About the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Type of Resort: Deluxe, Disney Vacation Club
Theme: Victorian elegance
Location: Magic Kingdom Area, on the monorail loop
Transportation Options: Monorail to the Magic Kingdom, other monorail resorts, TTC, and Epcot (switch at TTC). Boat to the Magic Kingdom. Buses to other destinations.
Unique Amenities: The Grand Floridian amenities are everything you’d expect them to be and then some. There are two pools, each with their own special twist. The Beach Pool overlooks the Seven Seas Lagoon, with a peaceful vibe alongside a walking bridge, 181-foot waterslide, waterfalls, and a zero-depth entry point. There’s also a poolside bar and cabanas available for rent, as well as an incredible Alice in Wonderland inspired splash area that sent my heart soaring! The Courtyard Pool is directly behind the main building and caught our attention with a giant poolside chess set! There’s also Senses, a full-service spa, and the Ivy Trellis, a full-service salon that also offers princess makeovers for young guests! Fine art photography is also available to commemorate your stay with family photographs! They also have the standard Disney amenities like merchandise pickup and delivery, laundry services, mail, ATM and bank services, airline check-in, concierge services, Magical Express, online check-in, and complimentary wi-fi.
Dining: You haven’t truly Disney dined until you’ve dined at the Grand Floridian restaurants. There are so many incredible dining experiences available here!
I have to start with Victoria and Albert’s, the quintessential fine dining experience, with meals that include things like Italian truffles and Russian caviar, served on fine china, crystal, and silver. There’s also private dining and Chef’s Table seating available for a truly indulgent experience. Cítricos offers Mediterranean infused American cuisine, along with a lounge featuring an award-winning wine list and special 12-course dinners available via the Chef’s Domain at Cítricos. Narcoosee’s serves up seafood inspired by the waterfront view for brunch and dinner, with views that overlook the fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant. The real star of the show for our young family is 1900 Park Fare. The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast features Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Pooh, alongside a delicious spread of breakfast foods to suit every taste. Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner is one of the most unique character meals, in our opinion, because it features Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, and the Stepsisters! You so rarely get to dine with “villains” and Ruby adores the sisters! The Grand Floridian Cafe rounds out the table service locations on property as a casual, but elegant restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
There are also three opportunities for tea, including the Perfectly Princess Tea or Afternoon Tea in the Garden View Tea Room and the Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare.
The Gasparilla Island Grill is the 24-hour quick service hub at the Grand Floridian and also where you’d pick up your resort mugs with the Dining Plan. I recommend the mahi mahi “Reuben”! Adults can also enjoy cocktails at the two pool bars and Cítricos and Mizner’s lounges.
Shopping: There is so much shopping to do here, including shops like Basin White (specialty soaps and other bath products), Commander Porter’s (apparel from brands like Tommy Bahama), M. Mouse Mercantile (souvenirs), Sandy Cove Gifts and Sundries (groceries, snacks, spirits, souvenirs), and Summer Lace (upscale women’s boutique).
Activities: Because of their waterfront location, there are some unique activities available at the Grand Floridian, like the Pirates Adventure Cruise, fireworks cruises, and other specialty cruises (including the Yacht 1, which can hold 17 guests and a butler and is rented by the hour). You can also catch the Electrical Water Pageant floating by. In the lobby, you can sit and enjoy the pianist and the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra throughout the day. There’s also motorized boat and cabana rentals, fishing, Arcadia Games, Movies Under the Stars, campfire activities, basketball, jogging trails, and swimming.
About Our Stays at the grand floridian resort & Spa
Time of Year: May 2017
Room Type: Garden view, lagoon view
Travel Party Size: 4 people (2 adults, 2 kids), 1 household. (My cousin also joined us in a connecting room for part of the trip.)
Our Experience: I’ll be honest. I was skeptical about spending this much money on a resort, when we had so much park time planned. But, I get it now. It was worth every dollar spent!
I’m honestly finding a hard time even knowing where to start. From the moment we drove into the Grand Floridian gates, we felt “at home”. The Victorian architecture is just spectacular and Ruby was amazed as the monorail went by overhead and she laid eyes on the carriage and antique car parked outside. The lobby was filled with fresh cut flowers, live music, and beautiful furniture. It was just a “wow” arrival moment. We also loved the way they incorporated Disney decor in such an elegant way.
The outer buildings are also lovely, but not as awe-inspiring as the main building. We quickly settled into our spacious room, complete with plenty of storage space that handled our suitcases, double stroller, pack & play, and other baby gear with ease. The beds were very comfortable, as was our couch.
We were in Sago Cay, which turned out to be the perfect building and where we’ll request on any future trips. It’s directly across from the quick service restaurant (mama likes her easy coffee access!), close to the main building (monorail), and has a walking path to head directly to the buses (instead of going through the main building). We also had a gorgeous lake view just outside the building and a partial view even from our patio (that we didn’t pay for!).
Our stay was also enhanced by lots of little things – chocolates on the pillow, super friendly cast members, larger sized toiletries, things like that. They aren’t reasons to stay, on their own, but they just make you feel wrapped in the Disney magic.
If I was really going to nitpick, the only oddity was the bathroom door. When they updated the bathrooms and installed the elongated toilet seats, they didn’t account for door clearance, so the door hit the toilet. It was in no way a deal breaker, but it was just a funny little detail that seemed like something Disney normally would have addressed. (We stayed at the Grand Floridian again and our other room had a notch carved out of the door to clear the toilet, so I guess some of them were addressed. It made me giggle when I saw it!)
For us, the big draw was monorail access to Magic Kingdom – and it didn’t disappoint. The monorail was rarely congested and ran constantly. We loved that there was a security checkpoint at the resort, so we didn’t have to wait in security lines at the park. We routinely made it door-to-park in 10-15 minutes!
We also loved being close to our favorite restaurant, 1900 Park Fare! The food across the resort is just delicious and a little more elevated than food at other locations.
Here’s how you know we loved our time here. At the end of our Disney trip, we headed south to visit family in Miami for a few days. On the way home, we called our travel agent and asked if there was a room at the Grand Floridian for that night… and stopped there for the night. It was actually really awesome. We pulled into the parking lot, hopped the monorail and went straight to catch the fireworks in Magic Kingdom, rode a ton of rides, grabbed quick service on our way back to the room, and crashed.
Our second room was a lagoon view. It was so cool to look out over the Polynesian, but there was a downside. A noisy downside. The boat horns! We heard them well into the night and early the next morning. So, if you’re a light sleeper, the lagoon view may not be for you! If you’re a sip-your-coffee-on-the-patio person, it really may be though!
Also, I have to mention this. We’ve gone back to visit the Grand Floridian for meals during the holidays and were blown away. Their Christmas trees and decorations are just gorgeous, but the life size gingerbread house has to be seen to be believed. I mean, smoke comes out of the chimney! We went wild buying special holiday treats from the bake shop inside too. Gingerbread roof tiles for everyone! If you’re looking for a magical Christmas memory, this is it!
Favorite Part: Monorail, monorail, monorail, and did I mention the monorail? The feeling of decadence, comfort, room size, all of it.
Least Favorite Part: I can’t think of a single thing. I guess the boat horns from the lagoon view.
Would We Stay Again?: Yes! We have, actually!This is our favorite resort on property, so far. It’s just special!