For as long as I can remember, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa was the end all of hotels. It shone like a beacon of resort beauty at the end of every monorail ride. But as Disney World’s flagship hotel, its rates are can be pricy for the average park guest; it wasn’t until recently, with the use of a Cast Member’s discount, that we were able to stay there. Before this stay, I’d heard many different accounts of The Grand Floridian, ranging everywhere from “it’s the best resort on the planet”, to “it’s Disney World’s most overrated experience”. Regardless, I was eager to form my own opinions about this obviously gorgeous hotel, and ready to see if it could compare to my favorite WDW resort, The Beach Club.

The Grand Floridian is a hotel that sets itself apart with its details. They start in the lobby, with a huge turn-of-the-century Victorian theme. Plush furniture is artfully arranged, with a large gold-gilded birdcage across from an elevator with a faux vintage Otis scissor gate. At night, a live band plays big band music from the balcony, which adds to the classy atmosphere. Adjacent to the lobby is a quaint afternoon tea room, which is a WDW experience that should not be missed (we personally recommend the Mad Hatter Blend!). The Grand is lined with large arching windows overlooking immaculate grounds. The marble floors even have different works of Disney art inlaid in them, from Cinderella’s carriage to Peter Pan in mid-flight. Seriously, this hotel brings you to a different time and place.

Some of Disney World’s best restaurants are at the Grand, and range from casual to upscale dining. The Grand Floridian Cafe serves delicious, casual food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (hello, lobster burger!), and has reasonable prices for WDW standards. Narcoossee’s is one of the two signature restaurants at The Grand Floridian, and also has the best dessert on WDW property; a trip to Disney World without an almond crusted cheesecake is a trip wasted. But that’s just one foodie’s opinion, try it yourself, and experience your own food heaven.

Guest rooms at the Grand are among the best you can find at Disney, with well-executed theming from pin-tucked headboards to balcony views of Seven Seas Lagoons. The housekeeping service at the Grand Floridian is impeccable, not just with the room cleaning, but with the nightly turn down service. Seriously, it has become a life goal of mine to be able to afford to have someone provide me with nightly turn down service at home, including chocolates left on my pillows.

The Grand Floridian is the closest stop on the resort monorail loop to the Magic Kingdom, and also has boat service. If Magic Kingdom is a big draw for you, and lets face it, it should be, the Grand’s excellent transportation should be something to consider, as it could negate your need for a rental car.

If money is not a hindrance, stay at the Grand when you come to Walt Disney World. Some people say that the ‘Grand’, stands for ‘Guest Requests Are Never Denied’, and the way the hotel is run, it certainly lives up to this phrase. The Grand Floridian is a well themed, immersive experience of a resort that’s a Disney flagship for a reason.