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Since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to stay at the Grand Floridian Resort in Walt Disney World. I remember thinking it was the fanciest, most magical hotel in Florida. When I became a Mom, I promised myself we would stay there before our oldest daughter went to college, which comes in the blink of an eye, believe it or not.
When I was notified that Disney was offering a special rate right around my daughter’s 17th birthday, I booked a room at Grand Floridian Resort. Talk about cutting it close.
During early check-in, when they asked what time we would be arriving, I selected 10 am. We’ve tried that before, and the rooms are rarely ready before 3 pm, so we planned on parking and going straight to Epcot until our room was ready. But at precisely 10 am, I got a text that our room was ready.
They say first impressions are everything. Driving into the Grand Floridian Resort entrance, I could feel my 9-year-old self jumping up and down and could barely contain my excitement. The oohs and aahs coming from my daughters’ and husband’s mouth matched my exact thoughts. I couldn’t believe we had somehow managed to book a stay there. The best part was that we would experience it for the first time together.
Somehow we found parking in a spot closest to the main building. As we exited the car and began unloading our suitcases, fully prepared to hike across the property, a nice gentleman drove up in a golf cart and asked if he could drive us somewhere. If you’ve been to Disney and stayed in a resort, you know there is usually a lot of walking involved, so we weren’t passing up this kind gesture.
He helped us load our suitcases, welcomed us “home,” asked which room we were in, and drove us to our building. He pointed out all the important spots along the way and gave us a full tour of the property on our way to the building in the very back, Conch Key. We were elated to be right next to the boat docks but still close enough to the restaurants, pool, and main building.
We were all so excited, chatting away, when we walked into our room, and everything went totally silent. They put us on the top floor of the building which meant we had cathedral ceilings. Although it was a standard sized room, the ceilings made it seem so much bigger.
Our room had two queen beds and a sofa bed, just enough room for our family of five to sleep comfortably (and comfortably sleep we did — those beds are incredible!). The room also comes equipped with a small refrigerator, a desk, a large screen tv, drawer and closet space and a spacious bathroom. We even had a balcony that overlooked the lagoon.
You can see a small tour of our room here:
I wish I had taken more photos of the room itself. I went on Disney’s website to look for some, but they don’t have a single photo of rooms similar to ours, with the cathedral ceilings. They are currently renovating, so I’m assuming our room was one of the renovated rooms, with updated fixtures, bedding and decor. All we kept thinking was how stunning everything was.
Everyone I spoke to that has stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort before, told me that while you are paying for luxury, you are paying more for convenience. The Grand Floridian Resort is so close to Magic Kingdom, that you can see the castle and the fireworks from the property.
Staying at the Grand Floridian Resort, allows you to enter the parks a half an hour before it opens to the public. While my family was not interested in waking up earlier, I thought that it was a great perk, especially if you want to go on rides that tend to have huge lines right away.
A quick walk to the main building will give you access to the Monorail, which we were told brings you directly to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. On the first day, the Monorail had issues, so the wait was much longer than usual. Most of the people in line wound up leaving. We were under the impression that the Monorail went directly to Epcot and didn’t realize that you have to transfer at the transportation station, walk down and around to the other side of the station to board a different Monorail to Epcot. The process was rough on our feet, especially after spending hours at Epcot. The good part is that the bag search is done before entering the monorail, so you can skip the bag check at the parks and go right in.
A second option is taking the boat directly to Magic Kingdom. We loved this option. The line wasn’t terribly long, and even though the boat stopped at two other resorts, it never felt too crowded, even though it was a small boat. Since our building was right next to the dock, we took the boat there and back on the second day.
If you want to go to Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, or Disney Springs, you can jump on a bus which show up every 15 minutes or so in front of the main building. We love the buses but find they get very crowded in the late afternoon, leaving many to stand, which isn’t ideal for families.
The transportation is a huge plus for us because it saves time in parking, walking to the tram, and then walking to the front gate. It’s one of the main reasons we almost always stay on property when we visit Walt Disney World.
Grand Floridian Resort Restaurant Options
While there are a variety of restaurants at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, we dined at just two of them during our stay. On the first night, we returned pretty late from Epcot and chose the quick meal option at Gasparilla Island Cafe. We were able to order on the app and have it ready when we arrived.
We chose to purchase the refillable cups, which we highly recommend if you are staying at any Disney Resort for more than a couple of days. It’s great to be able to fill up the cup with coffee, hot chocolate or any fountain drink and not have to worry about paying each time. The cups currently run just under $20, so make sure you refill them enough to make it worth your while.
Our dinner on the first night at Gasparilla Island Cafe consisted of burgers, salad and flatbread pizza. The prices are in line with Disney restaurants and the food was good. I accidentally ordered the Impossible burger and didn’t like the consistency, so I wound up eating my youngest daughter’s leftovers instead.
On the second night, we were going to meet our cousin who works at the Disney parks, so I made reservations at Grand Floridian Cafe. When I went up to let them know we were there, I realized I had made the reservation for the following night, but they were very accommodating. The hostess was able to get us seated just fifteen minutes later.
Our server, Tiny, was awesome. Not just her service, but she had a killer personality and could keep up with Super Dad’s silly questions.
We all had steak (except for our cousin, who is a pescatarian, so she ordered salmon). The restaurant is a bit pricey, with some dishes around $35, but it’s worth every penny. The food was so good. I haven’t had a steak that good in a while and the side dishes were equally as delicious. Our cousin raved about the salmon as well.
They had a variety of desserts available, but we told Tiny we were all stuffed. When my youngest shared her disappointment that we weren’t getting any treats, Tiny brought her a cup of vanilla ice cream. As I said, she was awesome.
Grand Floridian Resort Rates
Rates to stay at the Grand Floridian Resort range from hundreds to thousands per night, depending on where you stay, what type of room/suite, whether or not you are a Florida resident, and what time of year you visit. We booked when they offered a discount for Disney+ subscribers, so our Outer Building, Lagoon View room was just over $500/night.
Considering we’ve spent almost that much at less expensive Disney resorts, I’d say it’s definitely worth the price. My recommendation is to wait until they are offering a special rate and book it then. The money you save on the room will help with the cost of the tickets, food, souvenirs, and Genie +.
If Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort looks like a good option for your next trip to Orlando, FL, you can check pricing and availability here:
Have you ever stayed at the Grand Floridian Resort? If so, what did you think? If not, does it look like a place you and your family would enjoy? Comment below and let us know! Contact us if you have any questions; we’d happily answer them.