By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



Review: The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Page 5



By Dave Shute

(For the first page of this review of the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian, click here.)

MORE ON THE VILLAS AT THE GRAND FLORIDIAN

The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian from yourfirstvisit.net

 

Because the two sets of options at the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Saratoga Springs are so different, and the Polynesian offering is so distinctive, for review purposes I count a total of twelve resorts, but rank only eleven.

Their overall ranking for first time family visitors is as follows:

  1. Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (after 7/17)
  2. Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (after 7/17)
  3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Jambo House
  4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Kidani Village
  5. Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  6. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
  7. Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  8. Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
  9. Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  10. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, main resort
  11. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, Treehouse Villas area

My rankings exclude the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, as it does not offer one or two bedroom villas. If the ranking were based solely on studios, the Polynesian offering would be near the top.

These resorts are available to anyone to reserve through the regular Walt Disney World website or resort reservations phone number at 407-939-7675.

They also are available to the general public at great discounts through renting points from a Disney Vacation Club member. (They are also of course available to these members themselves.)

All Disney Vacation Club resorts except the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows have studio rooms, One-Bedroom Villas, and Two-Bedroom Villas. Most have Grand Villas as well.

Floor plans of all four room types at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa are discussed below.

STUDIOS AT THE VILLAS AT THE GRAND FLORIDIAN

Floor Plan Studio at Disney's Grand Floridian from yourfirstvisit.netStudios at the Villas at the Grand Floridian are larger than those at any DVC resort other than Old Key West.

Murphy Bed Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian from yourfirstvisit.netThey are also one of only two DVC studios that sleeps five and has three sleeping surfaces–the other is the studios at the Villas at Disney’s WIlderness Lodge.  Two sleeping spots are on the queen bed, two more on the couch that folds out into another queen, and the fifth sleeping spot is a Murphy Bed that swings down below the TV.

Sink and Shower in Studio at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa from yourfirstvisit.netAnother distinction in these spaces is the tub/shower combo on one side of the divided bath, and a shower on the other side. This creates a much more flexible bath.

Like all DVC studios, these spaces also come with a kitchenette including a sink, mini-fridge, microwave, toaster, and coffee pot.

Standard view studios are typically about the same price as standard view regular rooms at the main Grand Floridian Resort on weeknights, and less expensive on weekends.

Regular rooms at the main building are larger, and the beds there are more comfortable. (The queens are similar–it’s the sofa bed and Murphy bed that are less comfortable.)  The baths are better in the Studios.

So the call for many families will be the trade-off of the better bath, mini-kitchen (actually, only the microwave and toaster, as standard rooms have coffee makers and mini-fridges too) and lower price, vs. size and more comfortable beds.

Map of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa from yourfirstvisit.net(Some have claimed that these DVC rooms are too distant from the main services at the Grand Floridian.

A quick look at the map above, where the circle is centered on the concierge desk in the main building and the villas are at the bottom of the circle, shows that villa rooms are no more distant than are the bulk of other rooms at the Grand Floridian–and are closer than most to the kid-appealing Beach Pool…)

ONE BEDROOM VILLAS AT THE VILLAS AT THE GRAND FLORIDIAN

Floor Plan One Bedroom Villa at Disney's Grand Floridian from yourfirstvisit.netOne Bedroom Villas are larger than any other such DVC spaces except those at Old Key West. They sleep five–two in the king in the master, two on a fold-out queen in the living room, and the fifth in a living room Murphy Bed.

In contrast to other recent DVC offerings such as Kidani Village and Bay Lake Tower, Grand Floridian One Bedroom Villas have only one bath for the five people they hold. But that one bath is large, divided, and easily accessible from all points in the villa.

Living Room in One and Two Bedroom Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa from yourfirstvisit.netThe kitchen, dining and living rooms spaces are quite comfortable for a family of five, so on balance I’d say that for most families Grand Floridian livability is comparable to that at the villas with two baths.

See this page for photos of the master bedroom and bath, and this for the combined kitchen/dining/living area.

TWO BEDROOM VILLAS AT THE VILLAS AT THE GRAND FLORIDIAN

Floor Plan Two Bedroom Lockoff Villa Disney's Grand Floridian from yourfirstvisit.netTwo Bedroom Villas at the Grand Floridian come in two variants–lock-offs, that combine a studio and a One Bedroom Villa, and “dedicated” two bedrooms that have a slightly different layout for the second bedroom.

The floor plan for a lock-off is above; a floor plan of a dedicated villa–and discussion of the differences between the two types of second bedrooms–is here.

Each sleeps nine. (The lock-off actually has ten sleeping spots, with a Murphy Bed in both the living room and second bedroom, but Disney will only let you reserve nine.)

As in the one bedroom, the master sleeps two and living room three.  The second bedroom sleeps 4-5, depending on layout.

Dining Area in One and Two Bedroom Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa from yourfirstvisit.netThese two bedroom villas are very comfortable for larger families, having more seating spots booth at the dining table and in the living room than many other DVC two bedrooms.

Only Old Key West, Kidani, and Bay Lake Tower are comparable in their effectiveness for larger families, and only Old Key West Two Bedroom Villas are larger.

GRAND VILLAS AT THE VILLAS AT THE GRAND FLORIDIAN

Floor Plan Grand Villa at Disney's Grand Floridian from yourfirstvisit.netGrand Villas at the Villas at the Grand Floridian are by far the largest on property and the most livable.

Most DVC Grand Villas are twice the size of a two-bedroom villa.  This lets them slip easily into the overall space plan and exterior architectural rhythm.

Grand Villas at the Grand Floridian are much larger than twice the size of a two bedroom–almost 350 square feet larger.

This is possible because the architects

  1. Put them at the end of the halls, instead of along the side, and
  2. Did not constrain them to the width of the rest of the building.

Grand Villa Location in Space Plan at Villas at the Grand FloridianSee the image above, where the Grand Villas are circled. Note the extensions of the spaces on both top and bottom.

Grand Villas the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian from yourfirstvisit.net (1024x740)As a result, the six Grand Villas at the Grand Floridian are stacked like really expensive baloney–see the photo of the exterior of all six above.

Like most other Grand Villas, these rooms sleep 12.

There’s 3 bays of bedrooms–two sleeping four each in queens, and one sleeping two on a king–and two bays of combined kitchen/living/dining space.

What’s distinctive about the Grand Floridian Grand Villas–besides the size–is the use of the 6th bay, and what that means for the final two people the room will sleep.

In all the other DVC Villas except the Boardwalk Villas, the sixth bay is kinda wasted (long discussion here), and in a not-unrelated point, the 11th and 12th sleeping spots are in one of the common areas, in a fold-down couch.

In contrast, at the Grand Floridian the sixth bay is set up as a separately walled-off media room, and that’s where the last sleeping spots are located.  In effect, it’s a fourth bedroom!

There are some flaws in the design.  One of the two queen bedrooms is quite small, and does not have its own private bath.  This could lead to simmering jealousies and anxiety among family members.

Also, the ground floor Grand Villa is right next to one of the more convenient first-floor doors to the rest of the building from the Beach Pool area, leading this, I suspect, to be a bit noisy.

But overall these Grand Villas are the best designed among all the Disney World DVC options.

SERVICES AND AMENITIES AT THE VILLAS AT DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT & SPA

This review continues here!

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