WALT DISNEY WORLD’S FLAGSHIP HOTEL was inspired by grand Victorian resorts such as the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego and Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire. A complex of four- and five-story white-frame buildings, the Grand Floridian integrates verandas, intricate latticework, dormers, and turrets beneath a red-shingle roof to capture the most distinctive elements of 19th-century ocean-resort architecture. Covering 40 acres along Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian offers lovely pools, white-sand beaches, and a marina.

The 867 guest rooms, with wood trim and soft goods (curtains, linens, towels, and the like) in tones of deep red, gold, and tan, are luxurious, though we think the mocha-colored walls are a little dreary at night. The woodwork, marble-topped sinks, and ceiling fans amplify the Victorian theme. Large by any standard, the typical room is 440 square feet (dormer rooms are smaller) and furnished with two queen beds, a daybed, and a small desk with chair. Many rooms have a balcony. All rooms have a Keurig coffeemaker, a large dresser with minifridge, and a wall-mounted TV.

Bathrooms are large, with plenty of counter space and fluffy towels. Two shelves under the sink provide a small amount of storage. A 1,500-watt, wall-mounted hair dryer is provided, but it’s not very powerful; bring your own if you have lots of hair. Water pressure in the shower is probably less than what you get at home but still enough to rinse out shampoo. A separate dressing area next to the bathroom includes two sinks and enough counter space to fit most of your toiletries. Combined with the bathroom, this means that three people can get dressed at the same time.

ROOMS

The resort is spread over a peninsula jutting into Seven Seas Lagoon. In addition to the main building, there are five dispersed rectangular buildings. Most rooms have a balcony, and most balconies are enclosed by a rail that affords good visibility. Dormer rooms, just beneath the roof in each building, have smaller enclosed balconies that limit visibility when you’re seated. Most dormer rooms, however, have vaulted ceilings and a coziness that compensates for the less-desirable balconies.

If you want to be near the bus and monorail, most of the restaurants, and shopping, ask for a room in the main building (all concierge rooms). The best rooms are 4322– 4329 and 4422– 4429, which have full balconies and overlook the lagoon in the direction of the beach and the Polynesian Village. Other excellent main-building rooms are 4401– 4409, with full balconies overlooking the marina and an unobstructed view of Cinderella Castle across the lagoon.

The main building is a hub of activity well into the night.In addition, the lobby hosts nightly entertainment that can be heard from some rooms— possibly to the detriment of your sleep:

Of the five lodges, three— Conch Key, Boca Chica, and Big Pine Key— have one long side facing the lagoon and the other facing inner courtyards and swimming pools. At Conch Key, full-balcony rooms 7229– 7231, 7328, 7329, 7331, and 7425– 7431 (except 7430) offer vistas across the lagoon to the Magic Kingdom and castle. Room 7427 is just about perfect. Less-expensive rooms in the same building that offer good marina views are 7212, 7312, 7412– 7415, 7417, 7419, 7421, 7513– 7515, and 7517. (Grand Floridian room numbers are coded. Take room 7213: 7 is the building number, 2 is the floor, and 13 is the room number.) In Boca Chica and Big Pine Key, ask for a lagoon-view room on the first, second, or third floor. Many garden-view rooms in Big Pine Key, and a few in Boca Chica, have views obstructed by a poolside building. These are the worst views from any Grand Floridian room.

The two remaining buildings, Sugar Loaf Key (Club Level) and Sago Key, face each other across the marina. The opposite side of Sugar Loaf Key faces a courtyard, while the other side of Sago Key faces a finger of the lagoon and a forested area. These views are pleasant but not in the same league as those from the rooms listed previously. Exceptions are end rooms in Sago Key that have a view of the lagoon and Cinderella Castle (rooms 5139, 5144, 5145, 5242– 5245, and 5342– 5345).

1900 Park Fare Character Meals – Table Service, Character Dining
Beaches Pool Bar and Grill – Pool Bar, Quick Service
Citricos – Table Service
Courtyard Pool Bar – Pool Bar, Quick Service
Enchanted Rose – Lounge
Garden View Lounge – Afternoon Tea – Table Service
Gasparilla Island Grill – Quick Service
Grand Floridian Café – Table Service
Narcoossee’s – Table Service
My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party – Table Service
Room Service – Table Service
Victoria & Albert’s – Table Service