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“Great location, decent but not great hotel”

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Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Ranked #21 of 341 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 7, 2014

They say that location is everything, and this is the best location you can imagine. Short train ride to the Magic Kingdom. If you want to skip the crowd in the evening you can watch the fireworks from the balcony if you have lagoon view room.
The room was immaculately clean.
I was somewhat disappointed that I could hear door slams in the hallway, hear laughing in the next room(fortunately late sleepers) and could hear footsteps from the room above. There was peeling paint on our balcony.
I really did like it, but on the next trip will probably go back to the Polynesian, more modest prices. Tough to justify the $500+ price, but what the heck, once was very fun.

Room Tip: I liked the lagoon view, great views all day, night. Stay on the fifth floor if you worry about poss...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Dale K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 6, 2014

It was with a lot of trepidation that we decided to stay at a Disney resort. We do like the Magic Kingdom, but are not die hard fans - we have stayed at the Ritz Orlando Great Lakes before - Orlando is more of a destination for escaping the weather and enjoying pool time while still having options for entertaining the kids.

Reading about the deluxe hotels, I came to the conclusion that each caters to its own tribe of customers. The Wilderness Lodge was interesting in concept, but I eliminated because the rooms are too small. The Polynesian was out due to the extensive construction they have, and honestly after seeing it in person I would not like to stay there at all. The Contemporary's "theme" just doesn't seem fun or luxury enough.

So the Grand Floridian was it. And OMG, what an incredible hotel. If you are curious to see my profile, you will see that I stayed in many 5 stars hotels around the world. Nothing touches the excellent level o service of the GF. We stayed at the club level at the main building, and the experience was so fantastic (I don't like to use the "magical" additive!) that I am planning on coming back for Fall Break. I travelled with 3 children in their tweens, they thought that the hotel was absolutely beautiful, the pools were warm enough and a lot of fun (big kudos for the slide at the beach pool), the staff ("cast members") couldn't be more polite and better trained. Many times I tried to tip them for their exceptional service and they flat out say they can't accept, please use the money to buy something nice for the children! Amazing. They go out of their way, and it is not for tipping at all (big depart from the Ritz and Four Seasons' organizational culture). I truly did not want to leave the hotel and I do love my home, so that's saying something!

Ok, club level. Totally worth it, the food is delicious, the abundance of drinks is great, and it is a great place to hang out between trips to the park or the pool. The ambiance with the piano playing at the lobby or the jazz band is brilliant, so when we go back that is the only option we will be looking at. The main building is so nice, the 3rd, 4th and 5th level are accessible only to club level guests using their card keys (we stayed in 3rd floor and would recommend it). Main floor (lobby) and second floor (stores and monorail station) are available to general public, but it was never ever even busy. The resort is an oasis of calm and splendor.

The rooms are comfortable and large enough. One small problem was that the day bed provided was too stiff for my 9 year old daughter, so we requested a roll away bed and that was easily provided, free of charge. Housekeeping is great and reliable.

Transportation to Magic Kingdom is amazing. In less than 3 min in monorail you get to Magic Kingdom (first stop). We never waited more than 5 min for a monorail. Coming back from MK, we really enjoyed taking the boat launch, since GF is first stop (the boat goes to GF and Polynesian) and even at the busiest time (after the fireworks and big crowds leaving the park) we did not found a line and were back at the GF in 5 minutes tops. So we came and went from/to hotel to/from Magic Kingdom a few times every day. Arriving at the Grand Floridian was always a happy time for us. If you take the Magic Kingdom away, we would still fly to the GF for a warm vacation.
Food options at the resort were great. Although we had free breakfast at club level, we had breakfast at the Grand Floridian cafe once and it was very very good. They can accommodate guests at a very short notice and are beyond polite and nice. We also had a fantastic meal at Narcoose's (the seafood restaurant overlooking the lagoon) and it was delicious, albeit a little expensive. At 10pm they play the Wishes music (the one played for the fireworks) and most of the guests interrupt their meal and go to the balcony to watch it. Great, great, great.
The pool bar is awesome - real margaritas, sushi platter, and plenty of kids' choices. I did not want to leave the pool and sometimes neither did my kids - they would prefer to stay at the GF then go to the MK except when later at the day.

So, addressing some of the criticism I read on previous reviews that made me worried before getting there: no, the rooms are not dated, they are great. No, the hotel is not stuffy, but very elegant and polished, and makes you feel like a million bucks. The transportation is great, except if you are taking bus to water parks - that can take a long time to get a bus back.

The hotel smells wonderful and it is not because of the soap store (Basin White) at second floor. I went there to buy the GF "Fragrance" but they informed me that the fragrance is not their product. Also, there were so many fresh flower arrangements, and the Easter chocolate display also infuses a chocolate aroma to the air.

In terms of room view choices, I don't think you can go wrong with any. We had garden view looking at the new splash area and beach pool and it was lovely. I honestly would not pay extra for lagoon or theme park view, but yes for club level. The hotel was very quiet, we never had an issue hearing other guests or boats or anything. We had amazing nights of sleep.

Also, we used the Magic Express at the airport and our bags were back to our room in a very timely manner. Our room was ready for us before check in time. But, we left early to the airport and used Magic Express again (at 3:50am) and it was a disaster - 4 more stops (at moderate resorts) and it took us 1 hour to reach the airport. Quite a bummer.

My kids loved renting the sky racers (small boats) from the Marina. It was a blast. You can go all the way to look at the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. Relaxing and fun, and if they are over 12 years old they can drive one on their own. My son was in heaven in his small boat, driving around.

Anyways, this hotel was right up our alley and we can't wait to go back. It also had the nicest guests around as opposed to some crowds I saw going to and from another resort. LOVED IT, thank you Grand Floridian staff for a truly magical stay (there I said it, magical!).

Room Tip: If you can afford it, club level main building is an out of this world experience. Otherwise, club l...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank PhantomOP_2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2014

My husband and I stayed at the Grand Floridian for a week for our honeymoon. It really is a beautiful hotel and the location is excellent. The staff were all very friendly, check in was quick and an enjoyable experience. We had a room with a lake view and it was lovely to wake up to this view before starting a busy day out at Disney. The room was very spacious and the bathroom was gorgeous. The toiletries given each day were excellent too. The décor in the hotel was breath taking and we enjoyed looking for Disney characters on the specially designed carpets. We found that using the transport system, if going to Magic Kingdom, heading there it was best to avoid using the boats as it stops at two other hotels before going to Magic kingdom taking quite a long time. It's advisable to use the boats when returning to the hotel from Magic Kingdom, especially after fireworks as it seems to be the quietest mode of transport and the Grand Floridian is the first stop.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank Suzanne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2014

Quite frankly this was a sad and poor experience.There was no Magic in the stay!At 1900 Parkfare we were not allowed to sit for dinner as our 5th guest was delayed.Had they sat 4 of us and allowed us to eat and our 5th member arrived what would the matter be.Had the 5th member been delayed further what would the matter be.There were still 4 of us to be Magically treated.My eyes welled with tears and I left my husband Stage 4 Esophogeal Cancer be certain our room was not charged.Monday morning we had a planned Character breakfast.Arrived before time and had to wait while the attendant related to a non understanding guest what to do with the PAGER when it went off.Yes, there was no timeliness in the reservation.WE WAITED.The breakfast was average.Tiggers costume needs a good drycleaning.Then the Magical bus with reserved seating for us was full.We received the notice of time for the bus in our room.A dirty step van was hailed by Jose to get us to the airport.My son made conversation with the driver and WOE was his story.So woe that my son,who is not well,tipped him ahead of time.The driver did not get out of the dirty step van at the airport to open a door for us.There was no step for me to step onto to
disembark from the van thus I twisted my arthritic ankles and knees.The driver had put a step out for us to get in.He had his tips why move out of his seat.I believe the Floridian,had they wanted this family to feel special would have engaged a better service,at least clean service,to get us to the airport.I am certain if this had happened to someone carrying a Gucci or other label they would not have been shuttled in a dirty van.Jose had to work fast so we did not miss our plane.It was not Jose's fault but the Magic Express and Floridian should have a better bad up plan.The greasy dirty van ride was symbolic of our entire visit.We overcame many disappointments.Not many of the concierge are truly knowledgeable when asked questions regarding the parks.Regarding any other disappointment I suggest one go directly to a Hotel Manager.However, I did chat with Jen the1900 ParkFare Restaurant Manager and was told O well that is how we do things.O my, HOW MAGICAL IS THAT!I spoke with her regarding the Dinner reservation as well as breakfast that I mentioned above.
Our room was not the cleanest.I say this in regard to the Mickey Mouse Ears put together with towels and washcloth on our bed when we walked in.There was a soot-like dust on them.
I mentioned coffee to Patt ,one of the Coffee ladies at Concierge level,she told me it was fine.It had been sitting, there was no doubt, all day.When I chose to leave it on the table and go back to my room.She took the pot and made fresh.I was kind I was not raucous,agitated nor condescending.The coffee was nasty not me.The lady did not make it MAGICAL by thanking me for bringing it to her attention.Penelope,a concierge thought I was nuts to ask for a room service menu.She said there was one in the room.I told her I hadn't seen it.I asked about Papa John's Pizza,She then bounced up and handed me a room service menu.The reason that was necessary was the Cafe was only taking walk ins after 8:30pm!Our plans had glitches with the fast pass bands and I needed to scramble to feed the group.When I called enquiring about the Cafe I was told they normally do not answer the phone.I called anyway and was asked were we 'walk-ins'I said well I attempted to make a reservation at 7 but the computer is just spinning and not confirming.So being called a 'walk in' put our time to eat after 8:30pm.My husband was able to, online get it to 8:10pm.
We were also referred to as walk-ins in another situation, would not the term GUEST be more appropriate.
All in all this was a Disney Disconnect, not at all the pleasant Magical Getaway we had hoped to have.Our son summed it up perfectly 'We were not treated in anyway SPECIAL'!
I must say one young lady Amy,through my daughter making a call sent chocolate covered strawberries to the room.Well this too was our 45th anniversary event!
She was helpful.One last thing the SPA fliers in the salon donot have the right prices on them.
MK

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Mary K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2014

We paid for the more high service Club Level where we had our own concierge and light breakfast buffet. The problem is that the building is set up around an interior atrium, and virtually all of the rooms face into it. Starting at 6:00 a.m., families start assembling for breakfast and to start their days, and it’s VERY loud. We had to sleep with earplugs in…literally. We had adjoining rooms with the kids next door, but my wife and I also received queen sized beds in our configuration, which is not what we asked for. This Club Level is not worth it, but if you choose it, insist on a room down at the end of the hall, as there are a handful of rooms off the atrium. We were told this was the best of the Disney hotels, but the quality of the rooms and finishes is very average, and the bathrooms more like a Motel 6. The hotel is very far away from The Magic Kingdom, and Downtown Disney. While Disney has a free bus system serving all of their properties, it’s the worst part of the experience. The first morning, we waited 25 minutes for a bus, and then it was a 15 minute ride to the Magic Kingdom. WORSE is at the end of the day when you are exhausted (and the kids more so), the bus from the Magic Kingdom stops at two other hotels before getting to The Grand Floridian. It’s about a 40 minutes miserable ride. We became so frustrated, that the last day we just started taking taxis between the properties, which I suggest you do from the start, or rent a car. Waiting in line for the amusement park rides was nothing compared to that darn bus at the start and end of every day. It is the last time we go to Disney World, as the quality/price relationship isn’t there, and their failure to more adequately connect the distributed properties is unacceptable.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank DavidMarino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2014

We spent two nights at the Grand Floridian in March and loved it. The hotel has added improvements. A concierge was waiting for us when we arrived. We were taken to a seating area and checked into our room. Last time we had to stand at the front desk. The staff is fabulous. They really go out of their way to make sure you are having the best possible experience. I always leave wishing we could stay another day. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Kate P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2014 via mobile

Flew into Orlando this evening. Plane landed at 8:15, arrived to the grand Floridian compliments of magical express almost 2 hours later only to be checked in and completely turned off by the Disney employee who serviced me. And he enlightened me my luggage would arrive at midnight. Yay. Right? Our day starts very early and no luggage. This is our fourth trip to Disney since 2007, we did the Disney Cruise (Dream) in 2011, we have a trip planned to Disneyland this summer. I am so disappointed with everything that happened today.
Magical express is a joke. Don't bother. Get a cab. Time is money. Again, do not do magical express. Don't expect it to get better and better each visit bc if this was our first visit, we wouldn't come back.

I cannot express how disappointing it has been. I do hope (since I am here until next Saturday) that tonight was a fluke. I just hate this was the start to our trip.

:(

Stayed: March 2014
2  Thank TravelingB2001
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 & Spa

Address: 4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830-8451
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
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:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#3 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#4 Spa Hotel in Orlando
#23 Family Hotel in Orlando
#27 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#32 Business Hotel in Orlando
Price Range: $526 - $1,135 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 867
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Victorian elegance meets modern sophistication at this lavish bayside Resort hotel. Relax in the sumptuous lobby as the live orchestra plays ragtime, jazz and popular Disney tunes. Bask on the white-sand beach, indulge in a luxurious massage and watch the fireworks light up the sky over Cinderella Castle. Just one stop to Magic Kingdom park on the complimentary Resort Monorail, this timeless Victorian-style marvel evokes Palm Beach's golden era. ... 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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