A lot is happening at Walt Disney World’s flagship hotel, both for Christmas and in terms of regular changes. In this Grand Floridian Resort report, we’ll take a look at the gingerbread house construction, plus progress on the pedestrian bridge to Magic Kingdom, relocation of the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, and more.
We’ll start with the iconic gingerbread house, returning for its 21st year at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. This is the centerpiece of the Christmas decorations–not just at the Grand Floridian, but among all of the Walt Disney World resorts. (I hesitate to even call it a “decoration” as it’s more an attraction/dining location than a simple piece of decor.)
Unsurprisingly, a frequent question among Walt Disney World guests this time of year is When Do Decorations Go Up at Walt Disney World?, which we answer in that post. Specifically, many people wonder when their hotel will be decorated–or when the resorts they want to visit will be ready to go…
The answer is that it depends, but to offer a little historical context here, the Grand Floridian gingerbread house had its grand opening on November 14 last year after a few days of the pastry chefs building it. For 2019, it’s likely to be finished over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean the shop will open right away.
Either way, we’d encourage you to visit the Grand Floridian. If the gingerbread house is not done, you can see the work in progress. Personally, I think this behind the scenes look at the active work is cooler than the finished product, especially once the pastry chefs start working their magic. Here’s a look at how things stand right now:
One thing we’d caution against is driving to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Almost all of the Deluxe Resorts have tightened up their parking policies and are now restricted to guests staying at the resorts, convention-goers, or those with Advance Dining Reservations.
If you tell security you simply want to see the gingerbread house, you’ll almost certainly be turned away and told to park at the Transportation & Ticket Center. If you say you want to go to Enchanted Rose Lounge (the new Beauty and the Beast inspired bar), you might have better luck, but probably not. Save yourself the headache and take the monorail, boat, or bus to Grand Floridian instead.
Sadly, the tandem of Enchanted Rose Lounge and the gingerbread house means that the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra has once again been relocated.
This time, it’s to a first floor alcove that used to be used by the front desk (I can’t recall for what purpose). This set-up doesn’t look permanent, but the fact that Disney removed a counter to repurpose this location does have me a bit worried.
Even though I don’t like it, I’m not rooting for Enchanted Rose Lounge to fail. However, I would like its popularity to be sufficiently low to justify removing the seating outside the lounge so that the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra can reclaim their rightful second floor perch.
We’ve been spending a decent amount of time at Grand Floridian lately. While my parents were in town, we ate breakfast here (review coming soon) and captured the above little beauty. I’d hazard a guess that they’ve already blown this up and had framed.
I’m going to miss the paintings of this refined rabbit and suave simian when they’re inevitably replaced. Before that happens, I’d definitely recommend getting your family Christmas card photo next to them this year. (Who needs that gingerbread house or resplendent Victorian holiday decor when you’ve got fancy bunny and monkey art?!)
Finally, the pedestrian bridge that will complete the existing walkway between Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Permits pointed to this over the summer, and it was quickly confirmed by construction in the area. For a few weeks, the project was making swift progress and looked like it could be completed within a few months.
We first covered it in our Walt Disney World Building Magic Kingdom to Grand Floridian Walkway post, which offered equal parts excitement and trepidation about whether it would mean the end of Electrical Water Pageant.
To our surprise, many of you shared in both our excitement (lots of walking enthusiasts reading this blog, it would seem) and fears about losing Electrical Water Pageant (and fellow old school Vacation Kingdom geeks!). The good news is that this won’t be the cause of Electrical Water Pageant’s demise. The bad news is that we may not be walking to Magic Kingdom from Grand Floridian until 2020.
Construction at the site has been slow going of late. The swing bridge arrived a while ago, and has been staged at the site for weeks. The latest development is the installation of the pivot mechanism–even that occurred nearly a month ago. We did notice several construction workers out around the bridge yesterday, not that it means anything about imminent progress.
At this point, it’s likely that the hold-up relates to construction around the Magic Kingdom monorail station and entrance area. The area where this walkway will begin over by Magic Kingdom is literally a pile of dirt and heavy equipment right now, so it can’t open any time soon.
Finally, a few plugs. First, our free Vacation Kingdom at Christmas eBook is available for download! This free eBook is 90 pages, with 100+ photos, and tons of great tips & info for the holiday season at Walt Disney World. For more details on how to get this totally-free ebook, click here. Did we mention that it’s free?! 😉
For comprehensive tips for planning your Christmas-time trip to Walt Disney World, check out our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World. For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.
Are you excited to see the gingerbread house–either while under construction or the finished product–at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort? Thoughts on other Christmas decorations at the GF? Disappoint by the relocation of the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra? Hopeful that the walking path to Magic Kingdom opens while the weather is still cool enough to enjoy the stroll? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!