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Visiting the Grand Floridian

The Davis Family-Ohio


We are pretty simple people. We come from a small town in Northern Ohio. My wife and I saved for years to put enough money away to treat our three kids to a Disneyworld vacation last year.  We stayed at the All-Star Sports Hotel. That was just fine for us. We figured we would be spending as much time as possible in the parks and the pools and really only needed a simple roof over our heads at night for sleeping.  And we were delighted to discover that even the Value hotels at Disney offered so much more than we ever expected for the price.


We loved all the Disney parks but my kids favored the Magic Kingdom.  And each time we crossed the lake on the ferry boat or took the monorail around the circle we could not help but marvel at the spectacular fancier hotels closer to the kingdom.  That afternoon we asked one of the Disney people at the kingdom how much it costs to stay at one of those hotels.  I admit there was a gasp. But after the sticker shock subsided she told us “It doesn’t cost a dime to go over and visit them.”


She convinced us to take the boat from the Magic Kingdom dock and check out the Grand Floridian.  We tried to appear as presentable as possible and got on the boat.


As I am sure some of you know, walking into the main lobby of the Grand Floridian is breathtaking. I swear my wife actually swooned.   I don't know if we were making a scene or just looking out of place, but it did not take long for a hotel employee to approach us. I think we were all prepared to be shown the way back to the boat dock, but to our surprise, the employee introduced himself (I think his name was Wayne but it has been a while so I am foggy on details), and offered to show us around the hotel.  Sheepishly we confessed we were not customers of the Grand Floridian. No matter, Wayne brushed the comment off so politely by saying, “Well maybe if I show you around you might be inclined to stay with us in the future.”


He pointed out the giant bird cage in the lobby, and explained how there was always piano music in the day and in the evening an orchestra plays. He told us about the inspiration for the architecture and design. He took us in a ride in the glass elevator and showed us the location of the restaurants (we even saw a Princess tea party in progress).  Looking back, the impromptu tour only took twenty or so minutes. But we felt like royalty.


We loved every moment our family shared at Disney last year and we are eagerly saving our nickels and dimes so we can return again in a few years (We are targeting the opening of all the Star Wars stuff for our next trip).  Upon returning home I was surprised to confess to friends that one of our favorite family memories didn’t cost us a dime.


Disney Travel Diary

I am so happy to say Lukas and Katie are part of the ActualFactualMagic Team.  They shot this video over the New Year's holiday this year.  Cannot wait to see what else they contribute in the coming months!

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