OVERVIEW: THE VILLAS AT DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT & SPA
Note: guests at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are eligible for Disney World’s Early Entry program, for early access to its paid individual system for access to certain rides, and for its Extended Evening Hours.
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (a Disney Vacation Club (“DVC”) resort paired with the Grand Floridian, one of the Monorail resorts) is a wonderful place for returning visitors to Walt Disney World to stay, and for many room types is among the most livable and flexible of the DVC resorts, with Disney’s Riviera Resort its only real competitor on livability.
For typical first-time visitors, I don’t recommend the Disney Vacation Club resorts.
Among the Disney Vacation Club resorts, the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa ranks seventh overall for first-time visitors, and is particularly strong for quality of dining, compactness, convenience to the Magic Kingdom, and very livable rooms.
THE VILLAS AT DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT & SPA AND THE DISNEY VACATION CLUB RESORTS
You can have a spectacular visit at any Walt Disney World resort.
However, this site recommends that typical first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the Disney Vacation Club resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first.
(You can find extensive detail on the DVC resorts here.)
The recommendation comes from the simple fact that the distinguishing features of these resorts–extra space and full kitchens–will not be of much value to first-time visitors following one of the itineraries on this site, as they won’t be used much.
However, the Disney Vacation Club resorts represent more than 10% of Walt Disney World’s total rooms, and are very appropriate for first time visitors with large families, needing extra sleeping spaces, or looking for a more comfortable place to stay.
Because of this, I provide up-to-date reviews based on our recent stays in these hotels. Note that the long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you book your Disney World vacation at The Villas at the Grand Floridian or anywhere else–contact her using the form at the bottom of the page.
In total, this review has 5 pages:
- The summary and overview of the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort you are on now
- Theming and accommodations at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
- A photo tour of a Studio/Second Bedroom at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
- A photo tour of the living/dining/kitchen area of One and Two Bedroom Villas at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
- A photo tour of the master bedroom and bath area of One and Two Bedroom Villas at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
REVIEW: THE VILLAS AT DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT & SPA
On this basis, the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa comes in seventh overall of the Disney Vacation Club resorts. (See this for resort rankings.)
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Kid Appeal.
- Three of the deluxe resorts–the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort, in that order–have spectacular kid appeal. The Villas at the Grand Floridian has comparatively little architectural kid appeal
- None of the moderates do.
- All of the value resorts–Disney’s All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, and All-Star Movies, its Pop Century Resort, and its Art of Animation Resort–have strong kid appeal.
The kid appeal of the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian, such as it is, comes from largely the Beach Pool and water play area it shares with its parent resort Grand Floridian, and not its design, architecture, or theme.
There is a bit of Mary Poppins theming in both the lobby and the rooms.
For example, there’s the sculpture above in the lobby fountain…
…and in our villa, this silhouette drawing in the master bedroom.
But this is comically subtle–so subtle that many will miss the Mary Poppins references entirely.
I would have liked to have seen a more literal Mary Poppins theming…for more kid appeal.
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Convenience.
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the third-most convenient of all the Walt Disney World resorts in carrying out the itineraries for first-time family visitors on this site.
All of the Monorail resorts are convenient to the Magic Kingdom. The Grand Floridian is just one monorail stop away–but the 4th stop on the way back–there’s a low-capacity boat which can be a better choice for returning.
A pathway enabling walking to Magic Kingdom should open sometime in 2020.
Epcot requires three monorail stops and a transfer to the Epcot monorail. The return trip is faster, but figure 30 minutes (including time waiting for the monorail) or more per trip.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are accessed via buses shared with other nearby resorts. This sharing adds on average just one stop in each direction per round trip, but is much complained about.
OTHER DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF THE VILLAS AT DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT & SPA
These villas have a number of other positives. They share in some of the extra amenities you’ll find at the Grand Floridian–robes and a turn-down service with chocolates, for example! (No turn-down service if you pay by points…)
They are also participate in the other positives of the overall resort–wonderful dining, except for kids, and the short monorail ride to the Magic Kingdom.
Among the Disney Vacation Club resorts, there’s a number nice features in the rooms themselves. Each room type except for Grand Villas is among the largest such on property.
I’ll have more on this later in the review, but for now:
- Villas at the Grand Floridian Studios were the first on property that sleep 5 (studios at the Boulder Ridge Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian Village, Beach Club Villas, Disney’s Riviera Resort, and BoardWalk Villas also sleep 5), and add a shower to one side of the divided bath, complementing the shower-tub combo on the other side (see the right side of the floor plan above)
- One-Bedroom Villas have a really nice kitchen/dining/living room layout, and this space is larger than, and seats more than, any other DVC resort on property except for Old Key West. The shower is likely the largest most of us will ever see… (See the middle and left side of the floor plan above)
- Two-Bedroom Villas combine the virtues and innovations of the studios and one-bedrooms, and are particularly livable for larger families
- Grand Villas are the largest on property, and are the only ones where the fold-out couch aimed at the 11th and 12th guests is in its own space with a door–the media room.
More on all these room types–including many more photos and floor plans–later.
BEST AND WORST ROOMS AT THE VILLAS AT DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT & SPA
On the map, the Villas are the circled T-shaped building at the bottom.
The Grand Floridian itself is the rest of the red-colored buildings above the Villas. The Villas are convenient to the shops, dining, services, and monorail stop in the main building, which is just north/above, separated by the more kid appealing of the Grand Floridian’s two pools, the Beach Pool.
The Villas at the Grand Floridian is very compact, so room location matters less than at some other resorts.
Standard views are better than most such, with even the weakest–at the stem of the T–looking out over a grassy lawn. The image is the view from my “standard view” villa–not bad!!
Most guest services are in the Grand Floridian itself, but the villas have their own check-in and concierge desks.
Parking is available behind the small square building, on the map just below and to the left of the Villas–much more convenient than Grand Floridian parking.
There really aren’t any bad rooms, but higher floors are quieter than lower floors, balconies are better than patios, and some of the rooms are a little closer to the main resort services at the Grand Floridian than others.
Note that the long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you book your Disney World vacation at The Villas at the Grand Floridian or anywhere else–contact her with the form below.
First time family visitors looking for extra or more comfortable space, and preferring its location on the monorail to a DVC resort with more kid appeal, such as the Copper Creek Villas at the Wilderness Lodge. Families who need a 5-person Studio.
Families on a budget; families looking for the highest degree of kid appeal.
This review continues here.