Florida Guide > Disney General
DISNEY FUN – WITH LITTLE EXPENSE
First time visitors to Orlando usually travel to the Sunshine State in the expectation that to enjoy a truly memorable vacation, they will be required to spend quite significant amounts of dollars on entertainment. Certainly it is true that to visit each and every theme park around central Florida can prove to be a costly vacation, particularly if a family is involved. However, with a little research visitors will find that there are many attractions to visit and enjoy, which are free to everyone.DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT AND SPA
Within the 48 square miles of Walt Disney, free attractions exist that are undiscovered by most visitors, one being the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Almost certainly the easiest way to visit the hotel is to pay for parking ($8 - 2005 prices) at either EPCOT or the Magic Kingdom Park. It is then possible to travel to the hotel by Disney monorail (EPCOT requires a change of monorail at the Ticket and Transportation Centre at the Magic Kingdom).
The Floridian is Disney’s flagship hotel, and offers a number of must-see attractions. It has 40 acres of beautifully manicured grounds, with a dazzling white beach, edging the Seven Seas Lagoon. Here it is possible to relax under large sunshades, take a cooling drink, and enjoy the views. A short walk along the shoreline of the Seven Seas Lagoon brings visitors to the Wedding Chapel, where couples take their vows overlooked by Cinderella’s Castle. A further short walk ends at the Polynesian Resort hotel.
Back at the Grand Floridian there is another special way to enjoy the hotel – reserve a table for the Grand Floridian Afternoon Tea. The room is designed with classic Victorian times in mind and offers a variety of English teas, scones and jam, trifle and strawberries and cream all served on fine English bone china.
Soft comfortable sofas are available in the main lobby and, from time to time, a live orchestra encourages visitors to tap their feet to popular melodies from the past. At Christmas time a choir ensures that everyone wants to stay and listen to their favourite seasonal songs. The main lobby itself is decorated with an enormous Christmas tree - quite how they construct it there is a mystery!
The hotel is also an ideal place to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and, at around 9.00pm each evening, the Electrical Water Pageant. Who said nothing at Disney was free!
Another free attraction is the Disney water shuttle. Stopping at the Grand Floridian, the boat takes guests to a number of other locations including, the Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Resort, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and the Wilderness Lodge. On a hot summer’s day a free sail (and cool down) is very welcome!
The Grand Floridian also offers fine dining and for anyone wishing to have a meal to remember, Victoria and Albert’s is the place to go (although this is definitely not free)!
For anyone wishing to avoid the parks (even for a short time) a visit to the Grand Floridian is definitely to be recommended.
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Page added on: 22 September 2005
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