I’ve always said that a Disney trip is definitely more of an adventure than it is a relaxing vacation. A day at one of the Disney Parks can be one of the most magical experiences, but come on, it’s okay to admit that it can also be EXHAUSTING. The walking, the Florida summer sun, the walking, the humidity, and did I mention all of the walking?! One of my favorite ways to have a day at the Walt Disney World Resort without having to deal with the hustle and bustle of the theme parks is spending time at one of the Resort hotels.
This post is the first in a new series on my blog all about things to do and how to spend time at each of the Disney Resorts.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is one of my favorite places on Disney property. It’s a “monorail resort”, which means it is directly accessed by the resort monorail line and just a quick ride away from the gates of Magic Kingdom. It’s considered a Deluxe resort, the highest (read: most expensive) category of Disney hotels, and the flagship resort of Walt Disney World property, which is why I thought it would be the perfect one to kick off my series highlighting what each of the Disney Resorts have to offer.
The design and architecture of the Grand Floridian draws inspiration from the Victorian-era beach resorts built along Florida’s east coast, and all of the outer buildings (Conch Key, Sugarloaf Key, Sago Cay, Boca Chica and Big Pine Key) are named for islands in the Florida Keys. In the original plans for the resorts surrounding Magic Kingdom, each of them was meant to tie into one of the “lands” of MK, and The Grand was meant to be to Main Street, USA what the Polynesian is to Adventureland. Also, fun fact I discovered in my research of this resort, it was featured in The Beach Boy’s music video for “Kokomo”! No, really, check it out!
The best start to any day is always a good breakfast, and breakfast at the Grand Floridian Cafe goes above and beyond your standard bowl of cornflakes. Their breakfast menu has all the standard classics, and a bonus for me was a whole menu section devoted to Eggs Benedict, my favorite breakfast dish. There are three different variations of Eggs Benedict offered: classic, chorizo, and LOBSTER. Yes, you read that right, LOBSTER EGGS BENEDICT (insert drool emoji here). You can also get a flight of all three if making hard choices isn’t your thing.
For this breakfast I choose to try something new, one of Chelsea’s favorites, the Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberry enhancements. The enhancements included a side of fresh blueberries, lemon curd, granola, and a blueberry sauce.
Another one of my favorite dining experiences at the Grand is the Afternoon Tea service in the Garden View Tea Room. Afternoon Tea is always my go-to for any special occasion that I want to celebrate at Disney. It’s served every day from noon to 4 PM, but MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON TIME for your reservation. Most Disney restaurants are pretty relaxed when it comes to being a few minutes late to your reservation, but they run on a very tight schedule at the Tea Room, and they WILL give you a hard time if you run late or if you have to change your party size for any reason, so make sure you plan accordingly (I’ve learned from experience on this one, trust me).
I usually get the Bedforshire Tea service, which is three courses of small plates; finger sandwiches, scones and jam tarts, followed by dessert of your choice, pastries, strawberries and cream, or English trifle, all accompanied by your own pot of tea. It’s the perfect amount of food mid-day, and the perfect setting for spilling- I mean, sipping, some tea with your girl friends while feeling classy and high-tone.
My favorite dinner service at the Grand Floridian is actually my all-time favorite restaurant on Disney property, Narcoossee’s.
Narcoosee’s menu is made up mostly of seafood cuisine, and their Lobster Bisque is to die for (are you catching on to the theme that I really like lobster?!). But what makes this restaurant really special for me is the location. It is right on the water overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon with a view of Cinderella Castle, and at nighttime, the fireworks. They dim the lights and play the soundtrack inside the restaurant, and along the balcony outside which stretches along the whole length of the building.
The Grand really does kill it in the dining department overall. They are also home to several other top notch dining experiences, including 1900 Park Fare (a character dining buffet), Citricos (mediterranean inspired), Victoria & Albert’s ($$$, nicest restaurant on Disney property), and a quick service location, Gasparilla Island Grill.
In addition to the monorail service to the Magic Kingdom, The Grand Floridian also offers a boat ride, launching right by Narcoosee’s. It’s a beautiful, relaxing ride across the Seven Seas Lagoon to both the Polynesian and the Magic Kingdom, and usually has a shorter wait time than the monorail on the way to MK.
If you’re looking to escape from the Florida sun and heat into some air conditioning, there aren’t many better places to do it than the lobby at the Grand. It has the most relaxing ambiance, with plenty of comfy seating, and every afternoon starting at 3:00 PM, they offer live music, altering between a pianist on a grand piano, to a full live orchestra playing from the second floor. Rumor also has it, if you happen to be there during the pianist’s first set around 3:30 PM, Cinderella and Prince Charming can sometimes be found wandering into the lobby for a dreamy waltz.
The Grand Floridian Resort is definitely a gem among the Walt Disney World resorts. I think it especially shines in the dining options it offers, and their lobby is not equaled in any of the other resorts. Next time you find yourself in Walt Disney World needing more of a relaxed day versus the hectic adventure of a Park, catch a bus, boat or monorail over and explore!
Til next time,
P.S. My entire outfit, head to toe, was gifted to me from Pinup Girl Clothing, but please trust I would never recommend anything I didn’t love wholeheartedly, and this dress is definitely one of my favorite things I’ve ever worn!