Think you know everything there is to know about Walt Disney Worlds Grand Floridian Resort and Spa? Possibly you know that it embodies the Palm Beach golden era with its historic Victorian architecture or that it sits within the Walt Disney World property near the Magic Kingdom park. But what else do you know? My family and I recently spent three days at the Grand Floridian and we explored it top to bottom to find these 10 secrets to share with you.

10 Secrets to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, a Walt Disney World property, is an award winning Victorian themed deluxe hotel which is located near the Magic Kingdom park. The hotel, opened in 1988, boasts 867 grand guest rooms nestled between six courtyard-facing buildings. Upon first glance it is easy to tell why this historic resort would be a special one; however, upon taking a closer look during my recent stay with my family, we were excited to have uncovered things about the resort that not everyone might know.

10 Secrets to Walt Disney Worlds’ Grand Floridian Resort

Marble Characters. The five story lobby of the Grand Floridian can easily tempt you to constantly look upwards in wonder – the bright white levels seem to go on forever. However, let me warn you, if you fail to ever look down towards the Italian marble flooring you could easily miss something wonderful. Among the beautiful marble flooring found throughout the lobby, various Mickey’s and Disney characters are hiding – waiting to be found.

Hidden Characters in the Marble Floor at the Grand Floridian

Pluto found in the Italian marble near the front entrance. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Music Fills the Air. Chances are if you walk in to the lobby of the Grand Floridian, you will hear music playing. While it may seem like you’ve entered into another realm, the music is simply the work of the on-staff daytime pianist or evening orchestra. The pianist can be found during the daytime hours playing popular Disney melodies on the grand piano in the center of the first floor lobby. During the evening hours, the tunes of ragtime, jazz and other Disney favorites flow from the second floor orchestra and billow throughout the common areas.

You Found THAT at the Grand Floridian?

The Orchestra plays from the second story balcony. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Turn Down For What? At the Grand Floridian the answer to that question is chocolate! The Grand Floridian is currently the only Walt Disney World resort to offer turn down service, which includes chocolates on the guest room pillows, every night.

White Sandy Beaches. For me it has always been a hard decision – head to the beautiful beaches of Florida or indulge in the fun of the Walt Disney World Parks. At the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa we could have both. The resort area sits upon the banks of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney and offers guests a chance to dig their toes into the white sandy beaches just moments from their hotel room door. When the sand gets too hot to handle, the pools or parks are not very far away. Please be aware of alligators in this area and in the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Double the Pool Time Fun. The Grand Floridian has not only one, but two pool areas for their guests to enjoy. The first pool area is found within the center courtyard, surrounded by the guest room buildings. The second is just off the the right of the main building, near the beach and kids water play area. My kids loved splashing around in the Alice and Wonderland themed kiddie pool and I enjoyed sitting under one of the rentable poolside cabanas with a drink in my hand from the onsite bar.

Courtyard Pool at the Grand Floridian

The Courtyard Pool at the Grand Floridian. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Easy Access to the Parks. The Grand Floridian has not only one, but three different ways to easily get to and from the parks. Like the other parks, the buses pick up and drop of guests throughout the day to the lobby area. However, unlike the other resorts, the Grand Floridian also has a boat launch and monorail stop directly from the resort to the Magic Kingdom park. The boat launch is located at the far end of the courtyard near building eight and the monorail can be accessed from the second floor of the lobby.

Transportation to the Walt Disney World Parks from the Grand Floridian

Monorail service runs to the Grand Floridian resort. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Meet the Characters. Not only does the Grand Floridian have eleven different locations to grab food, a few of those locations also offer special character dining options. The 1900 Park Fare gives guests an opportunity to eat and meet with characters such as Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh at their Supercalifragilistic Breakfast. Guests can also sign up for a tea time with the princesses or a dinner with Cinderella and Prince Charming. All of these character dining experiences will need to be booked in advance as spots are limited and tend to fill up quickly.

1900 Park Fare Breakfast

Character breakfast at the 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Spoil Yourself. At the Walt Disney World parks it is pretty easy to find ways to spoil your children, but what about yourself? The second story of the Grand Floridian lobby is designed to be a small shopping district full of not only Disney merchandise but gourmet indulgences and luxury spa related bath products. The resort also has its own spa, which offers guests a chance to unwind after a long day at the parks.

Secrets to the Grand Floridian.

Retro Disney Vinyls found shopping at the Grand Floridian. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

The Fun Never Ends. After a fun day at the parks, we were surprised and elated to find that the Grand Floridian resort has several ways to keep the fun going, such as special access views to the Electrical Water Pageant which passes nightly by the resort on the Seven Seas Lagoon, campfires on site to roast s’mores and special locations to watch movies under the stars. Simply check with the staff after arriving to get a print out of the times and locations. S’more supplies can be bought at the campfire location, or guests can bring their own.

Grand Gloridian Resort

Bring the Whole Family Together in the Villas. The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa also now includes the villas, which is a family style lodging option. The Villas include the conveniences of home such as separate sleeping quarters, a kitchen, dining and common areas. The Deluxe Villas can be rented by availability or booked as part of the Disney Vacation Club.

If staying at a resort home works best for your family because you love the idea of having space and all the comforts of home but don’t want to give up the amenities and service of a resort – then a new resort booking service called Vacatia might be the right choice for you. Vacatia currently has listings available in Orlando and has been adding new personally tested locations regularly. They also have staff ready to chat with you to help you find the best location for your family – like the beautiful Grand Floridian Villas.

Hidden Mickey's at Grand Floridian.

Hidden Mickey’s found on the resort curtains. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Do you know of a Grand Floridian Secret that I missed? Share it with us in the comments below.