Disney’s Grand Floridian Villas: DVC Studio Review
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Grand says it all! It’s grand in scale, luxury, dining, and location. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort leaves very little to be desired. When we had a chance to spend a night in one of the Grand Floridian Studio Villas, we jumped at it! It was our last monorail resort to check off the list, and it lived up to all the hype!
Renting DVC Points
While you can book the Villas at the Grand Floridian directly through Disney, you can save significant amounts by renting Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points. DVC owners who aren’t able to use their points during a year will rent them to you for a very discounted rate. You get all of the same perks (free parking, a stay in the Villas, fastpass+ at 60 days) as a Disney Vacation Club member. For a good comparison, a 5 night stay in the Grand Floridian Villas DVC Studio renting points will cost $1392 for a 5 day/4 night stay in August. Buying from Disney will cost $2516. Staying in a moderate resort, like Port Orleans French Quarter, will run a little over $1000 for the same.
There are several options for renting DVC points, but dvcrequest.com is one I have personally used and recommend. As the Grand Floridian is a sought-after reservation, I would recommend using dvcrequest as close to 11 months out from your vacation as possible. You will have difficulty booking if it is less than 7 months from your visit, but I have found reservations with shorter notice.
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of three monorail resorts, which also include Disney’s Polynesian and Contemporary Resorts. It sits to the left of the Magic Kingdom, close enough to get a wonderful view of the fireworks at night. Grand Floridian definitely has a location perk on the way to Magic Kingdom since it is the last resort on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop. This means your first stop is the Magic Kingdom!
The Lobby of the Grand Floridian is almost too much to take in the first time you see it! You can enjoy decor and theming from 1950s Palm Beach, complete with grand piano. Marble floors are everywhere, including your bathrooms! The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra plays every day in the main lobby. Many people choose to enjoy the ambiance and take a rest on one of the many the Victorian-style seating options.
You can also enjoy some special themed events in the lobby. Easter this year brought out amazing works of art! The chocolate eggs looked almost too good to be true!
Shopping at Disney’s Grand Floridian
Most Deluxe Resorts have a sundries shop for supplies and a souvenir shop for clothing or toys. The Grand Floridian boasts several stores throughout it’s spacious lobby:
- Basin White – Premium bath and spa products, some only available here at the Grand Floridian
- Commander Porters – Men’s store including high-end brands and even cigars
- Summer Lace – Women’s store featuring luxury clothing and accessories. You can also find some of the most amazing princess dresses here
- M. Mouse Mercantile – Standard gift shop, focusing on souvenirs
- Sandy Cove Gifts and Sundries – Typical sundries like sunscreen, toiletries and items to stock your refrigerator
If you are a pin collector, be sure to snag a Grand Floridian pin to commemorate you stay.
Pampering at the Grand Floridian
Senses – Disney’s Grand Floridian Spa
The Grand Floridian also boasts the spa on Walt Disney World property. It is actually located in the same building as the Villas and offers facials, body treatments, nails, and massage therapies. It also includes a 24/7 work out facility.
You can also find your very own salon in the Grand Floridian’s lobby, Ivy Trellis. While it is used by many brides preparing for their special day, you can also take advantage of haircuts, blow outs or makeup application. A unique offering was added this year : Character Couture Packages. It is a great alternative to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and is available for any age. It would be a wonderful mother-daughter activity! The options are:
- Storybook Style: Character-inspired hairstyle $50 (child ages 4-12); $80 (adult)
- Magical Makeover: Character-inspired hair and makeup $75 (child ages 4 to 12); $105 (adult)
- Timeless Transformation: Character-Inspired hair, makeup and nails$90 (child ages 4 to 12); $120 (adult)
The Villas Location at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Like other Deluxe Resorts, the Villas are in a separate section from the main resort. The location of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property Villas is actually very well situated on the other side of the pool from the main lobby. It was a very quick walk to hop on the monorail or enjoy one of the many restaurants.
As a special perk, the Villas actually have their own lobby and concierge unlike any other DVC properties. While it might not be as grand, the Mary Poppins penguin fountain is a big hit with the kids.
The Pool at the Grand Floridian Villas
The Villas share a pool wth the main Grand Floridian Resort. The pool is similar to other Deluxe resorts with an easy entry, waterslide, and waterfall. The pool area also sports a grill and bar, while cabanas are for rent with wait-service as well. This is the only pool at Walt Disney World where we have seen cabanas and shaded lounge chairs, which was a nice amenity. The pool is fairly shallow all-around, and life jackets are provided. The bathroom area was immaculate and a step above many other resorts. My son, the waterslide expert, ranks it behind Polynesian but ahead of other Deluxe resorts like Animal Kingdom Lodge and Contemporary.
The children’s play area is one of the best themed. The Mad Hatter’s hat tips over regularly to splash everyone in the Alice and Wonderland themed area. It’s not as large as the Polynesian’s children’s play area but a lot of fun and the Hatter’s hat is a real treat!
The Princess Promenade
At 3:30 every day except Tuesday, you can join a Princess and her Prince in the Grand Floridian Lobby. The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra plays as the Princess and Prince descend the staircase. Children ages 3-12 can join in a waltz around the lobby. There is no reservation required, and this is a great perk to staying at the Grand Floridian.
Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Team Room
Another special experience at the Grand Floridian includes a traditional British tea, complete with Mrs. Potts tea! A variety of tea, sandwiches, scones and other treats are served. This is a great way to spend the afternoon!
Grand Floridian Villas DVC Studio Rooms
The Villas Studio rooms are quite large at 374 square feet, some of the largest studios at Walt Disney World. The hallway has wonderful wood floors, with the bathroom, kitchenette, and closet as you enter the room.
The Villas at the Grand Floridian are also the only Disney Vacation Club property, other than Polynesian Villas Studio rooms, that have two separate bathing areas. They have a tub/shower combination as well as an amazing rain shower. If you are staying with 4 or 5 people, the two separate places to shower brings a ton of convenience.
The Grand Floridian DVC Studio Villa has a queen size bed, queen-size sleeper sofa and a pull-down bunk size bed. It can easily sleep 5 people. Since the Villas were just built in 2013, the furniture feels much newer and updated compared to some other properties. We also loved the Dumbo theming for the pull down bed. Even with other options, like the queen size pull-out couch, my son chose to sleep in the Dumbo murphy bed. The mirrored dresser adds to luxury feel of the Grand Floridian Villas Studio.
The Villas are one of the most recent additions to the Disney Vacation Club and were built new in 2013, not refurbished rooms like several other DVC properties. The quality of materials is sure to make an impression with marble bathroom floors and mirrored inserts in the dresser. We had a view of the monorail from our room, which made the balcony a fun place to relax at the end of the day.
Like other DVC properties, the Studio comes with a kitchenette, portable crib, in-room safe, hair dryer, flat-screen tv, and even a TV in the mirror in the bathroom.
Disney’s Grand Floridian boasts several different transportation options, including:
- As the last resort stop on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop, you leave the Grand Floridian and arrive immediately at the Magic Kingdom. We clocked this trip several times and it was around 5 minutes from leaving the Grand Floridian to departing the monorail at Magic Kingdom. This also means you are the last stop when you leave the Magic Kingdom, which can be tough for tired, little ones.
- Unlike Polynesian, you cannot walk to the Epcot Monorail. You have to ride the Magic Kingdom monorail and depart at the Ticket and Transportation Center. It does add a little bit of work to your monorail journey.
- Since the Grand Floridian is the last monorail stop, you can take advantage of the boat from Magic Kingdom and go directly back to the Grand Floridian. The boat is shared with the Polynesian.
- Bus is your only option for visiting Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, or the water parks.
- The walking path between Polynesian and Grand Floridian flows right by the Villas. It’s a nice way to enjoy a dinner at ‘Ohana and is quicker than riding the monorail all the way around.
- You cannot walk from Magic Kingdom to Grand Floridian. It is a little deceptive as a walking path does head towards the Grand Floridian, but dead ends at Seven Seas Lagoon.
The Grand Floridian is truly the resort to beat for Adult dining. It boasts more restaurants tailored towards adults than other Deluxe properties, including the oh-so-hard to get reservation at Victoria and Alberts.
Family Dining Options (No Dress Code)
While Disney’s Grand Floridian Dining may cater towards the adults, there is plenty of family dining available as well. The two character dining experiences are some of the best Walt Disney World has to offer. The Grand Floridian Café is an easy reservation to get with quality food too.
1900 Park Fare Character Dining
You can find two different character meals at 1900 Park Fare inside the Grand Floridian’s main building. All meals here are buffet style, and we have found them to be higher quality food than most other buffets.
- Supercalifragilistic Breakfast – Dine with Mary Poppins herself, who is joined by Alice and the Mad Hatter. Winnie the Pooh and Tigger also made appearances during our meal. This is a buffet-style breakfast, and we found plenty of options for a standard breakfast. You can learn all about it in the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast review.
- Wonderland Tea Party – Enjoy an “unbirthday party” with Alice, the Mad Hatter and friends. You can enjoy decorating your own cupcakes, apple juice, and snag photos with your hosts!
- Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner – This is one of our all-time favorite character dining experiences. We got to spend time with Lady Tremain, Drizella, Anastasia, Cinderella, and Prince Charming. It’s almost impossible to find a character meal that features the villains, and we find them to be some of the more fun interactions! If you want to know why dining with the villains is much more fun, check out a full review of Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner. This is also a buffet-style dinner, and the quality of food was much better than other buffets during our last trip. The roast turkey was a crowd favorite.
Dressing the part is always part of our Character Meals too! Since it is one of your only chances to snag a picture with Mary Poppins, take advantage of stocking up on some supercalifragilisticexpialidocious souvenirs!
Another fun idea is to watch all the movies for the characters you are going to meet. It might help spark some questions to ask, like asking Lady Tremiane where Lucifer is!
Grand Floridian Cafe
The Grand Floridian Cafe offers classic American food with easy-to-get reservations. We dined here when we stayed at Polynesian and were easily able to make a reservation same-day. The food is good, but we didn’t find anything amazing on the menu. It is a solid choice if you need a sit-down dinner on short notice. If you time dinner right, you can see the Magic Kingdom fireworks directly in front of the Grand Floridian Cafe. They even pipe in the music so you can watch and listen along!
Adult Dining Options (Dress Code)
The wine list is the star at Cítricos. With Mediterranean inspired fare, this restaurant will hit your more upscale dining experience. There is a dress code, which includes khakis, slacks or dress shorts and collared shorts for men. Women may wear capris, skirts, dresses or dress shorts. Jeans are allowed if in good condition. The main courses here include items like oak-grilled swordfish, shrimp risotto, and oak-grilled filet.
Location is the winner for Narcoossee’s. You get to enjoy dinner overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon. This is a another fabulous place to enjoy the fireworks as well as the water electrical parade. Narcoossee’s offers coastal-inspired dishes like lobster tails, shrimp and grits, and surf & turf. The same dress code applies at Narcoossee’s as Cítricos.
Victoria and Alberts
This is the crown gem for any foodie at Walt Disney World with a AAA Five Diamond rating. While Cítricos and Narcoossee’s are also require a dress code , Victoria and Alberts takes it a step further and also only permits guests 10 years and older. It is also not eligible for the dining plan. The dress code for men includes dinner jackets with dress pants to slacks. Women may wear a cocktail dress, dressy pant suite or a skirt with a blouse. The menu is a prix-fixe seven course affair that includes roasted french quail, Japanese beef, king crab. and so many other delicious courses. This really is the ultimate experience for a romantic meal or those that want to experience the luxury of the Grand Floridian.
The Grand Floridian Villas DVC Studio is truly a luxury stay. I will admit that before we stayed, the theming didn’t seem as unique to me as some of the other resorts. After our stay, I completely understand why people fall in love with the Grand Floridian. It reminds me of seeing pictures of everyone in their finest clothes for an airplane flight. It brings back the glamour and special feel that used to surround a family escaping on vacation. To make the most of your trip:
- The Grand Floridian DVC Studio is one of the best choices for a family of up to 5 on property. The two showers make this perfect for the larger family or just people who like their space!
- Rent DVC points. Renting points can almost bring the price down into Moderate range, but with a better location, amenities, and more luxurious stay.
- Spend time at the pool. With the cabanas, fun Mad Hatter playground, and water slide, it’s a great place to spend a day or afternoon.
- Schedule at least one of the Character meals. Grand Floridian has more variety in Character meals than any other resort. Take advantage of dining with villains or enjoying some silly times with Alice and the Mad Hatter