If you are looking for the best on-site Walt Disney World® Resort, your two top choices are Grand Floridian Versus Four Seasons Resort Orlando. But which is best for families?
You may be surprised that I conclude that the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort is the best Walt Disney World® Resort even though it is not walkable from the parks (you have to use the free Four Seasons minibus shuttle). It is, however, in my opinion, the absolute best resort with the largest rooms in the area, so it should always be considered. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort is also one of the best Four Seasons hotels in Florida.
Add to this that if you book a stay via our luxury travel concierge, you will get our free VIP benefits for the same price as online, including $100 USD resort spend included in your package, which will go nicely towards your first evening out at this Four Seasons.
I urge you to try this resort, even if just for one night, and then if you want to be walkable from the parks, move onto Walt Disney World® Grand Floridian and perhaps make use of the club lounges. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort is simply unbeatable in terms of luxury compared to the other Walt Disney World® Resorts.
Of course, there is no Four Seasons rewards program, but if you are a regular guest of the Four Seasons or even want to try this iconic brand for the first time, you can take advantage of loyalty style benefits at Four Seasons hotels for no extra cost by booking your next stay via our luxury travel concierge.
1. Best Location
When comparing Walt Disney World® Grand Floridian vs. Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Walt Disney World® Grand Floridian wins hands down. Located just one stop from the Magic Kingdom, you can get to the parks by riding the complimentary Resort Monorail – what a brilliant way to arrive!
Four Seasons Resort Orlando is nestled within the 47 square miles of Walt Disney World®. It is tucked away in the secluded millionaires’ row of Golden Oaks. This is easily the very best and most luxurious hotel within Walt Disney World® Grand, in our opinion, but you need to take their complimentary luxury shuttle to get to the parks.
2. Best Ambience & Style
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the very best Disney-branded resort in Orlando. Rooms and, in fact, the entire resort is Victorian in style but with a Disney makeover of the Victorian times.
This resort is classy with mosaic floors, fountains with nymphs, lots of creams and whites, pillars, and an impressive lobby. Within the rooms, the creams are complemented by forest greens that bring the outside in. The feel is elegant and dignified. A disadvantage of this elegance is that the feel is traditional rather than young and funky.
Four Seasons Orlando is, well, Four Seasons in style and ambience. The look of the buildings has a Spanish or Italian feel with tropical grounds. The entire complex is an oasis of calm and the perfect escape from the frenetic theme parks.
This lakeside haven has extensive gardens, pools, and towering pillars of palms and cypress. Tee off at the exclusive Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando, splash around with the kids at Explorer Island, treat yourself to a soothing, post-park massage at The Spa, or toast the evening fireworks with dinner at the rooftop steakhouse Capa. The resort is classy, contemporary, and tropical. It feels stylish. Four Seasons wins, in our opinion.
3. Best Rooms
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is their flagship resort hotel, with over 800 guest rooms and suites. The best rooms are in the main building with Theme Park Views. They also include club level. But they are smaller than the rooms at the Four Seasons.
Standard Floridian guest rooms sleep up to five with either a king-sized bed or two Queen beds and an additional roll-away bed but do not have club access. They offer 440 ft² in Walt Disney World®’s flagship resort. You have a choice of views, which include Garden View, with views of the pool, courtyard, or marina; Lagoon View, with views of the Seven Seas Lagoon. Or a Theme Park View, with views of the Magic Kingdom.
Deluxe rooms are more spacious and are located in the Main Building, offering a spacious sitting area within the guest room with a sofa. They are still smaller than the standard rooms at Four Seasons Orlando from our research.
If you upgrade to a Club Level Room or Suite at Grand Floridian, you benefit from these additional services:
- Evening Turn-down Service
- Secured key access to the club-level lounge serving refreshments 7:00 am – 10:00 pm daily
- Pre-arrival Walt Disney World® Resort Itinerary Planning
- Complimentary Health Club Access
- Personal Front Desk and Guest Services
- Complimentary Newspapers in the Club Level Lounge
Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort also has room for the entire family with King or two double beds. King-bedded rooms have one queen-size sofabed. Park View Rooms, Four Seasons Rooms, Golden Oak Rooms, and Lake View Rooms are all 500 sq. ft. (46 m2) and take 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 children (ages 0–18). Clearly, even the base room at the Four Seasons is larger than the standard or deluxe room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, so Four Seasons wins with one caveat. If you are a family of five, you cannot book everyone into one room at the Four Seasons, but you can at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
If you can, splurge for a Park View Room at the Four Seasons on the 6th to 16th floor, which will give you views of the Nightly Magic Kingdom® Park fireworks display. Other rooms overlook the Golden Oak properties or the surrounding lake and do not have a direct view out onto this wonderful spectacle.
That said, Golden Oak View rooms are cheaper and the same in square footage, and you might feel the premium is not worth paying for. Golden Oak View rooms are lovely, and you can always watch the fireworks from the 14th floor of the hotel from the communal hotel balcony.
If you want more space, go for a Golden Oak View Suite. They are magnificent, with a larger bedroom space and a separate living area with a pull-out sofa. Some rooms have a bathtub by a window, which offers a gorgeous view while you’re bathing.
4. Best Fireworks Views
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa wins. You have the best views of the fireworks from this most centrally located hotel. They are on your doorstep, and you are in the perfect place to watch the magnificent fireworks light up the sky over Cinderella’s Castle.
5. Free DISNEY FASTPASS+
All rooms at the Four Seasons come with a free EXTRA MAGIC HOURS benefit and DISNEY FASTPASS+, making it the perfect base for your next Orlando adventure. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa does not offer this for free. Four Seasons wins.
6. Best Pool
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has the Beach Pool or the Seven Seas Lagoon, where you can ride down the water slides. Both pools are massive and are flanked by cabanas and loungers.
Four Seasons has a five-acre water park with splash zones, interactive fountains, water slides, and pools for kids and grown-ups alike. An attentive poolside service includes towels, lounger pillows, suncream, and pitchers of iced water.
Highlights include two elegant infinity pools, one for the family and one for adults only, splashing around in the winding lazy river, two exhilarating water slides, and weekly Dive-In Movies at the family pool, which also has zero walk-in water, so it is ideal for any age! In fact, the pools are the biggest reason to stay here. The lazy river sparkles and is never crowded, with giant waterfalls. It just floats you along, so relaxing!
The adult pool is a quiet oasis with a hot tub and lounge chairs. It’s a completely peaceful and marvelous haven of escape. Crucially, wherever you go on the grounds, it is never too crowded, even when the hotel is full.
To be honest, both resorts have great pools, but we prefer the pools at the Four Seasons. They are sophisticated and child-friendly (except for the adult pools). They are hard to beat.
7. Best Club Level
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa wins as the Four Seasons does not have an executive club lounge. The Royal Palm Club Level, which is the Main Building Club Level offering at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is classy. It is one of two club lounges at this hotel. Interestingly, you will either get access to this or the Royal Palm Club Level, which is the Club Level for guests of the main building, or the Sugarloaf Club Level, which is the club in the outer building. Included in the club lounge are five small food and drink offerings plus useful concierge staff from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm who will help you with FastPass+ reservations.
The lounge on the 4th floor is traditional in design, with lots of turquoise and orangy colored sofas and traditional dining tables with seats. It feels like a traditional British hotel. It includes the corridor areas so you can sit on the balcony with views to the water on one side and views over the reception on the other. As the evening sets in, there is lobby music, either a piano player or a band, and the music wafts up to the lounge, where you can enjoy a drink while watching the magnificent sunset.
The lounge itself is open 24 hours and is serviced from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm. Alcoholic drinks include beer, wine, champagne, and non-alcoholic drinks, including coffee, espresso, tea, bottled water, and cold soft drinks.
Is the lounge worth the extra cost? All rooms in the Main Building have club level included, and they cost around $1,100 USD per night. Outer Building Garden View rooms, which are still part of the resort but do not have lounge access, are in the region of $700 USD per night. This means you are paying around $400 USD for club lounge access, but remember, you can’t get a room in the main building without paying the premium. Remember, this lounge is very, very good. It is good enough to while away the entire evening with the music and fireworks.
8. Best Restaurants
We prefer the escape of the non-Disney restaurants at Four Seasons. There are seven dining and lounge options here. All are great. Ravello has its own bar and celebrates fresh Italian food and cocktails. The pool bar PB&G offers light bites. There is a coffee bar, plus the golf clubhouse has a restaurant open for lunch.
The rooftop restaurant Capa is the place to go if you don’t have a room with a view of the fireworks. This restaurant is on the roof, and from here, you can watch the nightly Disney fireworks.
However, if you want a character meal, you have to choose Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
9. Best For Families
I prefer the Four Seasons, but if you want to be right in the center of the action, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa can’t be beaten, so my perfect trip to Disney would include 2 nights at each resort, with the club lounge level included when I stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
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