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Oyster Hotel Review
Friendly, warm service, but occasionally slow service requests
On the whole, service at the Grand Floridian is friendly and warm, but response times to service requests can be slow and the staff isn't as engaging with kids as at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. However, my stay overlapped with a unique holiday show featuring Celine Dion, and thus the front desk and bellmen were much busier than usual.
- Live jazz in the evenings
- 24 hour room service (most value and moderate Disney resorts only offer pizza delivery for dinner)
- Free copy of USA Today delivered to the room every morning
- Free shuttle to and from Orlando International Airport; free delivery of one luggage item per person
- Free shuttle bus or monorail transportation to the Disney theme parks; buses between the parks often run behind schedule, but the Floridian is conveniently located on the monorail line
- Guests can use their room key cards to charge theme-park and Disney resort purchases to their rooms.
- Concierge desk mainly helps guests book activities, restaurants or event tickets.
- Book restaurant reservations early, otherwise wait times can be up to 1.5 hours.
- Valet parking is charged per day (self-parking is free).
- No poolside drink service
The monorail, ferry, and bus are all outside your doorstep.
Located on the northwest side of Walt Disney World, the Grand Floridian is connected to several other Disney resorts, including the Polynesian and the Contemporary, via the monorail, which stops conveniently outside the Floridian's lobby. That said, while it's easy to get to the Magic Kingdom (five to 10 minutes), it's a bit of a trek to Epcot (about a 30-minute monorail ride that involves changing stations or a 15- to 20-minute drive, depending on traffic). But guests report that the monorail is more convenient than the bus.
Like most Disney resorts, the Floridian is set back from the main roads, so traffic noise isn't much of an issue (though some guests complained of noise between rooms). The downside, as is the case at just about any Orlando resort, is that there's not anything within reasonable walking distance; renting a car is a must if you plan to get off the Disney compound.
- Monorail station just outside the lobby: two stops to the Magic Kingdom; four stops (or a short walk) to the Monorail station at the Transportation & Ticket Center (aka the T.T.C.), where you can catch the monorail to Epcot Center.
- Walking path (or very short monorail ride) to the Polynesian, about 10 minutes
- Free shuttle bus to all other Disney resorts and theme parks; bus stop located just outside the main building (buses run about every 20 minutes)
- Free ferry service from the marina to the Magic Kingdom, located directly across the Seven Seas Lagoon
- Great views of the Magic Kingdom and the nightly fireworks show from the marina
- 15- to 20-minute drive to SeaWorld and Wet 'n Wild parks
- 20-minute drive to Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure
- 15- to 20-minute drive to International Drive, a 14.5-mile road parallel to Interstate 4 that's chock-full of hotels, strip malls, outlet shops, and restaurants.
- 30-minute drive to Orlando International Airport
- Self-parking is free; valet is charged daily
Soft, elegant décor; unlike at other upscale Disney resorts, these rooms might be more appealing to grown-ups than kids.
A throwback to Florida's grand old Victorian-style seaside resorts, the Grand Floridian has standard rooms that are among the largest -- and most elegant -- of any Disney resort. At 428-square-feet, rooms are much more spacious than those at the Animal Kingdom Lodge or Coronado Springs, and slightly more spacious than those at the Polynesian next door. Most rooms were last renovated in 2007, and still look and feel fresh and new with wood trim and linens in soft, beachy colors. However, unlike the more affordable Coronado Springs' plush down duvets, the Grand Floridian has polyester-blend bedspreads like most other Disney resorts.
- The large standard room (430 square feet) can sleep a family of five on its daybed and two queen-size beds (room occupancy at most other resorts is four). Only the suites have king-size beds.
- Comfortable, but not luxurious bedding: polyester bedspreads; 250-thread-count sheets; a waffled blanket
- 27-inch flat-screen TV with basic cable and plenty of Disney programming, and a DVD player
- iHome iPod-docking alarm clock
- Electronic safe large enough for a laptop
- Some complaints of noise between rooms (in other words, TVs and screaming kids are sometimes audible)
- Most rooms have balconies.
- Toiletry sets from H20 Spa (a Disney brand)
- Empty mini-fridges; coffeemakers with free coffee; no minibar offerings
- Free Wi-Fi
- Tip: The property is large, and some of the buildings are up to a 10-minute walk away from the lobby, main dining areas, and pools. The two most convenient buildings are the main one and Sugar Loaf Key, but to get a room in either of these buildings you'll have to upgrade to a concierge-level room (which includes, among other things, free breakfasts and special concierge services). Otherwise, be prepared for a schlep, especially if you're stuck in Conch Key (though many of these rooms have nice views of the marina).
Rooms and Rates
Lots of features appealing to kids and adults alike
- Two pools: the Beach Pool has a zero-depth entry, a waterfall, slide, and Jacuzzi; the Courtyard Pool is quieter and more relaxed, and has both a Jacuzzi and a kids' pool.
- White sand beach along the Seven Seas Lagoon with cabanas for rent (four hours, $117; nine hours, $197)
- Two clay tennis courts; private lessons available for $80 per hour
- 24-hour video arcade at Gasparilla's Grill & Games
- One-mile-long jogging trail between the Floridian and the Polynesian resorts, which also has prime white sand real estate along the Seven Seas Lagoon
- Boat rentals available at the marina, including pontoons, small-engine Sea Ray Sea Raycers, and a 48-foot Sea Ray yacht, replete with four TVs and a Bose sound system.
- Full business center, open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with computers, printers, fax, and Xerox machines in the 40,000-square-foot convention center
- Free Wi-Fi
- Self-parking is free; valet is $12 per day.
- Kids' club for children ages four to 12; open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight and includes dinner, video games, and arts and crafts. $11.50 per hour, per child.
Spa & Fitness Center
Full-service spa (one that even includes specialised treatments for kids) as well as a well-equipped gym
Like most of Disney's deluxe resorts, the Grand Floridian has a 24-hour fitness center and a full-service spa, including some services for kids. The spa was renovated in 2012 and features more treatment rooms and new services.
- Spa offers a full selection of treatments ranging from massages, manicures, and pedicures to bodyscrubs and water therapies.
- Some spa services are available for kids, including "My First Facial" and "My First Manicure"
- Well-equipped fitness center with an assortment of Life Fitness and Precor equipment, including 20 cardio machines like ellipticals and treadmills (some with personal monitors) and a wide selection of weight machines and free weights
More formal than most Disney resorts, but still with plenty of family-friendly features
Disney resorts are all family-friendly, and the Grand Floridian is no exception. It is, however, a bit more formal (and historic) than the other Disney resorts, and therefore feels a smidge less kid-friendly than, say, the Polynesian, which is also conveniently located on the monorail, or the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
- All standard rooms sleep up to five people on two queen-size beds and (often) an additional daybed -- more than most Disney resorts.
- Free cribs and bedrails upon request; extra rollaways are charged per night (though room occupancy is still limited to five people).
- Good variety of restaurants -- from pizzas at Gasparilla Grills to a family-style buffet at 1900 Park Fare to Victoria & Albert's, where a seven-course prix fixe is served.
- Concierge can arrange for private in-room babysitters through a separate company.
- Coin-operated laundry room
- 24-hour indoor video arcade at Gasparilla Grill, outdoor playground, and two pools, including one with a shallow, zero-depth entry, waterfall, and a waterslide.
- Kids' club for children ages four to 12; open daily and includes dinner, video games, and arts and crafts; charged per hour.
- Kids four to 12 can join Alice in Wonderland on weekdays for "tea" (apple juice) and crumpets (cupcakes)
- Some spa services available for kids, including "My First Facial" and "My First Manicure"
- Like all Disney resorts, there can be long wait times at meals, especially dinner, so reserve early.
Enough variety for kids, but prices are higher and restaurants are fancier than at most other Disney resorts
The Floridian has five primary dining options, ranging from quick grab-and-go to a tea parlor and a fancy schmancy sit-down. All have children's menus and kid-friendly dishes (except Victoria & Alberts, which is so fancy you wouldn't want to bring the kids anyway). Despite the resort's decent range of food, the restaurants on the whole are more upscale than most Disney resorts -- and some of the priciest.
- 1900 Park Fare is open for breakfast and dinner, and offers buffets at both meals. It's one of a handful of Disney restaurants that offers what's called "character dining," where staff members dress up, in this case, as Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella, and prance around the restaurant entertaining kids. Food is basic American.
- Afternoon tea is served in the Garden View Lounge, served in British tradition with scones and finger sandwiches.
- Victoria & Albert's is said to be Disney's finest restaurant -- and it's also the most expensive. Jackets are required for men at this seven course prix-fixe -- best to leave the kids in the room, with a sitter, or at the kids' club.
- Gasparilla Grill & Games serves burgers, sandwiches, and pizza in a cafeteria-style setting. It's the cheapest among the Floridian's dining areas, but is still costly.
- Citrico's is only open for dinner, and serves what they call American and Mediterranean fusion, but is more American than not (think pan-seared salmon with fingerling potatoes). It's expensive, and despite an open kitchen, isn't especially kid-friendly, but the food's good.
- Narcoossee's serves fresh seafood, at some very steep prices.
- Grand Floridian Café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers American favorites at typically inflated Disney prices.
- 24-hour room service
Transport to / from Hotel
Rental Car Service Desk Onsite
Supervised Kids Activities
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Gameroom / Arcade
|Address||4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, Central Florida 32830, United States|
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