One of Disney World’s most positive attributes is very immersive and themed resort hotels. These resorts are so well done and themed many guests choose to visit them even though they are not staying in one of the resort’s rooms. Guests may choose to dine in one of the table service or counter service restaurants, or browse inside one of the resort’s souvenir shops, or just soak-up the atmosphere and partake in some of the resort’s many leisure activities. Just remember, you don’t have to be a hotel guest to visit a Disney resort. All guests are welcome to visit and can even participate in specific resort activities.
Over the next 6 months I’ll periodically be taking a look at various resort hotels across Disney property as part of a resort hopping series. Resort hopping is an activity guests can take advantage of when they wish to experience a different side of Disney World. Trust me when I say these resorts are attractions in themselves and should be appreciated for their theme and detail. So, grab your camera and curiosity as we visit some of the best resort hotels on Disney World property.
In today’s ‘World of Opportunity’ column we tour Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Disney considers this resort their flagship resort of Walt Disney World. It supposedly carries the highest level of accommodations, service, and amenities of any other resort on property. Some Disney World veterans may argue this is not the case and conclude other resorts offer better accommodations. However, Disney World has marketed this resort as the best they have to offer and the resort’s room rates reflect it.
The Grand Floridian’s theme is a turn-of-the-century, Victorian-style resort. The motif is consistent with 19th century furnishings, woodwork, and décor. Something you will notice as you speak with resort cast members and tour the resort is most everything is ‘grand.’ For instance, the main building of the resort is called the ‘Grand’ Lobby. It’s a 5-story building housing the resorts check-in desk, souvenir shops, several dining establishments, and club level rooms.
Also located in the ‘Grand’ Lobby is the ‘Grand’ Staircase which leads guests from the first floor to the second floor of the building.
The second floor of the ‘Grand’ Lobby houses some of the resorts souvenir shops.
Also on the second floor is the monorail station where you can catch the famed Disney World monorail. The Magic Kingdom is only 1 monorail stop away from the Grand Floridian resort.
The ‘Grand’ Lobby houses most of the resorts fine dining establishments. Citrico’s and Victoria and Albert’s are located on the second floor of the ‘Grand’ Lobby. Victoria and Albert’s is the only true 5 star dining establishment on Disney World property.
The Grand Floridian Café is located on the first floor of the ‘Grand’ Lobby
Outside the ‘Grand’ Lobby near the resorts marina is Narcoossee’s. A casual dining establishment with seafood inspired dishes.
The Grand Floridian Resort’s architecture was inspired by another resort located on Coronado Island in San Diego, CA named the Hotel Del Coronado. If you’ve ever visited the famed Hotel Del Coronado you’ll certainly notice the similarities of both resort hotels.
The Grand Floridian is segmented into several buildings. Each building houses resort rooms and specific accommodations. The buildings have specific names and a sign near each entrance.
The resort has two pools to choose from. Each pool could be considered a feature pool according to Disney World standards. The Beach pool has a slide while the Courtyard pool does not. The Courtyard pool offers a more relaxed setting.
The Beach pool
The Courtyard pool
Another resort amenity is a white sand beach overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon. It’s a great place to catch some rays and relax while taking-in a great view.
Near the white sand beach and Beach pool is the resort’s health club and spa. It’s one of several spas and health clubs on Disney World property.
Next door to the health club and spa is one of Disney World’s icons, and a very special place for couples who wish to go all out for their wedding. Disney’s Wedding Pavilion provides couples with the opportunity to get married right in the middle of the magic complete with a backdrop of Cinderella’s Castle.
Staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is not an inexpensive experience at all. Some guests who decide to stay here feel it’s a once in a lifetime experience. If your family doesn’t visit Disney World often, or this maybe the only time you visit in your lifetime you may want to splurge and stay at this resort. Just know Disney World has several other deluxe resort hotels with different themes, amenities, and locations to suit your family’s tastes. Be sure to research all of the deluxe resorts before making a final decision on where to stay during your vacation.
Hopping from resort to resort; especially along Disney’s famed monorail is an exciting experience. It gives guests a perspective of the multitude of choices at Disney World. It provides visitors an appreciation of the time and detail spent to build these beautiful resorts. Make sure to give Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa a visit during your resort hopping tour. It’s a very opulent experience that transports you to the 19th century Victorian Age.
Next Up: One of the most unique resort experiences anywhere in the world....
Friend Aaron on Facebook: I accept reader friend requests.