Arguably the most opulent of Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa combines Victorian elegance with fun and convenience. It is located right on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon across from the Magic Kingdom. And even though you’ll pay a premium to be just a monorail ride away from all the action, there are some secrets to saving money at the Grand Floridian.
When I told a friend that I was writing a story about staying at the Grand Floridian on a budget, she asked, “What are you going to do, tell them to sleep in the parking lot?” But guess what – there really are some great ways to enjoy this resort without breaking the bank!
Disney’s Grand Floridian is a AAA Four Diamond, lavishly decorated resort with 867 elegantly-appointed rooms set among six buildings, many with water views. Its design is inspired by the Victorian era beach resorts built along Florida’s east coast during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The hotel’s main building boasts a five story lobby with Italian marble floors featuring classy inlays of various Disney characters. A pianist performs in the main lobby during the daytime, and in the evening a full orchestra plays jazz and Disney tunes on the second floor balcony.
Even though a stay at the Grand Floridian will cost more than a value or moderate resort, if you want to experience this kind of luxury without blowing your whole vacation budget, here are some great ways to enjoy this resort without spending a ton.
Know When to Go
Value Season – January and February – and fall rates are significantly discounted from other times of the year. Also, week days are traditionally less expensive than weekends, while of course spring break, summer and holidays will be the most expensive periods to visit. As a general rule, going to Disney World while school is in session is your best bet both for smaller crowds and smaller prices.
The Grand Floridian offers something for everyone, whether you are traveling with your multi-generational family, little kids, or enjoying a couple’s getaway. Best of all, many of these activities are free.
Electrical Water Pageant – Glimmering along the shoreline of the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian is the perfect place to catch the Electrical Water Pageant, a boat parade set to electronic Disney tunes you know and love. The parade passes by all of the resorts along the waterfront, hitting the Grand Floridian each evening at 9:15pm.
Movies Under the Stars – Take in a classic Disney movie at the Grand Floridian’s “Movies Under the Stars.” Screenings take place near the beach and pool, and different movies are featured each night so you can catch more than one during your stay.
Fireworks – You can watch the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show right from the hotel, with music piped in. So even if you are not at the park that day, you won’t have to miss this Disney must-do.
Campfires – The Grand Floridian offer nightly campfires with free marshmallows and roasting sticks. Don’t miss this fun activity, with beautiful view of the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Poolside Games & Entertainment – The Grand Floridian features two magnificent pools, the kid-friendly Beach Pool and more serene Courtyard Pool. The Beach Pool has a 181-foot-long waterslide and offers complimentary afternoon games and entertainment. There is also an interactive water play area with an Alice in Wonderland theme; teacups and teapots pour water over two small water slides. Both pools have a bar area to order food and drinks.
Dining on a Budget
The Grand Floridian offers nine dining options, featuring everything from Character Breakfasts to upscale waterfront dining. But for the best bang for your buck, visit the Gasparilla Island Grill, the resort’s 24-hour counter service restaurant. The food is good and inexpensive, and there are tables located right outside so you can enjoy your meal overlooking the marina.
And don’t forget, all hotel rooms on property at Walt Disney World come with a fridge, so stock it with milk, fruit and other breakfast items for a healthy and inexpensive start to your days!
Healthy Tip for This Destination
The Grand Floridian and Polynesian have an interconnecting jogging trail which is approximately one mile in length. Enjoy views of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon as you walk or jog along this meticulously landscaped pathway.
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