Our family has vacationed in Florida and stayed at the Disney Grand Floridian Resort at the Disney Vacation Club twice and have fallen in love with the charm, luxury, and hidden surprises that make this resort one of our favorites.
This spring we visited for 7 days and had a fabulous time. We purchase year passes which gave us the advantage of being able to not feel pressured to stay in the parks a full day. This way we were able to enjoy our spectacular hotel to the max.
As we discussed together why we loved staying at the Grand Flo, as our former Disney Intern daughter calls it, we came up with 10 hidden reasons you might not know about this Resort that make it a hidden gem.
1 – The First Stop Off the Boat from the Magic Kingdom.
If you are visiting the Magic Kingdom at the end of the day getting back to your room can be tiring and frustrating. The monorail line gets all backed up, and I mean hundreds of families all at once. You stand there with your tired kids and think to yourself, how do we get back and get everyone to bed.
If you stay at the Grand Flo, there is a Boat Launch is right as you walk out of the Kingdon to your right and the Grand Floridian is the first stop. The ride is relaxing and take just about 10 minutes from when you get in line to when you are walking to your room.
2 – The Last Stop of the Monorail Before the Magic Kingdom
At the start of the day, when everyone is so excited to see Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, there is nothing more disappointing than to have to wait for a bus, then ride with 200 people all jammed together, for a 45 min delay to start your dream vacation.
When your home base is the Grand Floridian you can ride the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and with a transfer to EPCOT (but I get ahead of myself). When you enter onto the monorail to the Magic Kingdom the Grand Flo is the last stop the monorail make. This means you get on and the first stop is right there at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. You and your kids, if you sit on the left side of the car, can see the park as you approach.
No 45 minutes wait. What could be better than to walk out of your room go to the second floor of the Grand Lobby, enter the Monorail and in 10 minutes you are walking into the park?
Note: As you enter the Monorail at any stop you will have to go through security. For information on what not to do at security so that you get on your way quickly see my post: 10 Things Not To Do At Disney World!
3 – The Grand Floridian is On the Monorail Line
One of the Best Features of the Grand Flo is that the Hotel is on the Monorail line. As you enter the Monorail you ride 1 stop and you are at the Magic Kingdom.
The 2nd stop is the Contemporary Hotel. The Contemporary hotel has a very large two area gift shop. There is a short wait at this stop and the quick-serve restaurant has no reservations at the Contempo Cafe. The Contempo Cafe is by the gift shops and has great food. We always eat there on our first day at Disney as it is quick, convenient, with a lot of healthy choices and vegetarian options.
By the restaurants in the Contemporary, there is a huge tile mural by the famous Disney artist Mary Blair. The mural is 90 feet tall and can be seen on all 4 sides. It is a must see and you can take your time observing the mural as you eat in the Contempo Cafe. The Contemporary Hotel is a must see but very hard to get into if you are not staying there. As security tightened at Disney 15 years ago you can not just drive up and say I want to go to the gift shop or just walk around. This is the advantage of staying at the Grand Floridian you can get off the Monorail at any stop and take it all in.
If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member, there is a lounge and observation center at the top of the Contemporary Vacation Club building of the Contemporary Hotel. You can take the Monorail from the Grand Flo or the Magic Kingdom at the end of the day and watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from this lounge. The music is piped in at the outdoor viewing station and there is a Lounge with drinks, and small plates, and free cold lemon water.
The 3rd stop on the Monorail from the Grand Flo is the Transportation & Ticket Center. At this stop, you can transfer Monorails and go to EPCOT. We often take this ride when we are tired as the Monorail passes inside the EPCOT park and you can get a look at the beautiful flowers even if you are not spending the day there.
4 – The Main Lobby Orchestra & Piano Player Every Night
We stay in the rooms that are for the Disney Vacation Club Members, however, anyone who is not a member can reserve a room in this building if there is an open room that has not been taken. If you are staying in a Vacation Club room there are many advantages (a big one is the rooms all have a mini or full kitchen). You also have all the advantages of the main building, lobby, and pools as if you were staying in the main hotel.
In the main lobby, there is an unbelievable Orchestra that plays every night. They play a mix of ragtime, Dixie, traditional jazz and popular Disney tunes. They play 4 to 5 times a day.
The main lobby also has a baby grand piano and a pianist plays a mix of beautiful music also 4 to 5 times a day. It is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon or evening when you have had a long day on your feet, sitting in the elegant lobby in the soft and inviting overstuffed couches and chairs listening to beautiful music.
By the stairs and the elevator while you sit and rest and listen to music if the kids want a Disney there are kid-size chairs and a small tv. If you have little ones in strollers this is the perfect place to nap. If you are parents on your own this is a perfect place to hold hands and enjoy being together is a romantic setting with romantic music.
On our last trip, there was a newlywed couple dancing to the perfect Disney music being played by the Orchestra. What could be more romantic and no reservations and no cost? Just walk over to the lobby and sit down.
5 – Two Large Pools, One with a Slide – Perfect Kiddy Pool Mad Hatter Theme
The Grand Floridian Hotel has a huge zero walk-in pool with a fabulous water slide. The slide is perfect for all ages as it is just enough excitement for adults and all the curves for kids and a gentle outlet. Remember that you do not have to pack a life jacket for your little ones as you can get a free one to borrow while you are at any Disney pool. The hotel also has another huge quiet pool with some jects and bubbles but does not have a slide.
By the main pool with the slide, there is a kiddy pool that has fun small slides climbing and a gigantic mad hatter hat that fills with water and dumps on the kids. Between this pool and the main pool is a snack bar and an adult drink bar. The perfect pool to spend a rest day at Disney. There is plenty of tables, lounge chairs, and a mini cabana.
6 – The Mary Poppins Fountain in the Lobby of the DVC Building
The Mary Poppins Penguin Fountain is a hidden treasure that should not be missed. If you are in the main building you have to walk over with the kids. It will take all your persuasion to keep them from jumping in it, as it is that cute. Have your camera ready for the surprise on their face and lost of pictures for home. I have my favorite fountain picture as my screen saver right now. No matter how many pictures I have I take another each time I walk by. This lobby is another location where it is fun to sit and relax, watch the fountain and play chess or checker.
7 – Free Coffee & Water in the Lobby of the DVC Building
While you are relaxing by the fountain resting your tired feet, or first thing in the morning the Grand Floridian DVC lobby has a wonderful free coffee bar. Every morning while the family was getting ready, I would go to the lobby and get Jim & a delicious great smelling Nespresso. Just like any single pod machine with all the add-ins, sugar, cream, and lids for your cup. While the hotel was full I never had to wait more than 5 minutes as there were two sides to this industrial coffee machine. In the afternoons there was also a large Ice Water Dispenser if you need water and not a second coffee.
8 – A Second Guest Relations Desk in the DVC Building
In the DVC building lobby, there also are three additional guest relations/concierge stations. While they were closed late at night, during the day staff was there to help you with questions or issue without having to go to the main desk that was always very busy. As with all Disney staff they are so helpful and understanding of an issue. We were able to confirm reservations, reset magic bands and look for delivered packages.
9 – The Studio Room Sleep 5
A studio room in most of the resorts has a queen bed and a queen sofa bed. At the Grand Floridian Resort, the studio rooms also have a trundle been inside the TV stand that is a twin matrice. This is perfect if you have three little ones, or two that cannot sleep in the same bed (think wiggle worm). Even our 17-year-old sleep in the trundle bed as he did not want to sleep with his sister. He had to curl his legs but he fit. As we all know how expensive Disney rooms can be especially during peak season, these rooms are an option when you have 5 in your family.
10 – My Favorite Hidden Mickeys
Hidden Mickeys are all over this resort, as they are in all of the luxury resorts. There are special Mary Poppins surprises everywhere. I do not want to spoil it all so here are only a few.
I do hope you will take your family to the Grand Floridan Resort. The main building is spectacular and I have not stayed in the main building. Whether you are a Disney Vacation Club Member or not you can stay in the DVC building. Both facilities have superb guest experience. You can not go wrong. And the fountains you can look at for every. Let me know if you have any other hidden treasure you found in this or any of the Disney Resorts.