Thursday, January 8, 2015

#19 - Grand Floridian Resort

Category: Resorts
Category Rank: 3

Park: "Rest of the World"
Park Rank: 5

We return to the resorts category, which we earlier discussed as a key part to the nostalgic Disney experience.  Our next item is the Grand Floridian.

The Grand Floridian Resort is very appropriately named; you are struck with how "grand" it is.  There are huge, plush buildings and sprawling grounds.  The rich architecture is set to the Victorian times, and the whole decor has the aura of a southern-style plantation manor.  You can't help feeling underdressed as you walk through the main atrium, with its fancy chandeliers and gigantic ballroom staircase.  And the upper-scale boutiques (our favorite is the artisan soap store) also scream regality.

It is a bit odd that, according to Disney promotional materials, this resort is supposed to line up with Main Street within Magic Kingdom.  It is easier to see with others (Wilderness Lodge = Frontierland, Polynesian = Adventureland, and Contemporary = Tomorrowland).  There is some things that are similar, as the architecture and accoutrements do highlight the sense of a laid-back charm.  But, while there is something quaint about Main Street, there isn't anything quaint about the Grand Floridian.

Our family likes this resort, if for nothing else than just a quick look at its beauty and grandeur.  We enjoy eating at the 1900 Park Fare Restaurant (which barely misses this list), but that is probably the most un-Grand Floridian restaurant out of all them.  And, no, we've never eaten at Victoria & Albert's or Narcoosee's or Citricos.  Yes, they are all super-awesome we are sure, but that isn't our cup of tea.

This is just the mansion inside the mansion
It is probably better for me to say, "our family likes this resort, but this is one that makes the list for the nostalgia it brings the public at large more so than our family".  It is one of the first resorts, and its proximity to the 7 Seas Lagoon makes it very important with the World.  Plus it is on the monorail, which adds to the flair.  Holding the best restaurants in the world at it doesn't hurt.  And, having the wedding area right on its grounds also is pretty darn neat as well.

That said, I mentioned earlier this one is hard to rank.  It is pretty high on the list, but given the list I gave in the last paragraph, it should be higher.  It loses some by being just "pretty good" in our book, as I tend to like the Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges better.  It also loses out to the next resort on our list, which is more symbolic of WDW than the Grand Floridian.  I think some people love it for its luxuriousness, while some others will feel uncomfortable with it.  Some will love it for its laid-back charm, while others will have gotten enough of that with Main Street.  Therefore, we are putting it at #19 as a best guess, but it could actually be higher or lower quite a bit.

Number 18 has us going back to Epcot for a park ambience.  It is our favorite land in the park, and (I'm spitballing here) many other people's favorite land as well.  It is quite a mixture of old tradition from the country and modern times flair, with authentic architecture and music to boot.  And, it provides the best shopping experience in all of Epcot.

Wedding Chapel #1
Wedding Chapel #2

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