RESORT REVIEW: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

It could be argued that my experience at the Grand Floridian is a little biased since it’s where we stayed on our honeymoon. But I really think that I’d have the same glowing review no matter what. I mean, look at this place:

My sweet husband told me we could stay where ever I wanted for our honeymoon, so we narrowed our choices down to the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian. Both appealed to me for my very first time staying on Disney property, but for our honeymoon I leaned toward the GF. It is elegant and the most luxurious at Disney, a sprawling white resort with storybook turrets and gables, many of which had an unobstructed view of Cinderella Castle.

The lobby is a place I could have easily spent all day. There’s usually some kind of live music, either someone behind the grand piano or a brass band playing jazz versions of Disney songs from the second floor balcony. I feel like I talk about resort lobbies a lot, but they’re important to me. It’s the first real impression you get of a resort, and that first impression really does affect your entire experience. Obviously one step inside the GF whisks you off to another world – a better world.

Our honeymoon was the only time we’ve stayed at the GF, though I’m hoping to go back for an anniversary trip some time (hint, hint, Honey!), so we did something we probably wouldn’t otherwise have done – we stayed on the Concierge Level. We did that so we’d be able to stay in one of the Honeymoon Suites. I just wanted a view of Cinderella Castle from the room, and booking a Honeymoon Suite is one way to do that. Of course they’re all on the Concierge Level. Unfortunately, being WAY more inexperienced at WDW than we are today, we didn’t take full advantage of the Concierge. They’ll book reservations for you and get you into places you probably wouldn’t otherwise be able to without having already booked really far in advance. They greeted us upon arrival and offered us their services for just about anything we could want. We felt spoiled. It was exactly the way a honeymoon should be.

There is also a wedding pavilion on the property for those lucky enough to get married in WDW. They have a complete wedding-planning service that includes everything from a carriage ride around the property to being pronounced "man and wife" in front of a window looking out at Cinderella Castle. 

But back to my review.

The GF is plush and luxurious and beautiful and everything wonderful. The decorations are gorgeous, from the tiniest detail of the room to the fresh, HUGE flower arrangements throughout the resort and the meticulously tended landscaping outside. I could’ve spent the majority of our vacation just at the resort and would’ve been happy. It’s that kind of a place.

There are also a number of good places to eat inside, like character dining at 1900 Park Fare and fine dining at Citricos, Victoria & Albert’s, or Narcoossee’s. There’s also a tea room and casual dining at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Once we grabbed a quick meal from the Cafe and sat outside to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the resort. It offered a prime view and a relaxed atmosphere for ending the night.

The other great thing about the GF is its proximity to the Magic Kingdom. Just hop on the monorail from the second floor of the resort, and get off on the next stop. You can also take a boat to the Magic Kingdom, which is a more leisurely and usually less-crowded option. The Ticket and Transportation Center is also a few stops after (or, if you’re feeling industrious you can just walk) which means easy access to Epcot. 

The only con I can think of is the cost. This place is expensive, to say the least. The most basic room with the worst view (i.e. parking lot) is very pricey. When I think about what we paid for our castle-view honeymoon suite, I feel light-headed. Still, you get what you pay for. When you're in the GF, you can easily understand why it costs so much. 

Overall, the Grand Floridian is fantastic. It’s one of those places where you can really lose yourself. I love it because, even though it has all of the Disney magic you’d expect, it’s understated. There are hidden Mickeys in the rooms, on the wallpaper and the bed spreads and even carved into the wooden lamps, but they’re only subtle reminders you’re at Disney World (compared to, say, the All Star Resorts where the Disney theme is more obvious). I think even the fanciest, most discerning, pickiest world-traveler could stay here and be perfectly happy. And maybe even a little impressed.

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