View Full Version : Have Read some bad reviews of Spa @ Grand Floridian

09-30-2003, 10:07 PM
I have read several bad report on the Spa at the Grand Floridian and was wondering what others experiences were. I don't mind paying for good services but it seems rather mediocre. Also if you didn't like the GF Spa have you found an alternative spa at an off WDW property in the area that you enjoy visiting. I am looking for a full service spa that would have a spa and steam room as well as massages, facials, and mani/pedis.


10-01-2003, 08:54 AM
I have not tried it but have heard good reviews of the Spa at the Wyndam Palace.

10-01-2003, 09:48 AM
I went to the GF spa back in 2000 and don't think I'll go again. Hopefully my experience is an isolated one, and perhaps you'll get some favorable responses as well.

It's my understanding that this spa is neither owned or operated by Disney, which explains alot. Apparently the space is leased by a company in Florida, and the employees are not Disney Cast Members.

Here's my experience: I arrived at the spa and went to the counter to check in. There were three employees at the counter, all goofing around. After a while, I said "can I please check in?" and one of the (reluctantly) took my name and pointed me towards a chair to sit & wait. After about a half hour, a girl came out and got me, and took me to the room with a tub for the bath. That portion of the spa treatment was very enjoyable. However, the second portion was a facial. I cannot remember the girl's name, but she used a very "hard sell" tactic on me to buy the products she was using. During the entire treatment, I could not relax because she insisted on talking about how wonderful the products were and that they were a great deal for the price. Then she made me listen while she read the price list. I finally said "I am satisfied with the products I currently use" and she quieted down.

I just returned from the spa at the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, PA, and let me tell ya.....the level of service at Hershey was about 50 times better than the GF....for the same price.

I was really disappointed by the selling tactics used at the GF. When I go for a spa treatment, I simply want to relax & not have to concentrate on paying attention to a salesperson.

My co-worker told me that the spa at the old Disney Institute was owned and operated by Disney, and that her experience there was wonderful. I believe it's now the Saratoga Springs Resort, so you may want to find out if they're open for business yet.

10-01-2003, 12:28 PM
I used the GF for a deluxe facial and a manicure/pedicure in June on separate days. I had no problems with the check-in staff. They showed me to the locker room and the facilities and let me change and then I waited in the women's waiting area. Each of the women who did my treatments was wonderful (wish I remembered their names). Loved the ice water and fruit that was available. I did not use the sauna and steam rooms since I was pressed for time.

The facial was so wonderful...because I'd never had one before she explained everything she was doing and did not try to sell me the product during the session. She simply left a note with all the things she recommended with the items pulled from the shelves for me in the lobby area. I could decide whether to get them or not for myself. She even highlighted the major ones, since she had used so many. My skin felt so young...for days after. Loved it. (She was pregnant at the time and may be on maternity leave now, so that might help the staff clue in who I had if you want to ask for her).

My 7 year old daughter and I had our manicure and pedicures at the same time and were able to enjoy each others company during the session. We both had very nice women do the treatments that explained what the were doing and made us feel at ease (esp important for a little girl in a new situation).

Saratoga Springs Spa will not open until the DVC resort it finished....Some time next year. I used their facilities too. Very nice and not quite as expensive. I had a young gentleman do my aromatherapy massage which was so relaxing.

Hope this helps.

10-01-2003, 12:30 PM
Have a spa treatment planned for my December trip at the GF. I will post the service level on the boards when I return. I have high expectations. I have only heard good reviews of the GF spa. When I called for reservations the CMs were very, very polite. I do not know if they were Disney employees or Spa employees.

Unsolicited info: The spa at Saratoga Springs was not open when I made my reservations about 4 to 5 weeks ago. I am going on the Silver Plan and using the treatments as a Magical Wish any treatment that was offered as a wish at Saratoga Spa you can get at the GF Spa.

10-01-2003, 12:38 PM
The GF Spa is leased and operated by Niki Bryan Spa Management.

The employees are NOT WDW CM's.

Niki Bryan recently settled a lawsuit against her by many of her long term employees for unfair labor practices involving retention of a portion of their tips amongst other charges.

Many of her better employees have left over the past year due to working condition issues, cut backs on hours, and other such issues.

They also run the hair salon and babershop concession at MCO, as well as most if not all of the beauty shops and massage services on property at WDW.


10-01-2003, 12:46 PM
Thanks for this info, Anne. I was 99% sure that the spa wasn't owned by Disney, and you just confirmed it.

I wonder why Disney doesn't assume management of this facility? It's such a beautiful spa & in a wonderful location....you'd think they'd want to manage it in Disney fashion, especially since it's attached to their flagship resort. Hhmmmmmm............

10-01-2003, 01:31 PM
My BF and I both went this past May and had no problems. We had massages, no issues with anyone there and we are going back in November!

Emmaline Lola
10-01-2003, 01:37 PM
I have tried the spa at the GF, the "old" Disney Institute, and just recently the Canyon Ranch Spa at the Gaylord Palms resort which is just 5 minutes off Disney property.

While the GF atmosphere is beautiful, I felt the treatments were a bit over-rated but returned numerous times simply for the lack of another spa near my home.

The DI spa, I did not like, it felt more like a "gym" atmosphere than a "spa" atmosphere if that makes sense.

Last month when my sister was visiting from NY, we tried out the Canyon Ranch spa. Can you say, OH MY GOD! What an experience! Very quiet, mellow atmosphere, with rich colors. The employees were outstanding and my massage by Maria was literally "the best"! She was able to relax me so much, that she cracked my neck in places I have not been able to crack in about 10 + years! She even massaged my face & my ears!!!

Prices are similar to the GF, but so much more worth the experience!

You will not be disappointed!!!

emmaline lola:Pinkbounc

10-01-2003, 06:39 PM
I had a very disappointing experience at the GF spa during my honeymoon in 2000 and as a result I doubt I would ever return.

They were very disorganized and I was kept waiting for hours. A 50 minute massage and a pedicure ended up taking over 5 hours. I wasn't in a hurry, but I didn't appreciate spending 3 hours sitting in a waiting room without any updates on when I would get my treatments. If I hadn't been quite aggressive about inquiring what was going on, I think I would still be sitting there!

Worse yet, they outright lied to me about whether the 18% service charge is a gratuity. (It is, although I think the spa may hold back part of it.) The front desk staff shook me down for another tip because they claimed the workers wouldn't be getting any of that 18% -- and tried to make out that I was being cheap for asking about it. I ended up paying another 20% (the usual tip I give for these type of services) and later found out it was an outright ripoff.

I was also annoyed with the aggressive selling of products, though unfortunately that has become a big problem at most salons and spas these days.

By contrast, my experience at the Saratoga Springs spa earlier this year was lovely and I have no complaints about it at all. I have visited (but not used) the Canyon Ranch Spa at Gaylord Palms and it is beautiful. I plan to try it one of these days!


10-01-2003, 08:12 PM

You should try Canyon Ranch Spa (any Canyon Ranch) they are definatley better then the GF or even the Saratoga Springs spa. Its an experience that you will never forget. Its worth the money :smooth:.

10-01-2003, 09:28 PM
HM , was her name Rachel? i was at akl in may and had my very 1st massage right at akl. Rachel really put me at ease, i was a little nervous. she was 6 or 7 months pregnant at the time. she says she moved around to different resorts depending on the bookings, she mentioned also being at CSR and GF. i won't have time for the spa my upcoming trip with dd but hope rachel's back when i do my next solo trip in april/04. i was thinking of trying the GF spa this time but will wait and see what the reviews are like.

10-01-2003, 09:43 PM
Canyon Ranch is raising the bar in world class spa experiences these days. They were just named two of the top five "Destination Spas" in this months travel and Leisure.


10-01-2003, 10:38 PM
I always get a massage when I go to WDW and have had great luck getting them at the different resorts that offer spa services such at the BWI, BC, etc. My least favorite place to go was the GF Spa. Becky is a great masseuse and a few of the others do a great job as well. You can call your closest resort that offers spas and tell them what kind of a massage you would like (deep tissue, relaxation) and they will set you up with someone that has been recommended to you at one of the locations. The setting isn't nearly so important as the therapist doing the massage. Maybe some folks have some recommendations out there on different therapists they were happy with. The only name I do recall is Becky's.

Deb & Bill
10-01-2003, 11:08 PM
I had the most excellent spa treatment at GF in July. I had the ultimate relaxation package - 25 minute hydrotherapy and 50 minute Swedish massage. It was great. All the staff were pleasant and welcoming. I'll do it again.

10-02-2003, 01:34 AM
I would go for the Spa at Saratoga Springs formerly Disney Institute. It is definitely the better of the two. Rumor around WDW is Disney hopes to take over the one at the Grand, but nothing definite at this time.

10-02-2003, 05:41 AM
Originally posted by franw
The setting isn't nearly so important as the therapist doing the massage. Maybe some folks have some recommendations out there on different therapists they were happy with. The only name I do recall is Becky's.


I don't agree with that. To me the setting is as important as the therapist. Either way, the setting at the GF Spa has become less and less relaxing and sublime over the years, which is too bad. It used to be wonderful.