Disney Worldâ€™s flagship hotel is inspired by Floridaâ€™s grand Victorian seaside resorts from the turn of the last century. A complex of four- and five-story white frame buildings, the grand Floridian integrates verandas, intricate latticework, dormers, and turrets beneath a red shingle roof to capture the most memorable elements of 19th-century ocean-resort architecture. A five-story domed lobby encircled by enameled balustrades and overhung by crystal chandeliers establishes the resortâ€™s understated opulence. Covering 40 acres along the Seven Seas Lagoon, the grand Floridian offers lovely pools, white-sand beaches, and a multifaceted marina.
The 867 guest rooms, with wood trim and soft goods (curtains, linens, towels, and the like) in beachy tones, are luxurious yet warm and inviting rather than stuffy or overly feminine. Armoires, marble-topped sinks, and ceiling fans amplify the Victorian theme. The typical room is 440 square feet (dormer rooms are smaller), large by any standard, and furnished with two queen beds, a daybed, a reading chair, and a table with two side chairs. Many rooms have a balcony.
With a high ratio of staff to guests, service is outstanding. The resort has several full-service restaurants, and others are a short monorail ride away. The hotel is connected directly to the Magic Kingdom by monorail and to other Disney World destinations by bus. Walking time to the monorail and bus-loading areas from the most remote guest rooms is about 7â€“10 minutes.
Most reader comments concerning the grand Floridian are positive. First, from a Durham, North Carolina, mother of two preschoolers:
The Grand Floridian pool with the waterslide was a big hit with our kids. They also loved taking the boat across the lagoon to return from the Magic Kingdom. The resortâ€™s location and transportation services were unbeatable.
A College Station, Texas, dad weighs in with this:
At the Grand Floridian, the only noise we heard outside our room was toilets flushing and doors closing. We had a view of the Magic Kingdom, which was fabulous, and the housekeeping staff was great. I also enjoyed having real plants in the room.
Finally from a Yorktown, Virginia, couple:
The service and â€œmousekeepingâ€ at the Grand Floridian were exceptional. Next time we go to WDW, weâ€™ll definitely stay there again.
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since 2010)|
|Disney's Grand Floridian Resort||67% (-21%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||74% (+3%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||79% (+10%)|
|Average for vacation homes & condos||95% (N/A)|
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since 2010)|
|Disney's Grand Floridian Resort||92% + (5%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||90% (+1%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||94% (+5%)|
|Average for vacation homes & condos||100% (N/A)|
Good (and Not-So-Good) Rooms at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
The resort is spread over a peninsula jutting into Seven Seas Lagoon. In addition to the main building, there are five dispersed, rectangular buildings also hosting guests. Most rooms have a balcony, and most balconies are enclosed by a rail that affords good visibility. Rooms just beneath the roof in each building (dormer rooms) have smaller, inset, solidly enclosed balconies that limit visibility when youâ€™re seated. Most dormer rooms, however, have vaulted ceilings and a coziness that compensates for the less desirable balconies.
If you want to be near the bus and monorail stations, most of the restaurants, and shopping, ask for a room in the main building (all concierge rooms). The best rooms are 4322â€“4329 and 4422â€“4429, which have full balconies and overlook the lagoon in the direction of the beach and the Polynesian Resort. other excellent main-building rooms are 4401â€“4409, with full balconies overlooking the marina and an unobstructed view of Cinderella Castle across the lagoon.
Of the five lodges, three (Conch Key, Boca Chica, and Big Pine Key) have one long side facing the lagoon and the other facing inner courtyards and swimming pools. At Conch Key, full-balcony rooms 7228â€“7231, 7328â€“7331, and 7425â€“7431 offer vistas across the lagoon to the Magic Kingdom and castle. Less expensive rooms in the same building that offer good views are 72-, 73-, and 7411, -13, -15, -17, -19, and -21, and 72-, 73-, and 7412 and -14. (grand Floridian room num- bers are coded. Take Room 7213: 7 is the building number, 2 is the floor, and 13 is the room number.) In Boca Chica and Big Pine Key, ask for a lagoon-view room on the first, second, or third floor. Many garden-view rooms in Big Pine Key, and a few in Boca Chica, have views obstructed by a poolside building. These are the worst views from any Grand Floridian room.
The two remaining buildings, Sugar Loaf Key (concierge only) and Sago Key, face each other across the marina. The opposite side of Sugar Loaf Key faces a courtyard, while the other side of Sago Key faces a fin- ger of the lagoon and a forested area. All these views are pleasant but not in the same league as those from the rooms listed previously. Excep- tions are end rooms in Sago Key (Rooms 5139, 5144, 5145, 5242â€“5245, 5342â€“5345) that have a view of the lagoon and Cinderella Castle.
|On Magic Kingdom monorail||Somewhat formal|
|Ferry service to Magic Kingdom||Cavernous, impersonal lobby|
|Excellent guest rooms||Overly large physical layout|
|Childrenâ€™s programs, character meals||Children donâ€™t get theme|
|Excellent childrenâ€™s pool||Only one on-site restaurant suitable for younger children|
|Beach Recreational options||Imposing, rather formal public areas|
|Restaurant selection via monorail||Distant guest self-parking|
|On-site child care|
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort Dining
- 1900 Park Fare (Table Service)
- Beach Pool Bar (Bar or Lounge)
- Citricos (Table Service)
- Courtyard Pool Bar (Bar or Lounge)
- Garden View Tea Room (Table Service)
- Gasparilla Island Grill (Counter Service)
- Grand Floridian Cafe (Table Service)
- Grand Floridian Gingerbread House (Food Cart)
- Mizner's Lounge (Bar or Lounge)
- Narcoossee's (Table Service)
- Victoria & Albert's (Table Service)
|Animal Kingdom||12 minutes|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||7 minutes|
|Quietness of Room||C|
|Shuttle to Parks||Yes|