Tour of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is a wonderful experience.  The Grand Floridian is Disney’s flagship resort and is reminiscent of Florida’s 19th century luxurious seaside hotels.

 

Grand Floridian Resort

 

Why should you choose the Grand Floridian Resort?

  • Monorail and boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom and other Magic Kingdom resort
  • Monorail service to Epcot
  • Beautiful location on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon
  • Elegant Victorian décor
  • Excellent service
  • Large guest rooms (440 square feet for most standard rooms)
  • Good variety of dining options (including character dining)
  • Spa on site
  • View of Electrical Water Pageant and Magic Kingdom fireworks from resort
  • Villa, suite and club level rooms available

With 867 rooms located in 4- and 5-story buildings, the Grand Floridian has a gorgeous location on the Seven Seas Lagoon.  One of three “Monorail” resorts, transportation to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot is as easy as can be.   The 5-story Grand Lobby is an impressive place to regroup after a day at the parks and often features live entertainment …  either a band or a pianist, depending on the time of day.

 

Grand Floridian Lobby

 

Grand Floridian Lobby

 

Grand Floridian Lobby

 

Grand Floridian lobby

 

Rooms:

The standard rooms at the resort are some of the largest on the Disney property, at 440 square feet (dormer rooms are smaller, but have vaulted ceilings).   With two queen beds and a daybed/sofa, they accommodate 5 guests plus one infant in a crib.  King rooms are also available.

 

Grand Floridian room

Two Queen Beds

Grand Floridian Room

  Daybed and dresser/entertainment unit

Grand Floridian Bathroom

Double sinks and vanity

Grand Floridian room

Dormer room (notice vaulted ceiling and fan)

 

Good Eats:

Grand Floridian - Beaches Pool Bar

Beached Pool Bar and Grill

If you get hungry while staying at the resort you are never far from some great dining options.  The resort is home to the fanciest restaurant in Walt Disney World, the AAA Five-Diamond awarded Victoria & Albert’s, and two “Signature Restaurants”… Citricos and Narcoosee’s.  A character breakfast and dinner at are very popular at 1900 Park Fare and you can have a casual meal at the Grand Floridian Café.  In addition, Mitzner’s Lounge serves some menu items from Citricos, if you are not in the mood for a formal meal or don’t have a reservation.

If you would like a spot of tea, the Garden View Tea room is the place to be.   With a wonderful variety of tea, sandwiches and pastries, it is a very civilized place to take a midday break.

For Quick Service, Beaches Pool Bar has some nice food options and the Gasperilla Island Grill is open 24 hours (great news if you are hungry after a late night at the parks).  If that isn’t enough, Room Service is also available.

 

Recreation:

There is no shortage of things to do at the resort.  The pool areas are superb, with zero entry for the little ones and water slides for the bigger kids (and kids at heart).  The Beach Pool features a 181-foot waterslide and luxurious cabanas are available for an additional fee.   The Courtyard Pool (the “quiet pool”) has a whirlpool spa.   In between the two pool areas there is an Alice in Wonderland-themed water play area for children (slides and fountains).

 

 

Grand Floridian water slide

  Beach pool slide

Grand Floridian Pool

Beach pool

Grand Floridian Pool

Courtyard pool

In addition to the wonderful pools, the resort features a marina for watercraft rentals, Senses Spa, fitness room, arcade, tennis, 1-mile jogging path and multiple gift shops.  You can definitely have a very full day just exploring the resort amenities.  If you still have energy at the end of the day, walk down to the lagoon near Narcoossee’s restaurant and view the Electrical Water Pageant and the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

Overall, a stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is sure to please even the most discerning guest.   Elegant, yet relaxed, the resort is a fantastic place to call home during your Walt Disney World vacation.

 

Grand Floridian Resort

 

 

 

 

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Friday Happy Hour – Dole Whip with Spiced Rum

How could Disney improve on the most popular snack in Walt Disney World… the Dole Whip?  Well, the Animal Kingdom has kicked it up a notch with it’s own versions of the Dole Whip… spiked with dark rum or coconut rum!

You can find this treat at Tamu Tamu Eats & Refreshments in the Africa section of the park… so you can easily pick one up after you experience the Safari or Lion King show.

 

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Tamu Tamu

You can, of course, get the Dole Whip without the alcohol added… and that is delightful.  However, what make this location special is that you can have your Dole Whip with dark rum or coconut rum added to it.  I choose dark rum and the flavor was really a great compliment to the familiar pineapple soft serve.   It tasted strongly of rum, so do be prepared that this is not a weak, pre-mixed frozen concoction.  They add a shot to the cup first and then add the Dole Whip.  This results in the pretty swirl pattern… very nice!  It is also very thick, so be sure to pick up a spoon in addition to a straw.

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Dole Whip with Dark Rum

Sitting down with this frosty treat is a great way to relax inside the Animal Kingdom.  You really feel like you are on an exotic vacation while you sip (or spoon) this drink.

What do you think of this version of the Dole Whip?  Would you prefer it plain, with dark rum or coconut rum?

 

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Frozen Summer Fun

Even the heat of an Orlando summer cannot stop the chill in the air over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.   Frozen Summer Fun began in July at the Hollywood Studios, and was originally scheduled to run through September 1.  Due to the popularity of the entertainment, Disney has extended the event through September, with the fireworks happening on the weekends.   It is all so much fun that I can only hope that they decide to extend it indefinitely!

 

frozen13   Frozen fun is everywhere you look

If you arrive at the Studios prior to opening time, you will be treated to a morning greeting from Olaf!  Get close to the stage in front of the Sorcerer’s Hat, and a bit to the left.   If you want Return Tickets to the Frozen Sing Along Celebration (and you do!), be prepared to follow the Cast Members holding the Olaf signs on the left.

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Olaf’s morning greeting… get to the Studios by opening time!

An orderly procession to the backlot…

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Following the Cast Members to the Sing-Along ticket area

If you get your Return Tickets first thing in the morning, then you should have your choice of show times.  You only need to have one adult pick up tickets for your whole group, so if you have more than one adult in your party, they can get the kids signed up for the Jedi Training Academy or experience an attraction.

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Return card distribution

Near Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, you will find some Frozen picture backdrops and a Memory Maker (PhotoPass) photographer on duty.  If you have the Memory Maker add-on, these pictures are very cute because some of the Frozen characters are digitally added to your photos.

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Photo backdrops

Early in the morning (before it gets too crowded), definitely take a look inside Wandering Oaken’s Frozen Funland.

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Disney did a great job transforming this soundstage into a Winter Wonderland.   There is a large play area filled with snow…

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Snowground

… and a nice skating rink.  For an additional cost of $10, you get 30 minutes of skating (including skates, socks and a helmet).  That actually seems like a pretty good deal!

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Ice rink

Special Frozen snacks and drinks are also available at the Sweet Treat Bar.   Even if you don’t plan on skating, this is a great place to cool off!

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Souvenir Olaf cups (available with different beverages throughout the Studios)

Next door at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, you can find a ton of Frozen merchandise.  If you are lucky, you can even pick up an Elsa gown… and even more Frozen sweets and treats.

frozen16Elsa and Anna dresses

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Frozen dolls and other merchandise

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Olaf caramel apples

Judge the crowd levels on the day you are touring, and start looking for a good viewing spot for Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome Procession.  The best area would be along Hollywood Blvd, as close to the stage as you can get.   The procession is short and cute…but by no means a full-fledged parade.

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Kristoff

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Anna and Elsa

Once the floats go by on Hollywood Studios,  Anna and Elsa get out of their sleigh and go up onto the stage for a short presentation.

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Anna and Elsa

Then it is time to check out For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.  Although most seats in the theater are good, even with Return Tickets, you will want to get in line for the show at least 30 minutes early for a seat closer to the front of the stage.   There will be a line for the Premium Package Ticket holders, a line for Return Ticket holders and then a stand-by line for any remaining seats.

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Frozen Sing-Along

The show was really fun and our kids liked it quite a bit.  Ok, I will admit it… we sang too.  And I’m sure that most parents didn’t need the lyrics to be on the screens, as we have listened to the songs so many times!  Be prepared that, for the most part, you sing-along with film clips and not the characters on the stage (although they do make an appearance).

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On the weekends in September, guests are also treated to A “Frozen” Fireworks spectacular.  These fireworks were beautiful.  Since the fireworks are set off behind the Sorcerer’s Hat, the stage (and hat) can obscure your view if you are too close to the stage.  To get the a good view (and still see the stage), stand to the left of the stage so you are looking between the American Idol Experience and the Great Movie Ride.  Stand just to the left of the roped-off area set aside for the Premium Package guests.   The “snow” on Hollywood Blvd. is a great final touch as you are leaving the Studios.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a wonderful park and the Frozen Summer Fun increased the excitement factor a bit.  Although there are no Frozen character meet and greets inside the park (you have to go to the Magic Kingdom for some face time with Anna and Elsa), there is plenty to keep Frozen fans happy.

Would you like the Frozen special events to extend into the fall and beyond?

Stay tuned for a future blog post where I detail our experience with the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package.

 

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