1. Decadent Details
When you enter the appropriately grand lobby of the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, you won’t know what to notice first. The intoxicating smell of green clover and aloe, gently permeating the room? Or perhaps the opulent 5-story lobby? Then again, maybe it’s the huge, ornate bird cages that will draw your attention. There’s plenty to please the senses, and you don’t have to go far to do so! You’ll hear live music played on the grand piano, or by the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, depending on the time of day. Look up to marvel at the intricate and beautiful chandelier, but don’t forget to look down also, at the Italian marble floors where you’ll find different Disney characters waiting for you to find them. This resort is the epitome of perfection, as Disney’s flagship resort, and nowhere is this more evident than in the delicious details throughout.
2. Choose Your Own Transportation to the Parks
As much as you may love your resort, we know the main reason you booked a Disney World vacation is to experience the parks! And to that end, the Grand Floridian has several different ways for you to get to and from the parks with ease. Of course, the complimentary bus transportation available at all resorts is available here as well, picking up and returning guests to the lobby area. But if you feel like a change of pace and scenery, there’s also a boat that departs regularly for the Magic Kingdom. Or you can hop aboard the monorail, which will also take you to the Magic Kingdom (it will take you to Epcot too, but that park is on a different monorail line, so you’ll need to transfer), as well as to several other fantastic resorts. The monorail is our favorite way to indulge in resort-hopping, to experience the unique features of other resorts and plan our next vacation!
3. Food, Glorious Food!
One thing’s for sure: you’ll never go hungry while visiting the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. With no less than eleven locations to find food within the resort, it’s just a question of what type of dining experience you feel like indulging in. There are lounges where you can enjoy your favorite drink or perhaps sample a new concoction, as well as some tapas and maybe a bit of jazz. There are several quick-service options, where you’ll find casual meals that you can quickly enjoy before heading out to a park. If you’re in the mood for some fine dining, there are several signature dining locations to explore, including the world-famous, award-winning Victoria & Albert’s. And then there’s 1900 Park Fare, which offers a variety of character dining, where you can eat while interacting with your favorite characters from Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and Cinderella. Bon appétit!!
4. Pamper Yourself Silly
Even fully grown princes and princesses deserve to be spoiled. And no resort on Disney property does this better than the Grand Floridian! Not only is there an on-site spa (“Senses”) designed as a peaceful Victorian garden in Florida, where you can enjoy a variety of relaxing treatments from massages to aromatherapy, but the entire second floor of the resort lobby is full of fun shopping opportunities. You’ll find shops selling Disney souvenirs at every price point, and even a fantastic shop selling bath products, where you can find adorable seasonal soaps, body lotions and even create your own unique combination of delectable bath salts. Make sure you smell the vanilla-grapefruit scent; it’s proven quite addictive for several people I know!
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5. Extra-Special Extras
In addition to the campfires and movie nights offered by many Disney resorts, there are a few special extras offered by the Grand Floridian alone. Twice a week, housekeepers with parasols march through the resort in a parasol parade, delighting passersby and adding a lovely extra dimension to the Victorian theme of the resort. Then there’s the turndown service that all guests receive nightly; your bed will be turned down, and you’ll receive a chocolate on your pillow, leaving you feeling like a VIP! Grand Floridian also has special access views for the Electrical Water Pageant (the Pageant goes by the resort every night, on the Seven Seas Lagoon). And if all that weren’t enough, the prince and princesses in your party can enjoy a “Princess Tea Party” with Princess Aurora, including not only tea and snacks, but also take-home surprises for your child. For the adults in your group, there’s also an adult afternoon tea where you will experience a selection of tea and traditional English snacks, something you won’t find anywhere else at Disney World!
6. Christmas Gingerbread
If you’re lucky enough to visit the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa around Christmas time, you’re in for a treat – literally and figuratively. Every year, the resort is home to the largest chef-created holiday creation of Walt Disney World: a life-size gingerbread house, sitting in the lobby for all to see – and, just as importantly, smell! The chefs use a traditional recipe from Europe, and the house takes hundreds of hours to bake. Visit the house to learn more about the astonishing statistics of its creation (can you guess how tall it is? Or how many pounds of flour it takes to make it?), and to witness gingerbread house decoration demonstrations. You can also drop by to purchase some of the delicious seasonal treats offered right out of the gingerbread house itself! Regardless of where you’re staying during your Walt Disney World adventure, if you visit at Christmas, you’ll want to head over to the Grand Floridian for a gingerbread experience you’ll never forget!