Spoiled for life after my visit to Disney's Grand Floridian! FEBRUARY 2005
Written: Mar 1, 2005 (Updated May 18, 2005)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Beautiful landscape, great service, location on the monorail line, many options for dining
Cons:Price, rooms are not very big
The Bottom Line: If you can foot the bill, you will have a fabulous stay!
At this time yesterday, I was laying out by the pool, surrounded by sand and tropical plants...today I am writing this review from northern Indiana, surrounded by a swirling snow storm that promises to bring us 6-12 inches of snow by 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. Why did I leave???
The Grand Floridian is Disney's most luxurious resort, referred to as Disney's Flagship Hotel. The theming is from the Victorian era. This hotel is at the very top of Disney's price range in the Deluxe category, and the very minimum you will pay during value season is $349 per night. Rates continue to increase based on the season and type of room selected all the way up to a stunning $2535 for a two bedroom suite with concierge privileges during the most expensive times of year! Is it worth it? After reading my review, hopefully you will be able to decide.
Location and Transportation
Since our family doesn't come to Disney just to sit around the hotel, this is perhaps our biggest concern when choosing a resort property. This particular trip was fairly short, since I was only able to get away from school from Thursday through Monday, so easy access to the parks was important to us. The Grand Floridian is located on the monorail line, which is a major plus. Monorails come every couple of minutes, and the Magic Kingdom was about two minutes away. Epcot is monorail accessible as well with an easy transfer at the Ticket and Transportation Center. Bus service is provided to Disney's MGM and the Animal Kingdom.
Since most guests will spend a significant amount of time at the two parks that are on the monorail line, this is a major time saver. The monorail is must larger and comes much more regularly than buses, although Disney transportation tends to be good in general. Another bonus is that that the monorail line also goes to Disney's Polynesian and Contemporary Resorts, so it is easy to go to either of those hotels for a quick meal or just to look around.
The rooms are clean and attractive, but certainly not as large as one might expect for the price. The rooms are decorated in Victorian style with roses on the bed spreads and light wood furniture. Our family of four had a room with a full-sized balcony, which was very nice, but the actual room was not very large. It had two queen sized beds, a table and chairs squeezed at one end, and a small chest of drawers which housed the television. The bathroom had the convenience of featuring a large vanity counter outside the toilet/shower area to with double sinks. I felt that this room was somewhat smaller than the room we had at the Beach Club this summer, although that resort had been less expensive.
Rooms are divided among several lodges. Ours was the 'Boca Chica' building. All of the lodges were close to the main lobby and situated near one of the two pools. Some, however, offered a view of the Magic Kingdom. You can request this if you are selecting a lagoon view room, but the hotel will probably not be able to guarantee this.
Beyond this, there seemed to be little difference between the lodges. Each has its own washer and dryer facilities.
Where can I eat???
One thing we really enjoyed about its resort is its diversity of dining options. It was rainy a good percentage of the time we visited, so dining became one of our primary activities. There are a variety of options for visitors
Victoria and Albert's
This was quite possibly the best meal of my life. This restaurant is a AAA five diamond award restaurant, and the quality is amazing. Guests receive a personalized menu and a six-course extravaganza that changes daily. During our meal, the courses were a choice of cold appetizer, a hot appetizer, a fish course, a meat course, a sorbet, and a dessert. For each course a selection of two or three options is given. Highlights included the beef filet and the chocolate mouse pyramid, complete with gold shavings on the top. Harp music played delicately in the background, and the meal was a leisurely 3 hour experience. Men must wear a jacket, however, so plan ahead if you wish to dine their, and try to get reservations as much in advance as possible. The cost is $95 per person and includes all beverages except alcohol.
Citricos is a casual restaurant with a European flare. We did not dine here during our visit. However, this was because a lady we talked to in the lobby discouraged us from trying this restaurant because she had a negative experience, which was why we went with Victoria and Alberts instead.
This is open only for dinner, and focuses on seafood although some steaks are available. This has a view of the Magic Kingdom and its fireworks, but you need to plan ahead to get a table here during these popular times. Fireworks are at different times seasonally, and during busy seasons sometimes show twice a night.
1900 Park Fare
This is your typical buffet Character restaurant. One nice thing about this restaurant is that the characters are available for both lunch and dinner, and change daily. The emphasis is on Mary Poppins in the morning and Cinderella in the evening, but we also saw Tigger and Pooh, Wendy, and various others during our stay. The available characters are posted in a wall outside the restaurant, so if meeting characters is a big priority it would be possible to attend more than once and see different characters.
Garden View Lounge
Tea is served here in the afternoons. This was one of our familys favorite activities. The tea room is small and features comfortable couches and delicate tables. The glass windows feature a view of the resort. There is a menu of options which come with three or four little courses, or tea and other treats can be ordered ala carte. Our selection was the Buckingham tea, which came with a choice of tea, a scone and tart, little sandwiches, and choice of two pastries. For children there is special chocolate milk tea offered.
The grill is the place for a quick fast-food meal. It is open 24 hours and features hot breakfast food early in the day and later pizza, sandwiches, and chicken strips. This is a great place to get coffee or fountain drinks. This is one noisy place due to the arcade located in the same building, so get your food to go! My father had complaints about the speed of service, since on a nice day the place can get fairly swamped with people who are in a hurry to eat and get back out in the sun.
There are two pools, one fairly large, basic pool and the other with a large rock waterfall and slide. These arent the most exciting pools Disney has to offer, but the surrounding views are attractive. The beach offers chairs to lounge in and some watercraft rentals, but you cant go in the water.
The Lobby is large, bright, and open, featuring a tall atrium surrounded by rooms and white balconies. The décor is Victorian floral prints, fresh flowers, and birdcages and other statutes. This main building features a variety of shops, selling goods ranging from princess costumes and goofy hats to pricey mens and womens clothing. The lobby frequently features a band, and there are several lounges in which to sit and listen with a drink.
The Grand Floridian is also known for its Spa facilities. We did not try any of these treatments, as they come at a steep price. Treatments featured include massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and a variety of other options. There is a fitness center which is fairly modern and spacious, particularly by hotel standards.
Unfortunately, I am now spoiled. This was a great hotel experience. The service was fabulous and the staff were all very friendly and helpful. My primary complaint would be, of course, the tremendously high price. The room size, it seems, should at least be a little larger for the price. However, this hotel makes up for it in many other areas, most notably convenient access to the park and availability of many options for dining, which many of the other hotels on Disney property do not have. This was truly a 'Grand' vacation experience!
If this was helpful, check out my other Disney Reviews!
Beach Club: http://www.epinions.com/content_147743018628
Coronado Springs: http://www.epinions.com/content_100521381508
Stitch's Great Escape: http://www.epinions.com/content_175365852804
The Living Seas (Finding Nemo Update):http://www.epinions.com/content_175503478404
Peter Pan's Flight: http://www.epinions.com/content_148621332100
Blizzard Beach: http://www.epinions.com/content_150122565252
Pleasure Island: http://www.epinions.com/content_148432457348
Magic Kingdom for Adults: http://www.epinions.com/content_173013175940
Victoria and Albert's: http://www.epinions.com/content_178505092740
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