Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a luxury hotel at Walt Disney World within monorail, boat, and walking distance of Magic Kingdom. This WDW accommodations review features room photos, pool & restaurant info, pros & cons, and much more. (Updated August 3, 2021.)
Before getting started, let’s address the elephant in the room: pricing. The Grand Floridian is Walt Disney World’s flagship property, with rack rates to match. The Grand is far and away the most expensive hotel at Walt Disney World, and whether it’s worth the money is debatable.
My issues with the Grand Floridian can be reduced to this: its nightly rate is not even remotely commensurate with its quality. To be fair, the Grand Floridian does have a lot of selling points, and the recent refurbishment to the guest rooms to make them stylistically cleaner and more contemporary certainly helped. Fundamentally, though, this is simply not remotely on par with a luxury hotel with rates starting at $750/night.
Let’s take a look at why it is not (or, why it might be) worth the money, starting with the guest rooms…
If you had to play the Price is Right and guess this room’s nightly rack rate solely by the above photo—divorced of Walt Disney World context—there’s no way you’d come within $200. You’d probably be off by $400 or more.
If you had to guess what hotel it was, you’d probably guess something chained-brand like Hilton or Marriott. And not their high-end properties like the JW or Conrad. (Also keep in mind the vast majority of Grand Floridian’s rooms have standard ceilings—the photos here are of dormer rooms and its vaulted ceiling—so they’re even duller looking than the one pictured here.)
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is never going to compete with real world luxury hotels, or even the nearby Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World. As with other Disney-owned hotels, stripping the rooms of their theme to make them more broadly appealing just made them bland.
Don’t get us wrong–the rooms are perfectly satisfactory. The furniture is nice enough and there are some high-end finishings. Just as a whole, it’s boring.
The bathrooms are well appointed, with nice counter-tops, tiling, and wallpaper.
With that said, these bathrooms are starting to show their age, and lack the modern lighting, large sinks, storage space, and other features of most hotel rooms at Walt Disney World.
Speaking of which, the Grand Floridian rooms haven’t had a hard goods refurbishment in a long time, and thus feel like outliers as compared to pretty much every other Deluxe Resort at Walt Disney World.
As noted above, these photos are of a dormer room at the Grand Floridian. The upsides to this are the vaulted ceiling and the more secluded quality of the balcony.
The downsides are that the balcony is slightly smaller and you can’t see anything without standing up. I’m not sure why Disney doesn’t furnish these with taller chairs.
Common areas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are much nicer. The hotel is inarguably grandiose and sophisticated, and the execution of the Victorian theme is incredibly well done.
Most areas offer tremendous detail and a sense of luxury, with a handful of locations being stuffy or overly reminiscent of grandma’s house…
I’m guessing these stunning paintings are Grand Floridian opening day originals, and somehow still grace the walls of the hotel. It could be argued that these are exactly the kind of dated decor you’d find on the pages of an issue of Country Living magazine, circa 1988.
It could also be argued that the artist behind these masterpieces was a true visionary so far ahead of his time that his genius won’t be fully recognized until the year 2071. I mean, a fancy monkey posing on a classy foot stool? If that’s not my spirit animal, I don’t know what is.
If for some reason you find yourself thinking, “wow, those paintings are pretty boss…where can I score a set?!” I would suggest trying a garage sale somewhere in the countryside of Indiana. I’ve seen “art” like this regularly priced for around $1 at said garage sales. (You’re welcome?)
With that said, these areas and details are generally outliers. For the most part, the Grand Floridian feels imbued with a sense of sophistication. The lobby makes a strong first impression, and the common areas are exactly what you’d expect of Walt Disney World’s flagship resort.
Speaking of which, due to the overall style, slight sense of stuffiness, dining sophistication, and other features of the hotel, we do not view this as a great option if you’re doing Walt Disney World with Kids and are primarily concerned with their reaction to the hotel. It is a much better option for Honeymooning at Walt Disney World.
As for adult amenities, the Grand Floridian is a pretty ‘loaded’ hotel.
While they aren’t the most thematically exciting, it has nice pool areas and a new Alice in Wonderland water play area that was added around the time of the Disney Vacation Club Villas at the Grand Floridian.
Another thing I appreciate about the Grand Floridian is its beauty at Christmas.
The tree in the lobby and the huge gingerbread house are both gorgeous, and highlights of my Free Self-Guided Yuletide Tour at Walt Disney Word. With that said, the lobby can be packed at this time of year, so I would not want to stay in the main building.
Overall, where you stand on the Grand Floridian is probably a matter of personal preference. Some people will want to book it regardless, as there’s a certain cachet in staying at the most expensive Walt Disney World hotel. Others might not have experience with real world luxury hotels and think the Grand is perfectly adequate. Others still might legitimately love the Grand Floridian and find my qualms about its rooms and pricing over-blown.
Personally, for this amount of money–even understanding that staying on property at Walt Disney World costs a premium–I expect perfection. The Grand Floridian is a far cry from perfection, and simply not worth the exorbitant rates it charges, at least in my opinion. If luxury were my utmost concern, I’d book the Four Seasons at Walt Disney World. If I weren’t so worried about luxury or were taking a trip more geared towards kids, I’d book one of the other superior and less expensive Walt Disney World hotels.
Do you love the Grand Floridian, or do you agree about its bland and boring rooms? Would you consider splurging on a stay here, or is it too expensive? If you’re a fan of the Grand, what do you consider its selling points? Planning on staying here someday? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!