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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Amex, Orbitz, Cheap Tickets, Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Despegar.com and Tingo so you can book your Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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