7 Amazing Reasons to Stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian
I’m an evangelist for Disney resorts. Every one of their official hotels is a mecca, a meticulously themed property of impeccable quality. Even by those lofty standards, however, one particular hotel towers above the rest. Here are seven reasons to visit Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Look, all Disney resorts claim terrific locations. Disney spends a fortune vetting potential build sites, identifying the ones that would offer the best possible logistics to guests. Even the hotels located away from Disney parks like Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, are in ideal spots for those particular tourist destinations.
Even allowing for this fact, the Grand Floridian is special. It’s a monorail resort, which means that the hotel’s main building includes a monorail station. Technically, it’s the Resort Monorail line, which makes five stops. Two of them are other Disney resorts, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
The other stops are the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and Magic Kingdom. You’re a monorail ride away from the most popular theme park in the world. Alternately, you switch monorails at the TTC and are a second monorail ride away from Epcot. It’s spectacular!
Grand Floridian’s location is great for another reason, too. It shares a connection beach with the Polynesian. Both are positioned by the Seven Seas Lagoon, a man-made body of water. Disney actually runs boats directly from both resorts to Magic Kingdom.
You can also follow this beach all the way to the Polynesian, opening up that resort’s amenities as well. In fact, it’s almost as close to walk from the pool of Grand Floridian to the Spirit of Aloha show as it is from the Polynesian’s lobby. I think of these resorts as fraternal twins due to their proximity.
You’ll understand why I say fraternal twins as you approach the Grand Floridian. Its distinctive theming is stylish and unmistakably southern. Specifically, it’s Floridian. Imagineers reimagined the Victorian era of early 20th century East Coast living. The gabled roofs and white walls reflect the architecture of the most beloved vacation destinations of those times. The designers even cheekily named each of the buildings after islands in the Florida Keys.
The connection here is unmistakable. During the earliest days of Walt Disney World, park officials wanted to maximize the appeal of their would-be vacation hub. They emphasized its East Coast appeal without highlighting Florida specifically. There wasn’t even a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at first even though Florida is closer to the Caribbean islands than it is to Tennessee.
Fifteen years later, with Walt Disney World’s identity established, company executives leaned into the Florida aspect more. At the same time, they needed to build a more upscale resort. During the earliest days of the park, Disney was the only game in town. Eventually, competitors moved into the area and designed classier resorts.
Disney needed to add something that would blow away all other neighboring resorts, and that’s what the Grand Floridian did. It’s as opulent as it is distinctly Floridian in style and scope. As you walk the grounds of this hotel, you’ll be mesmerized by the ritzy interiors and luxurious exteriors of the various buildings. More than 30 years later, this resort remains the ultimate in Disney hotel excellence.
Many Disney resorts feature breathtaking lobbies. While I favor the serene ones like Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, I still listed the Grand Floridian as having one of the two best lobbies on the Disney campus. Sure, it’s a bit more kinetic, but it’s somehow almost as soothing.
The star of the lobby of the Grand Floridian is the music section. Yes, you read that right. On the second floor, the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra performs regularly. I’m talking several times a day. These musicians specialize in Dixie jazz and Disney favorites, sometimes fusing the two together.
Our friends Josh and Jenna at ResortTV1 have even livestreamed a half-hour performance. When you watch this clip, you’ll understand why time spent at the Grand Floridian lobby. Yes, that’s Let It Go at the four-minute mark! Have you ever been to a hotel that plays that in the lobby?
By the way, there’s another unique feature you’ll notice when you enter the Grand Floridian. A classic two-story elevator and palatial stairway lead to the second floor. Your eye can’t help but gravitate to this unique sight. Should you take said elevator or walk up the stairs, you’ll be only a few feet away from the monorail station, too!
With so many upper-class guests staying at the Grand Floridian each night, Disney has to serve a better class of burger, so to speak. There are a plethora of restaurants onsite, and so many of them are spectacular that I’ve previously ranked the top five.
Let’s be clear. Victoria & Albert’s gets most of the headlines, and the attention is merited. It’s earned placement on several Best Of lists, not just for Walt Disney World. Many travelers and critics rank it as one of the best fine dining options in America.
Should the cost of a meal at Victoria & Albert’s be beyond your vacation budget, you’ll have plenty of other options. Two signature dining experiences are available at Citricos and Narcoossee’s. Meanwhile, two Table Service restaurants reside in the same space off the lobby. Both 1900 Park Fare and Grand Floridian Café are among my favorites at Walt Disney World.
When you spend five nights at Grand Floridian, you could *easily* eat half of your meals here. They’d be equal parts convenient and delicious. While I give the slight nod to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, most analysts would say that the food at Grand Floridian is far and away the finest at Walt Disney World…or any other Disney resort, for that matter.
Disney understands that anyone who can afford to stay at the Grand Floridian has some disposable income. The shops that they’ve placed at the hotel have the effect of turning you upside and shaking all of the money out of your clothes. You won’t feel robbed or bullied, though. To the contrary, you’ll love what you get when you shop here.
The most famous store is undoubtedly M. Mouse Mercantile, the place to go for Disney merchandise. Since many parents love to dress up their daughters, this place is also one of the best choices on the Disney campus for Princess outfits. You’ll frequently see little girls dressed up as their favorite Disney characters, straight down to the makeup and tiaras. You’ll get a contact high from watching the joy on their faces as they get swept away in their play fantasy. It’s adorable.
Of course, most of the shops here are upscale in terms of products, manufacturers and, yes, prices. As an example, men can rebuild their wardrobe on the fly at Commander Porter’s, which sells fashionable clothing for dudes. Conversely, Summer Lace is ideal for any woman in the mood for a bit of pampering. It’s got everything from exquisite perfumes to designer jewelry to stylish swimwear.
TL: DR You’ll have no problem spending money at the Grand Floridian.
Finally, you’ll want to take a dip in the pool during your vacation. You’re in Florida, after all. In fact, you’re at the Grand Floridian, the place where Princess Diana brought her children. You deserve the best of everything while you’re here, and Disney’s happy to oblige.
The Beach Pool is one of the best sitting areas at Walt Disney World. It’s a massive space, with a 111,261-gallon pool. Even when you’re not in the mood for a swim, you may want to walk through the area, as a bridge provides a spectacular view of the entire Beach Pool section including Seven Seas Lagoon. To me, the highlight of this section is 181-foot waterslide. It’s also a marvelous place to watch Movies Under the Stars.
Fans of quiet pools will be happy at Grand Floridian, too. The Courtyard Pool is a zero-entry leisure pool that I find more soothing than most places at Disney. It doesn’t seem to have a large number of children playing. Perhaps that’s because Disney constructed a water play area specifically for children. It follows the Alice in Wonderland motif on display in other parts of the hotel.
The star of this section is the Mat Hatter’s hat, which gradually accumulates water like a bucket until it tips and falls over. At this point, it splashes children as they scream with glee. The whole setup is pretty great and worthy of your time.
I could go on and on with reasons to stay at the Grand Floridian, but you get the point. It’s THE ultimate in Disney resort stays. When you want to do something special for your trip, book a room here. You deserve that sort of joy in your life, don’t you? Speak with an agent at MickeyTravels to get set up with the Disney vacation of your dreams!