The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a deluxe category hotel.

The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the flagship resort at Disney World and prices reflect this status with the highest room rates of all the deluxe resorts.  It also boasts the highest ratio of staff to guests, so if great service and an upscale atmosphere is your thing and you’ve got the budget, this is the resort for you.

The theme at the Grand Floridian is a Victorian beach resort, all white-painted wood, charming verandas and sedate elegance.  The hotel design is based on the famous Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California, where the movie ‘Some Like it Hot’ was filmed.  Fans of the film will instantly recognise the design influences in particular the octagonal shaped building, on the edges of seven seas lagoon, which houses Narcoosee’s restaurant,  a landmark of both the Grand Floridian and the Del Coronado.

Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon film 'Some Like It Hot' at the Del Coronado, the hotel which was the influence for Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.
Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon film ‘Some Like It Hot’ at the Del Coronado, the hotel which was the influence for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

The resort has 867 rooms which are a generous 440 sq ft, amongst the largest on property.  This hotel has an amazing array of room categories from standard all the way up to a Presidential multi room apartment.  They offer similar ‘view’ categories to other resorts within the Magic Kingdom area namely; garden, lagoon and theme park.

This resort is upscale both in atmosphere, style and service and whilst they cater for families and are welcoming of them some guests find the sedate environment not conducive to family relaxation.    For families with well-behaved offspring, for couples or families with grandparents this resort can offer great facilities, a great location, varied dining options and beautiful grounds.  There is a dedicated wedding pavilion and it’s a beautiful place for couples celebrating a special occasion.

The two pools at the Grand Floridian are big, the Courtyard pool features a hot tub and kids water play area with an Alice in Wonderland theme.  The Beach Pool, over looking seven seas lagoon, has a 180ft water slide and feature waterfall, Cabanas can be rented here.

Food is where the Grand Floridian comes into its own.  It has two signature restaurants Citrico’s and Narcoosee, both are 2 credits on the DDP.  Citrico’s is a Mediterranean inspired restaurant whilst Narcoosee focuses on seafood, though steaks always feature on the menu to cater for meat preferential diners.  Narcoosee is in the octagonal building on the edge of seven seas lagoon so it has amazing views of the nightly fireworks if you are lucky enough to secure a table whilst wishes is in full swing.

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The restaurant jewel in Disney’s crown is also at this hotel.  Victoria and Albert’s is a fine dining restaurant, the only one in central Florida to be AAA Five Diamond award-winning.  It gets great reviews, I haven’t had the good fortune to eat there, they don’t take the DDP, but all the reviews I have seen have absolutely raved about it.

Character dining is catered for at 1900 Park Fare, though it might not be your son’s favourite, as it’s a Disney Princess theme, daughters will love it.

Grand Floridian Cafe is the hotel’s table service restaurant and Gasparilla Island Grill the counter service offer.  Both of these venues tend to get overlooked by Disney food reviews, this is probably more down to their lack of theme and personality and because there are better offerings in the hotel, rather than for the lack of food quality.

The hotel also offers speciality afternoon teas at the Garden View Tea Room,  though for UK visitors this probably isn’t on the must-do list.  Let’s face it,  it’s too easy to get this back in the UK and there are  so many other attractions on offer at Disney World, but it’s worth knowing it’s there, if you’re in the World for three weeks or more you might find time for it.

Mizner’s Lounge, on the first floor, is a lovely bar which has live music for a relaxing drink after a hard day at the parks.

Sharp eyed readers will have noticed something else about this resort, it’s called the Grand Floridian Resort and SPA, so inevitably it has a great spa, offering the usual list of treatments, if that’s your way of relaxing, mine is probably a ride on Splash Mountain, but each to his own.

For me the hotel, whilst grand and impressive, isn’t what I am looking for from a Disney Resort.   I am a sucker for the Polynesian, it’s by far my favourite Magic Kingdom resort, for me the Poly offers better theming and it really feels like a holiday resort, my son also loves it and feels so at home there.  The Poly has all the advantages of the Grand Floridian in terms of transport links, dining and facilities, plus it scores higher on theming, so it wins every time for me.  That said if you prefer a bit of refined grace with high service levels and you want to stay on property,  the Four Seasons is a better bet for a luxury stay if you’re not interested in the Disney on property advantages, the Grand Floridian is a great choice.  Sometimes it’s just nice to stay in the best hotel in town and the Grand Floridian is by far the ‘best’ hotel in Disney Town.

Pixiesuesi top tips;

Book Narcoosee’s and enjoy dinner and fireworks, they turn down the lights and pipe in the music.

Take the boat from Magic Kingdom back to the grand Floridian after a day at the park, it’s really relaxing and the Grand Floridian is the first stop so it’s direct to the hotel,

Enjoy live music and a traditional cocktail, perhaps an Old Fashioned, in Mizner’s, treat yourself you’re on holiday!