First off, we're going to say that The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian (VGF), the latest Disney Vacation Club property to open at Walt Disney World, is now one of our favorite places to stay on Walt Disney World Property.
To put it in context, we've stayed at every resort with the exception of the Polynesian, Contemporary (including Bay Lake Tower), Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (we have stayed at Jambo House), and Caribbean Beach.
But before we tell you why it's become a favorite, we're going to tell you what we didn't like about the Villas, because we had a bumpy start.
Things began well enough. We had stayed one evening at the All Star Movies, and took a cab over to the Grand Floridian, and checked in at about 8:15am.
As soon as we walked into this resort we felt like we were surrounded by luxury.
Our room was not ready, which was expected, as check in for DVC rooms is 4:00pm. We were asked if we would like to receive a text or to be called when our room was ready, and we left a number to get a text. We took our bags over to the Villas building via a covered walkway, and left them with Bell Services.
The Villas lobby is lovely.
The fountain features the penguins from Mary Poppins.
Mary Poppins umbrella as elevator hands.
After checking our bags, we walked back to the GF main building and made our way to the second floor to catch the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.
We had a great day at the MK, but as 3:30 approached, we wanted to get to the room and shower and rest before dinner. We still hadn't been notified our room was ready. As we exited the park, we noticed a line for the monorail. We should have taken the boat, but, as we were on the monorail loop for the first time, Nick really wanted to take that mode of transportation.
Big mistake. There was a problem with the train ahead of ours, and each stop had us waiting for 10 minutes. We reached the Ticket and Transportation Center at 4:15, and decided to walk from the there to the Villas.
It was a very nice walk, and we had an opportunity to capture the VGF under perfect light conditions, but by the time we got the the resort, it was after 4:30 and well, Nick was getting a bit cranky.
When we walked in, Nick let the group of Cast Members gathered around the entrance know that we had never been notified that our room was ready. We didn't receive an apology, just an explanation that they had been having a problem with their text system.
Nick was too tired to ask why they didn't just call his cel if that was the case, and instead just asked if we could have our bags sent up to our room. We were told it would be about 15 or 20 minutes.
Nick said we would just take our bags up ourselves, we'd been out all day, and waiting that long for bags was unacceptable. At least the Cast Member who gave us our bags refused a tip due to the inconvenience, but, again, no apologies.
As we were lugging our bags to the room, Barbie said she couldn't understand why Magical Express could pick up our bags at the airport and deliver them to our room at an All Star Resort, but bell services couldn't have our bags waiting for us in our room here!
Okay, end of complaints! Well, almost. More on that in a bit.
We made our way to the second floor, room 1204. The hallways are very nice, with soothing colors, which is what we needed at that moment!
Upon entering the room, we were impressed with the wood floors, but really loved the bathrooms, which are immediately to the right.
Yes, we did say bathrooms. There are two separate rooms that can be closed off from one another, via sliding doors, one containing a shower and a sink with a granite counter top...
...the other, the toilet and a tub with a shower.
We loved the individual shower with the dual shower heads, mosaic marble tile floors, and all the amenities provided. And there is a TV in the mirror!
The kitchenette includes a small refrigerator and microwave.
Then there was our view of the Seven Seas Lagoon looking towards the Polynesian. Even the sight of construction vehicles building the soon to be DVC at the Poly couldn't detract from the beauty. We spent every morning, afternoon break and evening with the sliding doors open, listening to the music, birds, sounds of boats going to and from the Magic Kingdom and even some Magic Kingdom sounds, including the train! It was amazing.
We really felt that this was the most well designed DVC room we'd ever been in.
Until we started to unpack and we discovered there is a rather odd design flaw.
"Where are the drawers?" Nick asked. Maybe here, under the television?
No. That's right, we'd read about this feature, a pull down bed with a Dumbo theme. How cute.
Let's see, ah, large drawers under the bed. Except, you can't really use one whole drawer, as the nightstand is in the way!
We like to unpack when we stay in a room, and not live out of a suitcase. As it's just the 2 of us, we did find enough storage for the most part, using the nightstand drawers...
...and the spacious closet, after we moved the extra bedding out of the way. We can't imagine where a family of 5 would store everything and think the only way to accommodate a party of that size would be to live out of their suitcases.
Reading back, it seems like we've done an awful lot of complaining and you may wonder, why then is this now a favorite resort?
Well, we loved the atmosphere, the location and ease of access to the Magic Kingdom via a Monorail or boat. The Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) is a relatively easy walk away, past the Poly which gives you access to Epcot by Monorail.
Nick loved the pool areas, one very close to the Villas.
There is an Alice in Wonderland themed play area next to this.
A little further away is a larger pool area with a hot tub.
And then, there is the Grand Floridian itself. We never got sick of looking at it at all times of the day.
We loved entering the lobby to see and hear, depending on time of day, a pianist, a harpist, or a band playing.
We enjoyed just sitting in the lobby listening to the music and relaxing between park visits.
Wishes at the Magic Kingdom can be seen from several spots around the resort. This is from in front of Gasparilla Island Grill, the counter service restaurant.
Speaking of restaurants, we've eaten at them all with the exception of Victoria and Albert's, and enjoyed our meals at every one. We'll have reviews of Narcoossee's, Ctitricos, and the Gasparilla Grill in the future.
Even the bus stop is nicer than at other resorts. Instead of queues, or multiple stops, there is one with rows of benches, and a screen telling approximate arrival times. This last feature is new, and being tested at other resorts around WDW as well.
Finally, we'll just leave you with a view of the Grand Floridian from a boat heading for the Magic Kingdom. Knowing that we would be returning to this picturesque resort at the end of the day made the trip all that much more enjoyable.