Tuesday, October 1, 2019

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Staying With Preschoolers at Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

One of the biggest questions when you are getting ready to take preschoolers and toddlers to Disney World is where to stay. We spent five nights at the Grand Floridian this fall, so I'm happy to share what we learned!

First of all, you should know that staying at the Grand Floridian feels like staying at a castle! The Victorian-style elegance and ornate decor literally made our little ones stand still to admire (many times), beginning with the chandelier in the lobby as you exit the monorail and extending to tiny details and displays. The rooms and buildings are easy to find and navigate, and their convenience is perfect: our party of seven had two adjoining rooms that were connected by doors from the inside of rooms.

Rooms at the Grand Floridian are large and spacious and there are so many kid-friendly things to do that we actually didn't get around to everything during our stay!

This couch is actually a daybed that converts very easily:

I love having sinks separate from the toilet and shower:

The beds are both beautiful and an absolute joy to sleep on!

Our deck overlooked the bay. I was happy that the railings were a child-safe distance apart...and we all loved the view!

Here are a few "Must-Do's" at the Grand Floridian with your young Disney fans:

1- Dinner at 1900 Park Fare. This restaurant is adjoining the lobby, and absolutely delightful! During the buffet-style meal you meat Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, and Cinderella's two stepsisters (who, Cinderella told my daughter, are trying to be good now)! There was also a professional photographer at the back of the restaurant with a Cinderella-themed photo op (that included a glass slipper too)! You could let them take pictures or use your own camera:

Prince Charming took the time to talk with my girls and give them a little dancing spin...they were absolutely in heaven!

2- Swimming. There are two pools that our preschoolers loved: the "toddler pool" and the Beach Pool. (There is another pool also, but it is deeper and has a hot tub too--we stayed at the two I mentioned first since they are more kid-friendly.)  The toddler pool is actually a giant splashpad with an Alice in Wonderland themed water playground--complete with a toddler/preschooler sized slide!

 Right next door (literally through a gate) is the Beach Pool. This pool goes from a zero-depth entrance to about 5 feet, so it's perfect for wading with preschoolers! They also have life-vests that you can put on your kiddos and let them swim in the deep water! All of my kids (from 3-12 years old) LOVED the 181-foot long water slide and the huge waterfall that pours over a 27-foot tall mountain! 

This was a night-time shot of the pool--it was open until 11:00 pm.

You're not allowed to hold a 3-year old on your lap as you go down the slide, but our preschooler was happy to wear her life-jacket and go down by herself--in fact, she really loved it! We literally went swimming every chance we had! The pool has an on-site bathroom, bar, drink station, lots of seating, and tons of towels. It really is perfection.

3- Outdoor Movie. Every night a Disney movie plays on the lawn--my favorite was Frozen!

4- Fireworks. Just after 9:00 the Magic Kingdom lights up with fireworks around Cinderella's castle...and you can see them perfectly from the lawn at the Grand Floridian! If you watch from the lawn near Gasparilla you can hear music to go with the fireworks too! This was from the grass just outside our room:

5- Live Music. Most evenings around 6:00 or 7:00 there is a live band playing music in the lobby. Even if you only stop by for a few minutes, the music is wonderful and the lobby is-as always-delightful!

Other kid-friendly attractions at the Grand Floridian that we did not have time to check out include basketball courts, an arcade room, fishing, campfires, and the Pirate Adventure!

Here are a few Bits of Helpful Information and Planning Points:

1- The Grand Floridian is only one stop away from the Magic Kingdom on the monorail. You can also take the ferry, and save a little time when monorail lines are long.

2- You can take a bus from the Grand Floridian to The Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. To get to Epcot, you can take the monorail to the transfer station and then to Epcot.

3- Gasparilla Cafe is open 24 hours a day! They have cold sandwiches, snacks (both desserts and healthy snacks), and a hot grill all day and all night.

4- The Guest Services cast members at the desk in the lobby are the absolute most helpful people in all of Disney World! True story! They helped us with logistics on everything from our dining plan to our flight home. If you have any questions or need help, definitely walk over and talk to them!

5- Finally, you can literally check your bags for your flight home in the lobby. TSA has an agent and will take your bags from you there. It is wonderful, and makes traveling with children SO much easier!

Are you taking preschoolers to Disney World? Have you stayed at the Grand Floridian before? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

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