Grand Floridian Lobby - Then & Now


Manage episode 320069231 series 2983405
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Soundscapes: Grand Floridian Lobby - Then & Now

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The timeless enchantment of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is evident from the moment we set foot into the marble atrium and are held spellbound by the exquisite view. A celebration of the turn-of-the-century affluence that brought wealthy aristocrats to these beautiful oceanside retreats, this resort offers all the comforts of a time when people of means took their rest and relaxation very seriously. Palatial and jaw-dropping, its namesake is undeniably fitting. This experience promises to be a truly unforgettable one.

Here, the gentility of the Victorian era is preserved in a lavishly appointed time capsule, and we are invited to step right into the middle of the Magic.

Towering white columns uphold a cathedral ceiling and skylights to rival those of the most ornate cathedrals. Sunlight peers in through every orifice, bathing the vast, open space in the warm sunshine that is so quintessentially Floridian.

Every corner exudes Victorian elegance and charm, from the aviary elevator to the luxurious boutiques. Pastel tones and florals upholster every sofa and chaise lounge strewn across the lobby, welcoming us to be at our ease and leave our worries in some other century entirely.

Even the music is a notable departure from the modern day - a beguiling arrangement of ragtime classics and Disney favorites to enchant every ear. Soaring up to the ceiling and echoing all around, this music is the final, most enchanting touch that transports us away from the noise and chaos of the modern day and onto the pages of a fairytale.

At any moment, we might expect to see Cinderella herself descending from the Grand staircase, Prince Charming waiting below with his arm outstretched to escort her to the royal ball. We might watch, utterly entranced, as he leads her out into the middle of the floor, her glass slippers gliding and glinting in the sunlight as he leads her in a graceful waltz.

That feeling of glowing anticipation is in the very spirit of this place - that notion that truly anything is possible and that life should undoubtedly be made up of more moments like these. But like Cinderella, they may be waiting for us where we least expect them, in the ordinary spaces of our everyday lives, waiting to transform them into something truly extraordinary.

Today, we are indeed the guests of honor, not at a royal ball, but at a very special performance by the gone-but-not-forgotten Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. An intrinsic part of the Grand Floridian story since the flagship resort first welcomed guests over three decades ago, the six-piece band performed each evening to the delight of all ages. Their jazzy, romantic tunes brought joy to the hearts of so many, and still resound Here and now in the memories of those who were touched by their gift of song.

So tap your feet, get up and dance, sing along to your favorite refrain. Join in the playful revelry of these lazy, hazy, summer days and be Here With the symphony of Magic floating above and all around us.

As the rapturous sound swells and softens, many of us watch our memories of this place play before us, our recollections of people and seasons long gone brought back to life by their gift. Then, as the last brass instrument is nestled into its velveteen resting place and the last orchestra member takes their final bow, our attention is called toward the heart of the space.

Here, a pianist in an elegant coat and tails takes his place of prominence beneath the gilded chandelier. His hands lightly brush the ivories, and we’re off once again…off to Neverland, off to happy places both near and far, off to swing on the moonbeams of our imaginations.

Let your mind wander away from your worries. Let it be swept up on each note and carried away on tender melodies. Come back to a time you’ve never known, but that somewhere, Here in this place, seems so familiar that it feels like coming home.

Here With the Magic has always been an endeavor of capturing lightning in a bottle. We safeguard these ephemeral moments in time from the inevitable winds of change so that we might all be able to share in them together; anytime, anywhere.

Remembering the Magic is what keeps it alive, and experiencing it as one is what gives it the power to uplift us and bring us true and lasting joy. We know we can always find it, that it will always be Here. Even when the last song fades into nothingness, the intonations still ring hopefully in our ears, that we might recall them in the days and years to come. If the grandeur and elegance of a hundred years ago can be found Here, as lovely as ever, then the Magic of song will surely carry it onward, upward, into the rafters and the most treasured spaces of our hearts.

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