My First Stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa!

Posted:  Resorts

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The flagship resort. The dream stay for many people. The most elegant resort on Walt Disney World property. These thoughts went through my head when I was told I was getting to stay here on my next trip.

I was honestly a little nervous to be staying here, and no, not because I thought I was going to be underdressed or not fancy enough to stay here. I was nervous because I didn’t know how this resort was going to hold up to all the amazing things said about it.

Exterior of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Large White Victorian-looking building with pink accents.

When I stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Villas last September, I was so excited to stay there. However, when we got there, the resort was a lot busier than I expected, and our room was a lot further from the main building than I had imagined. Now, my overall experience was still great, and I would recommend this resort to anyone looking for a buzzing place with tons of activities to do, but resorts like Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa and Disney’s Old Key West are still my preferred resorts over the Polynesian.

When we entered the lobby of the Grand Floridian the excitement began to grow. I had entered this lobby several times before, but just as a visitor to see the gingerbread house and Christmas decorations or for a bite to eat. This was my first time as a guest.  

Exterior of Big Pine Key building at Disney's Grand Floridian. Large White Victorian-looking building with pink accents.

After lunch, team member Kristen and I sat in the lobby for our room to be ready. The piano player came out and started performing varying Disney classics. The songs made me feel welcomed and at home. Then, I heard the first few notes of one of my favorite songs — the Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie. Instantly, I felt like everything had fallen into place, and I was where I was meant to be.

Grand Piano in the lobby at Disney's Grand Floridian. There are white columns around the room, and the Piano sits on a colorful, ornate carpet.

Practically floating to our room once it was ready, I was so excited to finally open the door and continue the magic. We were lucky enough to be staying in a Theme Park View Resort Studio, and we had even more luck by being on the top floor! We had a vaulted ceiling, which made the Resort Studio feel huge.

White desk in the Resort Studio with a TV hanging above on the wall. The tv welcomes the traveling party to the room.

The first thing I did when we entered the room was throw open the curtains and open the balcony door. Well, I TRIED to open the balcony door. When we called Bell Services to have our bags brought to our room, we asked the wonderful gentleman if there was an issue with the door. He was very kind to let us know that the sliding doors sometimes stick and you have to push and pull the door while unlocking it to get it to fully unlock. He opened it with one quick jiggle of the door, and the fresh air swept into the room.

Queen-sized bed in the Resort Studio. The bed is covered in white linens and a teal decorative pillow.

I stepped on the balcony, and the view instantly took my breath away. We had an immediate view of Seven Seas Lagoon, and we could see several boats bringing guests to and from the Magic Kingdom. To my right, we could see the Polynesian and the beautiful white sand beach, and just across Seven Seas Lagoon was Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower.

Space Mountain and TRON Lightcycle/Run in Magic Kingdom with the monorail running in front.

I finally turned my head to the left, and there it was, the Magic Kingdom. We could hear the whistle of the train as it left the Main Street U.S.A. station and see it head off to its next stop in Frontierland. I could see Space Mountain and TRON Lightcycle / Run. But the best view of all was Cinderella Castle. I couldn’t believe I could see it whenever I wanted to by just standing on the balcony. I turned to Kristen and told her I never wanted to leave.  

The tip of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom with trees in front of it.

That evening, we watched Happily Ever After from our balcony. While they do provide the audio to the show on a designated TV channel, we were able to hear it from the audio coming from the boat dock at the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian as well. We also got to see the Electrical Water Pageant. It was such a fun and delightful show.

To say I was impressed by our room was an understatement. The room felt so light and warm. The Mary Poppins touches throughout made it feel so inviting. I was in love with the bird chandelier and the artwork on the walls. There was so much space in the bathrooms, and I loved having the double vanity to make getting ready in the mornings so easy.

Ornate, Lightup Vanity in the bathroom area of the Resort Studio at Disney's Grand Floridian.

The room being amazing was something that definitely made the Grand Floridian move up on my favorite resorts list. However, there were still some other factors to consider before I made my final verdict, like dining and crowds.  

The Grand Floridian has some extraordinary dining options like Victoria & Albert’s (it has a MICHELIN star!), Cítricos, and Narcoossee’s. However, for this trip, we were visiting other resorts and all of the parks, so we didn’t have time to visit these incredible options. I did get to dine at Gasparilla Island Grill several times and 1900 Park Fare for dinner on the opening day.  

We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Gasparilla Island Grill throughout our trip and I was not disappointed in the options they provided. I had to get Mickey Waffles on my first day because no Disney trip is complete without them. The Croissant Egg Sandwich and Egg White Breakfast Wrap are also delicious options. Now, I am not a coffee or tea drinker, but there was a wonderful coffee bar where you could get different specialty coffees made with Joffrey’s coffee.

Mickey Waffles and Sausage Patties sitting on a paper plate in front of a window looking out at the boat dock at Disney's Grand Floridian.

The lunch and dinner menus are similar but may vary slightly between meals. I would recommend looking at the corresponding menu when ordering to make sure you’re not disappointed if something is not available. Now, I wasn’t super adventurous with my lunch and dinner choices. I had the House-Made Macaroni & Cheese, Pepperoni Flatbread, and Artisan Burger, all of which were pleasant.

Cheeseburger and fries sitting on a table in Gasparilla Grill with a cup of soda in the background.

I did very much enjoy that once you ordered, you were given a buzzer or sign to place on your table while your food was prepared and it was brought out to you once it was ready. Gasparilla also offers mobile ordering as well. This is a great option if you’re heading to the parks for early hours. Whoever is ready first can swing and grab breakfast while the rest of the party gets ready, and everyone can enjoy in the room or while waiting for transportation to the park.

Entrance of 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian.

Autograph Card from 1900 Park Fare featuring autographs from Aladdin, Mirabel, Cinderella, and Tiana.

Now 1900 Park Fare was a truly special experience. Being there for opening day, there was extra magic in the air, and everyone could tell. There was no shortage of smiles and kind words to be said. The hopes and dreams that were put into the wishes that were made in that room could be felt all around. Cinderella, Tiana, Mirabel, and Aladdin were so excited to see so many faces and to hear about everyone’s wishes. 

Taycee posing with Cinderella, Tiana, Mirabel, and Aladdin at 1900 Park Fare.

The food was divine! With it being an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet, I was excited to try some new things like Tiana’s Gumbo with Spicy Andouille Sausage, Focaccia with Sun-dried Tomato and Herbs, and the Grand Floridian Strawberry Soup with Fresh Strawberries and Whipped Cream! There were also plenty of options that I enjoyed like, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and curry roasted chicken. This is definitely a dining option I would choose to do again.

Plaque for the Grand Floridian Strawberry Soup on the buffet at 1900 Park Fare.

Plaque for Tiana's Gumbo on the buffet at 1900 Park Fare.

As for crowds, I would give them a 4/10. I definitely saw people around the resort, but I was never waiting for a seat when dining at Gasparilla’s or relaxing in the lobby. There were spots throughout the resort where you could sit outside and just enjoy the weather. You would hear children’s laughter and splashing from the pools as you passed by. It made the resort feel relaxed, but guests were still having a wonderful time.

Exterior of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Large White Victorian-looking building with pink accents.

If you couldn’t tell by now, the Grand Floridian is probably my new favorite resort. While everyone’s needs and wants for a Disney trip are different, the Grand Floridian really hit a lot of things I look for in a Disney resort. While I know this option is overall higher priced when booked directly with Disney and a higher point amount when booked through DVC compared to resorts like Saratoga Springs and Old Key West, this is a resort I would definitely splurge on for a special occasion trip. I can’t wait until that day comes!

What Disney resort exceeded your expectations?




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