Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is located on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon and is commonly referred to as Disney’s flagship resort. In this review of the Grand Floridian, we’ll take an in-depth look at the resort and our thoughts on staying here. We’ll also preview the rooms, amenities, dining, and recreation you’ll encounter during your stay.
Disney’s Grand Floridian is often referred to in several classifications. For example, the hotel is a Disney Deluxe Resort and is actually the most expensive resort in the entirety of Disney World. Additionally, the luxury hotel sits on the Disney World monorail line making it a monorail resort. Or you might even call it a Magic Kingdom Resort because you can walk directly from the Grand Floridian to the theme park.
While we could probably come up with a few more categories that would be accurate, I think you probably get the picture. The Grand Floridian is many different things to many different people. And that’s what makes a stay here desirable.
As for this Grand Floridian Resort review, we’ll try to find out what that thing is that will make it special to you. It might be a dream of visiting for fine dining or planning a wedding at the resort’s chapel. Maybe you want to stay somewhere that’s within walking distance to Magic Kingdom park.
Whatever it is, I doubt many will find fault with this quintessential Disney World Resort. And if you’re already thinking it might feel a little too formal for you, think again. Like most of the resort’s at Disney, you’ll find there’s something for everyone here.
So pull out your favorite china, fill your teacup, and throw a few scones on the side. Because we’re on our way to pay Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort a visit.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Review
Disney’s Grand Floridian is highly recognizable across the water from Magic Kingdom Park. The Victorian resort has white siding with a contrasting red roof. The hotel’s overall design was inspired by the infamous Hotel del Coronado and a few other similarly designed resorts.
The property’s layout consists of one main building with additional outer buildings scattered across the grounds. The main building is home to the resort’s grand lobby. Surrounding the lobby, you’ll find a variety of dining, shops, and lounges.
The room’s in the main building are for those using Disney’s Signature concierge services, also known as the club level. Most visiting the Grand Floridian for a vacation will end up in one of the outer buildings.
These five outer buildings are almost like smaller hotels with a front entrance, lobby, and elevators. However, they aren’t staffed or have the same amenities as the main building. They were designed to provide interior room access more than anything else.
Therefore, you will have to walk over to the main building for shops and dining amenities. Each building at the Grand Floridian is named after an island in the Florida Keys:
- Sago Cay
- Conch Key
- Boca Chica
- Big Pine Key
- Sugar Loaf
Sugar Loaf is the second club level offering at the Grand Floridian outside of the main building. Because why have one when you could have two? If you have never had the opportunity to stay club level at Disney World, it’s quite the experience. We’ve stayed club level at Disney’s Beach Club multiple times and have thoroughly enjoyed it.
Additionally, the resort has another outer building that’s considered a separate Disney Vacation Club Resort, the Grand Floridian Villas. This portion of the resort opened a few years back, and we’ll discuss the room options a little further down. Recently, Disney announced that the rooms in Big Pine Key will be converted to become part of the DVC portion of the resort within the coming year.
As far as the location goes, Grand Floridian sits within easy walking distance to Disney’s Polynesian Resort. In addition, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is only a short monorail ride away. And you can see Cinderella Castle in the distance from the resort’s white sand beaches.
This entire area is considered Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Address: 4401 Floridian Way, Bay Lake, FL 32836
There are several types of accommodations and upgrades when selecting a guest room at the Grand Floridian Resort. A guest room in the outer building typically comes with one of the following setups:
- 2 Queen Beds with 1 Day Bed
- 2 Queen Beds
- 1 King Bed
- 1 King Bed with 1 Double Size Sleeper Sofa
King beds are usually considered upgrades at Disney World. Make sure to check with your travel agent before making a reservation.
Each of these come with the following room views or upgrades:
- Garden View
- Lagoon View
- Theme Park View
There are a few other different types of rooms that are considered upgrades from a standard guest room:
- 1 Bedroom Suite
- 1 Bedroom Park View
- 2 Bedroom Suite
Additionally, if you are staying club level you’ll need to decide which building will work best for your trip.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been able to stay as a guest of the Grand Floridian on a few separate occasions. Most of our resort stays here have been what I call a split stay. That’s where we visit multiple resorts during the entirety of a week.
Well, in my case, I’m usually in Orlando for a month at a time when I’m working on Resorts Gal. So I tend to bounce around more than the average guest. With that being said, if you have an interest in staying at Grand Floridian, but do not have the budget for a full week, you might enjoy a split stay.
I recommend four nights at the Grand Floridian and then spend the remainder of your vacation at a Disney hotel like a value or a moderate resort. If your budget is tight, you might look to spend the lowest-priced evenings at the deluxe. Thursdays through Sundays typically tend to be the highest-priced days of the week.
This kind of stay does involve moving mid-vacation. Disney will assist with the process, but packing and unpacking again will cut into some of your valuable vacation time. If you decide to go this route, be open to the process. For the record, I do not recommend attempting a split stay if you are a first time visitor.
As for guest rooms, we received a King size bed on our first resort stay. This room had a fairly large open space with the lack of the second queen bed.
That open space provided additional room to use the pull out sofa sleeper.
The guest bath was more than sufficient.
And this was the view from our room. This room assignment was in Conch Key and looked out to the lagoon and you could see the monorail in the distance.
Later on, we had a room in Big Pine Key. These photos are from before I started Resorts Gal, so they aren’t as thorough. However, I wanted to use them for the sake of providing the room views.
Below is where I took a picture of the view from the end of my bed. This guest room had two queen beds and a sleeper sofa. It was one of those rooms I remember fondly when I run across this photo.
I have distinct memories of staying here and enjoying the balcony. In the mornings, I was awakened by the faint sound of the Magic Kingdom Ferry heading back and forth across the water.
At night, the Electrical Water Pageant drifted by as I sipped on a drink I had picked up from the Tiki Terrace next door at the Polynesian. If you are staying here, make sure to check it out at least one evening. It will float by the shoreline between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Needless to say, the stay was pleasant, and I spent a good deal of time at the resort. You could spend an entire week here, never visit a Disney park, and still have a wonderful vacation.
Those looking for rooms that accommodate a larger number of guests might want to consider a Disney Villa Resort. As mentioned early on in this review, the Grand Floridian is home to one of these Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts.
We had the pleasure of staying in a Grand Floridian deluxe studio villa here a few months back. The studio villa sleeps up to five guests. Pictured below, our room had a queen bed, a sofa sleeper, and a pull-down trundle bed for a small child.
The bathroom was a really nice setup. One side of it had a walk-in shower. On the opposite side, there was a separate tub with a shower combination.
And yes, that’s a fancy TV in the mirror. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching my Mickey Mouse shorts while getting ready to head out to a theme park in the mornings.
The kitchenette is built into the hallway of the room. These deluxe studios offer a sink, microwave, dinnerware, coffeemaker, and other similar conveniences.
If these types of rooms are something that interest you, make sure to discuss the options with your travel agent. While they are an upgrade, sometimes it’s worth paying a little extra to enjoy a few of these conveniences.
When it comes to Disney dining, there are plenty of Grand Floridian restaurants to enjoy during your stay.
The first is Gasparilla Island Grill, the main counter service dining location for the resort. This dining venue accepts mobile orders and offers items like burgers, fries, pizza, and chicken nuggets. Here is a look at a meal I enjoyed outside on the large patio that overlooks the marina.
Inside the main building, you’ll find several dining options. Grand Floridian Cafe is located on the first floor and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve always been impressed with the food and service received here. It’s one of my top dining recommendations for a casual meal at Disney.
There is a full review of the Grand Floridian Cafe here if you would like to learn more. It includes several meals we’ve enjoyed there like this amazing shrimp cocktail.
1900 Park Fare sits adjacent to Grand Floridian Cafe and provides a character dining experience. There is an overview of this experience in the Disney World character dining guide.
And if you are considering dining with characters make sure to check out our breakfast review of Topolino’s Terrace. The food was really good there along with the character interaction.
Upstairs off the lobby, you’ll find Citricos which is one of three Disney signature dining locations at the Grand Floridian. Those interested in fine dining might like to make a reservation here.
Or, if you are looking for the creme de la creme, you might enjoy Victoria and Albert’s, which is next door to Citricos. This is the finest dining experience at Walt Disney World, and the most expensive.
Back outside on the water sits Narcoossee’s, the third signature dining location at the Grand. Reservations will be needed in advance for this one as well. Consider dining here later in the evening to enjoy views of Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars when they come available again.
Each pools has its own pool bars. One is the Beaches Pool Bar and Grill, which is located at the villas pool. The other is Courtyard Pool Bar that sits next to the Courtyard pool.
Enchanted Rose is the newer lounge available on the 2nd floor of the lobby. This establishment replaced the former Mizner’s lounge.
Lastly, guests can enjoy afternoon tea service in the Garden View Tea Room. The tea room is located a few steps off the first floor of the Grand Floridian lobby. The different tea services offered throughout the week do require a reservation.
The Grand Floridian Resort has two pools on the property. The first is the Beach pool which sits between the villas and the main building.
This pool features a water slide, waterfall, bridge, and zero-entry area. I’ve spent some time at both pools and do prefer this one. However, they are both enjoyable.
There is a beach in front of the pool area that faces out to Seven Seas Lagoon.
You can grab a meal at Gasparilla’s or the pool bar and enjoy it out here.
Immediately next door to this pool is the water play area themed to Alice in Wonderland. The area is like a splash playground for children. When I took this photo, it hadn’t reopened yet. Hence, no water. In addition, there are usually a few table games like ping pong available in this area.
The Courtyard outdoor pool sits directly in front of Big Pine Key. When we stayed in that building, I enjoyed having such close access to a pool.
With that being said, both pools at the Grand Floridian are within sight of each other. No matter which one you decide to visit, there won’t be too much difference in the proximity to your room. It’s also important to note that the resort has two feature pools but there are no quiet pools. This is similar to the set-up of the Polynesian next door.
When you stay at the Grand Floridian Resort, you’ll have access to several different forms of Disney transportation. The first is the walking path between Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom Park.
You can also take the resort monorail to Magic Kingdom Park. The good thing about staying here is that, after boarding, the next stop is Magic Kingdom. However, you will have to stop a few extra times on the way back from the park.
When the Epcot Monorail returns to service you can take the resort monorail around to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Then you can exit and board the monorail to Epcot.
Or you can opt to walk over to the center and board the monorail. This would be my preferred method since you can enjoy the walk along the shoreline of Grand Floridian and the Polynesian on your way over.
Furthermore, Grand Floridian has a resort boat service to and from the Magic Kingdom. It’s a huge asset to have all these different options. Guests staying at a value resort like the All-Stars would only have Disney bus service as an option. But that’s one of the differences between a value and a deluxe resort.
The boats travel back and forth across the water all day. I always enjoy seeing them in the distance. And riding them is even more pleasant when the weather is nice.
Lastly, the resort provides bus service to the following Disney parks: Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Normally, Epcot would be monorail only, but that’s not an option at this time. You can also use the bus service to travel to Disney Springs and the water parks.
Those planning a stay at Grand Floridian might want to read the full transportation review for the resort here.
When you arrive at the Grand Floridian, you’ll be greeted by lush landscaping, crisp whites, and brick pavers.
Outside, a few classic cars sit in valet.
Usually, there are fresh flowers as soon as you step inside.
And the ceiling is beautiful with the frosted glass filtering a soft, natural light.
One of the things I wanted to mention was the attention to detail in the tile floors. Each mosaic features Disney characters and some include the Grand Floridian logo.
Like Tinkerbell centered here in front of a pair of elevators.
On the first floor Cinderella and Prince Charming are positioned in front of the birdcage elevator that faces out into the lobby.
Here is a look at the birdcage part. This is definitely a resort you will at least want to stop in at if you visit during Christmas. I have a full review of the Grand Floridian at Christmas if you like to browse heart-warming holiday photos.
This grand staircase is one for the memory books. I always expect to catch Cinderella descending these steps at any moment.
The lobby is expansive providing a nice area for guests to lounge. Unfortunately, the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra no longer plays here in the evening. Those visiting might happen upon a lone piano player.
If you were to visit close to Easter, you might run into some of the chocolate eggs on display. These are usually made by the chefs at Disney’s Grand Floridian.
M. Mouse Mercantile sits on the second floor of the lobby. This shop carries a variety of Disney branded merchandise and toys.
Across the way, there’s a Basin, popularly known for their bath bombs and soap products.
Next door to Basin is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
They are not open during this time. But here’s a glance inside. This is where you make an appointment for your child, bring a princess dress or purchase one here, and receive the full makeover.
There’s even a place set up off the lobby to have portraits made.
Downstairs, Sandy Cove Gifts & Sundries is the resort’s main gift shop. They offer a large variety of products.
You’ll find items like resort branded merchandise.
And convenience items like groceries and beverages along with health and beauty items.
Those who like the finer things in life might enjoy a stop in at Curiouser Clothiers. This is on the first floor to the right of the Garden View Tea Room. Curiouser Clothiers sells fashionable, high-end items.
As we make our way out of the main lobby, we’ll take a look at a few other items you might want to take advantage of while staying at the resort.
Senses Spa and the Grand Floridian’s Fitness Center are located in the same building. It is directly across from the Villas wing.
The gym is shared with Disney’s Polynesian. It’s only a few steps away from this side of the resort. I have worked out at several gyms on Disney property and can say they are rarely crowded.
The fitness centers provide everything you would need for a strength training or cardio workout. You could even find the space to do Zumba Live with your dance crew back home while they are snowed in.
But if you’re anything like me, you might prefer to enjoy as much Florida sunshine as possible while visiting. Thankfully, Grand Floridian has a wonderful place to jog. Sometimes I even visit the resort just so I can take in a long, leisurely jog.
Here’s part of the pathway, along the shoreline. I like to start at the far end of Disney’s Polynesian and stay on the shore. Usually, I jog all the way to the other side of Grand Floridian and come back. But since the new walkway has opened to Magic Kingdom, you could extend the jog even further if you would like to.
You’ll even pass by Disney’s Wedding Chapel that sits between Grand Floridian and Polynesian. Technically, it is part of the Grand’s property.
I’ve always felt it was nicely done. I don’t know much about weddings, but I’m sure you could do a whole lot worse.
The bridge is my favorite part.
Picture it, standing there with the love of your life in this surreal surrounding.
Filling up that dance card for the rest of your life. It all sounds very nice.
As we near the end of our review, I wanted to mention that Grand Floridian has an arcade called Arcadia Games. It’s next door to Gasparilla Island Grill.
Additionally, there’s a marina, The Captain’s Shipyard, with various boat rentals available during the day. Most of these extras have yet to re-open. Make sure to check for availability in advance of planning your day.
The majority of buildings at the Grand Floridian offer guest laundry facilities. I often do laundry at Disney and use Laundry View’s site here to check availability.
Their site has all of the laundry rooms at the Walt Disney World Resort. It will show you what machines are available if you think to check before heading that way. You can also reference it to see when your laundry is completed.
I hope that you have found this review of Disney’s Grand Floridian helpful in planning your Disney vacation. I spend a lot of time at the resorts and try to consider everything that each property offers. Some things that are important to me when vacationing might not be to you and vice versa.
Therefore, I try to offer a well rounded observation along with any other strong opinions I might have. If you were to ask me what I didn’t like about the Grand Floridian, the list would be comprised of one line, the expense. It does cost a lot to stay here.
The only other thing I’m not crazy about is that Florida can be a very rainy place. Most of the room assignments require a decent enough walk that you’d be soaked before reaching the main building in the event of a downpour.
That is kind of the nature of the beast, though, if you are visiting the parks in the rain. If you stay in the villas portion of the resort, there’s a nice covered walkway to the front entrance of the main building. You’ll find the same setup next door in Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
That’s one of the things I like best about my personal favorite resort choice, Disney’s Beach Club. It’s connected to the neighboring Yacht Club and offers a large sprawling indoor area to explore in inclement weather.
Other than that, I have no issues with this stunning flagship resort. And I do spend quite a good bit of time there, even as a day guest.
Anyone planning a stay here will want to use the services of a travel agent. Kristen, my friend, is the owner of Firefly Travels, and her company specializes in Disney VIP planning services. You can schedule a consultation or request a quote by filling out the contact form on their site here. Someone will get back to you shortly to discuss your travel needs.
You might also enjoy these other Disney World Hotel reviews:
- Bay Lake Tower Review with Deluxe Studio
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Review
And if you are planning dining reservations, make sure to check out the full list of Disney Restaurant Reviews. There are also guides for the following dining options:
- The Best Signature Restaurants at Disney
- Disney Springs Best Restaurants List
- List of Disney Hotel Restaurants
Now about those character inlays in the Grand Floridian Resort’s lobby. Here are a few more photos.
For more images, check out the Grand Floridian photos gallery here.
Don’t hesitate to ask some of the cast members in the lobby if you would like to know a little history of the resort. I have found that many of them have worked there for many years. They are so kind and love to share fun tidbits with guests.
Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort review. Are you planning a stay here? What is it that makes the resort special to you?