For the first time that my family and I visited Walt Disney World, we did it in style. It wasn’t my first visit by a long shot, but it was the first time that my boys got to see the magic for themselves. It was my husband’s second visit, but it was as if he was visiting for the first time as he got sick in Tomorrowland during their visit.
For me, prior to our stay the Grand Floridian was the creme of the crop, after all it is Disney’s crown jewel. I have foggy memories of visiting a friend who was staying at the GF with her family, and I lounged at the pool with her, thinking that it was a fantastic hotel. And it is.
The Grand Floridian is absolutely a beautiful hotel. I am believe that I gasped when I stepped into the lobby to check in.
So why am I saying all of this with a lead up asking if the Grand Floridan is worth the money?
My short answer is no.
The common areas are breathtaking. There is a band in the balcony overlooking the lobby for pete’s sake. That’s the thing for me, the common areas are accessible to anyone who wants to come in for afternoon tea or a character meal at 1900 Park Fare. The Grand Floridian Cafe we have heard is a great place to grab an ‘affordable’ meal, but it closes at 6 pm so we never got the chance to try it. Again, those spots are open to the public.
The rooms, that start at $500 per night leave something to be desired.
For my family of 4 the room was tight at best and since I was attending a conference I wasn’t in the room very much. We made do with our kids at ages 5 and 7, families with kids that are older would feel even more cramped.
Here is the biggest draw for my family in terms of a reason why I would stay in the future and it has nothing to do with the room.
The Grand Floridian is on the monorail line, meaning you can hop on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot directly from the hotel. It is the first stop going to the Magic Kingdom and the last stop returning. Make a note of that. When you have sleepy kids and they fall asleep on the monorail it is much harder to maneuver off of the monorail. When you are done with theme parks for the day and just want to lay down in your bed or wash theme park grime off of you, the monorail ride at the end of the day seems to take f.o.r.e.v.e.r.
Regardless, having the monorail access is a plus. Especially if you intend to use the pools at the Grand Floridian. If I could do my first Disney experience with kids differently, I wouldn’t have spent marathon days at the parks. Rather, I would have taken advantage of the monorail service to our hotel and had some down time at the pools.
After all the pools at the Grand Floridian are the best over all Disney properties. I mean LOOK at these.
That being said, it would be very hard for me to make the decision to book a stay at the Grand Floridian knowing what I know now. I think that a stay at the Waldorf Astoria might be a better bet, if you are looking for luxury and don’t mind to stay off property.
Do you think I am wrong? Do you love the Grand Floridian? Tell me in the comments!