I get asked a lot about suggestions for passing some time outside of the Disney theme parks and a trip to the Grand Floridian frequently tops my list. With rooms ranging in price from $600 to in excess of $1000 a night, not everyone will want to take the financial plunge and stay at this Grand Dame of Disney resorts but you can still easily pass a morning or afternoon enjoying its many treasures. As a matter of fact, its location means its just a quick boat ride or monorail stop away from the Magic Kingdom making it the perfect place to visit. To give you a taste of some of the many ways your family can pass the time at the Grand Floridian here’s a list of 8 of our favorite things to do there!
1.Set sail on a Pirate Adventure Cruise – I’m going to start this list off with a favorite with my family. Whether you’re staying at the Grand Floridian or not, its worth enrolling your little ones in one of the Pirate Adventure Cruises that depart from the Marina at the Grand Floridian. On these two hour swashbuckling adventures, your child will get to don a bandana and board a vessel to embark on a hunt for hidden treasure. Little pirates will learn about “The Legend of Gasparilla” a real Florida pirate. The cruises run everyday from 9:30 -11:30 pm and the cost is $39- $49 child. And as you’ve probably gathered by now there is a strict “No grown-ups allowed” policy. Which means you’re free to enjoy a quiet cup of tea, stroll the grounds, book in a spa treatment or do a bit of shopping while you kids are out adventuring!
2. Go Shopping – If I can spare a bit of time in my touring plans, I always head over to enjoy the shops at the Grand Floridan. My first port-o-call is always Basin White where you’ll find luxurious natural bath products including amazing bath bombs with Mouse-head confetti which have become a bath-time favorite in my household. On-site is also Summer Lace a fantastic ladies boutique that carries everything from jewelry to handbags to perfume to clothing. There’s also Commander Porters which sells men’s designer clothing, watches and attire perfect for hitting the golf courses. M. Mouse Mercantile is also a fantastic hotel gift shop with an impressive variety of souvenirs and park essentials.
3. Have a Perfectly Prepared Princess makeover – Couldn’t get that appointment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? I’ll let you in on a little secret. Next to Basin White at the Grand Floridian you’ll find the Ivy Trellis Salon. This delightful little beauty shop offers a Perfectly Prepared Princess package. When I visited with my daughter there were three packages on offer. For $50 guests could get a princess hair-do, glitter and a tiara. For $75 the package also includes a make-over. Finally for $90 children also receive a manicure. Prices are subject to change. Bookings should be made in advance by calling 407.WDW.SPAS.
4. Go on a Resort Tour – Whether you’re staying on-site or off, the story behind Disney World’s most majestic hotel is one that can be enjoyed by all. With this in mind, the resort offers The Floridian Express, a one hour walking tour to explain how the heritage and culture of the Grand Floridian was influenced by turn-of-the-century Southern Florida. The tour also includes something that Disney fans won’t want to miss, a behind-the-scenes tour of Disney’s most prestigious eatery: Victoria & Albert’s. The Floridian Express is offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9am and is available for guests 10 and up. The cost to sign-up for the tour is $15. Bookings can either be made at the Grand Floridian Concierge desk or by calling 407.WDW.TOUR.
5. Take part in a princess promenade – Referred to as the “Magical Moment” at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, if you find yourself at the Grand Floridian on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon at 3:45pm, then you’ll want to stick around for this delightful character spotting opportunity. Youngsters between the ages of 3-12 will be invited to join Cinderella and Princess charming for a delightful Disney memory-making opportunity that they won’t soon forget.
6. Treat yourself to a spa day – Its called Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for a reason. The resort is home to the decadent Senses Spa where you can enjoy everything from a 5 hour signature spa package to facials, message therapies, body treatments as well as manicures and pedicures all while relaxing in the elegant surroundings of the Grand Floridian. For Jamberry lovers, Jamberry manicures are also available to book! Treatments range from $35 all the way up to $450 so there’s something to suit all sorts of budgets. Advanced booking is essential and can be made at 407.WDW.SPA.
7. Have dinner with an Imagineer – If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to spend some time with one of the amazing Imagineers over at Disney then this could be your golden opportunity. Held the first Thursday of every month, guests are treated to a dinner of Mediterranean-inspired specialties at this regal Grand Floridian eatery. An Imagineer will be on hand to let you in on some of Walt Disney World’s current projects and share some behind-the-magic insights. The cost to attend the event is $89 four a 4-course meal. Guests can tack on an extra $30 for the optional wine pairing. Dining reservations are essential and can be made at 407.WDW.DINE.
8. Have tea with Alice and the Mad Hatter – Happening during the day from 1:30pm until around 2:45pm, your children can participate in this “kids only” event hosted by Alice and the Mad Hatter. It’s open to children between the ages of 3-10 years old and each Wonderland Tea Party can accommodate around 20 children. The kids get to enjoy tea (that tastes an a lot like juice) as well as some tasty snacks and join in the fun as they’re led through songs, games and other fun activities. There is a photographer on hand to capture the magic and when my daughter went they created their own gorgeously decorated teacups and saucers which were signed by Alice and the Mad Hatter. The cost is $42.60 per child and reservations can be made via My Disney Experience or by calling 407.. During this time grown-ups can enjoy a stroll around the grounds of the Grand Floridian, visit the shops, enjoy a Spa treatment or even hop the monorail for a tour around Walt Disney World.
So if you’ve got an extra days or even an afternoon to spare at Walt Disney World Resort, I highly recommend taking some time to enjoy all that this amazing resort has to offer. There’s also fine dining, character dining, boat rentals, live music, afternoon tea, princess tea parties and seasonal treats like giant Easter eggs and a life-sized gingerbread house at Christmas time!
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