When visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, families have many options for lodgings. For the most elaborate and luxurious experience, we suggest staying at The Grand Floridian. This elegant resort is surprisingly family friendly, with plenty of activities for kids and parents alike to enjoy.
What Makes it Family Worthy?
This hotel is opulent with all sorts of amenities. It is also close to the Magic Kingdom. Guests can enjoy free WiFi in both the rooms and public areas as well as free parking.
When we arrived, the staff was friendly and welcoming. We experienced practically no wait before we got to our rooms but spent the time enjoying the meet and greet with Cinderella in the lobby.
The hotel’s lobby is a sight to behold, decorated with a Victorian aesthetic. Guests walking in will see a ceiling five stories high with huge chandeliers. Throughout the hotel, one can see detailed latticework and ornamentation. The lobby is a lovely spot to relax while waiting to check in or after returning from the parks.
We stayed in room 9409 in a Garden view room. The first thing we noticed was the locking mechanisms for our door. Everyone gets a magic band as their door “key,” and guests can even customize this band with their favorite color. The bolt mechanism on the door is pretty high up, which is great for child safety.
Our room was decorated in rich creams, golds, and greens, with lovely crown molding. We had wood flooring, perfect for those who suffer from allergies. The entire room was also extremely well maintained. We saw no scuff marks, dirt on the carpet, or peeling on the walls.
The room featured a large two door closet with complimentary robes. The safety deposit box sat at a perfect level and could easily store a 15-inch laptop.
We appreciated the two queen sized beds, as not every Disney hotel has this. There was also an overhead fan, perfect for the hot, humid Florida days. We had a lovely nightstand between the beds as well as an opening desk next to the bed. Guests should look for one of Disney’s well-known Hidden Mickeys around the room,. We found several including one on the back of the desk chair!
Our room boasted a red sofa, a relaxing place to stay and lounge after a day in the park. We also had a TV with all the Disney movies. The TV displayed a daily schedule, which included a weather report. We found the mini cooler under the TV and a coffee maker next to the TV. The room featured plenty of hidden places to charge electronics, such as behind the coffee maker.
We loved the gorgeous setting out of our window. We requested a quiet room with “no view” but still got to see a lovely stretch of beach outside.Our room featured a big balcony. It struck us how squeaky clean it was with two white chairs and no bugs, impressive in Florida.
The door to the balcony had a high up double lock so little kids can’t unlock the door by themselves. The door itself was hard to open, another good safety feature.
Our bathroom featured tan marble tile throughout, with the hypoallergenic wood floor continuing into the room. We enjoyed the double sink, something that all families can appreciate, as well as the hair dryer and complimentary toiletries.
We had a tub with a showerhead as well as a clothesline. Unfortunately, the showerhead was not handheld, but the tub had a grab bar.Our biggest surprise was the laundry hamper. Not every hotel has one, but a basket is perfect for keeping dirty towels off the floor.
The Grand Floridian offers several choices for character dining, such as the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast on 1900 Park Fare. Parents can even book the Wonderland Tea Party where kids can chat with Alice.
Those looking for Mediterranean fusion can try Citricos. This restaurant does have a relaxed dress code; men can wear khakis, slacks, jeans, or dress shorts, and women can wear capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans, or dress shorts. They do not allow tank tops, swimsuits, torn clothes, or t-shirts with offensive graphics. Parents can book their reservation online or over the phone, which we recommend.
Narcoossee’s features seafood dining on the waterfront. This restaurant boasts beautiful panoramic ocean views. Narcoossee’s has a slightly stricter dress code than Citricos, essentially business casual.
Victoria & Albert’s is the most high-end establishment at the Grand Floridian. Here, patrons dine on award-winning cuisine in a classically elegant environment. They have a strict dress code; men must wear dinner jackets, slacks, and shoes, and women must wear either a dress, dressy pant suit, or a skirt with a blouse. Guests must also book in advance to dine here.
More budget friendly options include the Grand Floridian Cafe, Garden Tea View Room, or Gasparilla Island Grill. At the Gasparilla Island Grill, our son particularly enjoyed their cupcakes and had to have one every night before bed.
Those who can’t or don’t want to leave their rooms can enjoy the hotel’s 24-hour room service.
The Grand Floridian boasts several pools. We particularly enjoyed the zero entry leisure pool with an 181-foot tall water slide, whirlpool spa, waterfall, and hammocks. One can get towels and lifejackets at The Captain’s Shipyard. Guests with disabilities can also arrange for pool lifts and other access options at the Front Desk.
Those wanting to get their feet wet can enjoy fishing, water cruises, and motorboat rentals. There’s also plenty of other outdoor fitness activities such as tennis, volleyball, and golf.
The Grand Floridian offers plenty of activities. Parents can sign kids up for such activities as Campfire Activities or Grand Adventures in Cooking. There is also Arcadia Games, featuring both classic and modern arcade games.
The Grand Floridian is pricey, with rooms starting at $570 a night. The Garden View rooms are typically the cheapest option.
Autism Travel Tips:
- Though the balcony is secure, parents should still try not to avoid booking a balcony room when traveling with young kids.
- Make sure all balcony doors, and windows are locked. The balcony doors have two high up locks for added security.
- Parents need to bring a non-slip bathmat, as the hotel does not provide one.