Resort Review: The Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World in Florida

 

The Courtyard Pool at the Disney World's Grand Floridan.
The Courtyard Pool is the place to rejuvenate the kids after a day in the parks.

The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa was the last property on my three-resort tour of Walt Disney World. The flagship resort of Walt Disney World has a refined elegance of a bygone era with its Victorian architecture, afternoon tea service and grand lobby overflowing with music and flowers. The Grand Floridian Resort offers its guests a soft spot to sip some champagne and refresh after a full day in the parks.

What I loved about The Grand Floridan Resort

The Grand Floridian offers a grand experience for families who yearn for the convenience of a Walt Disney World Resort and want a refined environment. Walking into the Grand Floridian lobby is sensory experience, the architecture is as impressive as the 3-foot tall flower arrangements. The service is refined yet welcoming to all–from Grandmas to toddlers.

Interior of the Grand Floridan Resort in Disney World
The sounds of musicians and the perfume of flowers transport you to a bygone era in the lobby of the Grand Floridian.

Getting to the parks is easy from the Grand Floridian, I found the Magic Kingdom Ferry, the Magic Kingdom monorail and bus service to the other parks. The transportation from the Grand Floridian Resort within Walt Disney World was the best of any of the resorts I visited.

The Grand Floridian offers a wide variety of activities for kids and adults alike. For the kids, kids’ cruises and character meals top the list. For Mom, the Grand Floridian has one of the best spas in Orlando and an elegant afternoon tea service. Boat rentals, jogging trails are available on-site and golf is located nearby.

What I wanted at The Grand Floridan Resort

The big draw for my kids is the parks themselves and my boys, 8 and 11, are immune to luxurious surroundings of the Grand Floridian. The pool wasn’t as exciting to them as the Spanish-fort themed pool at the Caribbean Beach Resort.

For the Grand Floridian’s price point, I expected more luxury, especially in the toiletries and amenities. While I didn’t find a glaring faux pas, other luxury brands offer more for less.

The Resort:

The Grand Floridian Resort ($$$$$+) is Walt Disney World’s flagship resort located on 40-acres next to the Seven Seas Lagoon. Built to resemble a grand Victorian seaside resort of the late 19th Century, it features 867 guest rooms across the main building and five additional buildings. Next to the lagoon is a pool, a white sand beach, a marina and a view of Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom.

The Grand Floridan Resort at Disney World offers sophisticated service.
The Grand Floridian offers the highest level of service available at any of the Walt Disney World Resorts.

The self-parking is complimentary though not as convenient as the Caribbean Beach Resort. To get to the Grand Floridian Resort, I used the Magic Kingdom monorail and the ferry. Both are fun and try both for a different experience. I used the Walt Disney World bus transportation to get to other resorts and the complimentary Magical Express to get to the Orlando airport.

I had to check-in with the front desk since my room was part of a conference and I couldn’t check-in prior to my arrival. The front desk staff was courteous and I didn’t have to wait. Though the staff didn’t know where my welcome reception was located when I asked for the location by name. I had to walk around the property for 10 minutes and asked several different employees.

The Grand Floridian has several room configurations and one and two-room suites are available. Complimentary Wi-Fi is included.

I visited the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in April.

The Room:

I had a reservation for a standard room on the first floor of the Sago Cay building. Since I transferred from the Pop Century Resort, my luggage was not in my room when I checked-in at 3 p.m. It arrived later in the afternoon and was in my room when I arrived at the end of my day.

The interior of The Grand Floridan Resort room at Disney World.
The beds in our room at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa make for a great night’s sleep.

The rooms at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa provide 440-square feet with a large vanity area and separate tub and toilet area in the bathroom. Our room featured two queen beds, a pull-out sofa, a desk with a chair. The room sleeps five people and I found plenty of room for a pack-n-play.

Our room at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa exuded luxury with deluxe bed linens and lots of towels. I found throw pillows on the chenille sofa. Our room had a private patio with a pair of chairs and a table perfect for early morning coffee.

The Grand Floridian Resort room at Disney World offers a pull out sofa.
The sofa in our room at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa pulls out for another kid’s bed.

With a large closet with sliding doors, I found plenty of room to stash our luggage on the luggage rack provided. In the closet I found a pair of plush robes, an in-room safe, deluxe wooden hangers and a padded lingerie hanger along with extra bedding.

On the marble-top console, I found a coffee maker with coffee though I expected to find creamers at this level of property not the standard issue condiment packets with powdered creamer. The deluxe ice bucket and real glassware were located above the mini refrigerator. At this price point, I want wine glasses and a wine opener.  I didn’t find a mini-bar or complimentary water bottles either.

The bathroom vanity in The Grand Floridan Resort at Disney World
The marble counter and a pair of sinks is nice. But I wanted a separate shower and a soaking tub for the room rate of the Grand Floridian.

The bathroom of our Grand Floridian Resort room was luxuriously appointed though it was missing some of the extras. I expected an enclosed glass shower with a separate soaking tub. I found a standard tub and toilet in the same room, slightly bigger than what I found at the Caribbean Beach Resort.

The vanity area featured marble countertops with a double sink and decorative mirror with accent lighting. I found a lighted make-up mirror, a decorative tissue holder, a hair dryer along with a hamper for dirty clothes. A great place to put my dirty clothes bag that I pack for trips.

The toiletries were nicer than other Walt Disney Resorts but I wanted more. I found a facial bar, a bath bar, bath gel, shower cap, shampoo and conditioner. I wanted mouthwash, cotton balls, Q-tips, a sewing kit, a shoe polish wipe and a make-up towelette.

Family Fun at The Grand Floridan

The Grand Floridian features many activities including a jogging trail, an arcade, a pirate adventure for kids, fishing excursions, fireworks cruises and watercraft for rent. The spa, Senses, is one of the best in the area. The Grand Floridian has a fitness center and a full-service salon. The Grand Floridian Resort features two pools, one so large ducks think it’s another lake.

The Beach Pool overlooks the Seven Seas Lagoon and the swimming white-sand beach. It includes a 180-foot water slide, waterfalls and lots of lounge chairs. Need a little space poolside, I foundcabanas for rent with flat-screen TVs and a mini refrigerator with complimentary water and soda.

For the smaller kids, I found a water play area for kids under 48-inches located next to the Beach Pool. Stop by the Beaches Pool Bar and Grill for snacks and drinks or visit the campfire area on the swimming beach.

The Alice-in-Wonderland splash pad at the Grand Floridian Resort at Disney World.
The Alice-in-Wonderland themed water play area for the littlest guests is a must-do.

The Courtyard Pool is located behind the main Grand Floridian building. It’s a quieter choice for guests to enjoy a swim. It includes a hot tub and the Courtyard Pool Bar is close.

New Balance has a one-mile running trail at the Grand Floridian Resort and I found Arcadia Games inside of the main building. Like the Caribbean Beach Resort, kids can take a pirate adventure without the parents. There’s also watercraft rentals at The Captain’s Shipyard.

The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is an elegant choice for families wanting a little added luxury to their Walt Disney World vacation.
The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa offers an elegant choice for families wanting a little added luxury to their Walt Disney World vacation.

Since the Grand Floridian is right across the Seven Seas Lagoon from Magic Kingdom, fireworks cruises as well as guided fishing excursions offer popular experiences. The Electrical Water Pageant floats by the Grand Floridian too.

Where to eat at the Grand Floridan Resort

The Grand Floridian offers the most dining options of any of the Walt Disney World resorts. With in-room dining, quick-service, casual dining, character dining and fine dining, families have plenty of options.

The character meals at the 1900 Park Fare are a popular event, reservations available 180-days in advance. The Garden View Tea Room offers a morning tea and an afternoon tea for families wanting a special, dressy experience.

Note about transferring resorts during your stay:

I changed resorts three times during my five-day/four-night stay at Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World will transfer your bags free of cost. I packed up our bags and rolled them down to luggage services that transferred them in the afternoon, usually between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

If I wanted a bell hop to grab my bags from my room I would have to stay with my bags until the bell hop arrived. I found this inconvenient and brought them to luggage services myself, located next to the main entrance.

Looking for more reviews and information?

I’ve stayed at the Pop Century Resort, the Art of Animation Resort, the Caribbean Beach Resort and the Coronado Springs Resort.

Looking for off-property resorts, I’ve stayed at the Wyndham’s Lake Buena Vista, the Best Western Lake Buena Vista and the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club.

I use the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa for every trip. It provides a comprehensive guide, packed with information.

Disclosure: 

This room was provided for review purposes, the opinion is my own. This post includes affiliate links in which I get a commission if you purchase a book.

Know Before You Go:

  • Make reservations for popular dining spots as soon as possible, preferably when released.
  • For Victoria and Albert’s, kids must be 10-years-old. No casual wear.
  • The Garden View Tea Room offers a morning tea service for younger children and traditional afternoon tea.
  • The Magical Express picks up across the Monorail station.
  • The Grand Floridian offers airport check-in.

Share with your friends.Share on Facebook6Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest48Share on Google+0Share on StumbleUpon55Share on Reddit1Share on LinkedIn0Print this pageEmail this to someone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *