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  1. #1
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    Default Feb 8th meeting of GF staff about improving the Guest experience

    It has been reported on multiple sites that Grand Floridian management will be hosting a series of meetings on February 8th for staff to get suggestions on how to "enhance the guest experience". This is following recent rumors that have circulated about refurbishing the GF to be comparable in amenities and service to the Four Seasons. It seems the Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek wants to totally redo the Grand Floridian to make it a modern luxury resort !

    While I do not want to gut the Grand Floridian, I do think changes are needed. Those of you who have read these boards over the years know that Four Seasons hotels are better at providing amenities and personal service than the Grand Floridian. I thoroughly enjoyed staying at the Grand Floridian, but in comparison to my stays at Four Seasons hotels throughout the US, it did not measure up. For about the same price per room, I received better amenities and more personalized service at the Four Seasons.

    So, what are your thoughts? Do you think that the GF needs to improve it luxury offerings to compete with other luxury hotels or do you think it's fine the way it is?
    Christine șoș

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  4. #2
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    Talked about it on tonite's podcast we taped. Should be out for the weekend
    John - aka. The Master Control Program
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  6. #3
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    It markets itself as the "luxury", flagship resort, and charge luxury prices. I agree, it doesn't need to by gutted, but some changes and some services improvements would be most welcome.
    Heather aka ibelieveindisneymagic
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  8. #4
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    While I definitely agree it's in need of some major updating I'm not so sure what they mean by "modern". I hope Disney keeps with the theming of the resort and stops cookie cutting all their renovations (as in the case of the DVC upgrades).
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  10. #5
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    It does have a classic "charm" to it's décor and I agree a modern theme would not fit.

    First Trip: June 1976
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    WDW DVC

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  12. #6
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    I feel it would be a HUGE mistake to "gut" the building and convert it to a cookie-cutter so-called modern hotel. Keep the Victorian charm, dress it up with luxurious furniture and soft goods, but most of all elevate the level of service and pampering that Disney used to be famous for. It's a shame that many of the resorts have become little more than glorified Holiday Inns.
    Ed
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  14. #7
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    I wouldn't normally be a guest at a place like the 4 Seasons or Intercontinental anyway, but I've thought that the price point way exceeded the amenities at almost all the deluxe resorts, with maybe the exception of ALK. Granted, the only deluxe I've been an actual guest at is Boardwalk, and I absolutely loved it, but to pay the premium at the Grand just for the proximity to the MK would not be enough for me to shell out those big bucks.
    ~Nikki~
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  16. #8
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    I've never stayed at a Four Seasons hotel so I wouldn't be able to compare it to a Disney Deluxe experience. However I couldn't see Disney wanting to gut and modernize the resort from a theme-ing perspective. Theme-ing is the hallmark of Disney hotels and if you want modern then you go to The Contemporary or BLT. Again maybe I'm not as well traveled as others, but aside from amenities (up-charges) then what else would you look for in an upgraded hotel experience?
    Beth & David

    09/82 Treehouse Villas, 06/86 BVP, 10/95 CBC, 10/99 DI, 08/03 PORS, 10/05 POP, 11/06 AKL, 09/09 POLY, 10/10 Wonder, 05/11 Dream/PORS, 08/13 POLY, 11/13 GF, 04/15 POLY, 11/15 BLT, 11/16 Aulani, 03/17 BLT, 08/18 BLT, 07/19 AKL

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  18. #9
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    I think they mean modernizing in terms of bringing it up to modern luxury standards, not necessarily making the decor "modern style." I actually DO think the rooms need to be gutted, down to studs and concrete floors, and start again. They need new electrical, new fixtures, new HVAC units, new bathroom plumbing and fixtures, better soundproofing, etc. As to the rooms, they need higher quality linens, towels, and beds. They need better wifi connect ability, smart tvs with the ability to view your account charges, make requests, order room service, etc.

    They need to fix the monorail and potentially have dedicated bus service. They need pool attendants. They need a more responsive and fast front desk experience. They need better housekeeping.

    In short, it's a nice hotel but it is not even close to being a luxury resort and has a lot of work to do to get there.

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    Natalie
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  20. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrerGnat View Post
    I think they mean modernizing in terms of bringing it up to modern luxury standards, not necessarily making the decor "modern style." I actually DO think the rooms need to be gutted, down to studs and concrete floors, and start again. They need new electrical, new fixtures, new HVAC units, new bathroom plumbing and fixtures, better soundproofing, etc. As to the rooms, they need higher quality linens, towels, and beds. They need better wifi connect ability, smart tvs with the ability to view your account charges, make requests, order room service, etc.

    They need to fix the monorail and potentially have dedicated bus service. They need pool attendants. They need a more responsive and fast front desk experience. They need better housekeeping.

    In short, it's a nice hotel but it is not even close to being a luxury resort and has a lot of work to do to get there.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    What they could do to update the decor is to match the rooms at the Grand Floridian Villas. I love the decor in there and it still has a Victorian feel. GFV also has completely modern facilities, with all of the things you listed, Natalie. It is our favorite DVC resort.

    As to the rooms, they need higher quality linens, towels, and beds.
    Don't get me or my sister started on the quality of the linens and towels at WDW hotels. Drives us crazy!
    Christine șoș

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  21. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldburke View Post
    I've never stayed at a Four Seasons hotel so I wouldn't be able to compare it to a Disney Deluxe experience. However I couldn't see Disney wanting to gut and modernize the resort from a theme-ing perspective. Theme-ing is the hallmark of Disney hotels and if you want modern then you go to The Contemporary or BLT. Again maybe I'm not as well traveled as others, but aside from amenities (up-charges) then what else would you look for in an upgraded hotel experience?
    Natalie listed some of the things people who stay at Four Seasons (or Ritz Carlton or Fairmont) expect to find at a luxury hotel. Some other things such as easy to find pool attendants, higher end seating around the pool (nicer lounge chairs). Overall, a smaller staff to guest ratio to provide a more personalized guest experience. One of the other moderators has stayed at the Four Seasons and is going to try and post to this thread this evening, but an example she gave was little gifts for the kids upon arrival (more elaborate than stickers) and other things where they give kids more personalized attention, at no extra charge. The two resorts cost the same per night and should offer the same level of service.
    Christine șoș

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  23. #12
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    I expect the inevitable complaints among Disney fans when you want to give perks to certain hotel guests who are willing to spend the money, but I have always felt that certain perks should come with spending Grand Floridian money and they are falling short. Especially now that Four Seasons is there showing the differences at the same price. If you're going to charge luxury prices, you're going to have to deliver the luxury services, amenities, and feel. And yeah, paying the higher price makes me a lot less willing to suffer through slow bus service, standing room only on buses, overstuffed monorails (when they're running at all). I splurge on vacations. I want to feel cared for and appreciated in return.

    All that said, I think the GF is beautiful and I love the theming. Room refurb, fine. Maybe offer more king beds and some larger rooms. But I don't think they need to gut or redesign in a major way. That would really disappoint me. It's my honeymoon resort and I'm nostalgic.
    Sherri
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  25. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBETigg View Post
    I expect the inevitable complaints among Disney fans when you want to give perks to certain hotel guests who are willing to spend the money, but I have always felt that certain perks should come with spending Grand Floridian money and they are falling short. Especially now that Four Seasons is there showing the differences at the same price. If you're going to charge luxury prices, you're going to have to deliver the luxury services, amenities, and feel. And yeah, paying the higher price makes me a lot less willing to suffer through slow bus service, standing room only on buses, overstuffed monorails (when they're running at all). I splurge on vacations. I want to feel cared for and appreciated in return.
    Well said Sherri!
    Christine șoș

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  26. #14
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    I said I'd post later tonight but I'm sneaking in quick between meetings.

    I've stayed at the Grand Floridian once and the Four Seasons twice. Most of the time at Disney I stay deluxe or a moderate. I generally visit with my husband and two kids (both under 12).

    We really enjoyed the GF. I loved the grounds, the location and the theming. Could it use some updating? Sure but its not bad the way it is.

    The Four Seasons is gorgeous. Other than the main building at the GF, the FS is much more elaborate. It's elegant but I never felt out of place with my children. In fact the resort has a scavenger hunt which encourages the kids to go all over the resort getting stamps. When completed the kids get a free gelato. The landscaping, outdoor spaces and pools are truly extraordinary. It is easy to spend a day at the resort without every needing to leave. The resorts has two pools (family and adult), a kid's club, a lazy river, a game area, a teen/tween club and a lovely space as well as several eating choices.

    The room quality is superb and extends to towels, linens and robes. The room comes with a mini fridge that actually works and is pre stocked with a couple of waters a a milk of juice for the kids. If you want to spend money to stock the fridge you are sent access to a menu weeks before you arrive and anything ordered will in your room when you arrive.

    However where the resort really shines is the service. From the moment you arrive, you are treated like you are special. The clerk at the desk comes out from behind the desks and walk you to the elevator. The rooms contain an ipad that can order everything from linens to room services.

    At the pool there are lots of attendantsssss. Find a place you want to sit and they will cover your chair, or sofa or swing with a towel and bring extra towels. They bring you a pitcher of water with lemon. Feel like some food? They'll bring you a menu and food is delivered to you. This is for any chair at the pool not a paid cabana. The pool attendants frequently check on you and get to know their guests. Need sun screen? It's there? How about some aloe vera? It's there.

    Is it starting to rain as you walk to one of the restaurants outside of the main building? Grab one of the umbrellas that are at every entrance. Taking your car or the bus off property? They will offer you bottled water every time. And the buses may not be as convenient as Disney's but they are on a set schedule so you can always plan. They are coach buses with comfy seats and a movie playing.

    Want a little alone time? The Four Season kids club is open all day unlike the clubs at Disney and it is included in the price (with a few exceptions like meals or special night time programs)

    These are just a few of the differences between the Disney flagship resort and a true luxury hotel.

    So now let's talk price. Just for fun I quoted a room from 5/12 to 5/15 at both hotels.

    Four Seasons
    I quoted with the 20% discount for booking 90 days in advance. All the FS rooms are 500 square feet and can be a double/double or a King with a sleep sofa.

    Four Seasons Room (obstructed view) $383
    Lake View Room $479
    Theme Park View $599

    Grand Floridian
    Garden View Outer Building $479
    Club Level Outer Building $658
    Club Level Main Building (most similar level to Four Seasons) $822

    To me all around the Four Seasons is just a better value for the money.
    Cindy aka AgentC
    INTERCOT Staff: Accommodations, Dining, Movies, TV, Music & Musicals

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