Family Travel Review: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa In Orlando
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the different accommodation options when heading to Disney World. Not only are there numerous hotels surrounding the resort, there are the themed resorts owned by Disney. Where to stay, how much to spend and how close you want to be to the park are some of the questions most parents ask. We’ve stayed at a couple of the resorts, but so far the Grand Floridian is our favourite!
Last January, before heading on to the Disney Dream’s Maiden Voyage, my husband and our two girls experienced a night at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Known as ‘the Disney World Flagship Hotel’, this luxurious resort is located just a hop, skip and a jump from Magic Kingdom.
As we had stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge earlier, we decided to take a taxi to the Grand due to the hot weather and our multiple pieces of luggage. The monorail is incredibly useful when park hopping, however in our situation that day we found the taxi to be more adequate for our families needs.
When pulling up to the Grand Floridian, its hard not to be impressed! Crisp white paint, charming gingerbread trim, historic artifacts, gorgeous decor and copious amounts of flowers adorn the building. Its funny, because even though you are still staying on the same property, each individual resort at Walt Disney World, offers a completely different feel. The Grand Floridian’s offered luxury with a whole lot of charm!
Upon check-in we were greeted by a sweet greeter to charmed us all to bits. Dressed in traditional 1880 garb, he made us feel welcome and even more excited to check out the grounds.
The Grand Lobby of the hotel is simply stunning! Numerous windows, stained glass domes and beautiful chandeliers offer an opulent look mixed with classic Victorian style and charm.
After a quick and smooth check-in, we were given directions to our room located just behind the main building. In regards to customer service, the staff at the Grand Floridian has it down pat. Not only were they extremely professional, they went out of their way to help us out. Here everyone is treated like a VIP!
The Grand Floridian is made up of 6 separate buildings, our room was located directly by the pool and a short walk from the lobby/monorail making it extremely convenient for our family.
On our way, we spotted the beautiful white sandy beach of their private Seven Seas Lagoon (a cute place to swim or relax).
We stayed in the Deluxe Garden View room just off the courtyard pool area. With two queen beds and a private balcony, we found that there was sufficient space for our family although in terms of room accommodations, it wasn’t the most ‘spacious’ room we’d stayed in.
Every evening of our stay, we received a turn-down service with chocolates on the pillows. It was a really sweet touch and the kids adored it!
As expected all the standard amenities were supplied. The only downfall and annoyance for traveling parents is that the high speed internet is available at an additional fee. When you are paying prime rate, this added cost can be a bit of a nuisance.
In regards to amenities, the Grand Floridian offers much more than many of the other resorts. It is also the closest to Magic Kingdom. When your kids are fantasy obsessed, it definitely pays off to be close to the park! During our stay we spent more time at Magic Kingdom then any of the other parks.
Although I wasn’t able to check out the spa, I did learn that they have several therapies designed for kids as young as four years old! Next time we visit I look forward to trying some out with my girls.
If you are looking for a night on the town or need a little break from theme park fun, The Grand Floridian has a fully supervised activity center on site called The Mouseketeer Club. The Club is geared towards children ages three to 12 and is open every day from 4:30 p.m. to midnight.
Entertaining activities such as arts and crafts, computer games, Disney movies, dinner and snacks are provided during the duration of their stay. Just make sure you make reservations for these clubs in advance!
One of the cutest activities offered is the Wonderland Tea Party. Every weekday for one hour in the afternoon, children ages 4 to 12 can head to the 1900 Park Fare Restaurant to join Alice and her Wonderland friends for some “tea” (apple juice) and crumpets. Super fun!
If your son isn’t fond of tea parties, there is another excursion called Disney’s Pirate Adventure for the same age range (4-12). Snacks are provided during the adventure where kids follow clues to find buried treasures.
A couple of other neat experiences located on the premises, suitable for both adults and children:
- Tennis courts (with private lessons offered daily)
- Preferred access to 5 championship Walt Disney World golf courses
- Watercraft rentals are also available
You will find some of the best (and priciest) dining options at the Grand Floridian. Seriously, if you are on a budget, head to the park or another resort as these restaurants are not cheap! You will however find more options for character dining here then at any of the other resorts. Choose from 1900 Park Fare with Cinderella, Alice and all of the other Wonderland friends during a special breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea.
There is even “Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner” for those who want a special dining experience with the princess. The best part – its a buffet so everyone gets to choose their own meal options.
The most casual option is Grand Floridian Cafe. The prices are average and traditional American food is whats on the menu. Victoria & Albert’s could quite possibly be the most luxurious option at Walt Disney World! During your 7-course dinner you are treated to a maid and butler “team service”.
The special 3-hour private option gives you the opportunity to indulge in a 10 course meal while interacting with the chef. As you can imagine, the “Chef’s Table” experience doesn’t come cheap and prices start at around $60 pp!
If you are looking for quick service dining or more casual options there are a few others located on the premises, so no worries about going hungry :).
The Monorail is directly above The Grand Floridian, so there is no need to walk, cab or take a bus. This convenient transportation option will take you to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Theme Park. If you want to visit the other theme or water parks, you can take the bus. You can also take the boat also known as the water taxi to the Magic Kingdom.
The only other resorts that offer the water taxi service are Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Polynesian Resort.
Would we stay at the Grand Floridian again? Absolutely! Although we enjoyed the Animal Kingdom Lodge tremendously, the brightness of the accommodations, convenience and location of the Grand Floridian make it unbeatable in our opinion!
*A very big thank you to Walt Disney World for providing us with this complimentary visit!*