesian, before finally getting to the Grand. And the monorail to Epcot is easily a one-hour round trip, potentially more if you have a bad connections at the TTC. I’ve even had to take a cab from the Grand to the Contemporary for an event, because the monorail was down and the promised bus didn’t show up despite waiting 30 minutes.

    Is someone who stays at Beach Club “better” than someone who stays at the All-Stars? Not even close. But they DID pay more money, and with that increased price point, should come increased perks, in all areas, including the much-touted Disney transportation.

  19. Sean says

    We recently stayed at Yacht Club for the first time. It was great to be able to walk to Epcot and getting to DHS was pretty easy. Made the mistake of taking a bus to Magic Kingdom and did the stop at BW, Swan and Dolphin nightmare (but at least we got off before Beach Club).

  20. cgulls says

    Funny commentary on the GF. But not ENTIRELY fair. It is one monorail stop to the Magic Kingdom and the first stop on a roughly 4-minute water taxi ride back from the Magic Kingdom. So, from a transportation perspective, it does have that going for it. We stayed there last week and the direct bus service to HS and AK was fine. GF was the last stop before those two parks. On the way back from those two parks, though, it was the final stop after Contemporary and the Poly.

  21. Sean says

    And after the bus-to-Magic Kingdom debacle we took a cab from Yacht Club to Contemporary and then walked over to MK. Much quicker.

  22. Ayla says

    Is there any particular reason why the new Contemporary curtains are see through? That is bizarre. Most people want curtains for privacy and to shut out light. Those curtains do neither.

  23. Patty57 says

    I stayed at BLT once, and was surprised by how much I liked the Contemporary. It hit me as more Jetsons than concrete jungle. Speaking of Jetsons, I like the pattern of the old carpet more than the new green eggs and ham thing.
    As a pretty die-hard Epcot resorts fan, I haven’t been on a bus that stopped at all of the resorts in a number of years. It’s been BW & Swan/Dolphin or YC/BC pretty consistently for me.

  24. Andrea says

    GREAT update! Love the look at the Contemporary! Wish I could see the value in spending that kind of money, though!!

  25. Mary Ann says

    Interested to see the beer pairings at Narcoossee’s. I wonder if you can get good beer at Victoria and Albert’s instead of wine. I wish Disney would do this at other high end resteraunts outside the parks.

  26. stevenmilz says

    So how did you manage to get the grand tour of the Contemporary? On our first ever WDW trip with the kids we stayed at the Contemporary in the Garden Wing. That was where I always stayed when going to WDW as a kid, before most of the other resorts even existed, so we decided to stay there. We paid for the cheapest room possible but somehow got upgraded to one of those Garden Wing 1-Bedroom Suite, probably the exact one you have pics of because that pic of the boat going by was the same perspective we had. It was a great room, but the CR is no longer a resort of choice now what we’ve discovered the EPCOT resorts and their walk-to-two-parks advantage. Still love the CR though. We sometimes pop over to Contempo Cafe for lunch on departure day if we go to MK. Peggy loves their beef and arugula flatbread.

  27. stevenmilz says

    Off subject… when I posted my reply it timestamped it ” April 25, 2013 at 6:18 am” even though it’s 8:18am here (central time). Something off with the server time? The forum time seems correct though and I assume the blog and forum run on the same hardware?

  28. Betty says

    @ Donnis- there are 2 very large drawers next to the bed (in the desk area) in the CR rooms.

    @ Josh- so much hate for the GF!! LOL But sadly, you are spot on about the transportation there. For those who think that MK being the next stop is “a good thing” try standing on the monorail platform in the evening during December with 500 of your closest friends, only to wait for 5-6 monorails with enough room to allow folks on… Good times… (and it is only going to get worse once GF DVC opens).

    I hope the folks on the DIS don’t discover what a great gem Kona is for lunch. We enjoy escaping over there and being able to get a walk up…

  29. Samantha says

    Of the monorail deluxe choices, the GF would be my last choice…esp at $829/night! Good lord. We love the Poly, but that’s getting too pricy for us too…even with the “30% off” summer deal, it would run us $460/night for a garden view. I sometimes feel like Disney’s playing some kind of bizarre game, like, let’s keep pushing prices up and see what the threshold is for these fools – oh, and by the way, let’s keep offering the same crappy transportation and cut staff too. That’s why I love your blog, Josh – you make me laugh, and you don’t see/present Disney through rose-colored glasses, you tell it like it is, warts and all. Oh, and we NEVER plan a Disney trip without a car – our own if we drive, or a rental if we don’t. I know this point has been debated everywhere ad nauseum, but I just can’t with the buses….if I was paying over $800/night and waiting 30 minutes plus for a bus that dragged me to three other stops before my own, I would freak out on someone. Insane!
    P.S. We love Kona too – one of our faves.

  30. Jody says

    Great info and pictures, thanks Josh.

    I get a kick out of seening 70’s colors (awful green & orangish-yellow) return to rooms at the Contemporary. Never thought I’d see that return.

  31. RebeccaMcK says

    True about those curtains, as someone said – they’d let in light rather than keep it out, and that’ll wake the kiddos up at dawn if they’re facing the window. Some mornings you might want that, but some you won’t.

    The pool play area with the Alice in Wonderland theme is nice, since the GF still has Alice characters at their Park Faire breakfast, yes? And also the fancy tea party that girls can do is Alice themed? Unless that changed.

  32. Mike says

    I also have zero interest in ever staying at the GF even though we probably could pull it off financially. It does not appeal to me at all. I find the stuffy themeing and many of the guests – most of which probably have no business staying there, but really just aspire to be “true snobs” – real turn offs. One thing I’ve always found curious, is why they don’t have a walking path from GF to MK. The path just ends at the lake. They could easily put up a foot bridge there to connect the paths.

    I’ve stayed at the Contemorary, and didn’t care for it either. I would. however, like to try the Poly one day. Given any choice, I’d choose the Beach Club every time. IMO, The combination of location, atmosphere, and pool can’t be beat.

  33. Dee says

    I will never understand the deluxe hotels…so much money for a room! I’ve stayed at many nicer hotels throughout the country for a fraction of what Disney offers. To each their own though, I will continue staying at a value (or even off-site) and save the difference. I have to say though I did not know the Grand Floridian was that expensive. And I thought the Poly prices were ridiculous, but compared to the Grand Flo the Poly looks like a bargain. Oh yeah, and the Contemporary is just ugly, of course I’ve always detested modern/contemporary décor.

  34. Jana says

    Dining at Kona is something we’ve never managed to do – I think I will rectify that on our next trip. Nice update Josh – thanks!

  35. Anonymous says

    “For $892.13 a night, Mickey Mouse should be driving your family personally in a limousine with a conveyor belt of appetizers circling the cabin and a Ciroc fountain in the middle.”

    “…you’ll fit in just fine with your $40 Louis V Speedy and Dior Demoiselles purchased from your neighbor’s purse party.”

    Josh, while your advice is always stellar, and the cheat sheets and live wait times are fantastic additions to the site, you know commentary like that quoted above is why we keep coming back!

  36. Anonymous says

    While I find your touring posts very valuable, I love your “walk around the parks/resorts” posts. Thanks!

  37. Annie says

    Was I the only one to wonder what was with the air-quotes on “Scampi” and “Chicken and Biscuits” on the Narcoosee menu? :-)

  38. csd says

    Great photo tour of CR. Thanks, Josh! I appreciate your opinions on the GF transportation and a look at the menus, too. It’s difficult to find details about getting from place to place on Disney transport (how long for the trip? how long between transports? # of stops?). Gracias for providing some clarity and for the laughs.

  39. Emma says

    Did you actually pay to spend a night in each of those Contemporary Resort rooms? That must have cost tons!

    I like the room design, and they seemed pretty big for resort rooms. The price is way too much though, even if it IS a monorail resort.

  40. bowbat says

    While sharing the bus among resorts does make the bus trips tediously long (in my impatient opinion), it’s worth noting that GF has 867 rooms to Pop’s 2,880. So even when sharing with WL, it’s accommodating fewer guests than the Pop bus.

    To me the larger issue is the unreliability of the monorail. I’m not keen on paying a premium to stay at a monorail resort when it keeps breaking down. Also those rooms need updating. When we stayed there, the upholstery was worn & stained and the mattress was comically, visibly lumpy.

    I love the Contemporary and would stay there in an instant if a reasonable discount had been available for our June trip. Those huge rooms are a godsend for those of us who aren’t park commandos.

  41. cupcake says

    I adored the last Contemporary decor refurb and I’m glad the new look isn’t a huge change from that. New accessories but not much else. Everyone else in my family HATES this resort with a passion, but I absolutely love modern design. Stepping foot inside Wilderness Lodge rooms makes my skin crawl, but CR rooms are relaxing to me.

    Those sinks totally suck though. I need more counterspace! I wish they’d redone them with raised basin sinks on generous countertops instead.

  42. Barry says

    “For $892.13 a night, Mickey Mouse should be driving your family personally in a limousine with a conveyor belt of appetizers circling the cabin and a Ciroc fountain in the middle.”

    This.

  43. toby says

    The last room refurb @ the Contemporary was 2007 — they were in the middle of it in the tower when we stayed at Thanksgiving. I had no idea the garden wing rooms had so much space! Great info, and my opinion of GF matches yours.

    BTW, has anyone else noticed how close some of those GF dvc rooms are to the monorail track?!?

  44. dusty cheatham says

    dinner at grand flo only. piano payer & band on 2nd floor , adult bev in hand ,plush chair & a nice cuban in hand. AH WHAT A LIFE SAT. NITE 2010 HRS

  45. sallyann says

    I didn’t realize the CR was getting a makeover, I love the brighter colors. When I mentioned to my husband about the referb, the only question he had was “Did they fix that awful sink layout” The sink area is terrible, but not so much I wouldn’t stay there again…

  46. Allan says

    GF has/had nice themeing except in the rooms. Those rooms could be any $250 a nght room at any hotel. Outside of going to MK it’s transportation stinks.

    The Pop and All-stars are about the only resorts I would consider not renting a car for. Most of Disney’s transportation sucks in my opinion.

  47. Donna says

    Great post Josh. You never fail to entertain me, lol. I couldn’t imagine shelling out that kind of cash to stay at the Flo these days with all of that going on there. Come to think of it, I couldn’t imagine shelling out that kind of cash to stay there period. I will say though, the refurbished rooms at the Contemporary look great.

  48. Sue says

    Love Kona lunch!! Can’t wait to stay at GF this August, hopefully by then the construction will be down to a dull roar. You sure put the GF thread on Dis into a tail spin, lol! Well some of them anyway! You’re too funny!

  49. TriSeb says

    I guess it just depends on where you fondest memories are with staying at WDW. The first half of my kiddos are at the All Star Movies and the latter half are the Contemporary…. The love it and that is the final say in the matter for me. I agree about the transportation. I find it VERY inconsistent in the mornings. I’d rather take a cab to the Studio to ensure I arrive at ‘rope drop’/early. Forget about going to Downtown Disney unless you have 1 hours to wait for a return bus or rent a car. We’re doing Kona for dinner on our next trip over Ohana… ~$50 for my adult/kid to eat macaroni and cheese is not going to happen. I had to throw a fit last trip for the MGT to see my point and it simply just isn’t worth the hassle.

  50. angela says

    Meaghan: We’ve had lunch at Kona a couple times and I’m pretty sure they did not serve the bread. Which is a bummer because it’s fantastic. You might be able to request it or buy it but we’ve never asked.

  51. Dan Young says

    Josh, check out the new Grand Floridian pool at night. Those fountains are all lit with a soft blue light. Very very cool!

  52. Diane says

    You are the most thorough, fun, and knowledgeable WDW “reviewer” on the web. Seriously, you always give me information on all the little details I need to know about. Die-hard Disney fans want to hear about the obscure things…because we already know everything else. Not to mention….you’re snarky and funny. My favorite combo.

    Thanks for another great post!

  53. Richard says

    I have a few days at Disney this month as I’m staying on after a conference. The conference has selfishly been planned in the middle of a hot, wet and busy summer. What are these people doing?!

    I’ve not been to Disney for 14years after many family trips in the 80s and 90s. Your fantastic blog has got me so excited about returning and I can’t wait to try out all the cheat sheets. I only have a few days so have to make the most of it and relive some great family memories. My first visit was just before Epcot opened (I’m that old) and my last just after Animal Kingdom opened, and I can’t wait to see how much has changed.

    Your posts are genius. Fantastically detailed and wonderfully dry. I frequently smile but this:

    The bathroom is spacious, though I prefer the layout where the vanity area and shower/bath area are separate. I’m not doing my makeup while mom showers. I’m just saying.

    made me laugh out loud a lot!!

    Thanks for such a great site.

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