Grand Floridian review
The Grand Floridian is Walt Disney World’s flagship resort located on the monorail loop within the Magic Kingdom resort area. From the moment you step onto the property you are immersed into a Victorian era experience with lush greenery, ragtime music in the lobby and the magic Disney is known for.
ARRIVAL AND ATMOSPHERE
Arriving to the resort depends on which mode of transportation you prefer. If you are flying into Orlando international Airport, you can catch the Magical Express. Before you even arrive into Orlando, Disney will send you your magic bands and Magical Express tags for luggage so you can be prepared.
Once you depart off of the airplane, the Disney experience begins. The Magical Express will bring you from the airport directly to the front of the Grand Floridian resort, and thanks to Disney’s fantastic transportation system, you do not have to drive again until you arrive home. For some, the thought of being without your own transportation can be frustrating.
You may be driving from home or renting a car from the airport. Either way, you come through the gate at the Grand Floridian resort and are now faced with the expansive and luxurious property. Keep in mind that if you do intend on bringing a car and parking at the Grand Floridian property, there is now a parking fee of $24 each night you stay at the resort.
Make sure you say hello to Richard when you enter the front doors of the Grand Floridian Resort!
The Grand Floridian is a deluxe resort and it is important to keep in mind that the prices do reflect that. Rooms begin at $586 a night. And if you want a room with a view? Have no fear, the Grand Floridian has a vast array of views you can select while booking.
Want a room with the lagoon view? Check! How about a room with a garden view? That is an option as well. And the coveted theme park view room? You betcha. Grand Floridian also the option of rooms that sleep five.
This is a fantastic options for larger families who want the luxury of a deluxe resort without having the split the family up. These rooms come with two beds and a couch that pulls out into a single bed.
And if your family is larger than five, or you will be having an extended stay on the Disney property, they are villas available as well that can accommodate over five people and having some privacy.
Keep in mind, if contemporary styling is your thing, the Grand Floridian resort may not be for you. The rooms are old Victorian era styling and can at times feel like sleeping in your grandmother’s guest room.
For me it is nostalgic.
For kids, they would much rather be at the pool otherwise they were complaining that it was not Disney enough. And that is true. The Grand Floridian as always has hidden Mickey’s around the resort and a character dining experience, but if you are looking to be surrounded by the comfort of Mickey and his pals around every corner, this is definitely not the resort for you and you will leave remaining unfulfilled with your stay.
You may be coming to Disney to celebrate a special occasion. If so, make sure you check out the in room celebrations. Packages can be added on while booking your hotel for birthdays and anniversaries to add that special touch. It is also an added present for whoever is being celebrated.
TIP: If you want to stay at the Grand Floridian, but the price is out of the budget, always keep an eye on their website. At the time of this blog, Disney was running an Enchanted Escape room offer starting at $439 a night.
Grand Floridian Dining
The Grand Floridian has a plethora of options for quality dining while you are staying at the resort. You can always book a reservation even if you are staying at another resort just to experience the dining at Grand Floridian.
If you are looking for a light, easy going meal you’re first stop is going to be the Grand Floridian Cafe. This one of the little known secrets of the Grand Floridian resort, so you may be able to sneak in a moderate breakfast, lunch or dinner without a reservation. They are famous for their Strawberry Salad, and the overall menu is an American theme. This is worth one table service credit and runs about $15-$34.99 per adult.
For the younger members of the family, 1900 Park Fare is a must go! During their morning breakfast buffet, Marry Poppins and her friends come around to each table and during the dinner buffet, Cinderella and Prince Charming make their way around the dining room. And for a fun surprise, there is a Wonderland Afternoon tea for little ones between the ages of 4-12. Do not forget to try the Strawberry Soup. This is worth one table service credit, reservations are strongly recommended and prices range from $15-$59.99 per adult.
If you are looking to expand your palette, Citricos’ Mediterranean flavors is a fantastic dining experience. Known for their risotto, there is an open bar where you can watch the chefs’ create this delicious works of art while sitting amongst the Grand Floridian courtyard. There is a dress code required and if you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, make sure you book the Chef’s Table where you have a speciality menu and secluded dining space. This is worth TWO table service credits and prices range from $35-59.99 per adult.
For a fantastic dining experience with the addition of spectacular views, then Narcoossee’s is the place for you! Try to make reservations for the evening, if you are lucky you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks or the Electrical Water Pageant from your table. Just like Citrico’s, there is a dress code, and you need to make sure you order whatever is on the seafood menu for the evening. This is worth two table service credits and the prices range from $35-59.99 per adult.
The crown jewel of dining at the Grand Floridian is Victoria & Albert’s. It is the only AAA five star restaurant on Disney property and specializes in fine dining. The dishes change daily and there is a strict dining code. Children under 10 are not permitted and the dining plan is not accepted as well. It is over $60 per adult, but the timeless elegance and specialized menu sets it apart. The Chef’s Table and Queen Elizabeth room are an added dining experience that is available by request.
There are other dining venues around the property including Gasparilla Island Grill, Garden View Tea Room, Minzer’s Lounge, Beaches Pool Bar, and Courtyard Pool Bar. Do not hesitate to take a leisurely walk through the resort to find some snacks and appetizers to munch on while taking some time away from the parks.
We all know that most people want to get as much time in the theme parks as possible, but the Grand Floridian resort also has fantastic amenities and on site recreation including:
- Motorized Boat Rentals
- Basketball Courts
- Movies Under the Stars
- Arcadia Games
- Campfire Activities
Grand Floridian has two separate pools on site. The Beach Pool is a zero entry pool that looks over the Seven Seas Lagoon and has a walking bridge for sightseeing. Next to the Beach Pool is a fantastic splash and play area for little ones that fits directly with the Grand Floridian Victorian theming.
There are also poolside cabanas available to rent while you spend your day at the pool.The Courtyard Pool is located behind the main building at the Grand Floridian. This pool has accessibility for people who need a chair lift into the pool as well as life jackets and towels available.
While strolling around the lobby, take a seat in one of the plush seating areas and make sure you enjoy the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra who spend their days piping out ragtime, jazz and of course, Disney tunes to complete the true Victorian stylings of the lobby.
Also, take a chance to admire the decor. The immaculately manicured landscape and down to the last detail lobby create a truly immersive experience that makes the high price point totally worth it.
One of the biggest perks of staying at the Grand Floridian resort is being on the monorail loop. On the upper level of the Grand Floridian and a short walk outside you can take the monorail directly to Magic Kingdom, or if you are venturing over to EPCOT, you can take the monorail to the Ticketing and Transportation Center and switch to the EPCOT monorail.
If you are heading over the Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs or either of the Disney Water Parks, you can go down to the ground level and catch on of the Disney buses. The monorail, Disney buses and boats can accommodate mobility scooters, wheelchairs, power chairs and strollers for your convenience.
If you do intend to drive in your own vehicle to the parks, you do not have to worry about the daily parking fee at the theme parks themselves and you do not have to worry about the bus schedule, but you will have to keep in mind that traffic should be kept into consideration and you do have to pay to park at the resort.
WHY SHOULD I STAY HERE?
It is hard to swallow the price point of Grand Floridian if you are doing Disney on a budget. And honestly, if you cannot afford, there are plenty of moderate and value resorts that are equally as fantastic (or even better if they suit your tastes). Not everyone wants to feel like they are staying at the grandmother’s house when shelling out over $500 a night for a resort. But the convenience of being on the monorail loop is well worth it.
You are not forced to take the buses everyone you want to go on property, and it is simple to just hop on the monorail and make a quick trip the the Polynesian or Contemporary for a different firework view or other dining experiences. This is by far one of the best Disney hotels for adults, but the activities can be limited for little ones and the decor is quite dated while lacking the pop and colorful decor of Art of Animation or the Pop Century resort.
Another downside is that even though the Grand Floridian does have some of the best places to eat at Disney World, it can get pricey very quickly and there are more options for table dining than just a quick table service. This can eat up time if you are trying to have a quick bite to eat before heading back into the park. Also, reservations are strongly recommended.
So making a quick stop to just sit down because you are hungry is unrealistic at the Grand Floridian. Like seriously, do not try to eat without a reservation. It rarely ever works out in your favor.
The Grand Floridian resort does get really busy. It is a high demand resort and a huge downfall is how slow service can be to the rooms. There has been time when we have requested towels or a change in sheets, and it can take hours for them to get to you.
The resort gets packed. Not only with all of the guests staying in the resort, but because of popular dining spots and the reputation for gorgeous grounds, you are also competing with every other guest who is going to the resort as well.
Overall, I give the resort four out of five stars. The amazing dining (with reservations) and the fantastic pool with easy resort transport make the resort a stand out to me. The lack of children friendly atmosphere is a downfall of the resort. But I firmly believe that this should be a bucket list resort for any adult who wants to walk back into nostalgia and let the kids feel like they are staying at grandma’s house.
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