Gran Destino Tower

Walt Disney World’s Newest Resort Option – Gran Destino Tower

As I’m sure you’ve heard and seen by now, Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs is now open. We shared video and photos over on our social channels and Christian and I discussed our thoughts on the highlights of this amazing new resort in our latest resort video. But there is something else you must see before you visit or check-in to Gran Destino Tower

Two Artists Combine Their Vision

Salvador Dalí first met Walt Disney at a Warner Brothers studio party in 1945. He had come to Hollywood to work on a dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound. The pair struck up what may seem to some as an unlikely friendship, but in reality made perfect sense. Disney had already been pushing the boundaries of art and animation for years. Pink elephants on parade from Dumbo, and the frightening forest scene from Snow White to name a few. Of course, Fantasia itself was a lesson in taking feature animation to a higher plane. So a common bond of creative envelope-pushing, combined with boundless self-promotion, naturally brought these two men together. The next logical step was to collaborate on a project combining Dalí’s surreal vision and Walt Disney’s gift for animation.

Here is an excerpt from about the origin of the Destino project: 

On January 14, 1946, Salvador Dalí signed a contract with Walt Disney to make a short animated film entitled Destino. To work on the project, the painter installed himself in the Disney Studios in Burbank, California, where he set about drafting the screenplay and creating a series of drawings and oil paintings. The main characters, a dancer and a baseball player who is also the god Chronos, develop Dalí’s original concept, which revolves around the importance of time when we are waiting for destiny to enter into our lives. The song chosen for the soundtrack of the film, ‘Destino’, by the Mexican Armando Domínguez, was a major inspiration for Dalí in the development of his work.

The short, intended as part of a package film, was to have a running time of between 6 and 8 minutes, but only 15 seconds were made and it was not until 2003 that Disney resumed and completed the project on the basis of Dalí’s first ideas and original sketches.

A Found Treasure

Despite having 135 storyboards and 22 paintings from Dalí’s eight months in the studio, the project was abandoned when the Disney Studios could not continue funding it. The project was shelved and forgotten until Roy E. Disney, Walt’s nephew, discovered the artwork while working on Fantasia 2000. He secretly sent the project to be completed in France by a team of animators and a director, Dominique Monféry, who attempted and succeeded in continuing the story that Dalí and Disney (and Imagineer John Hench, who is credited as a writer as well) set out to tell. It was released in 2003, and nominated for an Oscar that year for Best Animated Short.  If you haven’t seen it before, here it is below in its (2003) entirety: 

If you happen to own the Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 Blu-Ray + DVD Movie Collection set, there’s a bonus. Destino is actually on the Fantasia 2000 disc! Also included is an 82-minute documentary, Dalí & Disney: A Date with Destino. There you’ll hear more about the collaboration between these two artistic geniuses.

Additionally, the always-impressive Taschen has published a few books on his elaborate dinner parties. Taschen Diners de Gala and the Wines de Gala, if you want to delve deeper. And of course, The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida is an amazing place to explore Dalí ‘s life and work. It’s also not too far from Walt Disney World, if you want to extend a vacation and see something new.

Inspiration for Gran Destino Tower

Getting back to Gran Destino Tower, when you first approach the tower from either the parking lot or the Lago Dorado side, the inspiration of Destino is more than apparent. The shapes and designs throughout the resort come straight from the art in the short. Dahlia, and her morphing into a bell shape in the film, is directly represented in the lamps in guest rooms, and the designs in the Dahlia lounge on the 16th floor. The Dahlia lounge in particular is entirely inspired by the film, with Dahlia’s hair represented in waves on the ceiling, the dandelion images in a painting on the wall, and the seed heads floating away and becoming the light fixtures on the ceiling. 

So before you head to this gorgeous new resort, watch the 6 minute short, and then see how many representations you can see as you explore and discover. Whether Surrealist art is your thing or not, the artistic vision and creativity is undeniably impressive. Gran Destino is enjoyable and breathtaking even without viewing Destino, but seeing it and the inspiration, is, in my opinion, worth your time. I’m sure Disney history buffs, animation and art fans will agree. Kudos to the Disney team for transforming art into function and honoring the work of Salvador Dalí as well as Walt Disney. I’m so excited that Destino has been brought to life for all to see and enjoy in a new way. 


Have you visited Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort? What was your favorite part of this newest area of Walt Disney World? 

Walt Disney and Dahlia

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