Grand Floridian Photo Tourby Brian Bennett, contributing writer
The Grand Floridian Beach Resort opened its doors in early 1989. Just a few years later it changed its name to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to highlight the services available to guests at its nearby spa facilities.
On November 24, we ran Part I of the photo tour of this luxury resort. Today, we continue with Part II.
Leaving Gasparilla Grill and Games behind, I walked back between Sugar Loaf Key and the main building and then walked along Sugar Loaf Key and Conch Key to the resort's boat dock (for the Magic Kingdom boat service). On the way, I snapped this photo in which Narcoossee's restaurant and Boca Chica framed the Contemporary Resort on the far side of Seven Seas Lagoon.
The Contemporary Resort is located opposite the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa on the far side of Seven Seas Lagoon. Photo by Brian Bennett.
As I continued walking, I had the treat of seeing one of the Magic Kingdom boats that provide water taxi service over to the Magic Kingdom making its approach to the boat dock.
One of the boats providing passenger service from the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to the Magic Kingdom. Photo by Brian Bennett.
I think they look like the Baron's yacht from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but since that's not a Disney film I won't stress the resemblance. Photo by Brian Bennett.
After the boat docked, strolled around Narcoossee's to see what there was to see. The restaurant is surrounded by a very comfortable covered deck with unobstructed views of the Lagoon.
Space Mountain as seen from Narcoossee's deck. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The Contemporary Resort as seen from Narcoossee's deck. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The Polynesian Resort as seen from Narcoossee's deck. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Narcoossee's features seafood from North American waters. Salmon, ahi tuna, and whole Maine lobster are currently featured on the menu. Beef, chicken, and pasta choices are available, too.
Closed at mid-day as the restaurant only opens for Dinner, you can still get a feel for the airy, island atmosphere of this premier seafood restaurant. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Walking back from Narcoossee's to the courtyard pool area, I snapped a photo of the main building across the courtyard.
Located along a diagonal line from Narcoossee's, the main building is beautifully nestled in the garden courtyard. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The courtyard pool used to be the only pool at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. That changed a couple of years back with the beach pool, which we'll visit shortly, was added to the property.
Beverages and snacks are available at the Courtyard Pool Bar. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The courtyard pool with the main building beyond. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Near the courtyard pool is a building called the Summerhouse, which is a pavilion that is available for rent for private parties.
A view of the main building from the Summerhouse. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Just a few yards from the Summerhouse is the Seven Seas Lagoon beach that used to be mentioned prominently in the resort's name (back when the resort was called the Grand Floridian Beach Resort).
A view of the beach from the Summerhouse. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Not attached to the Grand Floridian, the Wedding Pavilion is nevertheless quite close to WDW's premier resort. It's not surprising that many wedding parties and guests end up staying at the Grand.
The wedding pavilion is just across the way and is oriented such that Cinderella's castle is framed in the main arched window of the chapel. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Looking more to the foreground, the white sand beach is a gorgeous stretch of sand. Even in the Summer season, it's got plenty of room for all guests that wish to sunbathe, frolic, or nap in the hammocks.
The white sand beach of the Grand Floridian. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The relatively new beach pool is located down at the South end of the resort.
The first view of the beach pool is spectacular with the waterfall behind. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Life guards are on duty, as usual. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Like most of the newer pools at WDW, the beach pool is a zero depth pool to provide ease of entry for all guests. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The slide makes this pool the favorite of most of the resort's younger guests. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Beyond the beach pool, the beach itself continues to stretch away to the wedding pavilion.
There's plenty of room for guests that want a bit of privacy in the middle of Walt Disney World. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Returning to the main areas of the resort, the South entrance to the main building provides an impressive facade.
The South entrance to the main building provides an impressive facade. Photo by Brian Bennett.
On my walking tour, I reentered the building and took a stroll to see the other shops and restaurants on the first and second floors of the main building.
Summer Lace sells women's resort wear. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Spa products are a popular choice here, too. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The grand staircase is frequently seen in wedding photos.
The grand staircase rises from the main floor. Photo by Brian Bennett.
A view from the landing back to the first floor. Photo by Brian Bennett.
On the second floor, M. Mouse Mercantile is the resort's character shop.
The M. Mouse Mercantile sign is one of the few places you'll find an in-your-face image of Mickey at the Grand Floridian. Photo by Brian Bennett.
M. Mouse Mercantile is the resort's character shop selling many of the same kinds of products you'll find in the Emporium on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Basin has recently replaced the Bally's shop on the second floor. Basin sells bathing products such as bath bombs, sea salts, soaps, shampoos, and so on. Bally's, in contrast, used to sell leather goods and upscale accessories.
The Basin shop on the second floor. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The Ivy Trellis Salon is also on the second floor. The salon offers haircuts, trims, shampoos, perms, styling, colors, and simple spa treatments such as manicures and facials. My wife says the prices are reasonable, but I wouldn't pay $55 for a haircut!
The Ivy Trellis Salon. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Victoria & Albert's and Citricos are only open for dinner, and share a common entry lobby on the second floor. Victoria and Albert's is an award-winning AAA five-diamond restaurant providing only the best in cuisine and wine parings. It's one of the few restaurants at Walt Disney World with a dress code (evening attire for ladies, jackets required for men).
Victoria and Albert's. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Citricos features dishes inspired by the cuisine of Provencal, Tuscany, and the French Riviera. The on-stage kitchen provides some entertainment and the wine list is one of WDW's best.
Photo by Brian Bennett.
The walk way into the shared Victoria and Alberts and Citricos entry lobby is lined with Florida Maps as a nod to Henry Flagler and then era when his railroads pulled visitors to Florida from the North.
Photo by Brian Bennett.
The last shop on my list is Commander Porter's. Menswear is the product sold here and the choices are top-notch if a bit lacking in choice. Of course, neither Summer Lace nor Commander Porter's are large stores. They simply provide an opportunity to add to the wardrobe if need be and perhaps providing a resort souvenier (logo merchandise being popular choices for shoppers).
Commander Porter's sells a narrow line of mens resort wear. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour. About the only things I wasn't able to include is the Mouseketeer Club which was closed when I stopped by and the Spa which is a bit distant from the resort and which would have taken more time than I had available on photography day (the Michigan Ohio State game was just minutes away when I left the resort and I barely made it back before the opening kickoff).