Grand Floridian
Concierge Service Reports

 

There are no longer 2 different types of Concierge Service at the Grand Floridian, just 2 separate buildings - Sugar Loaf Key and the Main Building.

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Joanne Edwards - October 2005

We recently vacationed at Disney World (October 1 to October 8). We originally booked our trip at the Polynesian Resort with the concierge service and meal plan. We had stayed there four years ago and loved it. About one month after booking our trip, we were notified by our travel agent that the Polynesian was under construction and that we were upgraded to the Grand Floridian Resort's deluxe concierge service. (Sounds like a dream come true right, read on.)

Upon receiving our welcoming letter from the Grand Floridian it states that we are booked at the lodge concierge. I called my travel agent immediately after reading all the reviews on this web-site regarding the lodge service. Disney revoked the deluxe service because they over booked the deluxe concierge rooms so we got bumped. We are assured that all the amenities are now the same with the two services (I hope not). Anyway, we figure how bad can it really be right? Wrong.

With the welcome letter, we received a itinerary planner which we are to fill out and fax back to the concierge service in order for them to make our required reservations. I filled this form out and faxed it back to the Grand Floridian. Also on this form I reference a previous reservation made (60 days prior) for breakfast to Cinderella's Royal Table (made over the phone with a concierge).

We never receive our magical express tickets for our luggage to be taken from the airport to our room (no big deal). We take our luggage with us (no big deal). The bellhop takes our luggage and we check-in. It takes us an hour to check in. When checking in, we requested two bed rails for our children at the front desk and at the concierge desk (4:00 p.m.). Once in, we head over to the Kona Cafe for dinner at 5:30 p.m. (one of our favorite restaurants). Once we get there we are informed that they are 100% booked and are not taking stand-bys. We immediately call the concierge service to see if they can get us in. Their response is "no we are really busy, sorry there is nothing we can do". They go on further to tell us that all the table restaurants in Disney are 100% booked, but maybe the could get us in at a restaurant in MGM about 8:00 p.m. Now here we are with two small children (5 and 3) and a meal plan that we cannot even use the table service. So we go to the Grill at the Grand Floridian (it was good).

Now we head off the the Magic Kingdom to see the lighted parade because we missed it our last stay. During the parade it pours. We all get soaked because are raincoats are in our luggage back with the bellhop. We stay and watch the fireworks and then return back to the hotel still drenched. When we get back to our room, now almost 10:00 p.m., no luggage or bed rails in our room. We immediately call the concierge service and request both items. We are assured that they will be delivered immediately. (Remember we brought our luggage with us to the hotel. Six hours later and still no luggage.) Now 10:30 p.m. and still no luggage or bed rails. We call again and are assured their on the way. They call back and ask how many bed rails are needed. We tell them two. At 11:00 p.m. our luggage shows up, no bed rails. We call again for the bed rails, we are now informed that they do not have bed rails and that they are sending up pillows to put on the floor in case the children fall out of bed. At 11:30 p.m. six pillows are delivered. The next morning my husband goes down to the concierge desk and again requests two bed rails. They were delivered within 15 minutes!

Now we head over the the Magic Kingdom for our Princess breakfast at the Castle. Upon our arrival, we are informed that we have no reservations. We immediately contact the concierge service, they inform us that they have nothing reserved for us and who did we make the reservations with. After going back and forth for almost 1/2 hour, the concierge asks us to "prove" our reservation! Now for some reason, I did bring a copy of our fax with us, but it was back at the room and by the time I would get back there "prove it" to them and return to the castle breakfast would be over. My 5 year-old daughter begins to cry. The maitre 'd (Tom) hears all the grief we are getting from the hotel and gives us a table and apologized for how the hotel is treating us. (Thank goodness for Tom, my daughter got to see the Princess and really enjoyed it, so did my 3 year-old son.)

Upon our return to the hotel later that day, my husband did go to the concierge service to "prove" our reservations. We also then find out that they did not make the requested reservations for our dinner the following evening at Mama Melrose. The concierge desks are crowded with people all complaining about something. We we finally get waited on they admit their mistake and say "We are really busy, sorry there is nothing we can do". Finally, Donna was helping out and agrees that they messed up our reservations big time and is very sorry, but they cannot get us in at Mama Melrose as requested. Finally after sometime, Donna is at least able to get us reserved seating for the laser show, but no dinner. Here we are again with the meal plan and unable to get a table service. Once at MGM I went to Mama Melrose to get the tickets and of course they know nothing about the arrangement. The manager there felt sorry for all the problems we were having and issued us the tickets. We were told that the manager would be talking with us regarding all our problems. We did receive a phone mail message asking us to call if there were any problems (you have to be kidding me).

As far as the lodge concierge service goes, we were totally disappointed. The food was served in the lobby of the Sugar Loaf Lodge. There was not enough seating for everybody there. The breakfast food was always stale. They only served orange juice during breakfast, the rest of the day there were no juices available for the kids. The food was always being cleaned up 10 minutes before ending time. Everything was put away by 10:00 p.m. You could not even get a drink of ice water! The coffee machine broke on Sunday and was not operating until Thursday. The food was extremely spicy. The children could not even eat it.

This was by far the worst vacation we ever had! We do not recommend the Sugar Loaf Lodge concierge service to anybody!

*****

Becky and Gavin - September 2005

We had been planning our stay at WDW for many months. It was to be our first WDW trip together and a very special one at that, as we got engaged whilst there. We'd made a number of PS reservations beforehand, some of which were changed due to extra magic hours. Several emails/phone calls later, we had confirmation of what we expected to do. For our holiday, we had planned to stay at the Polynesian followed by the Beach Club. In July, we discovered that we would no longer be staying at the Poly as the concierge rooms were due for refurbishment in September. Unfortunately for us, we found out this information not from Disney but from a third party website. WE actually contacted Disney to discuss it. We had not heard from them and it was just two months until we were due to arrive. After much discussion on the phone (internationally - at our expense), we were offered a room at the GF instead. Initially we thought this was fantastic. For most people (including us) staying at the GF is but a dream - it looks amazing from the pictures and sounds great from the reviews. Did we set our expectations too high? Read on...

Having arrived after a long flight, I was a little upset not to be met/welcomed by anyone at the hotel. Walking through the main doors, the grandness of the lobby and furnishings soon took my mind off this. We walked over to the main check in desk/area (still not welcomed) and explained we were concierge guests. After 5 minutes or so of tapping away, the lady at check in confirmed we were concierge and that some one would come over to meet us. Whilst waiting we took in the atmosphere - the main lobby is very grand and has a welcoming feel to it. A concierge staff member came over to show us around the hotel, explain the services and show us to our room. We were asked if we could take our own bags with us!!! No offer for someone to come get them for us. So we trawled our bags around the hotel with us and finally headed up to L3 via the lift. I think the Concierge lady was trying to make a good impression because she'd chat to every guest we passed en route.

On L3 we sat down with another Concierge staff member who talked us through the various services and what we'd booked. To our surprise, half of our PS reservations were wrong - despite having email confirmation of the various bookings beforehand. We decided to come back and sort this out later as we were quite tired from the flight. At this point we also realised that the Disney computer system does not link bookings - they had no idea we would need transferring to the Beach Club (BC) in a few days....

Anyway, we were led to our room and shown around - including the super long balcony. We were in room 4209. Pretty standard room with an unusually large balcony. No fridge though - which we then asked for. The balcony was dirty - obviously not maintained. I could tell the Concierge lady spotted this too, but still left it to me to ask her to get someone to clean it. Looking out over the balcony, I could also see the paint coming off in various places. Shortly after she left the room, we started to unpack. Despite the minor issues, we were still overwhelmed to be in the GF and were keeping a happy face on things.

The next day, we asked about getting a fridge and checked that the balcony would be cleaned. We also changed the PS bookings to what we were expecting (using L3 concierge). We returned at the end of the day to find that no fridge had arrived and that the balcony had only been half cleaned (I took a digital photo of what remained for proof). The balcony was still dirty. If we had children, we would not have allowed them out there - serious. In the end we decided to clean it as best we could - so we could at least sit down to enjoy the MK fireworks (of which we had a superb view!). This was an absolute disgrace in our opinion - remember this is a $700 per night room rate. We were expecting the best of the best, literally.

Throughout our stay, we found the GF staff to be the least helpful/pleasant out of all the places we visited or stayed. About 50% of the staff were helpful & willing to speak with us. The food however was very good - especially between 5 and 7 pm when various buffet style dinner items would be put out. There was also a good selection of drinks, including beers. My only gripe was that we had to keep asking for sodas - there never seemed to be any out when we were in the lounge (BC Concierge had plenty out).

The day prior to check out started interestingly - with a Magical Express letter on the door saying we were leaving the next day and going back to the airport. Be VERY aware of this if you are staying at more than one hotel. We were told by a Concierge staff member that the reservations/booking system simply cannot cope with transfers (a mainframe system), even though we were told it would be ok before arriving. Bit more mess for us to sort out, but we did sort it out.

On the last night in the GF, we were awoken at 12:40 am to a VERY loud sound - something that we can both only describe as some kind of power tool. This lasted for a few minutes on and off. We'd had enough and called the front desk at 12:55 am. After being on hold, we were told that someone would investigate and get back to us. Just a minute or two later we heard the sound of tools being dropped/moved from above us The noise started again shortly after speaking to the front desk, but this time further away. We eventually got to sleep at 3:30 am, deciding it was best to leave it till the morning. We were awoken again at 6:30 am by the same noises - which appeared to be getting closer again. I suspect we were so tired, that we just slept through it for 3 hours. No one from the front desk 'got back to us'. After 3 hrs sleep, we were not happy and contacted the Concierge staff by phone that morning. They assured us that maintenance work does not occur during the night. We know what we heard and after explaining all to the Concierge staff, they said they'd speak to the hotel manager and get back to us. About 30 mins later they called back and again said that no works were going on. However, they offered us a 50% reduction for that night. Another guest we bumped into in the corridor also confirmed hearing those types of noises that night, but they were much further away on the floor and were able to sleep through it. We arranged a late check out on this final GF morning but could get no more sleep as the day had started and works were now going on outside/in other buildings. Plus we still needed to pack in time for check out. We were shattered and annoyed to say the least.

By this point, we were so looking forward to getting to the Beach Club and couldn't wait to check in. I never thought I'd actually want to get away from the GF. Our bags went across separately a few hours later via the bell service (very useful - take advantage if transferring).

Our stay at the Beach Club 5th Floor was 10/10. The staff were friendly, helpful and greeted us every time we passed, even if they had a guest with them. Even the bell man took time out to chat for 5 mins when bringing our bags up to the room. Customer Service is something the GF really seemed to lack in our opinion. The lack of sleep really affected our stay at the BC as we had so much planned and just couldn't do it all. My fiancee (Becky) stopped half way round the World Showcase at Epcot and just started crying because she was so tired but wanted to carry on and see it all. We also had to miss our 9.30 pm carriage ride at FW on our last day as we were just too tired to make it. So much planning and expense went into our holiday and we just feel that it was taken away from us - it made it feel pointless. The lack of sleep also made the overnight flight back home an absolute nightmare. We were not prepared to 'lose a day' just to catch up on sleep again - our 3 days left were just too precious.

We are not going to stay at the GF again and are looking forward to a stay at the Poly/BC next year. The experience has not put us off Disney - everything else was just amazing. Based on our stay, we'd give the GF 3 to 4 out of 10. HOWEVER - please judge for yourselves, this is simply our experience. I know there are many out there that have had a magical stay and many others that will. I would hope that we're part of the 'unlucky' minority. We will be advising Disney of our experience and concerns. Roll on Poly next year. BC - can't wait to get back ;-)

*****

Carol Chase - September 2005

We had a chance to stay at both the Grand Floridian and the Animal Kingdom Lodge in their concierge rooms. Unfortunately,we stayed at the GF first. They spoiled us so much we will never be the same again. We were treated like royalty from the minute we walked in the door. Actually it started at the airport when we got to go into a special bus line, bypassing about 70 or 80 people to get on the VIP bus. Our room was on the 3rd floor in the main bldg. & was absolutely beautiful with a great view of the big pool and the lake beyond that.

From the adequate continental breakfast, lunchtime snacks, afternoon tea, great wine and snacks at dinner and cordials and desserts at night, everything was perfect. The staff could not do enough for you.

I could go on and on but must continue by telling you we moved to Animal Kingdom Lodge midway through our trip. It was very disappointing. The hotel is beautiful and our view was the best, but the service, staff, food etc. could not compare with the GF. The rooms at AKL are very dark (but nice) and after leaving the big light bright rooms at GF it was a turn off. Whenever possible I will stay at the GF concierge. They spoiled me for life.

*****

Lucy - January 2005

I just returned home from WDW - more than a dozen trips in the last 7 years - and for the first time we decided to try the Grand Floridian and for the first time we were totally disappointed. What a mistake!! We booked by phone and we were not told that there were "levels" of amenities for concierge. (We'd not yet heard of this site!!!) In the past five years, we have stayed once at the concierge at Boardwalk-lagoon view ($460), and 4 times at Polynesian-lagoon view($460). Each time there was a $100 price differentiation based on "view" and every amenity was the same. We decided to pay Grand Floridian's lower rate ($460) thinking we were just saving $145 per night on the view, not that the amenities would be different!!

We were disappointed in the Sugar Loaf concierge. By the lounge set up, lack of space, lack of tables and inadequate seating, it is obvious that this was not intended to be a concierge building, but rather an afterthought conversion. We were told after check in about the refreshment hours and that this building was "alcohol free." "What? Why wasn't that mentioned?" In return, we got a nasty look and the offer that we could upgrade for nearly $150 more per night. Then we could have the wine/cordials we've gotten everywhere else.

The two people who handled our check in were uninformed and rude. Being a Vacation Club member, but not able to use points for this stay, I had my membership card and asked about having "DVC member" put on my key card, so I could get my restaurant and shopping discounts. The guy said he didn't know what I was talking about, had never heard of such a thing, and would not begin to know how to do it... And he wouldn't even ask!! The other resorts know and are able and have done this for me.

Also, at check in we were told that our room needed to be "inspected", that it would be a few minutes, so we decided to go grab a bite to eat. We returned an hour and a half later and were told our room needed to be "checked", it would be five minutes. We decided to go to a park and when we returned hours later we were again told, a few minutes. "This is a joke?" we asked. Not knowing to ask, we were unfortunate to get a room overlooking the "lounge" but it was on the third floor. Didn't matter - when the dishes started banging at the 6:00 a.m. set up (for 7 a.m. breakfast), we were awakened.

The room was nothing special - similar in size and furniture as the concierge rooms we've stayed in. There was a pantry with snacks (like $2.25 M&M's- Polynesian and Boardwalk have them free in the lounge) and a refrigerator with $5+ wine/beer/cordials (also at Polynesian and Boardwalk for free). The one interesting thing about our room was the wacky shorting electrical system, because our lights constantly flickered any time they were on and the tv actually flickered on and off when in the "off" position. We were sitting there and it turned itself on!!

The view out the window was not reflective of the price. It was of another building, but if we looked straight down, we saw water, or if we leaned out and looked off to the right, we saw the storage facility for the Electric Water Pageant barges.

The refreshments were sparse and mediocre, except for the cookies. There were good cookies several times a day. We were able to find enough for breakfast, but ate out every other meal. This is something we didn't have to do at the other resorts. Good thing we paid concierge level for good cookies!!

Live and learn...We will never stay at Grand Floridian concierge again.

*****

P.G. - December 2004

We stayed at the Sugar Loaf Lodge which is concierge level but is less expensive than staying in the main building. We have been to Disney over a hundred times and this was our first experience with concierge.

Like others who have reviewed the lodge level, we were disappointed as we were led to expect a wine and cheese type of evening appetizer. No alcohol was offered. The appetizers were very nice. Our thoughts were that we are spending a lot of money to stay there and just a little bit of wine for a short period of time would have been nice. After all, you can stay at many chain hotels and have a little complimentary happy hour.

Besides the alcohol thing,we liked the convenience of concierge. I think a family with little kids can really benefit from the breakfast and snacks. I think it made the trip at Christmas break much more relaxing.

Our room was lovely. One thing that was a little annoying was we were greeted by a man who insisted our room would not be ready, but the great thing was it was ready. (Actually, I called ahead and was told it would be ready.) Another thing was we were charged for a refillable drink cup we never had. They took it off my charge later. But I don't think I would have caught this normally. I checked my charge later and saw this additional charge for the cup.

We had a lovely time but I don't think I would do it again. A little too expensive for what it was. We might try main building or Polynesian next time.

*****

Lisa Fontenot - October 2004

My best friend and I just stayed at the Grand Floridian Concierge (Sugarloaf Building #6212) on October 1 - 5. I had read some negative comments about the service at the GF Concierge on the internet so I was a little apprehensive about what to expect. I have to say I had nothing to worry about.

When we were dropped off and they found we were staying in concierge, we were whisked away by Larry and taken to the concierge building immediately. We were introduced to the concierge staff and were helped immediately by Elieizer. We booked PS and bought tickets to the Halloween party at MK (which I would recommend highly). He then brought us up to our room which was ready and gave us our welcome packet. Our room was beautiful. 2 queen beds, daybed, tv armoire and minibar/fridge. The colors were light blue walls, with blue and yellow curtains and the Cameo themed bedding (yellow with pink roses).

The concierge are available from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. They were always friendly and helpful. When I left a purchase at the Polynesian, they said they would call about it for me. Not only did they call, but they sent someone to get it and delivered it to my room. That was quite unexpected. We had PS changes and small special requests and they assisted us happily with them all.

The Sugarloaf building is the closest to the Main Building and we were happy to have a short walk. Our room overlooked the pool and garden. I thought it would be loud, but when the balcony doors were shut, you couldn't hear anything. Some rooms overlook a small lagoon area, but none have a "dead on" view of the MK. However, we never stayed in our room enough for that to matter. The only tip I have for those without children or who want to sleep late is to ask for a room that does NOT overlook the interior lobby. Our room was on the second floor and in the early morning it was a little loud because the food and coffee is located in the lobby area. For those interested, the food selection was excellent, but they do not serve alcohol in the Sugarloaf Concierge. Coffee is 6:30 - 7:00 a.m.; Continental Breakfast 7:00 - 10:30 a.m. (good selection of cereal, fruit, fruit cups, croissants, bread, muffins, etc.); Refreshments 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. (light snack items like chips and dips and fresh fruit and veggies); Afternoon Tea 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. (wonderful selection of scones, muffins, tarts, etc. as well as teas and devonshire cream!); Twilight Refreshers 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. (different hot foods, i.e. chicken wings, steak kabobs, hot dips, cheeses, crackers, veggies, etc. you could make a good meal of it if you wanted to).

Besides the food, the location on the monorail was fantastic and it was easy to get to Epcot as well as the other monorail resort restaurants. I would recommend Narcoosee's and the High Tea. The pools are very nice and the grounds were immaculate. The boat service to the MK was a nice change from the monorail and I would recommend it in nice weather. Overall, we had a fantastic stay at the Grand Floridian Concierge.

*****

Chris - May 2004

We just returned from a trip in early May, 2004. We have stayed multiple times at the Concierge level and each time the service has been great. The rooms are spacious and clean, and we had a view of the pool, lagoon and fireworks all in one. The food offered was good, but we think their specialty is the dessert and cordial table. They have many delicious desserts. BEST NEWS: Grand Floridian Cafe is open for dinner. Many times, you don't want fast food from the Gasperilla Grill, room service, or to eat in one of the parks. This is a great option and food was very good. The manager even stopped by to speak with us and we told him how delighted we were with this change.

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Rerow - March 2004

Just returned from the Grand Floridian. While everything wasn't what I hoped, I did learn that the 3rd, 4th and 5th floor rooms in the main building on the concierge floors have beautiful views of the castle and therefore the fireworks. This is an ideal set up for a family with small children, since they aren't troubled by the noise of the fireworks and can snuggle in to sleep as soon as the show is over. The concierge floors also serve breakfast, lunch, evening wine and beer with appetizers, and snacks. This cuts down on wasting time and money in restaurants or with room service. We saved as much as we spent in the price difference for the room and the convenience was a bonus. One character meal per visit is as much as my family can manage anyway.

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Elisabeth - December 2003
Grand Floridian Honeymoon Turret Room #4330

We checked in to our room in the morning around 11:00 and were pleasantly surprised to find that our room was ready. We were actually moving from a different honeymoon room at the Grand Floridian, so we could go directly to the concierge desk to check in. My DH handled checking in while I got some of my stuff together to move rooms, but he said it went very smoothly. Our room was so pretty! The turret honeymoon rooms are really unique, and I love the layout of the room. The room has a sitting area with a couch, chair, coffee table, entertainment center, and table with two chairs. On another wall of the room there is a desk and chair. The opposite wall from the desk has a wet bar area with a stocked minibar. The bed is king-sized and has a very pretty floral bedspread. The room is decorated in pastel blues, yellows, greens, and pinks that all come together very nicely. The vanity area has a marble countertop and two sinks, as well as a makeup mirror and a speaker so you can hear the TV from the vanity area. The toilet and shower are in a room of their own. French doors lead from the vanity area to the HUGE walk-in closet. I have never seen a closet that large in a resort room! There are also several drawers and a large safe in the closest. Our turret room was located towards the front side of the Grand Floridian. Our views were of the Grand Floridian itself, the monorail, and the Polynesian Resort and Wedding Pavilion. It was a very pleasant view. Since the turret rooms have windows on several sides of the hexagonal room, there are no balconies.

The concierge lounge is located on the 4th floor of the main building, and it’s very spacious. There is a beverage service area, a children’s food area, and the regular food service area on one end of the lounge area. There is a television with a sitting area surrounding it, and there are many sitting areas scattered across part of the 4th floor. There are also chairs and tables around the main lobby area, which are great places to sit during the evening and listen to the orchestra perform. The only food service times we were there for were midday snacks, evening appetizers, and evening desserts and cordials. The food offerings are relatively "upscale" and might not be ideal for picky eaters. Also, there are not as many choices as I have seen at some of the other concierge lounges. Midday snacks consisted of cookies and beverages. Bottled water and soft drinks are available, but you must ask the concierge lounge attendant to get them for you, as they are not out on the beverage area. Evening appetizers consisted of a vegetable tray, a fruit tray, crackers and cheese, and one hot appetizer. We are very picky eaters, so we found the evening appetizers that we cared for to be a little bit sparse. On the other hand, the evening desserts were outstanding! There was a large variety of miniature desserts, and they were delicious. They had pumpkin pie squares, éclairs, chocolate mousse squares, and chocolate covered strawberries. Unfortunately, they did not put out enough chocolate covered strawberries, and some guests were a bit selfish. They only put out about 10 at a time, and I saw one guest take 6 for herself alone. Oh well, I tried one, so I was happy.

The concierge staff sits at desks on the third floor. They were wonderfully friendly and helpful during our visit. They often greeted us by name, and they were always ready to assist us. I had heard some negative reports about GF main building concierge, but we certainly did not experience that at all. They seemed happy to have us staying with them.

As far as the Grand Floridian resort in general goes, we love the convenience and amenities of this resort. The monorail is terrific, providing quick access to the Magic Kingdom and to Epcot. We got refillable mugs at Gasparilla Grill and Games, and found them to be worth their weight in gold. Since the refill location is convenient, we definitely got our money’s worth from the mugs. Plus, they make nice souvenirs. The lobby is gorgeous, especially at Christmas time. It was decorated exquisitely, and it looked gorgeous. The only thing we weren’t prepared for were the crowds at the GF in the evening. At the holidays, this resort really draws a crowd. In the evenings there were tons of people touring the lobby and seeing the huge gingerbread house and the gigantic tree. We were very glad to have a place to sit and listen to the orchestra in the concierge lounge, because we definitely could not have found a spot in the lobby sitting areas. My overall impression of the Grand Floridian is very favorable. I felt truly pampered to be staying here, and we had a wonderful visit. Our room was exactly what we had hoped for, and the concierge staff was extremely friendly. I would stay there again without hesitation.

*****

Mary McAuliffe - October 2003

My family and I recently stayed at the Grand Floridian - Sugar Loaf Key concierge. We were very pleased with the accommodations and level of service we received. Our room faced the marina and we were able to view the fireworks from our balcony. It was quiet at night and we totally enjoyed sitting on the balcony after a long day in the parks. We had our pick of transportation (bus, boat or monorail which made it very convenient to get around. The restaurants at GF are great. Victoria and Albert's was outstanding. The 24-hour cafe was reasonable and had decent food. Narcoosee's was very good with large portions for hearty appetites. The concierge service was everything it should be except for the turndown service or lack thereof. We enjoyed the food offerings and found the breakfast to be more than adequate. It was nice to be able to get a drink or coffee until late in the evening as well. Our packages were delivered directly to our room and we had no problem getting last minute priority seatings. I have been to Disneyworld many times but will now always stay at the GF using the concierge service. It was a marvelous vacation.

*****

Carie - May 26-June 2, 2003 (Memorial Day and week after)
Grand Floridian Main Building Concierge.

Party of 5- Our first trip to WDW-Myself, my husband and our 3 sons ages 13, 7 and 3.

Why we chose the Grand Floridian- We wanted to stay on site at a Disney hotel on the monorail due to the 10 year age range of our boys. Our plan was to return to the hotel during the heat of the day to rest, swim and relax. By staying at a hotel on the monorail that continued the Disney experience but was calm and relaxing. It was so
wonderful to return from the park when you're hot and exhausted and walk in the hotel to be greeted by a live jazz band, the friendliest staff, bouquets and vases of beautiful fresh flowers everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

Things we liked about the Concierge experience- We were greeted in the parking lot by name, they were so glad we had arrived, and whisked us upstairs. The boys had snacks in the concierge lounge (they later named "the snack table") and watched Disney cartoons while I checked in. Instead of faxing my room preferences I made my request to the CM who telephoned me before our trip to help arrange PS times etc. I requested a room on the same floor as the concierge lounge and a view of Cinderella's Castle. It was a standard room for 5. Just like in the pictures on this web site. Well maintained and clean. Spacious, I believe they're a bit over 400 square feet. It had the most perfect view of the castle!

The food at the concierge lounge was what we expected. We did have a few more offerings that I haven't seen mentioned. Oysters on the half shell. Sushi, pork loin.

The offerings at the concierge breakfast are the same as the continental breakfast at the Grand Floridian Cafe which was $8.95. We were also able to take a couple of boxes of cereal with us to the parks for snacks. Stuff like that was never frowned on by the CMs. Often they would actually make the suggestion to us. Whenever we asked for something that wasn't out (chocolate milk) the staff was always more than happy to get it for us. The cookies, rice krispie treats and many other snacks at the concierge lounge are also the same you see at the parks and restaurants. They are cut in smaller portions but you are welcome to eat as much as you want. My final comment about concierge food/drink/liquor it was always the best quality. Real whipped cream, no cool whip there!

We also loved how the lounge was open to the main atrium. It was so festive to sit in the lounge in the late evening have a night cap while listening to live jazz music and be able to people watch the main lobby.

The concierge staff was also able to change two of our PS times at the last minute and get us the times we wanted and arrange golf tee times. Anything you wanted or needed all you had to do was ask and it was done with a smile!

M. Mouse Mercantile- It is one of the best Disney merchandise shops I went in. On three occasions I needed to return or exchange items from another shop at a theme park. They were always happy to do it there at the hotel.

Key souvenir- They will give you one of the keys that was used when the hotel first opened, before they went to key cards, as a souvenir. You just have to ask.

Other things/tips beyond the hotel we thought made the trip great-

Cast Member Pins for my kids- available at the 5 & 10 in MGM. I learned about this thru your web site. Great idea, they worked. The CMs really interacted with my kids more when they wore the pins. They also make a great souvenir at only $5.

Refillable cups available at the resorts- Those are well worth the investment. They are about $10.95. You can refill them for free during you stay. However they are only good at your resort. You won't be able to refill them at the parks.

Some disappointments around the world-

WDW accommodations are designed mostly for parties of 4- And most of the resorts are old enough that they don't have the new suite design so popular these days. We are a family of 5 and are used to a hotel with a sitting area with a bar/fridge and sleeper sofa with a second tv in the bedroom area. The Grand Floridian does have tower rooms with a sitting area but they will only let four guests stay in those rooms. The same goes for the dormer rooms. Only four guests allowed. All the suites they have are the traditional ones and run over $1000 on average.

The Grand Floridian had been kept up well for the most part- It is over 14 years old and is showing some wear and tear in the common spaces outside. Some sidewalks and pathways have shifted. I was a bit disappointed at how many light bulbs (the "christmas" type on building tops) were burnt out and never replaced the whole time we were there. Some of the marble tiles had cracks in them and have yellowed over the years.

*****

Honeymooners - The Archers
December 2002

My husband and I decided to honeymoon in Walt Disney World almost immediately after we decided to get married. Our only problem was where we would stay. My husband didn't really care where we stayed, he told me, but I really wanted him to get the full luxury treatment. So, it was between the Grand Floridian and the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Even as I was making our Honeymoon Grand Plan reservations, I bounced between the two, but I ended up choosing the Grand Floridian for its view of the Magic Kingdom.

It turned out to be a wonderful choice! We had concierge level service which meant we were greeted at the front door and whisked up to the concierge's desk to be checked in. Jay checked us in quickly and gave us a little tour. We were made to feel very special!! Our room was very nice and the view was amazing!

As a side note, our Grand Plan coordinator, Karen Mages, went way above and beyond the call of duty for us!! I had wanted to do something extra special for my husband. So I asked her to help me out. She and I arranged for special surprise gifts with notes for my husband every evening. She did a lot of shopping and handwrote the notes I emailed to her! She also got us great seats for Cirque, made sure that she entered that we were honeymooning when she made our dining reservations and booked and re-booked our tours when the grueling schedule I set did not work out!

My husband was so impressed that three days into our 8 day honeymoon, he started planning our return for our one year anniversary!

*****

DisneyDean - December 2002

I stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in the Main Building’s Concierge from December 10, 2002 through December 17, 2002. While I have read some mixed reviews in the past about the service here, I decided to use my Disney Vacation Club points here as my first stay with “The Club”.

Immediately upon arrival, I was met by my concierge representative Denny. He has to be the most personable Cast Member I have seen in many years! He was very enthusiastic about all aspects of my planned trip. During check-in, we reviewed all of my Priority Seating times, discussed special events in the parks, and Deb Wills’ web site. He has received numerous positive comments from guests that have stayed here about the site. Since I had arrived just after the lunch provisions, I went to my room from here.

My room was number 4429. I had a spectacular view of Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, the new Grand Floridian Pool and the Grand Floridian Beach. The size of the room was one of the biggest I’ve stayed in (for a non-suite room). My king-size bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was completely stocked with all necessities. The only complaint I have (albeit a minor one) was that the television size was only a 19”. I seem to remember larger televisions at other resorts. All in all, I was extremely impressed with the room.

While the room and the service by the Cast Members of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa were outstanding, I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed with the offerings of items available in the Main Building Concierge. I’ll break down for you what was offered:

Breakfast: A Continental Breakfast was served here daily. Several types of Kellogg’s cereals, fruits, yogurts, breads (including a toaster, butter, jam, etc.), pastries, juices, coffee and (my favorite) Twinning’s Teas were served. This is what I expected.

Lunch: There wasn’t anything that could be considered as lunch served here. Offerings consisted of various crackers, Melba toast, some cheeses and dips, lemonade and the usual coffee and teas (iced and hot). Some cookies were also offered.

Afternoon Tea: Some sort of hot muffins with butter and jam were served, cookies, more crackers and pretzels and the usual drinks (tea included, of course) were served.

Dinner: THIS WAS AN EXTREME DISAPPOINTMENT!! There were no samples from the house restaurants are previously mentioned in other reviews!! I was looking forward to this! All there was were the similar offerings that were made at lunch. The other additions were some wines.

Evening: THIS IS WHERE THE OFFERINGS WERE THE BEST! Many baked goods, mini-cakes, cream puffs, cookies, cupcakes, strawberry shortcake and other varied items were offered. In addition to the wines, Amaretto, Kahlua and other various cordials were offered.

Overall, I was pleased with the Grand Floridian’s Main Building Concierge. If it wasn’t for the lack of dinner offerings, this would have been a spectacular stay.

**********

Lori Degliantoni - August 2002

I wanted to let you know about our stay at the Grand's main building concierge last August (2002). My family and I have stayed only at the Grand since it opened in 1989. We have always stayed in the main building concierge accommodations. Early on the service and attitude was impeccable. The concierge staff made it a point to remember us and various preferences. They would greet us with our favorite drink in the afternoon or bring a movie by the room for the kids at night because they heard that one of them was wild about Ariel. The last several trips weren't nearly as exciting or fun. They weren't bad, but certainly nothing leaving us excited to return. The biggest change was the lack of service from the Concierge staff. They seemed very indifferent and not nearly as excited about the customer service and personal touches that made a stay at the Grand leaving me wanting to move in permanently.

This past August, I took my two nieces (both age 9) and my sister for a week at the Grand for the girls' birthday. We had hoped to hear from the concierge as in years past to help plan activities for the children and spa appointments for us. However, while one call was made to me, I had to follow up many times before the concierge contacted me back. When he did offer services and activities, they were things like renting the Grand Yacht (at $350 an hour), A private park tour at $175 per hour (3 hour minimum) or other expensive options. He never mentioned anything that was middle of the road in expense--or any of the complimentary adventures throughout the kingdom. As a result, I had to coordinate gifts for the girls (and call once I was there to have them, the refrigerator and other things I had requested delivered to the room), show reservations, spa appointments, etc. Not something that was difficult for me to do, but something that I feel is part of what I paid for when I booked the concierge amenities.

In the past years, the hotel has left those celebrating birthdays a card and balloons or something acknowledging the day (especially children). In reading other comments, I see that is still the case in some locations. Not at the Grand Floridian. I told the concierge this was a trip two years in the planning (something I had promised the girls as a birthday treat when they turned 9), that the girls were excited to be going on a trip without their parents, etc. Though they knew this was a special birthday celebration, we received no acknowledgement of that. The concierge told me I could call the hotel florist myself and coordinate a "Junk Basket"...."those are $65 and up." I could also pay for a basket for each girl that he could coordinate (he told me about the recent basket he did that was $600) but he did not once offer anything one would consider Disney hospitality.

I booked 13 months ahead of time through 407 WDISNEY....asking for a Concierge Deluxe room (4419 or 4420 to be exact), but when I went to confirm my room type, I was told I had a "BJ" or "regular" room and I needed to book a "BO" or deluxe room. Sorry....no availability for the room I really wanted. Even when I explained I had I had the reservation for over a year....there was no assistance to help. This is the third time in three years this has happened. I would like to know how anyone has ever booked and confirmed that type of room at the Grand. I certainly can't seem to....even
though I have been to Disney World for about 15 years running.

The food was about the same as it has been in the past several years. It is really nice when the children are accounted for with food that suits their tastes. They loved the chicken nuggets and bagel dogs. We, too, loved the evening array from the dinner-time treats to the desserts and cordials. Those are still wonderful. Over the years the mid-day offerings have morphed into sparse pickings. But, the idea is that most folks are out and about at this time and I'm guessing that isn't a priority. All in all, the food is great for families. It gives you a place to make a pit stop and grab a snack.

Unfortunately, the food alone isn't worth the disappointment in other areas. The service has slipped over the past few years at the Grand. I never thought I would ever want to stay anywhere but the Grand. My last few trips have me thinking otherwise. The environment is lovely, the grounds impeccable, the location ideal, but after reading the wonderful compliments about other deluxe properties, I will try another property before returning to the Grand Floridian. Feeling welcome is terribly important to me. This last trip made me feel as though we were an imposition to the staff....not a welcomed guest.

**********

Jacqui Brown - August 2002

I've been reading all the negative comments about the concierge service at the Grand Floridian, particularly at Sugar Loaf, and I would like to offer the other side of the coin. My husband, my 19-year-old son and I had a truly marvelous experience at Sugar Loaf, largely because of the helpfulness of the concierge staff in attendance. Because of their gracious and attentive assistance, we were able to make the most of a vacation that might have turned into a full-fledged disaster.

First of all, there were health problems with which to contend. In addition to being an insulin-dependent diabetic, I recently had foot surgery and was compelled to navigate Disney in a cumbersome cast shoe that extended up to my knee and made mobility quite a challenge.

One of the first things I requested of the Sugar Loaf concierge was a place to freeze the coldpacks that I put in may fanny pack to keep my insulin chilled. At first he seemed nonplused by the request, but within a half hour, a small refrigerator with a freezer compartment arrived at my door. The room that the staff assigned us was the most convenient in the building for someone with limited mobility because it was on the first floor with immediate access to the lobby and concierge desk.

In addition, when one of the waiters who kept the food replenished in the lobby discovered that I have dietary restrictions, he went out of his way to make certain that there were offerings that I could eat (even telling me how certain items were prepared) and waited on me almost hand and foot whenever he was on duty! His kindness was very much appreciated throughout our stay.

The food itself was always of high quality and artfully arranged. Yes, there were times that the offerings were a bit sparse because the time had come to move from one selection to another (There are at least four different spreads throughout the course of the day that I'm aware of: a substantial "continental" breakfast from 6:30 to 11:00 a.m., a luncheon selection from noon to 3:00 p.m., afternoon tea from 3:00 to 5:00, and hors d'oeuvres from 5:00 into the early evening. In addition, beverages such as iced tea, lemonade (pink & regular), coffee, and tea are available throughout the day until about 10:00 p.m. These times are approximate, but that gives you some general guidelines.

The breakfast should suffice for all but the heartiest appetites: fresh melon--honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon--pineapple, sliced citrus fruit, grapes, and bananas; a selection of pastries--apple & cheese Danish, several types of muffins, and croissants; yogurt--strawberry, blueberry, and plain; cold cereals--both "adult-" and child-geared; several types of bagels and breads with toasters provided, along with jams, jellies, honey, regular & lite cream cheese, and margarine; and juices--orange & apple. We were always well fortified to venture forth into the parks!

Because the temperatures soared into the nineties with high humidity every day, we were glad to return to the invitingly cool recesses of our hotel lobby in the early afternoon for a snack and cold drinks.

My husband and I generally found enough food for a light lunch, although my 19-year-old occasionally supplemented with a tuna or BLT sandwich from the Gasparilla Grill, which he rounded out with all the other offerings. Crudites with dips; fresh fruit; vegetable chips; finger sandwiches--beef, ham, corned beef, & turkey, all with cheese; cookies--chocolate chip, sugar, and oatmeal raisin; incredibly rich fudge brownies (quite popular with Matthew); salad with julienne cold meats; a variety of cheeses; and honeydew with prosciutto all made their appearance. We kept the poor wait staff busy clearing away our empty plates!

Sometimes we selected the first part of our late lunch from the spread and concluded with the tea offerings that arrived close on their heels: warm scones with preserves, pastries such as strawberry jam tarts, chocolate and vanilla mousse, miniature sponge cakes, English trifle, the ubiquitous cookies & brownies, fresh fruit, tea breads, etc. A broad selection of Twining's Teas (along with the drinks already mentioned) made a pleasant accompaniment.

Next came the hors d'oeuvres. These might include pinwheels of chicken breast stuffed with a red pepper mixture or pesto; grilled vegetables; crudites with dips; mussels--I can't tell you how these were prepared; I'm not a mussels aficionado; assorted cheeses and crackers; shrimp rolls in wonton wrappers; fresh pear slices with basil; other fresh fruit; salad; those ever popular cookies and brownies; and a number of other items that I'm sure I'm leaving out.

Having a variety of foods available throughout the entire day made life immeasurably easier for me on my diabetic diet. There were always several items that I could choose among, and I could avoid "junk" food and long lines.

Before you think that the only thing this family does is eat, let me tell you the other advantages of concierge service we enjoyed. The foremost of these was the concierge's ability to get priority seating at various events and restaurants. For several years we have been longing to try the Chef's Table at the Grand Floridian's Victoria and Albert's restaurant. Although we had phoned ahead from home to attempt to make a reservation, everything was booked solid; however, when we mentioned this to the concierge, she told us that she would see what she could do. Sure enough, two days later there was a cancellation, and we had the dining experience of our lives last Thursday evening.

During our stay the concierge also booked meals for us at the California Grill, Akershus, the Grand Floridian Cafe, Chefs de France, Marrakesh, and 1900 Park Fare (I heartily suggest skipping the last of these if you don't have children under 7 or 8 and a high noise tolerance, but I'll leave that for a separate posting!).

My point in all of this is that our entire stay was extraordinarily easy because of the assistance of the concierge, who also was always available to answer our questions and smooth out any rough spots along the way. When we make our next trip to Disney, we again intend to book a room with concierge service.

When one considers the cost of Disney dining, I'm not so certain that the extra price of concierge service was such a splurge because during our six-and-a-half-day stay, we (among the three of us)avoided the additional cost of 15 breakfasts, 12 lunches, and innumerable snacks that looked more like meals where my son was concerned! I hesitate to think what all that food amounted to in Disney dollars!

Vive le concierge!

**********

As of July 2002, here are the Concierge Offerings in the Main Building, thanks to Judi!

BREAKFAST - Sliced pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, orange, grapefruit; grapes; whole apples, oranges, bananas and grapefruits; cheese and also apple danish; croissants; sweet phyllo puffs; 3 kinds of bagels; cream cheese, jelly, butter, jams; blueberry and strawberry yogurt; white, wheat and raisin bread; frosted flakes, rice krispies, cheerios, raisin bran, corn flakes; cranberry and orange juice; coffee, assorted teas, flavorings for coffee or tea.

LUNCH - I somehow was not ever there for lunch time to see what they had! LOL I was trying to make a point of it, because I know I missed it last year too, but .. it just didn't work that way.

AFTERNOON TEA - Fudge brownies (that were outstandingly rich and good!); strawberry trifle; rice krispy treats; scones with strawberry and blueberry jam, grape jelly and honey, and to drink, tea of course, as well as lemonade, pink lemonade and iced tea.

DINNER - This is where the most noticeable improvement could be seen. Not that it was ever *bad* before .. it's just improved now! :) I used to say when asked that you really couldn't make a *meal* of the dinner time offerings here ... but you sure can now!

The items were: Chicken breast stuffed with roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes and pesto, served with a basil cream sauce; mini corn dogs with condiments; marinated chicken breast with onion, tomato, cucumber and feta cheese; toast rounds with bleu cheese, pesto and grapes; pate in brioche; chicken tenders; chips and salsa; broccoli, mushroom & raisin salad; 5 types of crackers; Asst'd cheeses like smoked gouda, smoked cheddar, swiss, muenster, pepperjack; hard pretzels; prosciutto and melon; mini reuben sandwiches; grilled veggies; veggies and dip; mini ham and cheese sandwiches; cupcakes; brownies; chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and sugar cookies; lemonade; pink lemonade; iced tea; teas; coffee; Perrier and lime Perrier; the wines were Estancia Merlot, Cabernet; Sterling Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and a white zinfandel too.

EVENING OFFERINGS - Mini eclairs; strawberry torte; key lime pie; mini fruit tarts; mocha cakes; cream puffs; sugar, oatmeal and choc. chip cookies; strawberry trifle; 2 kinds of cupcakes; M&M's; gummies; and Amaretto, Frangelico and Grand Marnier, in addition to the wines.