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The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra is taking its final bow

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

If you’ve ever walked through the elegant lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, you’ve probably heard the music of The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. Today, the orchestra has announced they will be playing their last notes at Walt Disney World next month.

Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Walt Disney World
Photo by Disney

For more than 30 years, the 6-piece orchestra has entertained Grand Floridian guests and visitors with ragtime, Dixieland, traditional jazz, and popular Disney tunes from their bandstand on an ornate second-floor balcony overlooking the hotel’s magnificent Victorian-style lobby.

“The memories our music and entertainment had for our guests is priceless,” orchestra leader Harold Johnson said in the June 2018 music issue of Walt Disney World’s Eyes and Ears magazine. “It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of that.”

Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Walt Disney World
Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Since Aug. 2, 2020, The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra – renamed The Disney Society Orchestra – has played a show of Disney-themed tunes seven days a week at the Theater of the Stars in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Today, the orchestra announced on their Facebook page that their last concert at Walt Disney World would be on Oct. 3, 2020.

“After 32 years of playing together and playing music we love […] our days at the Grand Floridian are over,” the orchestra’s announcement read. “We are so thankful for the opportunity to play in a beautiful setting for the hotel guests and friends we have met and made over the years. We’ll never forget you and how wonderful you’ve made us feel. We will miss you! Thank you-thank you-thank you!”

Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Walt Disney World
Photo by Matt Roseboom

You can still hear favorite tunes performed by The Disney Society Orchestra and Friends daily at Disney’s Hollywood Studios until Oct. 3., but in the meantime, here’s our video of the orchestra playing the Muppet Show theme song.

Full Muppet Show Theme Song Performed by The Disney Society Orchestra at Hollywood Studios

UPDATE: Disney has confirmed The Disney Society Orchestra and Friends will have its last performance on Oct. 3, 2020.

Do you have any great memories of the orchestra? Leave a comment below.

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10 comments

Elizabeth Berry September 27, 2020 - 12:08 am

The Grand Flordian Society Orchestra was what makes the Grand Flordian “ Grand.”
They truly do make beautiful music! It saddens me deeply that the Society Orchestra will not be returning to the Grand Flordian. I enjoyed their performaning and looked forward to hearing them every time we came to the Grand Flordian!

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John Armel September 27, 2020 - 5:57 am

Perhaps the sadest time in Disney history.
After 28 years of listening to these professionals and their very professional talent, it is very sad to hear that they are leaving. The very polished team will be missed.

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Dan September 27, 2020 - 10:17 am

The orchestra was one of the most memorable and enjoyable features of the Grand Floridian. My family has spent countless hours enjoying their wonderful performances. They added a very classy touch to the Grand Floridian which is one of the reasons we made it our DVC home. I am disappointed they will no longer be there and I think it is a long term mistake.

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Jace September 27, 2020 - 11:35 am

Tell Disney to change their mind. Bring back The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra to Disney’s Grand Floridian: https://www.change.org/GrandFloridianSocietyOrchestra

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PASCHAL SCIARRA September 27, 2020 - 1:24 pm

Of all the worse news this year, this is the worsest.

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Michael Martino September 27, 2020 - 6:36 pm

I agree!

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Tiffany Moore September 27, 2020 - 1:47 pm

Nooo! 😢. It is a highlight of our Disney trips for my husband & I to go to the GF, and either before or after dinner, get a drink, sit in the gorgeous lobby, & listen to the Orchestra. Their playing was both lively and relaxing after a day at the parks or resort hopping. They brought such happiness and classiness! GF in the evening won’t be the same without them, and they will be missed!

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Lois Craddock September 27, 2020 - 4:41 pm

Too Sad! They played for my daughters wedding @ the Grand Floridian Ballroom. Absolutely top of the top musicians. It is heartbreaking. I so hope that this is not the start of other Disney live entertainment shows going black. Hoping Disney rethinks this decision.

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Michael Martino September 27, 2020 - 6:34 pm

This is so sad! Here we have great musicians with great talent being disbanded. What’s next, the Voices of Liberty? The Disneyland Band? Thirty years of performing in that magnificent lobby will always provide fond memories, but since it was one of my favorite things at Disney World, I think my memories will have to serve me well. My heart breaks. Who ever made this decision, probably sitting behind some desk, is someone I would love to have a conversation with. I have been a trumpet player, music educator, and music advocate for 46 years and this is one of the sadest things for me.

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Ray B September 29, 2020 - 1:17 pm

we have always enjoyed sitting in the Grand Floridian grand lobby listening to the jazz band, to me it really set the mood for the theme of the hotel. it would be a shame to remove that. less visits to that resort for sure. Disney needs to rethink their strategy to cut back on entertainment costs, not just here but in other parks as well, it’s what set’s them apart.

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