Home Disney Planning Tips Review: Staying at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort and Spa

Review: Staying at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort and Spa

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Review: Staying at Disney's Grand Floridan Resort and Spa

We recently spent a week at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa before the closure of Walt Disney World, and I have all the details of what it was like! The resort is absolutely beautiful and has always been on my bucket list of places to stay. As a birthday present from my dad, my dream finally came true!

When we initially booked the reservation, we found a pretty decent Annual Passholder deal. We booked the cheapest available room view for this offer, which was an Outer Building Garden View Room.

There are many different views offered at the Grand Floridian, so depending on which room type you purchase, you could pay anywhere from around $400 to over $1000 per night. 

Checking in

We arrived around midnight on a Friday. It took us about 2 hours from the time we disembarked from the plane to the time we arrived at the hotel. Because our plane arrived after 10:00pm, we had to grab all of our suitcases and take them with us on the Magic Express. 

Surprisingly, we were not the only ones checking in at this hour. When we arrived at the desk, I inquired to see if there was any availability for an upgrade to the main building.

They told us there wasn’t anything for the length of stay we had booked. There was a cheerleading competition going on that week and their resort was being used for the spillover groups. 

A really nice cast member from concierge took our luggage on a cart, and showed us to our room. It was great not have to lug all of our suitcases around while searching for our room. 

As we walked outside, we passed the Grand Floridian’s quick service restaurant, Gasparilla Island Grill. To our surprise, the cast member told us that it was open 24/7 with a limited menu late at night.

Please note that while Gasparilla Grill is currently open, hours may vary now that Disney World is reopen.

We were so thankful to be able to grab something to eat as it had been a long night and throughout our trip, we stopped in frequently to fill up our refillable mugs. 

Atmosphere

The Grand Floridian is modeled after the Victorian era beach resorts from the late 19th century. It’s design is inspired by the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and the Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, California.

It is one of the most beautiful hotels in Disney. Everything about it screams luxury. The lobby is massive and it seems as if the ceiling goes on for miles.

There are many fresh plants and gigantic arrangements of flowers all throughout the lobby area.

Each day, beginning at 3:00, the band and pianist trade off on 30 min shifts to entertain guests with classic music and Disney fan favorites throughout the evening.

I love that in the tile floor decorations, you can find some of your favorite Disney characters too!

Of course I can’t forget to mention the grand staircase! As a kid I used to pretend I was a Disney princess walking down those stairs.

If I ever get married at the Grand Floridian, this is where I would want photos taken.

Outside, the grounds are massive. There is plenty of area to walk around and just take in the scenery.

One thing that we noticed was that the grounds maintenance team was phenomenal. They were out every day blowing away dirt and leaves from the sidewalks and plucking dead flowers.

Everything was impeccably pristine.

Our Room

The resort is made up one 1 large main building and 5 outer buildings -Sago Cay, Sugarloaf Key, Conch Key, Boca Chica and Big Pine Key.

Our room was located on the 5th floor in the Sago Cay building near the Gasparilla Island Grill.

We were all the way on the end of the floor which was absolutely perfect. There was no noise and enough space to park my mom’s scooter outside the room. 

The building had its own lobby and seating area.

I noticed the minute I walked in that it smelled just how the Beach Club lobby smells. Immediately, I felt like I was home.

The lobby was always empty and quiet. this would be a fantastic place to bring a book and just sit in peace.

I also loved how they always had fresh roses on the tables.

Because our room was on the top floor, it had really high ceilings. I thought that this made the room feel even bigger and the view was wonderful.

The room had two queen beds with the most amazing mattresses I have ever slept on. It was like sleeping a cloud.

The bathroom area was nice. I liked the fact that there were two sinks and that they were separated from the toilet area.

The shower/tub was in the same room as the toilet and was very small making it difficult to maneuver. I thought the pressure on the shower head was really nice though.

There was something bizarre about the smell of the water. I thought the water smelled a bit sulfury, and even the water coming out of the faucets had a funny taste when brushing your teeth.

I have never had this experience at any other Disney resort, so it could mean they need to soften their water better.

Our room had a small balcony and we overlooked the marina dock.

I loved this view because we had some beautiful morning sunrises and could also see some fireworks peeking out over the rooftops at night. 

The best view of the fireworks was right outside our building, though. All you had to do was stand out by the marina and Gasparilla Island Grill, and you had a perfect view!

They also played the Happily Ever After music through the speakers. It’s important to remember fireworks are currently not available during this initial phase of reopening.

During the day, you had a perfect view of Cinderella Castle also.

I thought that staying in one of the outer buildings would be a pain, and it most likely would be in the pouring rain, but we actually enjoyed the location of our building.

It was less than a 5 min walk to the main lobby and every morning on our way to the bus or monorail, we stopped into the Gasparilla Island Grill to fill our mugs and grab a quick breakfast.

I have stayed at other resorts where we don’t even bother to buy a mug because we are so far away from the refill location. 

There isn’t anything super exciting about the interior of the Gasparilla Island Grill, but as quick service locations go, it served it’s purpose.

Restaurants

Another thing that can’t be overlooked is the convenience of being so close to a ton of great restaurants. On the first full day of our stay, we spent the day walking around Disney Springs. We were so exhausted by the time we got back to our room, we all slept until 8:00. 

When we woke up, we were hungry, but didn’t have reservations anywhere. We decided to head down to the Grand Floridian Café, and were seated right away as a walk-up party.

The food was really good and it was so great to be able to go right back up to our room afterwards.

For a full review of the Grand Floridian Cafe dinner, please check out this article!

On another evening, we were at Epcot and decided to cancel our reservations at La Hacienda and go back to the hotel early to rest. When we all woke up, none of us could decide where to grab dinner. We really didn’t want to go back to a theme park.

On a whim, I checked the availability at 1900 Park Fare and scored a reservation for 4 people within the hour. 

Dinner was absolutely fabulous as always and we had some great interactions with the characters.

Park Fare dinner wasn’t in our plans this trip so it was so cool to be able to visit spontaneously

I loved being close to so many great dining locations. It made things so much easier on this trip when we got tired early. There was no bus hopping, Minnie vans, or taxi cabs needed to get a great meal. 

Not only are there a ton of restaurants at the Grand Floridian, but you have easy access to the restaurant locations at the Contemporary and Polynesian also. It is just a quick monorail ride away.

Monorail

Speaking of the monorail, there were some pros and cons worth mentioning.

It was incredibly convenient to get to the Magic Kingdom. The only problem was that, at peak times, the monorail was mostly full by the time it reached our station. 

The biggest negative was transporting to Epcot. They do not offer bus service to Epcot from the Grand Floridian, because you are expected to take the monorail.

The issue with that is you must switch monorails at the Transportation and Ticket Center to get to Epcot and each way was a 45 minute journey.

Pool at the Grand Floridian

Unfortunately on our vacation it was freezing cold all week. We never got a chance to experience the pool. I was extremely sad, because both pools looked like so much fun. 

Recreation

Senses Spa

We did get a chance to venture over to the Senses Spa though. I booked a Character Couture Makeover at the salon, which was amazing!

You can read all about my experience here.

Senses Spa has so much to offer. If you are looking for the ultimate luxurious experience, be sure to book an appointment when they begin to offer spa services again!

They have an extensive menu of services that include massages, mani/pedis, facials and more.  

You don’t even have to book a treatment to experience the Senses Spa.

You can simply book a day pass for $25 and use all the amenities such as the whirlpool, lounge and sauna.

Watercraft Rentals

If the day is nice, you might also want to head over to the marina and rent a speed boat or Pontoon boat. This is something my family used to do every trip.

We loved to rent the SeaRaycer speed boats and take them out onto the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. Renting the boats from one of the Magic Kingdom resorts is the best, because you have more area that you can travel around

Afternoon Tea

If you are looking for something fun to do with the girls, be sure to check out the Afternoon Tea in the Garden View Tea Room located in the downstairs lobby.

My mom and I had a really fun time when we visited. There is just something about floral tea cups and finger sandwiches that make you feel so dainty

Enchanted Rose Lounge

After a long day in the parks, be sure to stop in to the new Enchanted Rose Lounge for a drink. The Lounge is absolutely beautiful.

They even have chairs outside the lounge set up so you can enjoy the music from the lobby. Check out Monica’s overview of the new lounge here!

Shopping

Grand Floridan also has a lot of shops. I love to venture into the Curiouser Clothiers store. They have high-end brands such as Lily Pulitzer and Tommy Bahama.

I just love tropical patterns and when I walk into this store, the bright sunny colors make me smile.

If you are a fan of specialty soaps, be sure to check out the Basin White shop on the second floor. They sell all chemical-free products, including sugar scrubs, bath bombs and soufflés.

Be sure to read about the Basin products from KtP writer Donna Farmer here! It’s an amazing article!

Some of the above recreational activities may be limited during this time, due to the phased reopening of Walt Disney World.

Be sure to check ahead of time by following Kenny the Pirate on Facebook – we will update you when Disney World begins to offer more experiences and activities!

There is so much to see and do at Disney’s Grand Floridan. You wouldn’t even need to venture into the parks to find things to keep you busy. If you ever get the opportunity to stay at this resort, take it! You will not be sorry!

Staying at the Grand Floridian was at the top of my bucket list and was worth the wait! It was everything I could have dreamed staying there could be and more!

Have you ever stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort and Spa? What is your favorite thing to do at this resort? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!

-Christina




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6 COMMENTS

  1. Lois here. I apologize to you Christina. I inserted the name Monica when I meant your name. So sorry for the mix up. Your review was still spectacular even with my mistake. :)

    • Thanks so much Lois! Your kind words really mean a lot. There’s always a lot of research put in behind the scenes when we write so I am so happy you found this interesting. I hope you get a chance to stay at Grand Floridian, you will absolutely love it! I will have to try the French toast next time! I love that Lobster Thermador burger so much I even ordered it for breakfast last time!

  2. What a lovely article full of extraordinary insites. Your pictures were beautiful as well. As a DVC member I have yet to book the Grand Floridian but after your review I see that it is a must. You did an outstanding job and I thank you very much. I am thoroughly impressed with your descriptions of this beautiful resort. You made me see it in a new way. Just a note. My daughter and I had breakfast at the Grand Floridian Cafe – Brioche French Bread – and it was delicious. I would recommend it without hesitation. I will be visiting the cafe again for some of the French Toast on my next trip. So glad you enjoyed your stay – now I look forward to mine. Appreciate your hard work Monica, keep it up and thank you again for a fabulous tour of The Grand Floridian.

  3. When was this written? This is confusing that it sounds pre covid shut down and does not reflect current operations.

    • The stay took place in February – so about a month before it shut down. We wrote some activities and amenities would not be available. However, the rooms and layout of the resort have not changed nor has the writer’s views regarding her stay.

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