Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa offered us pampering in the candlelit couple’s room of the stand-alone spa.
We immediately noticed a few things about the spa: First was its size. While outside, it matched the look of the Grand Floridian, inside it lacked the same grandeur and especially the spaciousness. It is a perfectly fine mid-size spa - 15 treatment rooms, 10,000-square feet - but after the eye-popping Grand Lobby and all the touches we found in the resort, it was just less than we expected, especially for a spa that's part of a resort with nearly 1,000 rooms.
The locker rooms and waiting lounges are small - only two showers for the men's side and two for the women's. Both men's and women's lockers do feature a sauna and whirlpool, again, a small one (ladies’ shown at left). The men's side did not even have an attendant. And, placement of the spa seems almost an afterthought. It is on property but a hike from the main building and located under the monorail track (photo above, left). The walk there is via a meandering path lined with beautiful palms, at least; and, along the way, we got a better view of the Victorian-themed wedding pavilion, also adjacent to the resort.
To be fair, the spa is not operated by Disney but by an outside vendor.
Among the spa's offerings are water therapies and soaking treatments that sound perfect for theme-park-weary legs and feet. Stepping into building, we are immediately greeted at reception for an efficient check-in. We're told the spa's had guests ages 4-90, and for the four- to 12-year-old set, there's the "My First Spa Experience" offering. One therapist noted: "The majority of our client are parents trying to escape reality for a couple of hours."
We notice the spa products displayed for sale. To the right, a full-equipped fitness center is getting some use. Just behind the reception are small tables to enjoy the available coffee and teas, and there we see more spa items for sale including some clothing.
We change in the small locker areas and are each escorted to the couples’ massage room. It is attractively arranged. Our therapists, Jody and Jody Lee talk with us about room temperature, any special problem areas and preferred pressure before stepping out so we can get comfortable on our matching massage tables.
"Have a good treatment," as we usually say to one another, and after a quick kiss, we were ready for some quiet, together time plus much-needed muscle kneading. Both of our therapists were up to the task.
Some of the spa’s aromatherapy oils feature Florida citrus scents of grapefruit, orange, lemon and tangerine.
We opt for Aurum Manus Massages, now a signature treatment, that combine hot stones with cold semi-precious stone spheres for a relaxing contrast. Both of our masseuses did a superb job.
The spa brochure explains that the combination of warmed organic oils and healing semi-precious stone spheres stimulate vital points and energy meridians on the body. Created by world-renowned massage therapist Ricky Welch, Aurum Manus can effectively treat tinnitus and migraine headaches, as well as instantly alleviate symptoms of physical and mental stress.
The treatment is considered a comprehensive holistic treatment for total physical and mental well-being. We just knew it was super relaxing.
Revived, we're ready for another Disney theme park day.
In addition to a spa day, other romantic outings include:
Horseback riding on one of Disney’s backwoods trails. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground offers 45-minute tours through the deep, pine-scented woods that make up part of the Vacation Kingdom’s 40 square miles
Make like Aladdin and Jasmine and fly through the skies on a tandem parasail over Bay Lake, or
Try a horse-drawn carriage ride from Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground throughout the scenic landscape of the 750-acre rustic resort.
Details: For Disney World reservations, call 407/W-DISNEY, a travel agent or visit www.disneyworld.com.