Disney's Grand Floridian Resort (Disney Deluxe Resort) Reviews and Ratings
About This Page: This is a discussion on Disney's Grand Floridian Resort (Disney Deluxe Resort) Reviews and Ratings within the Disney World Resort Hotel Reviews & Ratings, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; Grand Floridian Resort is Disney's most luxurious resort, a breathtaking Victorian hotel with turrets and gabled roofs within sight of ...
Welcome! We're happy you've found the PassPorter Community -- the friendliest place to plan your vacation to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, and the world in general! You are now viewing the PassPorter Message Board Community as a guest, which gives you limited access. As our guest, feel free to browse our messages by selecting the forum you want to visit from the list below.
To post messages and ask questions, join our FREE community today and you'll get access to tools and resources not available to guests, such as our vacation countown timers, "living" avatars, private messaging system, database searches, downloads, and a special PassPorter discount code. Registration is fast, simple, and completely free. Just click the Join Our Community link.
Personal Review: Jennifer was lucky enough to stay at the Grand Floridian on her first visit to Walt Disney World as an adult, and thus it holds a magical spell over her. We also enjoyed our honeymoon here in a delightful turret suite. We really enjoy this resort, and would stay here more often but for the price tag!
Other Reviews: We do not yet have a feature article on file for the Grand Floridian Resort. If you're interested in writing one, please contact Belle*.
Your Review: What do YOU think of this resort? We want to know! To leave a review AND numerical rating, click the Review button below. Please avoid commenting on previously posted reviews. Tip: Include your pros and cons! Click here for more review posting tips.
Results from these ratings and reviews will be factored into the ratings that appear in our guidebooks, too!
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort puts the luxe in deluxe! It earns it's spot at the top of Disney's hotel chain for that very reason. I've been lucky enough to stay twice, both times on the concierge level; once by an a unbelievable upgrade and the other by paying for it.
As soon as you enter the gate to the resort you are immersed in the Victorian theme. Even the guard shack is cute! When you drive up to the portico at the resort entrance several people come running out to open your door, take your luggage, welcoming you personally to the resort. Now that's service
The lobby is full of grandeur. The soft colors of the rugs and walls, grand staircase, large seating areas, grand piano, bird cage elevator and larger than life fresh flower arraignments are breathtaking. Something right out of Mary Poppins era if you ask me.
The resort is large but not too large at the same time. The resort map seems like the buildings are very spread out but in reality they are fairly close to one another. There are 6 buildings of rooms with the Grand Lobby building holding all the shops, food court and game rooms. The 2 pools are large with plenty of seating. The themed pool down on the beach seemed to have the most children at it than the other non-themed pool. So if you want more peace and quiet I would go for that one.
The biggest and best reason for staying here is the monorail! You are a 5 minute ride to the Magic Kingdom. Any closer you would be in the Magic Kingdom! You can also take the boat over. 2 stops after the Magic Kingdom on the monorail route is the Transportation and Ticket Center were you can switch over to the Epcot monorail. All other parks are serviced by buses. And at this resort the bus waiting area has benches with TV's to keep you occupied while you wait, how's that for deluxe
Rooms are large and beautiful. You'll find lots of subtle hints of Disney in each room. From the lamps with a bust of Mickey to Alice in Wonderland on your bedspread you'll still feel like you are in Walt Disney World without it overbearing you. Bathrooms are nicely stocked with amenities including my favorite, a large makeup mirror that you can pull toward you without leaning over the sink. Turn down service is wonderful which comes with chocolates and a note card wishing you a pleasant night along with the weather forecast for the next day. One little touch that I thought was unique was instead of those big housekeeping carts clogging the hallways they place baskets filled with the bed linens and towels by each door.
How did we get an unbelievable upgrade to the concierge level you ask. I don't think I'll ever know how or why we got it. We were upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite called The Cape Coral Suite in the Sago Cay building. Perhaps it was because we had booked to adjoining rooms and they didn't have any. Whatever the reason it was a truly a once in a lifetime stay in that suite.
Concierge level costs more ( a lot more) to stay in than a "regular" room. The rooms are not decorated differently than the others. But the differences are; you have a separate check in area, a concierge to help you with anything you might need or do, and the best of all a full spread of food all day long in the concierge lounge, including special tiny seating for the kids! Is it worth the money? Hard to say. If you are celebrating a special occasion than I say go for it. But otherwise I won't be booking a concierge room at any resort again. My first time on this level I didn't have to pay for it so it was great. Second time was a one night stay (as a special treat for my sister) and we ate dinner & breakfast there and didn't really need or use any of the other perks. It was a lot of money for that one night. We could have stayed several nights a moderate for that price.
All in all I would recommend Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. I'm know I'll be back again after I've finished my quest of staying at every WDW resort
Monorail & boat service
Beautiful decor and soroundings
2 pools to pick from
Guest rooms are large and comfy
Close to Magic Kingdom
Last edited by Jenny Pooh; 01-06-2008 at 07:48 AM..
My experiences at the Grand Floridian are more of a detached view. I was a member of a wedding party based at the Grand Floridian in November 1999. The bride and groom (dear friends of mine and my husband's) had nearly 50 guests and VIP events were held daily before and after the wedding - most centered at the GF. I had the pleasure of partying off-site with most of the wedding party in a condo, but the bride and groom were guests at the GF and used their honeymoon suite as a kind of wedding command center. Being the bride's right-hand, I enjoyed the GF in a most unusual way. Behind the scenes.
The GF is a very formal, elegant resort hotel. Ideal for a romantic wedding and honeymoon setting. (Ideal for my much more formal and affluent best friend. ) It's the height of luxury at WDW for those not able to afford the high-end Presidential-type suites on WDW property. For a night or two, ANYONE can feel like a princess at the GF. My friend's room (wedding command central ) seemed a bit small to me, but there was lot going on - papers, plans, gowns, and tuxedos took up every available surface pre-wedding. However, after we cleared out all the wedding clutter while the bride was at her last fitting, the room appeared cozy and lovely as a honeymoon retreat. My friend was really pleased with her room.
As wedding guests, we were treated to an amazing VIP experience as the wedding was held at the Wedding Pavilion. The Ketubah Signing was held in the Wedding Pavilion's replica of Franck's Salon from the movie Father of the Bride. The Wedding Pavilion is every bit as white and etheral as a princess could wish. The window behind the altar area in the Wedding Pavilion is unique. It perfectly frames Cinderella Castle and actually magnifies it so it looks larger and brings the magic that much closer.
The bride and groom had a three-part reception: a memorial toast to the bride and groom's departed loved ones on Commander's Terrace (MouseWeddings.com - Pictures of the Commander's Terrace at Walt Disney World) followed by a viewing of the Electrical Water Pageant from the terrace before moving inside to Victoria & Albert's for dinner and dessert. Despite having dessert at dinner, the entire wedding party and all 44 guests moved to buses waiting in front of the GF to take our group to the Magic Kingdom for the cake-cutting inside the breezeway in Cinderella Castle.
Having sampled some of those amenities as a wedding guest, I can comment on the ambience of the resort and it's flagship restaurant, the V&A. I remember so clearly the walk following the wedding up to Commander's Terrace. The wide, carpeted stairs seemed like something out of Titanic. It was a little too grand for me. I felt like I was in a fairy tale. It was a wedding and I'm sure everything was carefully staged by Disney's wedding planners, but they made it seem so happenstance - like magic happens there all the time. I couldn't help but feel like a princess, too.
Dinner at Victoria and Albert's was everything and more than I expected. Our dinner was a very late seating - about 10 PM - and most of the wedding party had been up since 6 AM. Coffee, apparently, is traditionally served at the end of the meal at V&A, but we begged our servers to save us from embarrassing the bride by passing out cold in our sorbets from fatigue and they took pity on us. Dinner was a 5 or 6 course affair carefully orchestrated by the head chef and the bride with a wine pairing for each course. 6 wine tastings and a huge meal caught up with us fast. Coffee never tasted so good. I couldn't say for sure if it was our gratefulness or just the excellent quality of the coffee and expertise of the brewer that made it taste so good. It's been a long time, so the sequence of events at dinner is a little muddled, but at some point during the part of the evening at the V&A, the bride and groom were presented with a heart-shaped, braided Challah. I don't know much about the tradition of Challah bread, but I believe the rabbi blessed the couple before dinner and the Challah was served to either all of the guests or certain guests. I was one of them, so I have no idea. My friend was really pleased with the service and care taken by the staff at the V&A. It was an amazing meal and an amazing evening.
One more area of the GF that I can comment on is the GF Convention Center. It's every bit as grand and lovely as the rest of the resort. I was a little bit surprised at the detail that went into the space even on a day when there were so few people actually using the space. The wedding party was allocated several rooms the day of the wedding in the Convention Center to prepare. Maybe 12 of us total and there were floral arrangements in every room. NOT arrangements for the wedding or provided by the bride and groom's parents. Just everyday (HUGE!) floral arrangements on tables in gathering areas and restrooms even. My friend's wedding planner even arranged for hairdressers and make-up artists to come to us in our temporary dressing rooms.
If you're looking for a fairly tale, you can find it at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. While it is just a little too grand for me and wouldn't be my first choice, I can understand the draw for couples and honeymooners who want to be enveloped in that ethereal magic that seems to encapsulate this resort hotel.
DH and I stayed Dec of 2005 in a garden view Boca Chica.
They lobby decor is very grand and I love the victorian type furnishings. The building are close together and easy to walk to. The grounds are clean and beautiful. We love the christmas decorations, especially the gingerbread house. It fills the whole lobby with a great scent. The location is fantastic for getting to the MK and we loved strolling the walkway to the Poly.
We had looked at pictures and watched the Great Hotels episode featuring it, but the room and furnishings were so much prettier in person. The beds were the most comfortable I have ever slept on in a hotel and we loved turn down service. We ordered the white chocolate Cinderella slipper for dessert in our room one evening and they set everything up beautifully. We had only ordered one and thought we would share, but they brought each of us one. It was a beautiful treat!
We didn't deal much with staff, but everyone was friendly. I would highly recommend this for a couple looking for romance and luxury, but even a family would enjoy the location and many amenities. It was a wonderful treat to stay there. The only con (and it can be a big one) would have to be the cost.
My DH and I stayed at the Grand Floridian May 2005 to celebrate our anniversary and our first WDW vacation.
Our room was a dormer room in the Boca Chica building on the pool/garden side. We had requested a king size bed (our only request) but the powers that be couldn't give us one. Instead we got two queen beds, 2 chairs and a table. Since the dormer are smaller than regular rooms (but they come with a raise ceiling) they have a small balcony but no real sitting area. I was surprised to see that there wasn't a desk in the room either. I say all this to tell you that while the room is really cute, if you have more people in your party than just two, request a different type of room. It was cozy for two adults but I couldn't imagine the room with a child also.
As for the pool view it was fine and not noisy at all. I would've loved to be on the other side of the building which faces the water and the MK but there wasn't a room open. The sitting area on the first floor was great and you could go out the other door to watch the Water Pagent from the grass. If you could get a water view room, you would be able to watch from your balcony.
The main building is BEAUTIFUL! We enjoyed the band music in the afternoon while relaxing on the sofa. Just walking around the resort is an experience in itself. The pools were great but we spent most of our time at the larger pool. For some quiet time you can sit out on the beach in the chairs with the shade structure.
On several early mornings we watch a mother duck and her babies wander around the grounds by the pool. It was sweet to see how the grounds crew watched out for those babies. We also saw several rabbits.
The transportation was wonderful but you almost expect that for a deluxe resort. I would say that some days it took awhile for a bus, but for the most part it wasn't so bad. The boat to the MK was very romantic and we enjoyed it on several evenings. We also rented the mousers and my DH was in with exploring the lake. Renting two is the way to go if two adults are wanting to ride because they are small and won't go very fast if they are weighed down.
I enjoyed my spa day and DH played several rounds of golf at the Palms and Magnolia courses. He still talks about service the club houses provide and I know he will play golf there again in Dec. 2008. I will say that the spa service was lacking somewhat (they forgot about me once I was back in the relaxing room for close to an hour) but once I was "found again" it was great. They need a better system of tracking their customers and managers who will go that extra mile. Also the walk to the spa was great BEFORE the massage, but when you are finished and need to walk back to the GF......it was a LONG walk! It would be nice if they provided golf cart shuttle service.
The GF Cafe food is WONDERFUL and we ate there several times. We didn't get to eat at any other GF restaurants on that trip, but I will make up for that on this next one.
LOVE this resort! Last time we stayed there was in December and can I say they go above and beyond with the decorations!!! I loved our room too...it was a sico room and highly recommend it! The only negative thing that I have to say is the travel to Downtown.....a bit long! But the resort is by far the most elegant that I have stayed in so far!
We stayed at the GF once in 2005 and it was extremely memorable. It was DH’s first trip to WDW and my first trip as an adult. Although I was a little hesitant to stay there at first because of the price, my DH really pushed to stay there because of all that he had heard about it. Our trip was a fairytale and one of our most memorable trips.
We now have a very young daughter (3 months) and it is possible that, some day, we would will take her to stay there (once). I think that part of the great experience that we had was that were there by ourselves, but there were folks who had children there (not that that was a problem or diminished our experience in any respect). It may just be psychological, but it really seems like they go out of their way to pamper you at the GF and to reinforce the fact that you are really special. We had a honeymoon room (No. 4208) which has a front and center view of the castle and just was a dream come true. The room comes with a king bed and a Jacuzzi tub. Was it pricey, absolutely. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Will I forget it or stop talking about it? Never.
Like any other hotel, there were a few glitches with our room. Our door would not lock right away and our phone did not work. Each problem was fixed very quickly.
I have read a few places that some people think that the GF has a snooty or elitist atmosphere. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I just did not see the snootiness. I found the atmosphere really relaxing, and we really enjoyed the club lounge. When we had any issues with reservations or anything else the concierge handled them promptly and friendly.
The spa was very nice and a great treat after a weary day in the park. The location of the GF is awesome. The short monorail ride is great, and if you are looking for a change of pace, the boat ride over to the MK is really neat and relaxing. If you get a chance, watch the water parade from the dock.
We could write a whole other page on the restaurants there which were awesome. For more info, check out our trip report, “Honey, I shrunk your leisure time” which has even more stuff on the GF and the restaurants.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a very remarkable and memorable stay, and you are willing to spend some more money, definitely check out the GF.
Our family of ten spent Jan. 11 – 15, 2008, at the Grand Floridian Resort, and all of us agreed it was absolutely fantastic! We are from Kansas, and one finds very few hotels that measure up to the Grand Floridian standards. When my husband and I contacted our travel agent, we had decided to stay in a resort close to Magic Kingdom, but the Contemporary only had concierge rooms left, so she asked about the GF. Of course, it was more expensive, but we have not regretted the change for one minute. One expects to pay for the grand service and amenities found at the GF. We have been planning this trip since the first grandchild was born. We had been to Disney World twice before with high school students, staying in the Swan Dolphin, but wanted a more relaxed atmosphere this time.
We booked three Garden View Rooms, so when we checked in and found we were in Boca Chica with a Lagoon and Magic Kingdom view, we could not believe our good fortune. We were in rooms 8417, 8415, and 8413, which could not have been better! Our family consists of my husband, me, our two sons and their wives, and four granddaughters – ages 9, 8, 6, and 5 – the perfect ages for their first visit to Disney World.
The rooms were quite large with two Queen-sized beds, a day bed, TV armoire, desk, chair and footstool. There was a very nice, large bathroom including double sinks and all the amenities. We had turndown service each night with wonderful chocolates, and an ice bucket full of ice. There were also two chairs and a small table on each balcony. The balcony was another wonderful plus as we could watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Seven Seas Lagoon Electric Water Pageant each night.
The only downside was the fact that the lobby was being renovated and was covered with huge plastic sheets from floor to ceiling. Luckily for us, the renovation was completed by our last day, so we were able to enjoy the grand atmosphere. The girls loved the elevator and the bird cage.
I had read where people staying at the GF felt out of place, but not one person made us feel that way. Everyone went out of their way to be friendly and helpful. I had also read that the GF was considered to be rather noisy and spread out, but we did not find that to be the case at all – it was very easy to get around and very quiet. We were also lucky that the weather cooperated and we were able to swim in both the Beach Pool and the Courtyard Pool. The waterslide in the Beach Pool was a definite highlight of our swimming experience. The girls even got me to go down the slide!! What fun.
Since we had small children, the monorail and the ferry were absolutely wonderful. We only had to use the bus to Animal Kingdom. Both the monorail and the ferry are run very efficiently.
The GF Café was absolutely fantastic. We all ate there two mornings for breakfast, and the service and food were wonderful. We also ate at the Gasparilla Grill two mornings. It was good also, for fast-food service. The ten of us also attended Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at the 1900 Park Fare Restaurant. This was the third Character dinner we attended and one the girls enjoyed immensely. Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Termain, and the evil step sisters, Anastasia and Drizella were there and did an amazing job, never once stepping out of character. The Grand Floridian is not a resort one would choose if a yearly trip is planned to Disney, but for us, it could not have been better. Staying there helped make this a truly memorable, family vacation.
Pros: Monorail, ferry, two pools, GF Café, 1900 Park Fare, beautiful landscaping, large rooms with balconies, a marina, friendliness, and service. There were no Cons.
When a deployment cancelled a prior ressie at the GF, I swore, like MacArthur, to return
I finally did, and the wonderful CM upgraded DBF and me to a lagoon-and if I stretched-MK view (whoo hoo!) room in Conch Key. Mere words can't describe my excitement when I realized I could watch the fireworks from the balcony every night-we also enjoyed overlooking an engagement one evening as well (don't think we were part of the night's plan!).
The GF is elegant, well apportioned, and the CMs are very attentive. The grounds are lovely, the spa is fabulous and yet I never felt out of place in my tevas and shorts. While we did not dine at Victoria and Albert's did enjoy Citrco's and the company of several Secret Service agents and the Attorney General (again, I don't think we were specifically invited!).
The only slight flaw in our stay was some housekeeping issues-one night we went to bed and I noticed a milk container outside of the elevator-in the morning it was still there-hard to believe in a "flagship resort" trash would remain for 14 hours, but indeed, it did. Ah well, nothing's perfect!
My family and I chose to stay at the GF December 4-7th to experience Christmas there. Having stayed at several five star resorts across the country, we had rather high expectations for the GF. Unfortunately, we were rather disappointed in general.
First, having paid $433.18/night, I expect turn down service each night. While this may sound ridiculous, it is just something I expect. We received this ONE of the three nights. One of the days we even had to call to get our room cleaned for the one time of day it was serviced.
Second, and the biggest issue we had, transportation. The average bus ride to Downtown Disney or a Park was 45-75 minutes. It took us 1 hour and 40 minutes one time to return from DHS. Being the last stop on the monorail, you often wait for 2-3 monorails (if you have a stroller) to be able to get on during peak times. This was incredibly frustrating. Then, being the last stop on the way back...we were often held at stops or mid-track to wait for the monorails to resync. Once this meant a 'commute time' of 1 hour 10 minutes to GF from MK. VERY VERY frustrating with young children.
The staff were not overly accomidating or friendly. When we discussed difficulty with transportation with concierge, instead of an apology we were directed to the taxi cab locations. Once, DH asked to speak to a manager because we were treated so rudely by them.
Basically, unless you want quick service or planned well in advance for your trip (this was somewhat spur of the moment for us) you have one option to eat. We usually stay in the Boardwalk area and are used to multiple options...so for us this was frustrating.
The pools are wonderful and very convenient to the rooms, which is great with young kids.
The lobby is impressive, particularly during Christmas.
Generally, I don't know that I would chose GF again. It is nice but not GREAT, as I'd expect for a hotel at that price point. I think there are many other wonderful deluxe options without the frustrations we experienced at GF.
My DH and I spent a fabulous 8 days, 7 nights at the Grand Floridian in November. Overall, it was a wonderful resort with no huge complaints.
Room: We stayed in Sago Cay in a dormer room witha theme park view. The view made the stay for me. I spent many hours out on the balcony just overlooking the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon. It was noted that the dormer roomas are smaller, but with the vaulted ceilings and only have the king bed instead of two queens made it a very comfortable stay for the two of us.
Dining: We found the dining to be more than adequate. Gaspirilla Grill was wonderful and had many options during regular hours and a select menu after hours. It was open 24 hours so those late night cravings and mug refills were available to us which was a plus. Fine dining at it's best. We dined at Citricos and Narcoossees. The food was spectacular at both restaurants, but the service was average at Citricos.
Service: We had great service via the CMs checking us in, the CMs helping us after the Luau was cancelled and getting our credits back, and all the CMs that always welcomed us with a smile and warm greeting. Our mousekeeper was wonderful. Also loved having the turndown service at night. Loved having my sheets all nicely tucked each night.
Extras: We didn't visit the themed pool or the beaches but that had to do with the temperature. We did explore the huge quiet pool and visited the pool bar. Beautifully landscaped. One of the biggest highlights was being able to be there when they opened up the Gingerbread House for the season. Walking into that lobby always smelled wonderful.
The only con regarding this resort was the bus service to DHS and DTD. We waited over an hour for a bus to DHS and eventually had to take a cab to get to the park. I had been warned that the bus ride to DTD was long and probably the longest one I had all trip. The monorail and boat launch were wonderful throughout the trip. Always walked onto a monorail, never had to wait.
It is pricey to stay here but it was worth every penny to us. We will stay here again in the future as we really enjoyed our stay. It is definitely in our top three but we have a couple more resorts to check out.
We've spent our last Disney vacations at the Polynesian but decided to give the Grand Floridian a try for a change. We stayed club level, which we paid for, not freely upgraded, so my review is based on that. If we were given the upgrade to concierge for free like others were, I'm sure my views would be a bit more slanted.
I was told by the Concierge at the Grand Floridian to let them know my approximate arrival time and someone would be there waiting to meet us when we got off the Magical Express and that in any case, the club level check in podium would be down the walkway near the parking valet/bell stand. We got of the bus, no concierge cast member, no podium for club level checkin either. So we walked into the hotel, and the greeter, a very sweet older man, asked if he could help us. I told him we were club level guests and that someone from the concierge team was supposed to meet us and he went to look for the person. We just stood and waited in the lobby, until finally our concierge CM came and said that she was sorry she didn't meet our bus, but that they were "extremely busy." Okay, I can accept that. She walked us to our room, which did not meet either of my two requests --- king bed (told me they were reserved for wedding couples), not ground floor (room was on the ground floor). I told her that I understand that requests are just requests and not guaranteed, but if I can't have a king bed, then at least give us a room that is not exactly in front of the 24-hour open main pool. So they switched us to a second floor room, with two queen beds facing the marina --- at least it was quiet.
Concierge level does have some nice perks, but are they worth the cost? It's up to you to decide. We did use the club level lounge for coffee and bagels in the morning, and if we were there around 5 PM, when they put out appetizers, (cheese, crackers, chicken pot stickers, cupcakes, brownies, veggies) we would take something to tide us over till dinner. We don't drink, but if someone likes their beer and wine, it is free flowing during serving hours and you are welcome to take bottles of beer or glasses of wine to your room. We were at the parks in the afternoon, so we never had afternoon tea with cookies, scones, etc. or evening cordials and desserts either. We were at Disney to enjoy the Disney parks, not sit in the hotel. We didn't use the concierge for dining reservations, as I do my planning myself, but I do understand that sometimes, they are able to get coveted, hard to get reservations that an ordinary guest cannot. And there is a small refrigerator with soft drinks that are available 24 hours a day. They have an espresso /cappuccino /latte machine, that you could get with steamed or foam milk. I did have a latte and it was pretty good. The cast members who worked in the concierge lounge were the best, they were pleasant, and we had some great conversations to several of them. Housekeeping was superb, the room was also cleaned in a timely manner, and they always left plenty of toiletries and towels, no skimping there.
Every night, there was turndown service, with chocolates and "sweet dreams" notes left on each bed, and towels were replaced and new toiletries were left if needed.
I have no complaints about the hotel, although I think that since guests who stay at the Grand Floridian do pay a premium, when it comes to transportation, they get the worst service. It is the last stop on the bus lines to Animal Kingdom, the Studios and Downtown Disney, so it is standing room only by the time the bus gets to the Grand Floridian. I do think that the cast members who work in the shops and quick service restaurants at the Polynesian seemed much happier than those working at the Grand Floridian, and the Poly just seemed to be a more welcoming place. I had reservations for a return to the Grand in Nov./Dec, however, my husband felt as I did, that the Poly was just more like home for us, and I switched our reservations to the Poly.
Final take: Grand Floridian is a nice place to try --- once, but I wouldn't do it again.
The Grand Floridian has always been amazing. I've stayed there five or six times now, and it always lives up to its reputation as Disney's spectacular flagship resort. The lodge buildings have the tranquility and seclusion of the Polynesian, and the rooms in the main building have the convenience and hustle-bustle feel of the Contemporary tower. It's one stop away from the MK, convenient to all the MK resorts and the TTC (and thus Epcot), and full of unique shops and restaurants. I've given it a bit higher rating than most in the "affordability" category since I've yet to stay there as an adult when I wasn't able to take advantage of a discount code of some sort. Rooms that would have gone for $350 to $600 (or more) per night magically become $200-$300 if you keep your eye on MouseSavers.com and/or take advantage of Bounceback offers. Everyone raves about the Value and Moderate Resorts, and for the money I'm sure they're fine, but the GF is the only way to go when only the best will do!
My husband and I stayed at the GF for 7 nights in Dec 2009
We were lucky enough to get a room rate of around $220 a night. My husband was home on vacation from Iraq and what better way to celebrate than with a stay at WDW flagship resort. We both loved the convenience MK was but a short ferry boat, or monorail ride away. The rooms were a little dated for our taste. The beds were not what you would expect to find in a resort that normally goes for as much as the GF. It actually felt more like a moderate resort. When I made the reservations I had requested a king size bed (my husband is 6'5). When we checked in we were informed that there were no kings available and asked to call back each day and ask and they would move us if one became available. No biggie, we made due- who wants to hang around the hotel, calling the front desk and waiting to change rooms during their vacation? Not us. But at least it was offered. The staff on a whole was nice, not as magical as the staff at the other resorts I have stayed at. I found this strange considering this was the GF and wasn't everything about the GF supposed to be better? We LOVED the fact that the pool and the cafe were open much later than at other resorts. It has been a running joke with us that if the clock strikes midnight on WDW and you haven't ate yet, you won't be. So it was really nice not to have to worry about eating before we left the parks. We did make one mistake in choseing the GF for this trip- we had a rental car and planned to spend a day at Unniversal. Unfortunately for us the public parking lot for the GF was a good 15-20 min walk from our room. A walk we had to make with all of our luggage twice because my DH was shooed away from the curb when we were checking in and told he had to park or pay for valet. I am not sure if this is standard procedure for the GF but it was a major inconvenience for us. We picked this resort because of the incredible deal, and on a whole we had a very nice stay. I think we would have enjoyed the GF more had we not intended to leave WDW property, and not had a rental car to worry about. We would probably stay at the GF again on a trip where we intended to stay on property the entire time and enjoy more of the resort amenities. This stay taught me a very valuable lesson- CHOOSE YOUR RESORT BASED ON YOUR ITINERARY NOT ON PRICE. Would I pay rack rate to stay here? NEVER
Anyone who has done any research on Disney knows there are Value/Moderate/Deluxe resorts and, and with just a little more knowledge you would know there are other touches that make the Grand Floridian a category of its own as a "super deluxe" and the flagship resort of WDW.
We were very fortunate to stay April 13-18 2009 due to us booking last minute / a Buy3/Get2 promotion at the time. The rooms are immaculate. From the hamper, to the "spa" toiletries, to the bathrobes, and the exquisite linens you know you are somewhere really special. In fact, I couldn't find one area that wasn't beautiful, from the doors on the linen closets between every two rooms, all the way to the grand lobby. We didn't try all the dining options, but the ones we did try (GF Café, Gasparilla, 1900 Park Fare) were all delicious and up to the usual Disney dining standard. The fact that it was the only hotel with openings when we booked in December 2008 definetly tells you something about it. The price is very high ($550/night for our "regular" room) and therefore is not as crowded as the other hotels. This is nice both for a general ambiance around the pool/restaurants/etc. but ESPECIALLY nice at the Theme Parks where your bus line is much shorter than the others. The whole area is very small, contrary to what the map may make it seem like (the map would seem to suggest an All-Star like layout) and the walk from the farthest away building (Boca Chica) is about 2 minutes.
In short - The GF is a special experience you really can't replicate without staying there. If you ever get a chance to stay there (even for just 2 nights as part of your vacation!) I would highly recommend it! It's an experience you won't soon forget.