Resort Hopping is one of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World! Visiting the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, and The Polynesian Village Resort are as much on my trip to-do list as Pirates of the Caribbean or devouring a Mickey Premium Bar. That being said, I feel that guests who skip the resorts, or who don’t know they are allowed to visit the resorts, fail to achieve the full Walt Disney World experience. So for those who don’t know, anyone is allowed to visit the Walt Disney World Resorts, even if they’re not a guest of that resort or of any resort on property. But why should you? That’s what I intend to address in my five Disney World Resorts to See During Your Vacation!
Grand Floridian lobby
The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Let’s start with Walt Disney World’s flagship resort, shall we? The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa boasts a Victorian Florida theme and is Disney’s take on luxury and sophistication. But no need to worry about feeling out of place or having rambunctious kids in tow. While the Grand Floridian Resort is like stepping into an old fashioned postcard, this is a Disney World Resort after all!
How to Get There
If driving your own car or a rental car, the Grand Floridian Resort is located at 4401 Floridian Way in Orlando, Florida, just off Seven Seas Drive.
Free transportation to and from the resort consists of Disney Buses, Ferry Boats, and the most famous mode of Disney transportation of all, the Monorail! A 1 mile walking path between the resort and the Polynesian Village Resort is also provided, offering views of the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Wedding Pavilion, and the Magic Kingdom Park in the distance.
Why You Should Visit
A number of Walt Disney World Resorts boast awe-inspiring lobbies, and the Grand Floridian’s lobby is at the top of the list! In addition to a grand staircase, a cage elevator, and enchanting Disney-inspired tilework under your feet, the Grand Floridian’s 5-story lobby is topped with stained glass domes and massive chandeliers. Tip: For the holidays, a life-size gingerbread house and a towering Victorian Christmas tree occupy the lobby and are must-sees!
The Grand Floridian’s women’s boutique
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, a live pianist and the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra alternate playing popular turn-of-the-century tunes and Disney songs!
The Grand Floridian Resort offers more shops than any other Walt Disney World Resort, which is why it’s one of my favorite locations to hunt for resort exclusive merch, Disney Dooney and Bourke bags, and that perfect souvenir to take home.
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Here at Touring Plans, we’re all about finding ways to save money during Disney vacations. But we also know that once in a while it’s time to throw caution to the wind and splurge on something spectacular enough to turn the vacation into a celebration. Here are ten of our favorite ways to indulge at Walt Disney World. Bucket list anyone?
While you’re indulging at V&A’s, why not splurge a little more with the caviar add-on?
1. Victoria & Albert’s. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, a meal at V&A’s is simply one of the best dining experiences you’ll have any time, any where. And if the best meal in town isn’t enough for you, then you can bump it up a notch by trying the even more indulgent Chef’s Table or Queen Victoria room. Price: At least $150 per person, more if you’re including cocktails or wine, and more if you’re in one of the specialty rooms.
2. Backstage Magic Tour. This 7-hour tour takes you to backstage areas at all four WDW theme parks plus some centralized behind-the-scenes areas, and you’ll get a stick-to-your-ribs lunch at the Whispering Canyon Cafe to keep you fuelled up during your big adventure. For the Disney geek, this is the ultimate in education. Price: About $250 per person. Discounts may be available for DVC owners, annual pass holders or other special categories of guests. Be sure to ask.
3. VIP Tour Guide. Guests who want their hand held during every step of their Disney experience can hire a VIP tour guide to escort them through the parks. They’ll pick you up at your resort and take you exactly where you want to go at Walt Disney World. They’ll get you special viewing areas at parades and some shows, and they’ll use their detailed park knowledge to speed you through touring. Price: Prices vary, starting at $315 per hour for a group of up to 10 people. Six hour minimum.
All the Disney Dooney’s are luxury items, but the large weekender is the top of the line.
4. Grand Suite at the Grand Floridian. Concierge service in the poshest room at the poshest resort. Need I say more? Price: Prices start at about $2,400 per night in the off season, up to about $3,300 per night during the Christmas holiday season. You could pretend to rationalize this by thinking about this on a cost-per-person basis, but in my fantasy world, I’m staying there all by myself.
5. Disney themed Dooney & Bourke Weekender bag. Disney print Dooney & Bourke bags have been all the rage for several years now. I’ve outed several closet Disney geeks in my hometown when I spied them carrying the common Disney Dooney wristlet or crossbody bags. But the holy grail of this genre is the giant weekender tote, which is big enough to double as luggage. Price: $360.
6. Fireworks cruise on the Grand I. The Grand I is a 52-foot yacht which sails the waters of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. The epitome of style is to book the Grand to view the Wishes fireworks presentation at the Magic Kingdom. The show’s audio is piped to speakers on the boat. Price: $450 per hour, plus more for food and beverage.
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