The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World is fancy. FANCY! This Disney Deluxe Resort borders Seven Seas Lagoon, rising from the beach with white walls, balconies and in the Victorian-era style of architecture. The epitome of Disney luxury, you’ll see why this is the Resort of Choice for serious Disney fanatics. From the beaches of the resort you can see the fireworks shows at Magic Kingdom, access the monorail, and revel in the fact that Princess Diana too once stayed here in the 90’s. But do you really want to stay here? Will the amenities make up for the high price tag? Here are our thoughts.
Staying at the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World
If you were a kid of the 90’s one day hoping to visit Walt Disney World you will know that the Grand Floridian was the end all be all to a Disney Vacation. That from afar the Grand Floridian promises an elegance that you can’t find anywhere else. Needless to say, as grown ups we were eager to see if the fantasy matched the reality. We had previously had numerous visits to the Garden View Tea Room and 1900 Park Fare. We had also taken many turns lounging about the lobby listening to the piano and browsing the fancy shops. But never before had we stayed here.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Atmosphere
Sophistication and grandeur from the 19th century beach resorts of old (namely San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado from which it was modeled) can play a nice backdrop to your Disney vacation. The lobby is an excellent place to just relax, while listening to the piano player that is often showcasing his grand musical stylings. We, however, could only do “sophisticated” for so long. This was a shocker to us. At one point we just wanted to put on our mickey ears and not feel weird. We definitely did not feel o.k. wandering outside in flip flops and pajama pants like we could at the value resorts along with all the other poor souls trying to find the hot chocolate machine in the middle of the night. At the Grand Floridian, there was a different kind of grown up feel that we didn’t necessarily love enough to spend the length of our vacation here.
That said, if you don’t mind putting on your Lilly Pulitzer to frequent the lobby then more power to you! This could be the resort for you. Grand Floridian really is about elegance, fresh flowers, superb service and grandeur in every sense of the word. Absolutely perfect for those looking to escape that saccharine Disney Resort feeling.
Grand Floridian Rooms
The accommodations at the Grand Floridian were wonderful. We had a room with two double beds, a couch that could act as a bed, a balcony and a bathroom that was separate from the double vanity sink. G’s favorite element was that robes were provided. So there was definitely some lounging about on the balcony in our robes during our stay. And don’t forget the Turn Down service. Who doesn’t love coming back to their room with Disney Resort branded chocolates on their bed?!?! Absolutely loved it. One thing we were asked about a lot when we returned from this trip was- are the rooms bigger? Yes the room are bigger at the Grand Floridian. In fact they are the largest on Walt Disney World property.
Disney Grand Floridian Cost: Is It Worth It?
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort may seem out of reach at the “pretty high” per night cost. Fortunately, our best Disney Travel Hacks are the ones that save loads of money. We love third party hotel providers to get us the best price on Disney Resorts, so always check those out first. We stayed here right before our Disney Cruise and since February is shoulder season, it’s considered value season for resort accommodations. Depending on what building you get and what time of year you go the rooms range from 400- 3500/ night. Choose wisely.
If you can grab this resort at the cheaper rate we would definitely recommend including the Grand Floridian in your resort hopping lineup. Especially if you’re planning a longer vacation because the resort cost alone could really eat up your budget. While we did love the resort, we wouldn’t choose it over the Polynesian , Boardwalk Inn, or Animal Kingdom Lodge. All of which are cheaper.
Grand Floridian Restaurants
Gasparilla Island Grill:
This is the Grand Floridian’s answer to the typical dining hall experience. You can get your quick-service meals, coffees, pizza, and artisan sandwiches here. It’s open 24/7 though don’t expect anything too fancy after 11:30 pm.
We got mochas and breakfast croissants ( with egg and bacon) that were large enough in size to share or just be a substantial breakfast. They also had the most adorable cupcakes. If you’re a devoted reader you know of our obsession with cupcakes. We sometimes plan our days specifically around where the cupcakes are and when they will be available. The cupcakes at Gasparilla weren’t bad, but definitely wouldn’t make our Top 10 Cupcakes at Disney list. Unfortunately we could tell they had been sitting in the case as some had really wet bottoms and others were just pretty dry. Otherwise for quick service, Gasparillas was a super nice atmosphere, small and relatively un-busy.
1900 Park Fare
1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian is the buffet restaurant that offers character dining. And truthfully, it’s one of the table service restaurants we book quite regularly. If you’re going to pick a character dining experience, we recommend this one. In the mornings you can be lucky enough to have a custom made omelet while visiting with Alice, Mad Hatter and Mary Poppins. In the evenings, this is the showcase restaurant for Lady Tremaine and the evil stepsisters ( definitely our favorite character trio as the improv acting here is unparalleled). And you can also see Prince Charming and Cinderella. The food is decent, varied and the atmosphere is fun.
Offering brunch on Sundays from 9:30-1:30pm, Narcoossee’s can be enjoyed even if you don’t eat there! They have a wrap around deck that overlooks the lagoon with perfect views to Cinderella’s Castle. If you venture out at night you can see the Electrical Water Pageant and the Fireworks at Magic Kingdom as well. Narcoossee’s counts as 2 dining credits on the Disney Dining Plan, so be aware in case
Garden View Tea Room
Anytime we go to Disney we usually try to book a tea at the Garden View Tea Room. High Tea, Princess Tea, and Afternoon Tea are available. We usually book the afternoon tea which is offered between 2-5pm. A little pricey at about 40 bucks a person we forget every time just how filling a whole pot of tea and three courses is! You get an array of cheeses, little sandwiches, and pastries. This is a perfect calm atmosphere that can be a great break from the crazies in the parks. We love the tea here and would highly recommend it anytime.
Victoria and Albert’s
For the very fancy and sophisticated, Victoria and Albert’s provides fine dining at the highest level. This menu changes with the seasons but is always sure to impress. Another restaurant at Disney that counts as 2 Dining Credits so be aware if you’re on the disney Dining Plan. For us, this restaurant is one we book when we have a Free Dining Plan Offer.
Extra Amenities at the Grand Floridian
If you’re looking for more of a resort experience and less of a theme park experience you can frequent Senses Spa, visit the Ivy Trellis Salon, rent a yacht, cabana or boat. You can also get an inside glimpse of the history of the resort with the resort tour. And dare we mention the shops! You can find high end shops, the regular Disney shops and specialty shops. Definitely worth a walk through even if you’re not staying there.
Kids at the Grand Floridian
If you’re thinking of giving your kids a more sophisticated Disney resort experience then the Grand Floridian is the place to be. A pirate adventure, wonderland tea party, and movies under the stars are perfect for the little ones. And don’t forget the Princess Parade! Some guests go all out for this fun tradition at the Grand Floridian so make sure your little princess is dressed and ready for her big debut. You can also always count on the amazing family Beach Pool area not only for fun in the sun but also as the location of all the children’s programs. The cast members do crafts, dances, and games poolside so if you’re taking a day away from the crowds at the parks, be sure to check it out. Of course, if you have tweens, they may just like the idea that there is a spa robe and a balcony to help make you feel extra princess-like.
Transportation at the Grand Floridian
One of the biggest draws of the Grand Floridian is the location. Right next to Magic Kingdom, a few minutes on the monorail is all it takes to get there. The monorail can also be taken to get to the TTC which will bring you to Epcot and if you’ve read our Hollywood Studios to Epcot post, then you already know how to get to Hollywood Studios from there. The only locations that you MUST take a bus to are Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs and the water parks. One thing we noticed was that the buses took a lot longer to get to the Grand than any other Walt Disney World hotel we’ve stayed at. You can also take ferry transportation from Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, but this is usually not the fastest way. Its fun and we enjoy it when we aren’t in a hurry, its just not fast. And for those Dole Whip lovers out there, ok who are we kidding, for anyone reading this post, its about a five minute walk to the Polynesian should you crave a dole whip from Pineapple Lanai.
What We Really Thought of The Grand Floridian
So, is the Grand Floridian worth the high price tag? If you plan to spend a reasonable amount of time at your hotel, want to be close to Magic Kingdom and have quick and easy access to the monorail and love the sophisticated, elegant and luxurious style and service that only the Grand Floridian provides, then YES!
Personally if we’re spending this kind of money, we love the laid back style and vibe at the Polynesian instead. So for us, while the Grand Floridian truly is grand, we will probably save our Disney dollars for something a little less fancy and whole lot more fun.