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So the Grand Floridian is the flagship resort at Walt Disney World, and for first timers to Disney, the ferry crossing to the Magic Kingdom (or monorail trip) offers impressive views of this beautiful hotel.
Many would love to stay in this hotel, the location, restaurant’s and facilities make it incredibly desirable, however it does come with a high cost.
Last year I was Lucky enough to stay for 1 night at this hotel, and this is a little blog about my experience at this magnificent hotel. And it truly does live up to its reputation.
I have visited the hotel to eat at the restaurants many times, but never had the pleasure of staying here, and I was blown away!
We were officially staying at the boardwalk Inn during our stay, so we left our cases and packed a night bag and drove over to the Grand Floridian, obviously when you come up to the hotel you are immediately in awe from the entrance gates which has obviously been designed to give you the WOW factor on arrival.
On entering the hotel, you are instantly hit with a beautiful fragrance, and a jaw droopingly large atrium, all themed around the Victorian Californian era. It was also all decorated for Christmas, with a HUGE gingerbread house in the atrium, truly magical!
The resort has sand beaches (where the water is now fenced off) themed pools, boat hire, shops & much more.
The reception desk was large and not overcrowded and we were checked in within a matter of minutes. We were booked to stay in a standard garden view room.
We were advised that our room was available so we headed over, and from looking at the resort map, I had a feeling we had been upgraded.
We made our way to the Boca Chica building and our room was on the ground level. I was praying our room number be on the left hand side of the right hand corridor as I knew these were Theme park view rooms, and behold, some pixie dust had been sprinkled and we had been upgraded to a Theme Park view room.
Upon entering the room we were impressed at the grand designs and small details that could go unnoticed without looking, it was absolutely perfect as you can see from the photo. We had a little terrace too, and I immediately went over to patio doors to check the view. WOW we could see Magic Kingdom from the patio……
Once we had settled in and taken photos, done some videos and a Facebook live video, we made our way to the Courtyard pool for some sun, and a couple of cocktails. I did think that the drinks would be more expensive than the Boardwalk Inn as it was the flagship resort, but they were the same price which was great!
I also was a bit anxious that other guests may be 'posh' compared to us , I was wrong, everyone was lovely, as big Disney fans as us and just happy to be staying at this beautiful hotel. We had a lovely chat with a family sat next to us at the pool about their holiday, and how they had never dreamed of staying at this resort, and how they had saved for years. I of course gave them my business card and subsequently they have booked with us for next year!
After a couple of hours at the Courtyard pool, we got changed and I was extremely excited to check out the quick service restaurant Gasparilla Island Grill, as the Boardwalk Inn, for a deluxe resort didn’t really cater at all for quick service, which did leave us feeling disappointed.
Upon entering the Gasparilla Island Grill, I thought to myself, this isn’t no ordinary quick service, everything was made to unlike mass production at many other quick service restaurants. Normally you wait a couple of minutes at a QS to get your food and take the tray to a table with your food on. Here we were given a number card, asked to take a seat and the food would be brought over. After a 5-10 minute wait it was, and I couldn’t help but think this felt more table service than quick service. Definitely worth that quick service credit and the food was gorgeous!
After this, we retired back to the gorgeous room for a nap, before getting ready for the evening. We had a reservation at 1900 park fare (we have eaten here before). 1900 Park fare is a buffet style restaurant in the main lobby of the hotel that features different character dining experiences at different times of the day. For example breakfast and lunch is with Alice in Wonderland and pals, where evening dinner is with Cinderella, prince charming, Lady Tremaine and the Ugly Sisters. We were booked in for Dinner.
As always the food was fantastic and the characters were amazing, especially the ugly sisters and Lady Tremaine, were always a bit cheeky with them and their comebacks were on point!
We do find if you interact with the characters they do spend more time with you, and in a lot of instances like this particular occasion they came back to interact with us! It was incredible! The food wasn’t bad either.
After dinner we went to have a photo with Cinderella and Prince Charming, there was a slight queue for this, which was a shame as in previous experiences they were walking around the tables which I think is better but it didn’t spoil the overall experience.
After dinner we returned to the room to open a bottle of wine (as you do) and sit on the patio to watch the view and the boats going past. So many people waving at us from our patio it was fun! We did also have a couple of guests who we accidently scared as they were clearly having a look around the hotel and jumped when they turned to see us on our patio, we even experienced someone having wedding photos in front of our patio (which was lovely). They do have a gorgeous wedding pavilion here but that’s for a separate blog.
After an hour or so, listening to the Disney music on the TV and a couple of glasses of wine, we headed to Narcoossee’s. Which is a signature dining restaurant overlooking Magic Kingdom at the Grand Floridian. It is a sea food restaurant and I’m not a fan, but we love the tiny bar in there so we were really going for the drinks.
After a few drinks in here, it was time for Happily Ever After Fireworks, now this is why I love Narcoossee’s. You leave the restaurant and go onto its jetty overlooking the park, they PLAY the MUSIC from the fireworks on the jetty, while the fireworks are happening it’s an incredible way to see the fireworks with a glass of wine in hand!
After this we went to Mizner’s Lounge (bar) which will be changing into a Beauty and the Beast style bar later this year, and got chatting to some follow guests, before we retired to bed for the evening.
The next morning we were up early, and on the Monorail to Magic Kingdom for rope drop. The Grand Floridian has its own monorail station on the 1st level which can connect you to the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, Car park, Polynesian and EPCOT. What a great quick and easy way to make it to our favourite place! You can also jump on a boat from the resort.
After some fun in the magic kingdom we did come back to check out and headed back to the Boardwalk Inn, wishing we were staying for just 1 more night (or the full duration) it is truly an incredible resort.
We didn’t even get to see everything!
If it’s in budget, stay here, if it means scrimping for a few years, still do it!!
Honestly the resort really DOES live up to its name and status, so much in fact I’m looking forward to going back next year!
I took all of these photos myself, and have so much more, but tried to choose ones to best explain what I am explaining!
You can now and again get a 'bargin' for this hotel, if going out of season....
If you would like to get a price give us a call on our FREE number 0800 3277108
If it is the Grand Floridian you want to stay at and it is me quoting you, make sure you ask me to send some photos!!
I hope you enjoyed this read, blogs on the restaurants will come seperate!
We look forward to making your dream come true!
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