LMM's Fourth of July at the Grand!


#1

Just returned from our wonderful long weekend trip to WDW!

In the past, I’ve begun the TR with day-by-day descriptions and finished with reviews, but I really liked how Bruce started his TR with reviews, so I’m going to try that. And, it will be easier for MBers and me to go back and find my reviews.

[B]Our Resort: The Grand Floridian[/B]

We had a lovely stay at the Grand Floridian. My second stay there, and I’ve decided that it really is my favorite Disney resort. I know many people describe it as “stuffy,” but I don’t get that vibe at all. To me it’s light and airy and beautiful. I just love the architecture… my heart opens the same way for the Grand Floridian as it does Mickey Mouse and Cinderella’s Castle. :wub: I can’t really describe it other than… “so this is love… mmmhmm mmhmmm…” :laugh: I also especially love the evening atmosphere in the lobby with the band playing. So Grand!

The Pools

Both days we went to the Beach Pool, I noticed people wearing orange wristbands. I assume that indicated that they were staying at the resort. However, we were never carded. Rachel and I tried the waterslide and liked it enough to go back twice. The kids complained about the “long line” - of about four to six people! :laugh: However, I didn’t find the wait to be long at all. The lifeguards were nice, too. Whenever someone broke the slide rules, the lifeguard would kindly tell them that they weren’t allowed to do that (many times fighting a laugh!). The recreation staff was also great - the pool wasn’t crowded with kids because they were all out of the pool playing games with the recreation team. It looked like a lot of fun.

We visited the courtyard pool at 2 am, so we had it all to ourselves. It’s huge! And it feels even bigger when you’re in it by yourself at night! The hot tub is also huge. It seemed deep, though.

Transporation

The monorail to MK is great, and the switch to Epcot isn’t bad at all. Of course, coming home from MK on the monorail seems to take forever. If you’re headed from MK back to the GF and you see a boat, take it, instead!

We also had wonderful bus luck this trip - never waited more than five minutes for a bus!

Our Room: Sago Cay 5120

Our room was in Sago Cay where we stayed last time. I was hoping to get Sago Cay when I requested “close to transportation,” and it worked out perfect! Our room was on the first floor, right off of the main lobby (5120). I was a little skeptical at first, worried about the noise, but the room was so convenient - great location! The view was also beautiful of the monorail over Seven Seas. I found it a great ‘steal’ for a ‘Garden View.’ I would definitely want to stay in that room, again.

I love the size of the rooms at the Grand Floridian. Last time we stayed there, Rachel slept on the daybed while I slept in the queen bed, but the mousekeeper didn’t make down the daybed this time, so we just slept together (which is what we normally do, anyway). The daybed is a good size, though. A petite to average-size adult could definitely sleep there comfortably.

The bathroom was great with the double vanity. It was at the perfect height for a petite person like myself, too. I loved the makeup mirror, and the full-length mirror on the bathroom door was great because it could be angled so one could see the back of their hair while fixing.

My architectural critique of this room is that there should have been a mirror over the desk so that one could use it as a vanity if they wished. The mirror in the main room was over the daybed, which was lovely but at the same time didn’t serve a very practical function. Also, the bathroom vanity could use shelves. There is a huge open area beneath the vanity - why not incorporate shelves? I felt that our countertop was always cluttered with makeup bags and hair products because we didn’t have any drawers or shelf space in the bathroom.

Service critique is that our evening mousekeeper only left us two chocolates - when there were four people staying in the room! After the first night of two chocolates, I wrote a note saying, “There are four people staying in this room! :happy:” Still two chocolates. So the next night, Dad left a note on the bed saying, “Please leave four chocolates.” And we got four chocolates! The next night… two chocolates. :huh: I guess he didn’t remember that there were four people in our room. It was the same guy every night because he always left us a “good night” card with his name - Michael. I even met him one night because he came to turn down the room when no one else was appropriately dressed… he was a very young guy, maybe a bit older than me. Quite handsome, as well. :blush: Maybe if I had told him that, he would have left us more chocolate… :laugh:

The Cast Members

I’ve read so many complaints that the CMs here are snooty and not friendly at all, but I would have to disagree. Our bellhop that helped us move in was super friendly - even in the wee hours of the morning! On our way from our room to the bus stop or parking lot in the morning, we would pass CMs headed to work. They’d always smile and wave and say good morning. Also, the night Rachel and I went swimming at 2 am, two security guards passed through and saw us swimming, so they casually stopped and chatted by the pool while we were there. Now, they could have been making sure that we didn’t go crazy and scream and shout, but it was just the two of us, and we were being very quiet, so I would like to think that they were just making sure we were safe. Also, a CM cleaning up came across our stuff and almost turned it into lost and found, but the security guards told him it was ours. After we got out of the pool, they were very friendly and chatty with us.

Now, I’m not going to force the GF on anyone who doesn’t like it. If you think it looks like a grandma’s house, that’s cool with me - there are a few Disney resorts that I think I’ll never want to stay in! But, my advice to people wanting to stay at the GF but are scared to because they think that they “won’t belong” - don’t worry about it! Everyone there is super friendly, and I never felt as if anyone was judging me. There were many, many families and lots of kids. Even if the super wealthy folk is staying there, they put their pants on one leg at a time just like you! As Eleanor Roosevelt said, [B]“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”[/B] So stay at the Grand and enjoy its beauty! :happy:


#2

Dining Ratings & Reviews

So I’m the light eater in the family, yet I’m the one who booked a bunch of buffets! :laugh: My dad didn’t think that was cool, and after the first day, he was saying, “No more buffets!” Well… that ruined my ADRs! However, we made a few compromises (skipped out on Grand Floridian Cafe and Rainforest Cafe) and ate at all of the buffets! :laugh:

For our ratings, I’m going to steal Bruce’s :mickey: system - scale of 5 :mickey:s!

Crystal Palace - Breakfast :mickey: :mickey: :mickey:

When I saw the breakfast time before the park was open, I snagged it! We had done breakfast at CP before park opening before, and it was a great experience to be in the park before everyone else - wonderful castle shots! Once again, we enjoyed the great pictures. The buffet was also consistently good. I wouldn’t say it’s the best breakfast buffet at WDW, but I think that it consistently puts out a good product. I got the chocolate Mickey Mouse waffles, and they were delish! Rachel, Mom, and Dad all got the regular Mickey Mouse waffles and complained that they were hard and yucky. I did not care for their sausage. I loved their fruit - the pineapple was perfect! Also, two of our favorite offerings were from the kids’ bar - breakfast pizza and Pooh’s Puffed French Toast. Yummy! Character interaction was good… I guess when you’re older, it’s not as big of a deal. We just take pictures - no autographs or videos of our character interaction. Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore moved together and were very prompt. We ended up waiting on Tigger… but he spent more time with us than the other characters.

Kona Cafe - Dinner :mickey: :mickey: :mickey: :mickey:

We repeated this restaurant at Rachel’s request. She loved the bread. Last time, our waitress brought us three loaves! However, this time, our service was terrible! Our waiter never came by our table! He left us waiting so many times. :glare: It took us thirty minutes to finally place our order. We had to get his attention to ask for refills. We had asked for more bread, but he forgot it, so we had to remind him. Finally, he brought us more. Then, he brought us the check and Dad was ready to pay… had it sitting on the edge of the table… the guy kept walking by, looked straight at my dad - and ignored him!!! :blink: Mom, Rach, and I left for the bathroom… Dad was all alone… still, the guy wouldn’t take the book. My dad peeks around the corner and sees him chit-chatting with other waiters… walks up to him and hands him the book (he talks about how he should’ve opened it and slashed the tip right in front of him :rolleyes:). The guy isn’t apologetic at all. :huh:

The food was very good, though. I had crab cakes (it’s an appetizer… and not quite big enough for an entree). Rach and Dad had the chicken and salad. And mom had shrimp noodles. All were good. And we would be willing to repeat it because what are the odds that we’re going to get such terrible service, again?

Cape May Cafe - Breakfast :mickey: :mickey: :mickey: :mickey:

This was a first for us, and we all enjoyed it! The breakfast bar was very similar to Crystal Palace’s in selection, though (it’s breakfast… how crazy can you really get?). They did have a nice little bagel station. I never made myself a bagel because I didn’t have the patience for that, though! :laugh: The food was great and it was very relaxed. Only three characters, but they all came by twice. I’d say this is a better breakfast buffet for adults that like an American breakfast, but aren’t on a mission to see characters.

Tokyo Dining :mickey: :mickey: :mickey: :mickey:

Another first. We really enjoyed it! We were seated by the window with a lovely view of the lagoon. lIf you could snag this table around fireworks time, it would have a great view of IllumiNations! Our waitress was super sweet (she was from Fukishima :crying:), but a little difficult to understand. I had the volcano sushi and it was great. I was a little skeptical about the bright orange, beady-looking sauce, but it was very tasty! It was described as spicy, but I didn’t really find it so.

1900 Park Fare - Dinner :mickey:

This was our bust of the week. We chose this because it was convenient and we loved it for breakfast on a previous trip… but will never eat here for dinner, again! The selection was very limited. The most expensive options were the sushi and salmon. The sushi was good, but after Tokyo Dining, it didn’t really impress. I found the salmon a little dry. The kids’ mac and cheese was terrible, as was the cheese pizza. I didn’t come across anything amazing. (I’m the kind of person that takes a bite and if it’s good, I eat more… if I don’t like it, I move on.) The desserts were all petite, and while they were cute, they tasted terrible. They had a mini Key Lime Pie… in a chocolate crust. Weird combo. The carrot cake was so bad, it was unrecognizable. I had to go back and read the name because I thought it was fruit cake! :blink: The minimal food selection definitely did not match the hefty price tag. We were clearly paying for the character interaction.

The characters… Prince Charming was a weirdo. He came up to us and asked Rachel and I if we practiced our manners. :huh: After I said, “Uhh, yes,” he told us we should use them with Cinderella. I’m thinking… I’m sorry… did we do something to offend you??? :blink: Then I heard him give the same speech to two little boys around four and six. It must be his standard spiel. However, I found it a bit inappropriate for young adults like Rachel and myself. Now… the best character EVER was Lady Tremaine. Oh my goodness, she was a hoot! Always in character - soooo sarcastic! I loved her sense of humor! More on that, later…

Chef Mickey’s - Dinner :mickey: :mickey: :mickey: :mickey: :mickey:

This is the ADR we almost skipped after our disastrous Park Fare dinner… but we are all so glad we didn’t!!!

Chef Mickey’s was AMAZING!!! And our waiter was AMAZING!!! We’ve never really thought that waiters could really be good for buffets… all they did was bring drinks… but this guy proved us wrong! (More on that, later.)

The food selection was great… and everything was so good! The mac and cheese off the kids’ bar was the best I’ve had at WDW. The cheese potatos were great… the salmon and ham were wonderful. There wasn’t much I didn’t like… and I’m a selective eater! The desserts were also wonderful! I got the cutest thing ever… an oreo with mousse Mickey head on top. I figured, this thing is so cute - there is no way it can taste good. But I was wrong - it was the best dessert!!! They also had a wonderful mini key lime pie and carrot cake. There is no appropriate way I can think to properly express how much better Chef Mickey’s was than Park Fare!!! :laugh:

When my parents mentioned to our waiter that this dinner was so much better than our dinner the last night, he told us that Chef Mickey’s and Boma are the only two buffets that make fresh food throughout the day. All other buffets make food in large batches. I was surprised because I always figured that the buffets were run the same. It must be something about the kitchen or type of food served or something.

This is the place to go if you love good food and you love characters. It really is the best character dining experience we’ve had… and the only one with which we can justify the hefty price tag.

Ohana’s - Breakfast :mickey: :mickey:

I was excited about this one because so many people love it. However, we were very disappointed. For one, our waitress was terrible. She sounded just like Roz from Monsters, Inc. And she was in desperate need of training!!! She reached right across my plate, in front of my face, to get something… didn’t even say excuse me. She was also awful at pouring drinks. She sloshed the glass all over the table. I was beginning to wonder if she was perhaps hung over? And… the father at the table beside us said, "Excuse me, could I get - " and she cut him off by yelling, “I’M NOT LISTENING!!!” What the HECK???

Service was really slow. The sweet bread was very good. I was also a fan of the orange/guava juice. Once again, I didn’t like the sausage (didn’t at any meal!). The bacon was absolutely terrible - it tasted like paper! No flavor! I didn’t eat the eggs, but I probably should have because everyone else in my family liked them. The biscuit I had was really dry. And they kept bringing us a platter for three when we were clearly a family of four… while they brought the family of three next to us a platter with four biscuits! You’d think after the second time, they’d realize the error. The food selection was extremely limited, but it was also significantly less expensive than the other character dining breakfasts. So if you aren’t a big eater but want character dining, this is a good place to try!


#3

Hey, I’m a grandma and I wish my house looked like the GF.

Your reviews were great. Perfect for my morning cup of coffee. I’ll have another cup in a few hours, got more TR???

Have you eaten at GF cafe before or was that going to be a new one? We have an ADR there in Nov. We’ve only been in the lobby a few times during the day, so I’m looking forward to hearing the music during the evening.


#4

Great Review Victoria!

I personally LOVE the Grand Floridian. The first (and only) time I stayed there, I was a little hesitant feeling that I might be out of place. Was I wrong!! I loved being spoiled by the CM’s- it seemed as if they were always waiting to help us with something.

We always visit, whether for dinner at our fave V&A or just a couple of drinks and a stroll!


#5

[QUOTE=jo-jo;1082170]Hey, I’m a grandma and I wish my house looked like the GF.

Your reviews were great. Perfect for my morning cup of coffee. I’ll have another cup in a few hours, got more TR???

Have you eaten at GF cafe before or was that going to be a new one? We have an ADR there in Nov. We’ve only been in the lobby a few times during the day, so I’m looking forward to hearing the music during the evening.[/QUOTE]

The full TR with pictures is on its way! I’m working this morning, so look out for it this afternoon! :happy:

We have not eaten at GF Cafe, before. We tried to once, but the wait was really long and we weren’t feeling it. We had an early breakfast ADR this trip and decided to send Dad to Gasparilla’s, instead! :laugh:


#6

I’m so glad you loved your stay at the GF. I think it’s great that you and your sister still enjoy family vacations. I hope my DD will still want to travel with us when she’s in college!

Your description of the GF was so perfect. That’s exactly the way I feel when I walk into the lobby! It’s so light and airy - I don’t get that stuffy feeling at all. It feels very old fashioned to me, but not too formal. I love it too. DH and I honeymooned there, but that was enough for him! :angry:

Can’t wait to hear more about your trip!


#7

Great reviews! I almost ended up with coffee all over my computer screen when I read the waitress sounded like Roz from Monster’s Inc. LOL

I may have to go and visit GF when we are there in September. I will have my Mom and MIL with me and I am sure they would love to see it too. I, like others, have always been afraid it would be too stuffy. Your review makes me want to go now! :happy:

Can’t wait to read your TR! Thanks for sharing!


#8

I love your reviews!!

I’m glad to hear you loved Chef Mickey’s. We go there almost every trip and really love it. We always thought the food was better there than other buffets, so now I know it’s true!

I agree about 1900 Park Fare. We weren’t impressed at all with the food. Very disappointing.

Can’t wait for more TR!


#9

Great reviews!!!

Cape May Cafe breakfast is one of our favs. Small but yet you get nice time with the characters. The CM’s we found have always been very attentive.

Now Chef Mickey’s is a must for us on our first night at WDW. My DS is already talking about the Oreo dessert saying he is going to have them as an appetizer, eat dinner and then have them for dessert! I would not be too surprised if he walks out with some in his pocket:)

Keep the report coming!!!


#10

Great reviews! Looking forward to your TR - in detail =0). I have always wanted to stay at the GF!!


#11

LOVE the reviews! 1900 Park Fare disappointed us on the last trip also. It was much better the first time we went way back in 2003. We won’t be going back anytime soon. Can’t wait to read more!


#12

I like the way you’ve reviewed everything so far. I’m looking forward to the rest of your TR and pictures! :happy:

I’m glad to hear you and your family enjoyed Cape May Cafe’s breakfast. It’s a favorite of ours. I’m sorry 1900 Park Fare was a bust for you. We haven’t eaten there since 2007 because we had a similar experience at dinner. It was very disappointing because we had had so many good experiences before that. Like you, though, we really liked Lady Tremaine. At the time we went my youngest was only 3, and she refused to have anything to do with the stepmother or stepsisters because “they’re mean.” :laugh: I tried to get her to at least have her picture made, and I asked her, “Wouldn’t you like to have your picture made with the stepmother?” The stepmother replied, “That’s Lady Tremaine to you, Madame.” :laugh:


#13

Terrific start Victoria! I am a huge fan of the GF. Some day I hope to use some DVC points to stay for a weekend. (you and Rachel and your mom should try the afternoon tea sometime - absolutely one of my girls’ and my favourite things). We’ve always found the CMs there to be lovely.

Thank you for the dining reviews. I was thinking about trying Park Fare Lane for dinner - just to see the stepsisters & mother - but now I’m not going to bother.

I wonder if Disney hires on a lot of extra CMs for the summer rush - some of your experiences were definitely not “Disneyesque”.

Can’t wait for more.


#14

I am loving your TR and reviews Victoria as I have always longed to stay at GF for maybe just a couple of nights out of our trip, and after reading what you’ve said it will be a cert for our next trip. I was amazed at the server at Ohana! How rude, obviously got out of bed on the wrong side.
Looking forward to hearing ( and seeing) more.


#15

I love Key Lime but add a chocolate crust??? Yuck!

Loving the TR though!


#16

Oh - trust me - she will.:glare: If you raise them up Disney, you never get rid of them.:laugh: My “girls” are 26 and 27 and still think they’re invited on every trip! (secretly, I love it).


#17

Tell me about it. I know all 3 of ours (28,25,22) would not think twice if they thought they could ‘tag along’.


#18

I didn’t tell you guys that I lost my camera case at Animal Kingdom! Not the camera - just the case. I didn’t care a thing about the case, but I was worried about the 8 gig memory card and rechargeable battery inside. The memory card was new, so I didn’t lose any pictures, but an 8 gig card isn’t cheap and the battery was pricey, as well, so I was rather disgusted with myself.

However, I just called WDW Lost and Found and they found my camera case and are shipping it to me!!! I’m so excited!!! I thought it was lost for good! :happy:


#19

Can this kid write or what? Nicely done, LMM. Keep it rolling.

(Llama - Secretly, I like it too. But don’t tell them if you see them in Oct.)


#20

Thursday, June 30 - Departure Day

Our trip to WDW had been planned for about a month. The week before, Rachel got an offer to work at the Miss South Carolina pageant in Columbia. It was free labor, but she loves pageants, so she snatched it up immediately. She was supposed to drive home Thursday morning, but of course Wednesday afternoon she asked us if we could pick her up in Columbia. Dad was against it, and I wasn’t a fan of the idea, but Mom wanted to give her her way so that she would be happy about Disney. So, I packed up all of Rachel’s stuff for her.

Between packing for myself and packing for Rachel, I also painted some Mickey toenails…

We left the house at 8:30 and drove to Columbia, then picked her up at the pageant. Of course, for the first hour headed to WDW, we had to talk pageants. Then Rachel was tired and wanted to change, so we pulled into a promising, well-lit gas station… only to find it completely creepy inside.

Rachel slept soundly. My arms kept falling asleep, so I’d wake up and stretch them out, then change positions and go back to sleep.

We arrived at the Grand Floridian at 6:00 in the morning. We sent Dad to check us in and tried to wake up Rachel. She wasn’t budging.

Good news… they had a room available for us!!! Perfect!!! So, a nice bellhop helped us take our luggage to the room.

As soon as we opened the door, Rachel plopped down on the bed. “Don’t go to sleep, Rachel!!!” Too late…

We had a lovely view of the monorail.

Could also see a bit of the convention center…