For many Disney-goers, a stay at the flagship Walt Disney World resort hotel, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, is the definition of a bucket list item. One of the most luxurious—and, of course, one of the most expensive—deluxe resorts on property, the Grand Floridian is an elegant Victorian-themed hotel designed to evoke Palm Beach’s golden era. Here are 8 of our pro tips for making the most of what will already be a memorable stay at the Grand Floridian.
8. Catch a Show
The spectacular fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom, Wishes, can be seen from various locations throughout the Grand Floridian—possibly even your room—at this waterfront resort. If you want to skip the crowds inside the park or just enjoy your own private viewing of the most magical show at Walt Disney World, there are great views from just outside Gasparilla Island Grill, the resort’s quick service dining location, as well as the boat dock, where you’ll also likely be able to hear the soundtrack. More interested in the Electrical Light Parade? You may be able to watch from the boat dock, and you might also be able to catch a glimpse while relaxing at the resort’s white-sand beach.
7. A Tea Fit for a Princess
If you’re traveling with a little girl who can’t get enough of princesses, the Grand Floridian’s Perfectly Princess Tea serves up music, parades, storytelling, singing, and dancing during a special courtly tea. Best of all, you may even be visited by Princess Aurora herself. Kids are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Disney princess, and the menu includes apple juice, sandwiches, and Princess Cake.
6. Fine Dining
Though there are table service meals at most of the Disney World properties, the Grand Floridian is home to three of the most upscale fine dining experiences worthy of your next special occasion. The opulent Victoria and Albert’s is the recipient of AAA’s prestigious Five Diamond award, and features modern American cuisine with ingredients sourced from all over the world (just be sure not to show up in your shorts and t-shirt after a day in the parks). Narcoossee’s is a waterfront dining option that serves up coastal cuisine with breathtaking views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and Electrical Water pageant, and Citrico’s is known for its award-winning international wine list and American cuisine infused with Mediterranean flavors.
5. The Transportation
Part of the Grand Floridian’s appeal is the ability to hop on a complimentary (and fun!) monorail ride ro visit the Magic Kingdom. The monorail also connects the Grand Floridian to the Contemporary and Polynesian resorts, making it the perfect way to enjoy a character breakfast at Ohana or Chef Mickey’s before hopping back on the monorail to head to the park. By taking the monorail to the TTC, you can also transfer to the monorail that will bring you directly to Epcot’s front gates. Prefer to travel by boat? The Polynesian and Grand Floridian also offer shared boat service to the Magic Kingdom.
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4. Get Pampered
The resort is home to the Senses spa, which is modeled after the Disney Cruise Line’s spa, and locals consider it one of the best spas in the Orlando area. Senses features 15 rooms where you’ll find a variety of treatments, from nails and aromatherapy to body wraps, facials, and massages. Designed to be a relaxing retreat reminiscent of a serene Floridian garden at the turn of the 20th century, the spa provides therapeutic and revitalizing techniques that feature Florida citrus and botanicals.
3. Sail a Ship
While the ferry to the Magic Kingdom can be a great way to soak up the spectacular views on the Seven Seas Lagoon, you can also steer your own ship with various water rentals. Typically available for use in the late morning through early afternoon, kayaks, pedal boats, sailboats, and Sea Raycers can be rented from a booth near the Grand Floridian’s Sugarloaf Key and Conch Key buildings.
2. Holiday Décor
Walt Disney World is known for its festive holiday decorations through its theme parks and resorts, but the Grand Floridian is home to what is perhaps one of the most impressive Christmas-themed displays. The famous Grand Floridian Gingerbread House takes up residence in the resort’s lobby during the holiday season, and on the backside of the massive edible structure is a window where guests can purchase confectionaries, including gingerbread shingles. The Gingerbread House is a longstanding holiday tradition and fan favorite, and usually boasts more than 1,000 pounds of honey and hundreds of pounds of powdered sugar, chocolate, and flour.
1. Take a Swim
Among the most impressive pools on property, the Grand Floridian’s Courtyard Pool is large enough that local waterfowl sometimes mistake it for a lake. The pool includes a zero-entry ramp for little ones, while adults can rent cabanas for an afternoon of relaxing. There’s also an Alice in Wonderland-themed splash area located between the resort’s main building and the new DVC Villas.