Recently we were lucky enough to stay at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of the Deluxe Monorail Resorts that is located right next to the Magic Kingdom. The Villas is Disney Vacation Clubs portion of the Grand Floridian. We are not Disney Vacation Club members, but we were able to rent points, allowing us to stay there.
About the The Villas at Grand Floridian
The Villas at The Grand Floridian are housed away from the main lobby. They can be found across from the Senses Spa and Fitness center. The lobby of The Villas is breathtakingly beautiful and can easily rival that of the Grand Floridian. Though on a smaller scale it has a comfortable seating area, a Nespresso coffee machine, (Yes, please. We drank a lot of coffee on this trip.) and a giant water fountain. Now I know you might be going, okay, what’s so great about a water fountain? Well, this one has the dancing penguins from Mary Poppins. That’s pretty over the top and magical to us.
While staying at The Villas you have access to the laundry for free. Movies are available for rent (free) from the help desk located in the lobby. This is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon in if anyone in your group needs a respite from the parks. Don’t forget to schedule some time to hang out at the pool that is currently being refurbished. It’s going to be a great time when it’s done.
No restaurants are available in the DVC building, though there is a soda and snack machine. Room service is available and of course there are many great dining options available at the Grand Floridian.
There are two view categories for the Villas at the Grand Floridian. A lake view and a standard view. The lake view will cost you more per night. The lake view is very nice but there is no guarantee that you will get a fireworks view. Personally we wouldn’t spend the money on a lake view again without the guarantee of seeing fireworks. That being said, if you are someone who enjoys using the balcony I would highly suggest spending the extra money. The sunrises are truly beautiful.
One thing to note is that The Villas at the Grand Floridian building is fairly removed from the Main Lobby. If you are driving it does have its own parking lot, which we really appreciated. It only takes five minutes to get from your room to the car. It’s also, about a five minute walk to the monorail station. A 15 minute walk to the quick service, Gasparilla Grill, and about a 20 minute walk to Captain Cookes. Captain Cookes is the Polynesian Resort quick service location.
Studio Villa at The Villas At The Grand Floridian
We stayed in a Studio Villa which has a split bathroom, a queen size bed, a pull out couch and a small set of table and chairs. The split bathroom is a really good advantage that comes with staying in a DVC room. The bathtub and toilet in one room, while a shower and sink is in another. You have two spaces to get ready in the morning.
A small kitchenette is also in the room. This features a coffee pot, toaster, microwave, refrigerator (no freezer), and a kitchen sink. You are also given a few water glasses and mugs. Free Joffrey’s coffee and twining’s tea are also provided. Paper plates, plastic utensils, sponges, dish soap and paper towels come standard with the room.
We found the kitchenette to be cramped if you were planning on using the sink regularly. Especially if you find a need to wash bottles several times a day. We put the toaster and coffee mugs into storage so we would have an area to let the bottles dry.
All in all we thought that the studio villa was a good option for a small party or a family with very young children. The room isn’t very large when you consider the amount of furniture in the room and how much space is taken up by the kitchenette and additional bathroom space. We feel that the lack of space is a fair trade off though. We don’t mean to say that the rooms are overly cramped but compared to a standard Grand Floridian Resort room they feel a good bit smaller.
One thing to note is that there is extra storage for bags in the room. The closet has ample space and a small suitcase will fit underneath the bed. We have a large rolling suitcase that didn’t fit but we were able to store it by the front door.
What Makes the Grand Floridian A Stand Out Resort?
The Grand Floridian is a magical place. Seriously, we stayed here for our honeymoon, our daughters first birthday, and will continue to come back many times in the future. I’ve heard many people say that the Grand Floridian is snooty and stuffy but honestly that couldn’t be further from the truth. The cast members are great and so are most of the people staying at the hotel. A communal love of Disney is flowing through this place.
We took our family portraits here through Disney fine arts and I was running through the lobby with my daughter hoping to get a good photo of her. Guests were smiling at the cute baby and waving at her. It was first thing in the morning and I’m sure a lot of people hadn’t had their coffee yet but no one was annoyed with us, and we were totally in the way.
We also stopped one day to listen to the piano player in the lobby where he played and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Kaitlyn. We didn’t ask him too, we just stopped to listen to the beautiful music and he saw us hanging out. I teared up, like the sappy mom that I am, but to me that was one of the sweetest things anyone could have done for my little girl.
Daily there is the Royal Princess Promenade in the lobby. Little girls and boys get to take a stroll with Cinderella. Prince Charming and Cinderella then lead everyone in a Waltz. I was dying. It was possibly one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my life and I’m already waiting for Kaitlyn to be old enough to do that with her Dad. Can you say cutest photo ever?
A Few Complaints…..
Overall we really loved staying at the Villas at the Grand Floridian. There were only two issues that we had and I consider that pretty good when you’ve been staying at a place for over a week.
First and foremost. It was loud, like super loud. Virtually no soundproofing between the rooms. I could hear the conversations of both families next door to us. In fact, it was so clear I knew that one family was speaking Portuguese and the other English. I don’t know if they were just extraordinarily loud or if Disney didn’t want to put money into better insulation. This in and of itself wasn’t really much of an issue because they were going to bed by 10 but if you are a super light sleeper I would invest in a noisemaker app and use it on your phone.
Another problem was we were on the third floor (right smack in the middle) and had a suite directly above us. After two nights in a row of the family above us scrapping chairs across the room and a child running around for hours on end super late at night ( I’m talking after midnight here) we had to call the front desk and ask them to tell them to quiet down a little. Luckily the front desk was great about it and handled it very promptly.
The second issue was that the DVC cast members lacked a cheerful disposition. I’m accustomed to a Welcome Home, followed by a how was your day. I’m not suggesting that cast members have to be on all the time. That would be exhausting. The issue was we were there for six days and no one greeted us once. Call us old fashioned but one of our favorite things about staying at a Disney Resort is how sociable and friendly all the cast members are.
One cast member did stand out though. The door greeter, he said Good Morning Princess, every day to my daughter. Then he would tell the whole family to have a magical day. That was always a good start to the day.
How do you Rent points?
We rented the points online, through a forum, doing a person to person contract. If this is something you are interested in doing we suggest you do your homework. There are several websites that will book your vacation for you and they will have an outstanding contract with the person renting the points. This offers some protection as the booking agency will be responsible if something goes wrong with the reservation and you are not able to get access to your hotel room.
The other option is to contact a renter directly and negotiate the terms of your stay. This will include down payments, price per point, and when the payment will be made in full. We only recommend doing this if the person has been active on the forum you are using for several years and you can readily find threads of them renting in the past. They should have a very clear renting history. References are also a must. What we really recommend is not making any payments until the room has been booked and you have confirmed the stay in your MyDisneyExperience app. Doing a person to person booking is not without its risks if you don’t take the time to do the proper research.
If you are not a DVC member and aren’t comfortable renting points you can also book these rooms directly through Disney.