The Grand Floridian Exudes Turn-of-the-Century Elegance
Disney’s flagship hotel is inspired by Florida’s grand Victorian seaside resorts from the turn of the last century. The Grand Floridian integrates verandas, intricate latticework, dormers, and turrets beneath a red-shingle roof to capture the most memorable elements of 19th-century ocean resort architecture. A five-story domed lobby encircled by enameled balustrades and overhung by crystal chandeliers establishes the resort’s understated opulence.
Rooms at the Grand Floridian are luxurious yet warm and inviting, with wood trim and fabrics in beachy tones. The typical room has an armoire, two queen beds, a daybed, a reading chair, a table with side chairs, and marble-topped sinks. All rooms have been recently refurbished, and many include a balcony. Bathrooms are large, with plenty of counter space and fluffy towels. Two shelves under the sink provide a small amount of storage. A 1,500-watt, wall-mounted hair dryer is provided, but it’s not very powerful; bring your own if you have lots of hair. Water pressure in the shower is average—probably less than what you get at home but still enough to rinse out your shampoo.
A separate dressing area next to the bathroom includes two sinks and enough counter space to fit most of your toiletries. The dressing area includes a sliding door that separates it from the sleeping area. Combined with the bathroom, this means that three people can get dressed at the same time.
The Grand Floridian’s 200 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas sit in a single T-shaped structure, separate and to the south of the main building. Inside, they’re much nicer than the rooms at the main resort. Most have vaulted living room ceilings and faux-wood balconies or porches. Those balconies stretch the entire length of the room, giving everyone enough space for a good view. All except the studios have full kitchens with stainless steel appliances (the studios gets a kitchenette). The Villas share transportation, pools, and restaurants with the Grand Floridian. Service at the Villas is excellent, with a dedicated concierge desk inside the lobby.
The Grand’s pools are among the largest in Walt Disney World. The beachfront pool contains a waterslide perfect for little ones, plus a waterfall, while the courtyard pool offers more quiet for adults. In addition to swimming, the Grand offers a white sand beach, fitness center, jogging trail, and watercraft options for Seven Seas Lagoon.
Little tykes will love the Alice in Wonderland–themed splash area. The Grand Floridian’s Senses spa, modeled after Disney Cruise Line’s, is one of the best in the Orlando area.
Great Dining Choices
The Grand Floridian also has some of Disney’s best dining options, including the seafood-centric Narcoossee’s, upscale Cítricos, and flagship dining experience Victoria & Albert’s. Dining at V&A’s is a 3-hour marathon of gustatory delight, complemented by the best service staff in Walt Disney World. The restaurant 1900 Park Fare offers character dining for breakfast and dinner.
The Grand Floridian’s grounds are maintained to a very high standard. It’s a lovely resort to walk around during the evening, with romantic light levels and charming background music. A stroll from the marina, past the resort’s main buildings, and over to the Polynesian for a nightcap is a nice way to end the evening.
Read all about the Walt Disney World resorts and see photographs of the guest rooms, swimming pools, and resort themes in The Color Companion to Walt Disney World: The Unofficial Guide by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa.