Eight Fabulous Reasons Why Grand Floridian Is the Best
Every Disney fan has a favorite hotel, a place that feels like home while they’re vacationing at Walt Disney World.
Even the guests who prefer some other resort still know which Disney hotel towers above the rest.
Here are eight reasons why Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the best.
1900 Park Fare
One of the running themes of any celebration of the Grand Floridian centers on the dining.
This place is arguably the best resort in terms of restaurant options. In fact, I’d argue that it’s better than Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Some of the dining options here deliver the kind of fine dining experience you’d expect highlighted in Food & Wine Magazine.
Then, there’s 1900 Park Fare, where the Strawberry Soup is decadent, but that’s not why I eat here.
During non-pandemic times, Disney hosts a character meal each morning and evening.
At breakfast, characters from Alice in Wonderland join Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh.
Dinner is the meal that I love here, though. Cinderella ostensibly serves as the host of the meal, but her wicked stepmother and stepsisters steal the show.
These three play the role of mean-spirited, narcissistic heels who talk smack during your meal. It’s hysterical and so out of character for Disney that I appreciate it even more.
My fondest memories of the Grand Floridian involve a kindly elderly gentleman named Richard Gerth holding the door for me.
The late Mr. Gerth once saw my wife and me angrily sprinting toward the lobby, noticed that we had our luggage with us, and deduced that things had gone awry.
As he held the door, he offered a blanket apology on behalf of Disney. Then, he assured me that the magic was just around the corner. That man was a saint.
Even now, I still feel his spirit whenever I enter the hotel lobby, inarguably the most regal of all such facilities.
Personally, I prefer Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort for its island vibe and fragrant aroma. However, even I cannot ignore that the Grand Floridian is classier.
The star of this lobby, at least for me, is the old-timey elevator that marries form and function. It transports guests to the second floor near the monorail station.
Somehow, a ride on this elevator reminds me of what it must have been like boarding the Titanic for the first time. It’s that elegant.
Do you love Beauty and the Beast? Well, a couple of years ago, Disney decided that you must.
Why else would the Grand Floridian tear up some of its hotel lobby to build something new on the second floor?
Today, guests can visit the aptly named Enchanted Rose Lounge, a gorgeous area with indoor and outdoor seating options.
The love for Beauty and the Beast is unmistakable, and it’s a sneaky-good spot when you’ve got the munchies.
From 5 to 10 p.m., this place serves some shockingly good shareables. The Truffle Fries get most of the praise, but don’t sleep on the Mini Smoked Brisket Sliders!
What always stands out for me about this spot is that it’s multifaceted enough to satisfy any mood.
Sometimes, you might want to people-watch the hotel lobby. Some of the tables overlook this area, which is that much better during Gingerbread House season.
When you want to feel a gentle breeze, the Enchanted Rose Lounge is perfect for that, too. It’s a terrific hangout spot.
The Mad Hat
Okay, here’s my confession. I don’t just have Peter Pan Syndrome. A part of me is forever eight years old.
That little boy still adores this thing:
Yes, that’s an oversized, golden version of the Mad Hatter’s hat. And yes, it’s filling with water while you watch.
Every few minutes, the water in the hat reaches a literal tipping point, causing a gigantic splash.
Once the hat is more than half-full, it dumps its contents on the people in the surrounding area. I delight in this feeling.
A Disney vacation is all about joy, and moments like this exemplify it.
The three monorail resorts all share the same amenity. Still, Grand Floridian is arguably in the best position of the bunch.
During the monorail resort loop, the Grand Floridian falls in the middle both ways, meaning you’re never more than 10 minutes from Magic Kingdom.
Conversely, you can make a quick hop to the EPCOT line at the Transportation and Ticket Center to get there in another 15 minutes.
The logistics of the Grand Floridian are as good as it gets at Walt Disney World.
PS: If you want some exercise, there’s now a direct walking path that will take you right to Magic Kingdom’s front gate…but I’m a monorail guy.
The Piano Player
As a child, I loved walking down Main Street, U.S.A. because of Casey’s Corner.
Whenever I passed that place, a kindly gentleman in a colorful outfit played the piano.
He’d flip between Take Me Out to the Ballgame and various Disney classics. It was magical.
Later, as I got older and could explore the Disney campus on my own, I discovered the hotel lobby of the Grand Floridian.
Here, I realized that Disney had woven music into the very fabric of the building. At the time, an entire orchestra sometimes played.
On other occasions, a single pianist demonstrated absolute mastery of their craft by performing the best Disney tunes.
To this day, I smile whenever I enter the lobby and hear music. I know that I’m in for a treat.
Victoria & Albert’s
Sometimes, I still struggle to wrap my head around this. I grew up near Dollywood, a place that frequently wins awards for its theme park food.
Even then, my expectations for eating during a theme park visit are extremely low. I mean, it’s the breathing definition of burgers and nuggets.
You eat pizza when you’re feeling adventurous. Otherwise, you’re really just there for the snacks.
So, when I list the other marvelous restaurants at the Grand Floridian, I’m already acknowledging that this place is special.
Even by those standards, Victoria & Albert’s somehow sets a new bar for excellence. This place doesn’t just win awards as the best theme park restaurant.
When you dine here – which admittedly isn’t possible at the moment due to the pandemic – you’re experiencing one of the best fine dining experiences in America.
That’s not me talking, either. Major publications have lauded Victoria & Albert’s for its haute cuisine. This place is fancy-fancy, not just regular person fancy.
The Gingerbread House
Look, I know this one only counts for six weeks out of the year, which is why I pushed it to last.
Still, I feel strongly that this amenity towers above almost everything else at the Grand Floridian. It’s a unique offering that differentiates the hotel over the holidays.
Since the late 1990s, guests have looked forward to a holiday visit at the Grand Floridian’s lobby.
People know they’ll find two things at this time of year: an architectural marvel that’s somehow edible and delicious holiday treats.
The Gingerbread House itself is always stunning to see and wildly popular as a photo op. And the desserts available at the house will give you the ultimate sugar rush.
We’re in the holiday season when this article publishes. So, it’d be an abomination to exclude the stunning Gingerbread House from the list.
I look forward to this thing all year, and that’s not hyperbole.