Everything You Need to Know About Grand Floridian Cafe
Don’t you deserve a touch of elegance in your life? When you visit Walt Disney World, luxury is but a monorail ride away. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the most sumptuous hotel that the company has built thus far. Its grace and style have made the Grand Floridian the preferred destination spot of the elite. Even if your budget isn’t elastic enough to fit in a stay here, you may still relish in several of the wondrous features of the hotel. Plus, you’ll have access to one of the hidden gems of Disney dining. Here’s a review of Grand Floridian Café, the best kept secret on the monorail.
Obviously, the location is the Grand Floridian. You’ll have multiple ways to reach the resort. A bus from any Walt Disney World theme park will transport you. Generally, bus depots have shared drop-offs for all three monorail hotels. Those are Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the Grand Floridian.
Should you encounter a series of individual lines for each resort, that’s great news! Whenever you see a bus approach for any of these three hotels, you should immediately jump in that line, even if it’s the wrong destination. Once you arrive at the other hotel, you can head to the monorail station to catch a futuristic ride to the Grand Floridian.
My family finds this solution much more reliable than standing around waiting on buses. The reason why it works so well is that the monorail system only has five stops. No matter where you board the monorail, you’re never more than four stops away from your destination.
Guests departing Magic Kingdom have another option. They may ride ferryboats to Grand Floridian. You’ll want to look for a Gold Flag Launch boat, which you will identify by the convenient gold flag. Duh. This ferryboat shares a drop-off point with the Polynesian, which means that you also have the option to take the boat from that resort to Grand Floridian when that’s easier. Either way, these boat rides are often delightful. The route is scenic, and the captains at Disney are prone to burst into song. You’ll appreciate your favorite Disney ditties that much more when a boat full of guests joins you in singing them.
At the Grand Floridian, the restaurant is on the bottom floor. Presuming that you enter from the main lobby, it’s straight back and to the left. And yes, it’s in the same spot as 1900 Park Fare. You have to enter the Grand Floridian Café area to reach the check-in for 1900 Park Fare. This is one of the reasons why the café remains continually underrated. One of the best character meals at Walt Disney World shares the same lobby, pulling attention away from the wonderful eatery hidden in plain sight.
The theme of the restaurant is the same as the theme of the resort. It’s classic Victorian sophistication and grace. The highlight of eating here happens before you ever reach the restaurant. Walking through the lobby of the Grand Floridian is always a treat, independent of how many times you’ve visited before. There’s live music, tasteful decorations, and some impressive architecture on display.
At Grand Floridian Café, you’ll see more of the same elegance on display. Above the check-in counter, Doric columns soar to the ceiling, and remarkable white wooden framing is on display everywhere. The entire seating area is a celebration of pastels, and the open nature of the dining room creates an airy vibe. During your first (or next) visit, you should wander the dining room to inspect the accessories on display. They’re somehow stately AND kitschy in style.
Perhaps the loveliest touch here is that each table includes vase that contains a fragrant flower. It’s the perfect touch to reinforce the classy nature of the entire resort. I should point out that there’s an exterior seating area, which is where we used to hang out while waiting to be seated. When the weather is right, it’s the finest way to bask in the prestige of the Grand Floridian. Even though this section is covered, however, we’ve found that it gets a bit too warm on humid days. We primarily hang out in the lobby and listen to the live music instead, but the outside option is great for guests who prefer natural light.
Herein lies the main reason to visit Grand Floridian Café. I’ve previously discussed the unimaginably great dining options at the hotel. You’ll note that in the same article, I listed the café as the best, using the main criteria of value for the money. No sane person would rank the restaurant above its neighboring peers in terms of overall food quality, of course, but eating at Victoria & Albert’s costs approximately an arm, a leg, your firstborn, and 18 Bitcoins.
What differentiates Grand Floridian Café is the pricing. A couple can order a pair of entrees for less than $50. That’s not easy to do at ANY Deluxe resort restaurant, much less the one at the most expensive hotel. Even a pair of steaks is $68 at the time of publication, which is only two dollars more than the same meal at Sci-Fi Dine-In. Here, you’re receiving Grand Floridian cooking at non-Grand Floridian prices. It’s a bargain, a bargain I tells ya!
Impressively, you don’t get what you pay for here. Instead, you get much more. The meal portions are southern-sized rather than haute cuisine-sized. And the menu features a deep roster of novel flavors. They range from staples like Old South Chicken Wings to avant-garde offerings such as a Lobster ‘Thermidor’ Burger. The latter includes a Lobster-Parmesan Thermidor Sauce that will blow your mind.
I also adore the breakfast here. We frequently stay on the monorail, albeit at one of the other two resorts. We love to jump on the monorail and hop over to Grand Floridian Café for our first meal of the day. The Steak and Eggs and Lobster Benedict here are both delicious and both $20, which is quite affordable by theme park resort standards. Our favorite, however, is the Grand Breakfast, a delectable mix of bacon, sausage and eggs. As a pro tip, you should also try the Floridian Pancakes, which are decadent thanks to the house specialty, an Orange Butter.
The Review (with Metrics!)
Foodies are perhaps the only guests in on the secret of Grand Floridian Café. On Trip Advisor, they’ve elevated the eatery into the prestigious top 100 restaurants in Orlando. Roughly 85 percent of guests rank it somewhere between Very Good and Excellent, a remarkable demonstration of consistency in meal preparation.
For comparison, Grand Floridian Cafe has almost the same numbers in these categories as Narcoossee’s, which is also at 85 percent. As a reminder, Narcoossee’s is a Signature Dining restaurant that costs two Table Service credits and somewhere between $60 and $100 per person for most meals. Two people can eat at Grand Floridian Café for $60, and they can order the finest of everything for $100. This circles back to the value of a meal here.
The restaurant uses all of the same fresh ingredients stocked at Grand Floridian for “nicer” eateries, the fine dining ones. It serves similarly ambitious recipes along with classic staples of southern cuisine. In total, it’s a menu capable of satisfying every member of a large party or a couple looking for a romantic date. Happily, it’s also a place where you can usually eat quickly even when you don’t have an Advanced Dining Reservation, a rarity for monorail restaurants. Seriously, this place is underrated to its very core.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the staff at Grand Floridian Café. Even by Disney cast member standards, the workers here are dedicated, compassionate, and eager to serve. I can think of two instances off my head where they went above and beyond in satisfying our needs as customers. This place is truly remarkable for its food, its staff, and its value.
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