Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: Why You Should Stay Here

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, Disney World

A Comprehensive Overview of Walt Disney World’s Crown Jewel Resort Hotel

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: A grand hotel with gabled roofs and Victorian balusters of the classic beach resorts of the 19th century, inspired by the legendary Hotel del Coronado.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the crown jewel of all Walt Disney World Resort hotels. I recommend this hotel far more than any other to guests of all shapes and sizes — guests who are searching for a top-tier onsite resort hotel at Walt Disney World. Nestled quietly along the picturesque shores of Seven Seas Lagoon between the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, the Grand Floridian welcomed its first travelers in June 1988.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Hotel del Coronado.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort opened in 1988, 100 years after the Hotel del Coronado, which opened in 1888.

According to Disney, “The 867-room resort hearkens back to the days when families enjoyed their winter pilgrimage to the land of friendly sunshine, where rowboats and palm fans replaced snow shoes and pot-belly stoves. Canary palms, southern magnolias and richly colored gardens complete the timeless theme.”

The Crown Jewel term goes back to the days when Walt Disney World used the tagline The Vacation Kingdom of the World, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort was known as “the jewel in the crown” of the kingdom. Disney’s Grand Floridian also may be the first resort of its kind since the golden age of Henry M. Flagler — a man who practically introduced Florida to the world as a vacation destination. But nowadays, the Grand has all the advantages of modern day living — including one-stop monorail service to the Magic Kingdom from right inside the Grand Lobby.

Lobby staircase at the Grand Floridian.

Victorian opulence is everywhere at the Grand Floridian, including the stunning lobby staircase.

The Grand Floridian Offers Something for Guests of All Ages

Complementing the premier guest accommodations are restaurants, snack bars, lounges, an arcade, tons of shopping, two swimming pools, a splash pad, children’s playground, marina, beauty salon, a 10,000-square-foot spa, health club and much more.

Like all Walt Disney World resorts, Disney’s Grand Floridian has a distinct and unique theme that is carried meticulously through the architecture, landscape, furnishings and cast member costumes of the resort.

The architecture is reminiscent of the Victorian era, with a touch of Disney magic. The Victorian theme is embellished by intricate lattice work and railings, along with 120 miles of scrolls, turnposts and curved moldings. Snow-white towers and red-shingle roofs make a dramatic first impression for anyone who sets eyes on this majestic property.

The inspiration for the Grand Floridian is the legendary Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Opening exactly 100 years before the Grand Floridian, the Hotel Del is a must-do for any luxury Disney traveler. In fact, it makes a great addition to a Disneyland Resort vacation.

Royal Palm Club Private Elevators.

Tinker Bell leads to the way to the private elevators that will whisk you to your Club Level room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Club Level Accommodations at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

The accommodations at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort are among the most luxurious on Disney property. But where the resort really shines is in its Club Level offerings.

There are two separate Club Level areas at the resort:

  • In the main building, my preferred location is the Royal Palm Club. A theme park view room here is magical. The third-floor concierge lobby includes two concierge desks designed to provide personalized services such as check-in/check-out, reservations, information, etc. The fourth-floor concierge lobby includes a quiet seating area where club-level guests can enjoy, at no additional charge, continental breakfasts and evening cocktails.
  • In addition, there are club level accommodations and suite rooms with private elevator access in the 225,000-square-foot Sugar Loaf Key building. These accommodations include in-room facilities such as a wet bar and lavish decor. One of the resort’s five lodge buildings also features personal concierge service. Guests staying in club-level rooms and suites are eligible for personalized vacation-planning support.
Sugar Loaf Club Level at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.

Sugar Loaf Club Level at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Most rooms include two queen-size beds plus a day bed. Suites include a parlor plus one to three bedrooms.

Guestroom decor includes soft, spring-like colors and printed wall coverings, armoires and other furnishings in light woods, marble-top sinks with old-fashion fittings, and Victorian woodwork.

Partial lobby view, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.

The lobby area at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has an immense amount of space in which to relax and soak in the Victorian ambiance.

The Grand Floridian Lobby is a Legendary Meeting Place and a Destination of its Own

An open-cage elevator, aviary, comfortable seating and an array of palms and ferns set the mood in the sitting area of the Grand Lobby, which reaches five stories to a Victorian ceiling adorned with three illuminated stained-glass domes, ornate chandeliers and metal scrolls.

Shops feature decor of turn-of-the-century toys and clothing, along with all of the contemporary options you would expect to find at a deluxe resort. Shopping options are abundant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and include the following stores and boutiques:

  • Sandy Cove Gifts & Sundries carries food, drinks and snack items, plus medicine, suntan lotion, stamps and other various sundries. Resort logo items for adults and various Disney Parks merchandise make Sandy Cove Gifts & Sundries a must see.
  • Summer Lace offers upscale designer clothing for women, hair accessories, costume and fine jewelry, watches, swimwear, casual shoes, fragrances and Guerlain makeup in an elegant and airy setting. Resort logo items for women can also be found here.
  • On the second floor, M. Mouse Mercantile is just a few steps from the monorail. There are toys, costumes, Disney Pin Trading, costume jewelry, princess wear and children’s apparel.
  • Basin White offers all-natural bath, body and hair care products.
Gasparilla Island Grill, Disney's Grand Floridian.

The Gasparilla Island Grill is a quick service restaurant with a comfortable environment and very good fare.

Dining at the Grand Floridian Offers More Culinary Options than any other Resort Hotel Onsite

Dining option at Disney’s Grand Floridian are diverse and delicious. You can find everything from flatbreads, pizzas, custom-made salads and grilled entrees at Gasparilla Grill, to intimate, candlelight, gourmet dinners at Victoria & Albert’s, which offers elegant service fit for royalty (you’ll need to set aside several hours for this one). Cítricos was designed using sun-drenched Provençal colors and an open-air kitchen. 1900 Park Fare hosts character dining at breakfast and dinner plus the popular Wonderland Tea Party. Grand Floridian Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (and is what I believe is the most underrated restaurant at Walt Disney World). Disney’s Perfectly Princess Tea is offered daily in Garden View Tea Room and is an exceptional upscale experience for your littler princesses and princes.

Garden View Perfectly Princess Tea and Cake

Tea and cake at the Perfectly Princess Tea Party.

All major dining locations are in the main building except Narcoossee’s, a seafood restaurant situated on the romantic shoreline of Seven Seas Lagoon. Octagon-shaped and open-beamed, Narcoossee’s features a show kitchen where cooks broil, steam, sauté and smoke the catches of the day. The Beaches Pool Bar & Grill offers grilled items and specialty entrees, making it a great addition to your poolside lounging activities.

Sunset at the Grand Floridian Splash pad

Sunset over the splash pad at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Recreation at the Grand Floridian Resort

Not surprisingly, most (but not all) hotel recreation here is water-oriented. There are white sand beaches on Seven Seas Lagoon, plus there is a separate marina and boat rentals. The Beach Pool offers guests a natural springs setting complete with a waterfall flowing from a 27-foot-tall stone mountain and a waterslide. Little kids can make a splash in the Alice in Wonderland themed splash pad area, located next to the Beach Pool.

For the most lavish water experience, the Grand 1 Yacht offers a pampered VIP boating experience on Seven Seas Lagoon (overlooking Magic Kingdom) and also on Bay Lake. The 52-foot Sea Ray yacht sails on morning, afternoon or evening excursions, with views of a fireworks display above Magic Kingdom on select evenings. For the ultimate cruise, private butler service and on-board gourmet dining is available. The Grand 1 yacht is a personal favorite of mine and something that I highly recommend. It can book up well in advance (particularly for the nighttime hours), so remember to book ahead.

Disney's Grand 1 Yacht on Seven Seas Lagoon.

Chartering the Grand 1 Yacht is one of the most luxurious experiences you can have at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. It is a personal favorite of mine.

For those look to relax with a spa experience, Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is a full-service spa and health club that pampers guests with a variety of personalized treatments including massage therapy, body treatments, facials, manicures and pedicures. Men’s and women’s sauna, steam room, whirlpool and a workout room round out the amenities.

Considering a stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort?

As a Luxury Travel Blogger and author of The Very Best of Walt Disney World Resort, I blog regularly about Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes.

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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist