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“expected much more” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

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Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #33 of 326 Hotels in Orlando
Austin, Texas
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
“expected much more”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2005

Below is our entire Disney experience.

Regarding the Grand Floridian - The rooms are pretty but warn - not worth more than $250/night. There were 2 elevators broken down (1 for 4 days) which made it difficult to haul the stroller up and down the stairs. Location is convenient to Magic Kingdom. The Grill is open 24hrs and has better food than the parks. Prices aren't any cheaper but there are no crowds.

Review of our Land Sea Vacation:
I traveled with my husband, 2 boys (4yrs and 14mos) and my parents during August 2005. We did the 4 day land 3 day sea vacation package and booked our vacation through Disney Cruise Line. The initial cost was $11K for the 6 of us to stay in a category 2 (950 sq ft 2 bedroom/2.5 bath suite). The category on the ship determines accommodations on land. Keep in mind this pays for the basics (hotel, transfers, park passes, ship, meals on the ship, and travel insurance). Our flights, meals on land, incidentals, shore excursions, etc. are NOT included in this price.
Although I did much research and preparation for our trip; we were hit with many costly surprises.
I had contacted Disney Cruise Line multiple times to gather necessary information prior to our departure; information that was not published in reading materials or on the website (i.e. where do you catch the bus from the airport to the resort?). I knew there was a bus but we were not told where to go when we arrived at the airport nor that we would be going through a check-in process and waiting in long lines at Disney Express. On more than one occasion when contacting DCL (my only resource for detailed information from a human) I was told to refer to my travel agent. I didn’t have a travel agent!!! I made all arrangements through DCL myself – shouldn’t they have that noted in their computer?

During the entire experience we witnessed the most unfriendly, unaccommodating, unhappy people. This began at the airport, then the resort, and then the parks.

Checking in at the airport we did not receive smiles or welcomes, only herded along like cattle. Then we arrived at the Grand Floridian to learn the 6 of us were assigned to a STANDARD room. We paid $11 thousand dollars for the second largest room on the ship only to be squeezed into 1 standard room at the hotel. (This might not be so bad for some, but my 14 month old still naps. I couldn’t expect for my entire family to sit in a dark room or out on the patio for 2hrs during the heat of the day. Nor could I leave the baby alone in the room to nap). After 45 min of talking to the resort manager and on the phone with a manager from DCL, we paid an additional $1,200 + tax to get an adjoining standard room for 4 nights. Obviously, when you’re there, they got you.

I was unaware that Disney Cruise Line is a completely separate company from the Disney parent company. The computer systems of the two companies are not integrated and people at DCL give you information about the resort and parks from a book, not necessarily from experience, and some of the information they give you isn’t particularly accurate.

Below are some other examples of not-so-happy experiences.
Not having transportation is nice to not have to deal with parking but you are at the mercy of big brother Walt. You want water, you pay $2/ for a 24 oz bottle or drink from the tap. Every meal, snack, drink, you have to pay a premium. No mini-mart to run to, to pick up extra diapers, candy bar, or those little things you take for granted staying in or near a city or having your own transportation.
I had to remove some sodas and juice from our mini fridge to make room for some of my baby’s items (bottle, sippy cup, opened baby food, etc). Mini-bar contents were put on top of the fridge to be replaced later, but instead the fridge was restocked with new items. I of course followed up to learn we were charged for all those items still sitting on top of the mini-fridge. It was corrected but I still had to hassle with policing our bill while on vacation.
Our visit to Animal Kingdom was the worst of the 3 parks we visited. It began entering the park when my 4yr old was excited to put his pass card into the machine at the turnstile. When he did it incorrectly, the park worker rolled her eyes and huffed at him. Later we had lunch at Rainforest Café. Our server was great when we were seated but as the meal progressed we saw less of him and had to constantly ask for refills, condiments, etc. No smiles, no friendly chit-chat, no desire to please. After our mediocre meal is when I remembered tips are automatically charged, not at your own discretion. When leaving Animal Kingdom, we had to catch the bus back to our resort. We were told the busses ran approx every 20min. We timed it and our wait was more than 35min and it took a total of 55 minutes to get to the Grand Floridian after making all the stops.
I could go on about the $100 horrible meal at Chef Mickey, the grumpy monorail pilot, the long lines, extraordinary prices, and poor service at the restaurants but feel I’ve made my point.

Maybe because it was hot or the end of the summer, the employees are unhelpful and unfriendly but it’s a poor excuse when it’s suppose to be the happiest place on earth.

Fortunately, our DCL experience ended our vacation on a good note and helped us get over our experience at the parks. The staff was very welcoming, friendly, and full of energy. The accommodations were clean, the food was good, entertainment and ports of call were fun. We were able to enjoy family events then drop our little guys off at the nursery and Oceaneer’s club to enjoy adult time both on and off the ship. We recommend DCL for families with kids of all ages but especially those with little ones under 6yrs.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,262 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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1 review
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2005

We stayed at the Grand Flo during Christmas 2004 (my partner, 8 month old son and myself).

Only one major flaw for this magnificent hotel, and that is, that it is not exclusive enough for the guests that have paid a small fortune to stay there and encounter a bit of luxury.

Even though we were staying there, we struggled to get into any of the hotel restaurants and found ourselves queing for what seemed like forever, whilst other residents from other properties in WDW walked straight through.

My personal opinion is that, as this is a 5 * hotel the guests that have paid to stay in a 5 * hotel should get some sort of preferential treatment (especially when trying to book a table in their own hotel!)

We have previously stayed in the Wilderness Lodge, which was fab and to be honest we might as well pay less and stay there, then use the facilities etc at the Grand Flo like everybody else!

  • Stayed December 2004
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York UK
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2005

Third visit to "The Grand Flo" in five years and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Main plus points - VERY helpful and friendly staff; good pool area; excellent grounds; brilliantly easy transport to all Disney parks and resorts (monorail, boat or bus). Dined for the first time at Victoria & Alberts - $800 for four of us, but it WAS very high standard. Citricos, Narcoosees and Floridian Cafe are also good quality restaurants. Plus there's a 24hr grill for snacks, drinks etc. Hotel lobby area, complete with live pianist or swing band, is amongst the most impressive I've ever seen.

On check-in my wife mentioned that this was our third visit and cheekily asked if we might have a room up-grade. Hey presto - the manager offered us a ground floor lagoon view room (worth an extra $80 a night) at no cost!

Later we had a problem with theme park tickets not working (entirely the fault of our tour company). When we mentioned it to the hotel people they gave us complimentary passes valid for all the Disney parks which we could use for a day or two while it was all being sorted out.

Main "could be better" points - Main restaurant for character dining (1900 Park Fair) is crowded and, with so many kids, is a bit of a zoo. Buffet food here is average only. Also the bedrooms are not fully sound-proofed. Noise has never been a problem on previous visits, but this time we were next door to a family that seemed to be training for the All-American Shouting Championships.

Overall this is a very good quality place and a great refuge from the theme parks. As you'd expect it has prices to match.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2005

We really enjoyed the floridian! The service was good, the food was good at Narcoose's and Victoria and Albert's. The room was not a luxury resort room. However, the decor is unique and charming. I think you have to expect novelty at this hotel as opposed to adult luxury. The frequent traveler will find the room average and the theming extraordinary. Enjoy the hotel for what it is and don't compare it to many others as its purpose is different. This hotel is aimed at families who will spend the majority of their time at the theme parks and want to find the same type of theming when they return to their room.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burbank, California
17 reviews 17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2005

The Floridian means a lot to me. When I was a college student working over the summer at WDW in 1988, I was desperate for spending money and took an overtime shift at the Floridian, which at the time was being readied for its grand opening. One of my many jobs that night was to remove the 2x4s out of the gazebo in the back and sweep the place clean. Nearly ten years later, I hosted the cocktail hour for my wedding reception in that very same gazebo. Talk about coming full circle! The rest of our reception was in one of the GF's ballrooms and it went on until 12:30. I was pretty jazzed about spending the night in the honeymoon suite (value of $645 at the time, free for the exhausted but happy couple!) on the conciege floor.

While my overall experience with the GF was marvelous - great party, wonderful food - I landed with a bit of a thud back on earth the next day. We asked to have our checkout time extended until 2 pm (I thought a reasonable request, since we'd gotten to the room so late after the wedding). We were told no. I was amazed and asked a manager to explain this to me (remember, we were on the conciege floor!) The story was that WDW was hosting a golf tournament and they needed to turn the room over someone involved with that. Now, you can guess that we spent a TON of money on the wedding (which I mentioned to the manager), and all we were asking for was another *three* hours in our (rather small, I might add) hotel room. Isn't check-in time 3:00? Still, the final answer was no.

So the GF still has a special place in my heart, and I return there to visit every couple of years. Still love the lobby, the fireworks view from the hotel, and Narcoosee's (miss the yard beers, but they make the best Key Lime Martini you've ever had). But I have to admit I'll never forget them nickel-and-diming me on my honeymoon night!

  • Stayed October 1999
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2005

Vacationed at the Grand Floridian August 12-18th. Had room #4325 on 3rd floor (concierge club) in the Royal Palm Bldg. (main bldg) with view of the lagoon, beach, waterfall pool & some of the Epcot fireworks.
Have 2 kids ages 11 & 7 who were just as amazed as we were with the elegance & charm of this resort. After reading many good/bad reviews I have to say I was a little concerned about staying there. BUT we found the grounds/resort to be beautiful & spotless. The staff was very helpful, knowledgable & friendly, especially Marc on the Conciege floor...ask for him! The band that played at 3pm each day was wonderful too! very relaxing!
The pools were perfect & never over crowded. They have a 24 hour grill & arcade that is perfect for sandwiches/pizza/Mickey Mouse Waffles & drinks... (only pizza is served after 11:30pm-no sandwiches after that time)
Staying in the Main Building where the monorail stops was great, especially coming in from the parks late at night.
Took the ferry over to Magic Kingdom only once since it was so far from our building but it was fun & fast.
The snacks were good on the Concierge floor. Different things thru-out the day. Always had some cookies/cupcakes and brownies for the kids along with lemonade/ice tea/water/perrier/...along with smaller tables for the kids to sit at & watch TV. The breakfast included juices/coffees/cereals/pastries/bagel/breads/lots of fruits/muffins...and toasters to toast your own. Lunch had sodas/nuts/chips/dips/veggies/...then afternoon tea had scones...Dinner hour was good, always had alot to choose from with hot/cold appetizers,something for the kids like chix fingers or pbj sandwiches/ beer, wine, champagne...Later at night cordials & fancy desserts were available.
It was nice to be able to just stop in every so often to grab a snack or drink in between parks. Also had a nice size area with tables to relax and enjoy the view & listen to the band if you had time.
Everything was perfect at the Grand Floridian Resort!
It was very hot & humid so hit the parks early, come back for a swim then go back out late in the evening. Don't forget your squirt fans! (wish I had the patent on those-$17.00 each)

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2005

We visit Orlando a lot. There is no finer hotel than this one. We travelalot and no other is close.

  • Stayed July 2004
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Address: 4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#10 Spa Hotel in Orlando
#12 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#21 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#33 Family Hotel in Orlando
#40 Business Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 867
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a Victorian-style Disney Deluxe Resort distinguished as the flagship hotel of Walt Disney World Resort and offering world-class dining, entertainment and luxurious accommodations in its 6 striking red-gabled buildings. This magnificent hotel sits along the white-sand shores of Seven Seas Lagoon. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Disney Grand Floridian Resort
Grand Floridian Resort
Grand Floridian Disney
Disneys Grand Floridian Hotel
Grand Floridian Orlando
Disney Grand Floridian Hotel
Grand Floridian Hotel Orlando

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