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5 Observations from Visiting the Grand Floridian’s New Resort Studio

With the Resort Studios at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa scheduled to open this summer, I was excited to check them out at an open house during my March trip.  Yes, I had already seen photos, but I was anxious to get a better sense of the room in person.  While you cannot visit the Big Pine Key building (where the Resort Studios will actually be located) since it is still under construction, you can visit a model of the Resort Studio in the Sago Cay building by first checking in with one of the DVC kiosks at the Grand Floridian.  After visiting the Resort Studio, here are a few observations that came to mind:

The Location is Very Convenient

On the way to Sago Cay to visit the model room, I passed by Big Pine Key.  It is so close to Gasparilla Island Grill, Grand Floridian Cafe, the marina, and walkway to the Magic Kingdom.  You’re also near the Courtyard Pool.  If you stay in the Resort Studios, I think you’ll feel more like you’re at the heart of the resort and its amenities compared to the location of the original villas building.  

The Room Is Spacious

Upon entering the Resort Studio, it was immediately noticeable how spacious it was, especially compared to the regular Deluxe Studio.  I happened to have been staying at a Deluxe Studio at the Grand Floridian during this trip, so I had a good basis for comparison.  It also didn’t hurt that the pastel colors made the room feel light and airy.

There’s Lots of Storage

At first glance, it may seem like the storage space is about average for a studio.  However, since there is a daybed in the Resort Studio instead of the pull-down bed underneath the television that many Deluxe Studios have, the dresser had actual functional drawers in addition to the storage space in the closets next to the bed.  If you were looking for a place to store your suitcases, there was plenty of space underneath the queen beds.

There’s Great Attention to Detail

I mean this in a couple of ways.  First, there were lots of USB ports and outlets, which is something that I wish some of the older studios had.  There were some under the little side tables next to the queen beds, and there were more on each side of the dresser.  This is especially ideal for charging all our devices after a full day at the parks. 

Second, there were just some really lovely touches of Mary Poppins Returns in the decor of the room from the wallpaper and paintings to the design on the lamp shade and glass birds on the chandelier.  They reminded me of the decor at Citricos and were very subtle to the point that you may not have noticed them if you weren’t looking for them.  Nevertheless, there were some fun Easter eggs if you were.  For example, you could specifically tell the theme was Mary Poppins Returns and not the original film due to details like the silhouettes of the three Banks children in the wallpaper behind the beverage center.  Dare I say, these little details were practically perfect in every way?

The Beverage Center Has Room to Spare…

I know that plenty of people are disgruntled over the lack of a kitchenette in the Resort Studio.  When checking out the beverage center, I couldn’t help but feel like it had enough room to accommodate the kind of kitchenette found in the Riviera Tower Studios.  In fact, I later looked back at photos I had taken of the Tower Studio, and the kitchenette setup with the shelves looked rather similar to that of the beverage center in the Resort Studio.  Whether DVC will ever add a simple microwave and toaster along with some paper plates and plastic cutlery is debatable, but it really seems like it would have been feasible based on the space.

If any of you have had a chance to visit the model Resort Studio, what were your thoughts?  Are you looking forward to staying in a Resort Studio in the future?

13 thoughts on “5 Observations from Visiting the Grand Floridian’s New Resort Studio

  • We call this: a hotel room. It literally looks just like our room at the Poly from back in 2001 and has almost the same amenities. If the point of DVC is to provide an upgraded experience from a standard resort stay, this “resort studio” certainly doesn’t cross the threshold. It may look pretty, but it’s still a standard hotel room, in contrast to the deluxe studios at VGF, which are a significant upgrade. I don’t regret not buying into the hype for these.

    • I have never considered a Deluxe Studio at any DVC property to be a “significant upgrade” over a standard hotel room. They’re different, but I certainly don’t consider them better, particularly the bedding. My wife and I sleep in a King bed at home, I have no interest in sleeping in a single queen bed while I’m in what’s supposed to be a “luxury” resort. And I’m a grown man, my days sleeping on pull-out sofas ended 15 years ago.

    • No microwave oven? I was looking forward to staying there, but no microwave oven is a deal breaker for me. For religious dietary reasons I prepare almost all my meals. Without the oven, I would have to eat airline meal chicken tenders for $12 each at a Park or counter service resort restaurant every night for my 10 night stay. No thanks.

      • I heard that you may be able to request a microwave, but I don’t think that is a guarantee either way.

    • Yep. With just a coffee maker and a mini-fridge, it’s just a hotel room, not what I would expect from a timeshare studio.

  • This write up was great and we are more excited than ever to own here. I realize it’s debatable on who prefers the 2 true queen beds vs 1 queen + pullout. For our family, 2 queen beds just works better. I find when the pullout couch is used, and cushions off, the deluxe studio has zero room for anything else.

    Excellent point about the location too and I cannot wait for details surrounding Theme Park View rooms (like will they chime in Enchantment?)..

    • Thanks! I don’t think anyone knows yet if you’ll be able to get the Enchantment soundtrack for the Theme Park View rooms, but that would be a nice touch.

  • I differ with you on the point of DVC. I do not think it is intended at all to be “an upgraded experience from a standard resort stay.” Quite the reverse in fact, particularly at the GF.

    People don’t ordinarily prepare food and eat it in their hotel room. A good many don’t want to fix food at all when on vacation but rather want someone else to fix food and serve it to them.

    Thus, I consider DVC a “thrift’ stay because a home-like or vacation condo rental is its purpose primarily, where families can save on food costs by eating meals in their room or fixing food to take to the parks. Which is not the intent of a standard resort stay. Room service or restaurant dining is “an upgraded experience,” not cooking in your room. Although, doing their own cooking may be more appealing than eating restaurant food for some.

    Additionally, once a Member breaks even, they can get a significantly less expensive DVC stay than if they booked a regular room–in our case, for less than $2000/yr. Try getting a week’s stay in a standard GF room for that price, but someone’s dues may be even less than ours if they typically stay in a studio and have only enough points to do that annually.

    Consequently, a GF resort studio stay could be said to be a room at “Disney’s Red Roof Inn” in a more literal sense than I jokingly mean it. You’re getting a VERY inexpensive hotel room at Disney’s Grand Floridian by staying in a resort studio with the luxury of eating out.

    • How many points per night for these non-Deluxe Studios? OKW can be as low as 10 points per night, and that includes a kitchenette.

      • The Resort Studios range from 16 to 55 points per night. The Standard Views and Lake Views are the same number of points per night as the Deluxe Studios in the original VGF building, but the Theme Park View Resort Studios are more points than any Deluxe Studio at VGF.

  • Sad to see my DVC ownership diluted with a bunch of hotel rooms.

  • It’s a hotel room. If that’s what you want, fine. It’s a very nice hotel room. No kitchenette, beverage cooler instead of a fridge. Again if that’s what you want, fine. I want. A fridge and kitchenette. Honestly I hope they’re insanely popular, it will give me more access to the Deluxe Studios.

    • I’m not convinced that the Resort Studios will make the Deluxe Studios easier to book, not only based on initial reactions from people who dislike the lack of a kitchenette, but also based on numbers alone; there are only 47 Deluxe Studios at VGF vs. about 200 of the Resort Studios.

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