Turret Room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa’s Royal Palm Club

There are very few WDW experiences that have the same aura of elegance surrounding them like a stay at the Grand Floridian’s premier Club Level, the Royal Palm Club. Ever since the Grand Floridian was built back in 1988, it was intended to snatch the title of Disney World’s “Flagship Resort” from its original owner, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and if you ask a lot of the Disney Deluxe Resort fans out there, the Grand Floridian is far more deserving of said title anyhow. It’s designed to look like a classic Florida beach resort from the Victorian era, with grand staircases, an opulent lobby complete with an in-house band, and sprawling grounds that certainly evoke a sense of having gone back in time to when Florida’s beaches were a playground for the wealthy instead of a more affordable family vacation destination.

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Imposing, breathtakingly lovely, and full of strollers.

If Grand Floridian is indeed WDW’s flagship resort, then the Royal Palm Club is the flagship of the flagship. Grand Floridian boasts two Club Levels, as anyone who read our Sugarloaf post from a couple years back will recall, but only one of those Club Levels resides in the main building of the resort. Sugarloaf is located instead in an outer building, just a short walk from the main building and lobby. Royal Palm is quite a bit more expensive than Sugarloaf, as well, however we’ll note that a standard room at Royal Palm will cost you around the same price as a garden view room at King Kamehameha Club over at the Polynesian Village (and, if you ask us, Royal Palm is a much better Club Level experience overall).

If you wish to book a Club Level room at Grand Floridian, you’ll need to know the difference between the two Clubs and how they’re listed in Disney’s reservation systems to make sure you get where you want. Here’s the rule of thumb:

  • If the Club Level room is listed as Club Level – Outer Building, it is Sugarloaf.
  • If the Club Level room is listed as Club Level – Main Building, it is Royal Palm.
  • If you book a suite, you will notice both Outer Building and Main Building as options, although the latter are not fully bookable on the reservations website (you’ll have to call for some of them, I believe). Note that with suites, just because one is listed as Outer Building, it does NOT mean it will be in the Sugarloaf building proper. There are suites in every outer building at Grand Floridian, and although all suites come with Club Level access, you are not guaranteed that your suite will be in a Club Level building unless you book a suite in the Main Building. We’ve received different information from Cast Members about which Club Level lounge you have access to with suites that are located outside the main building—some say it’s Royal Palm, others Sugarloaf, and still others both/either(?). 

Now that that’s out of the way, we’ll dig into the specifics.

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Grab a chair. There is no shortage of chairs in Royal Palm. Seriously, there are lots of chairs.

To start, the Royal Palm Club takes up the top three floors of the Grand Floridian’s main building. There are no non-Club Level rooms in the main building. Technically, there are also some Royal Palm rooms on the second floor of the main building, too, but we’ll talk about those later in this post. The lounge itself is three storeys, with the first storey being a reception and check-in area with plenty of seating (as well as a killer balcony that overlooks the monorail station at the front of the hotel—we spent a lot of time out there watching the monorails and enjoying a glass of wine). The second storey is the lounge proper, with the food service area, a bar, a tea and coffee station, both adult and kids TV-viewing areas, and even more seating. The third storey is the top floor, composed of more – you guessed it! – seating areas. The top floor is perfect for a quiet out-of-the-way place to sit during the day or to watch the fireworks at night. It’s always peaceful up there.

Told you there were lots of chairs, didn’t I? The first two images above are on the second floor of the lounge, and the third image is on the top floor.

As you might be able to tell from the photos thus far, each floor wraps around the lobby, giving you a 360-degree view of everything. You’ll have gorgeous views of Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom out one set of windows, and perfect views of the front of the resort and the monorail tracks out the other set. There are no bad spots to sit at in Royal Palm. Another big perk is that you directly overlook the lobby on every floor, meaning you get to hear the Grand Floridian Band up-close and personal when they play each evening. It’s like they’re playing just for you and all your buddies in Royal Palm.

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The three storeys of Royal Palm Club.

The room we stayed in on our first trip to Royal Palm was a coveted “turret room.” We did not request it, we simply lucked into it. And lucky we were indeed, because it was a fabulous room, one of the best on property as far as we’re concerned.

These rooms are exactly what you’d expect: located in the corner “turrets” of the Main Building, and shaped like hexagons for amazing views all around. There are no balconies due to the odd shape of the rooms, but we didn’t miss that at all. The windows do open for you to hear all the various Disney sounds you love.

The room features a king-sized bed, a pull-out couch (meaning the capacity is 3 total occupants, I believe, but why the heck would you want that?), a desk, a lounge chair, a wet bar area, a dresser and TV, a foyer with a lovely window, an enormous bathroom area with separated sink and vanity, a soaking tub/shower combo, and a walk-in closet that might just be the same size as a standard room at one of the All Stars.

All the turret rooms are located on the corners of the Main Building. Some of them overlook the Magic Kingdom and the back of the resort, and others overlook the front of the resort, the monorail line, and one of the pools. We can’t imagine any of them have a bad view, so you won’t be missing out no matter where you are in these rooms.

We knew as soon as we walked in that this was going to be one of our favourite experiences at Disney, and we were not disappointed.

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The foyer window, being all casual-like, showing you the castle like it’s no big deal or anything.

But like everything else at Grand Floridian, we learned, there are some disclaimers you must know about the turret rooms beforehand that could definitely put a wrinkle in your plans. Most importantly, you cannot book one of these directly. Instead, you have to book a “Deluxe King – Club Level – Main Building.” Doesn’t sound all that great, does it? Well, it can be. Or it can definitely NOT be. Here’s what I mean:

There are two types of “Deluxe King – Main Building” rooms at Royal Palm. The first are the “turret rooms,” the second are the “second floor” rooms. What’s the difference, you ask?

  • Turret Rooms are located on the edges of the third, fourth, and fifth storeys of the Main Building. Those are the three floors that make up Royal Palm Club proper.
  • “Second Floor” Rooms are located on – surprise! – the second floor. But don’t think you can get to them by just taking the regular Royal Palm elevator, hitting the 2, and waltzing on to your room. Nope. To get to your room, you’ll have to take the Royal Palm elevator in the lobby, hit the 3, get off the elevator, walk down a hallway, walk down another hallway, get on another elevator, hit the 2, get off, go down another hallway, and there you are. How do you get to the lounge, you ask? Well, you’ll leave the room, go down the hallway to the elevator, get on and hit the 4, get off, walk down a corridor, walk through the sitting area of the lounge, and you’re there. These rooms are slightly larger standard King rooms, with a big soaking tub and balconies that overlook the Magic Kingdom fireworks directly.

Full disclosure: we know some folks like the second floor rooms. When we got one on our second stay at Royal Palm, we went in with an open mind. Yet the experiences between the two “Deluxe King” rooms were so vastly different, we ended up counting down the days until we got to go to the second part of our trip at the Tower Club at the Contemporary.

The second floor rooms are converted office space, we were told, and even if we didn’t know that for certain from a Cast Member, we would’ve simply assumed this was the case anyhow due to the lower ceilings, weird hallway, and overall lacklustre vibe the second floor room area gave off. It felt like an afterthought. Our room was more run-down than the other few Grand Floridian rooms we’d stayed in, as well, including the one at Sugarloaf (which was pristine). It felt.. forgotten. If it tells you anything, we didn’t even think to take photos for the blog while we were there. It was one of the few times at Disney World where we didn’t feel like we got what we paid for.

One thing the second floor King rooms do have, though, is a Magic Kingdom fireworks view. If you want to guarantee a good fireworks view from your room, these might be your best bet at Royal Palm (unless you book one of the suites). Please note, however, that the balconies for these rooms sit directly over the Gasparilla Grill quick service restaurant, which make them noisy during peak service hours, not to mention your balcony always smells like corn dogs.

Should you take a chance on a Deluxe King room? It depends, to be truthful. We had such a great time staying in the turret room, and such a sad time comparatively in the second floor room, that we don’t think we’ll chance it again. You can request one room type over the other, but understand these requests are not guaranteed. If we had to recommend a Royal Palm experience, we’d suggest booking a standard King room instead. It won’t get you into a turret, but it’ll definitely guarantee you won’t get stuck in the second-floor Dungeon of Despair.

Now onto the Royal Palm Club itself, and happier times!

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Is there any greater joy than MICKEY WAFFLES?

The lounge is truly stunning. It feels fancy yet comfortable, and the sunlight streaming in through the windows lights everything up in such a way that you absolutely feel like you’re on the beach in Florida. It never failed to be relaxing, especially when, even during peak service times, you could easily steal away to another floor of the lounge to sip drinks and chat in privacy. Taking food or drinks back to your room was very easy, too, despite the multi-storey lounge setup and the number of rooms on each floor.

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Gazing down into the lounge from the fifth floor. Everything looks cheerful and pleasant except the guys on the TV.

Royal Palm boasts the largest lounge of any Club Level at WDW. The food offerings are fairly standard Club Level fare, but well-prepared and with a few fun additions that are specific to Royal Palm, such as a fresh-baked ciabatta bread and a daily soup offering during snack time. Like Sugarloaf, Royal Palm also offers an afternoon tea service, as well, with light snacks such as scones with clotted cream, cupcakes, and jam tarts. Tea wasn’t super popular both times we were at Royal Palm, thus we typically had the place mostly to ourselves. We looked forward to it every day.

Breakfast features a hot station with a chef every other morning, although on our second trip we noticed them there both mornings so that might be subject to change. The chef served Mickey waffles, crepes, fresh-made donuts, and other fun things, and you can have as many as you like. The Cast Members at breakfast were a delight and noticeably more attentive than those later in the day.

I managed to snap a few photos of the snack service during mid-day above. For evenings, there were several hot items along with salads, sides, kids options, fruit, breads, cheeses, etc. We found the hot items overwhelmingly meat-heavy, however, so vegetarians will likely not find much for them, unfortunately. We asked some of the Cast Members if they had some vegetarian options, and we were accommodated a few times, but not every time. It depended on who you talked to, it seemed. One night our favourite food service Cast Member took the time to let us chat with the chef, who was so nice, while other nights we were given a flat “no” when asking about non-meat options.

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The bar during the day. All the alcohol is magically hidden away, only to emerge at night.

Beer, wine, and cordials are, like at all the other Club Level options except two at WDW nowadays, served by a Cast Member for you by request. Healthy pours are the norm here, so don’t worry. You won’t go away wanting. The selection is larger than at most other Club Levels we’ve seen, with a guaranteed sparkling wine option and an occasional whisky sighting. It was an excellent selection. We had no complaints.

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Tea gets its own posh presentation table.

The Cast Members at Royal Palm will often remember you from previous trips if you’ve stayed before. Some of the concierge staff have been at the Grand Floridian since the resort first opened, and you get a sense from virtually all of them that they love the resort and are proud of Royal Palm’s tendency to welcome back returning guests at an impressive rate. There are a lot of Royal Palm regulars, we learned. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you are. The good is that if you’re so impressed with Royal Palm that you can’t wait to come back ASAP, you’ll be remembered on subsequent trips, and after a while you’ll probably end up becoming a regular yourself. The bad is that, if you aren’t a regular, you’ll notice that Royal Palm can quickly feel like a meritocracy, at times. We were told by concierge staff on several occasions that their regulars often had outlandish requests, demanded specific rooms every trip, wanted certain extras, etc. It showed tremendous attention to detail on the part of the Cast Members to be able to recall these things so easily, and to accommodate them. Yet those of us who are first- or second-time Royal Palm visitors couldn’t help wondering, especially on our second trip which was so lacking, what kind of difference it would’ve made if we’d known the “right” person or been to Royal Palm the “right” number of times. Call us crazy, but we highly doubt the regulars get placed in the Dungeon of Despair too often.

Don’t get us wrong, we love the fact that Cast Members at the different Club Levels remember returning guests and show them some extra “magic” to welcome them back. We’ve been happy recipients of such things more often than we can count, and it’s always been such a wonderful surprise. But something was different about Royal Palm that we couldn’t quite put our finger on. It felt less like special magical extras for the regulars, as at any other Club Level, and more like two wildly disparate experiences for regulars versus the average visitor. Your mileage may vary, of course, but we noticed it on both trips.

As frequent WDW Club Level guests, we were excited to stay at Royal Palm the first time we went, and even more thrilled to do so the second time as part of a split stay with our favourite Club Level, the Contemporary’s Tower Club. We have a lot of excellent things to say about Royal Palm, but we don’t see ourselves becoming part of the cohort of regulars there. For our time and money, we’ll continue to be contrarian and put our vote behind the Contemporary as Disney’s “hidden flagship.” You’ll almost certainly have a lovely time at the Grand Floridian, and it will undoubtedly feel grand, but in our opinion, it still can’t boast the best Club Level experience, unless you happen to be a regular.

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Fireworks Mickey from the Royal Palm lounge window.

The Cast at Sugarloaf told us when we stayed there that they would make us Grand Floridian people before the end of our stay, guaranteed. Will we stay at Grand Floridian, be it Sugarloaf or Royal Palm, again? Surely we will.

But.. we still aren’t Grand Floridian people.

Sugarloaf: The Grand Floridian’s “Other” Club Level

Please don’t be put off by the title of this post.

We, like many other Disney Deluxe resort fans, used to have a tendency to regard Sugarloaf as somewhat second-rate when compared to Royal Palm Club. You see, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has not just one, but two Club Level options, one of which is located in the main building (the lobby, with the band and the shops and such in it), and the second of which is located in an outer building. The main Club Level is known as Royal Palm Club, while the outer club is known as Sugarloaf, the name of the building itself. We never really gave Sugarloaf much thought, to be honest. The Grand Floridian wasn’t even a resort we were particularly thrilled to stay in, thus we put it off until we had already stayed everywhere else Deluxe-wise. Something about it didn’t draw us in. Maybe it’s the theming. Regardless, when we ended up with a few nights booked at Sugarloaf last-minute, we were reluctant, but ready to go in with an open mind.

We joked with some of the Sugarloaf staff when we checked in that we were more Contemporary people. They replied that we’d be leaving Grand Floridian people, and they’d make sure of it.

Sugarloaf is only a short walk from the main building and is only accessible by MagicBand, meaning you have to be staying in Sugarloaf to actually enter. This is a good thing, because right inside the doorway is the club lounge. You step into an anteroom of sorts, where there’s a sitting area, podium, and water/tea/coffee station. Beyond that is a large, open atrium area with the food service on one side, tables on the other, and a big concierge desk in the centre of it all.

There’s a lot of room in Sugarloaf, which is good, because as with any other Club Level on WDW property, things can get a bit crowded during peak service times, particularly breakfast and early evening. We had read some horror stories prior to our trip about how hectic and loud Sugarloaf can be, but I’ll go on record saying we didn’t experience any of that. Yes, there are lines for food or alcohol sometimes, but you’ll get that anywhere. If you think Sugarloaf is crazy, try the King Kamehameha Club over at the Polynesian Village any time of the day or night and get back to us. Sugarloaf was nothing compared to that mess. You’ll also never have to look too far for a staff member or two. Sugarloaf was excellently staffed, probably better than any Club Level we’ve been to, with the possible exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Fancified service schedule.

The lounge is lovely, I’ll just put it bluntly. It’s comfortable and has a functional layout without loads of wasted space. If you want to chill and hang out there’s plenty of room to do so, and if you want a quick bite to eat before heading to the parks for the day you can get in and out without any hassle. We enjoyed sitting and having a drink while chatting with the concierge staff during the afternoon, and most of the time we were the only people in the whole lounge.

Food offerings were top-notch overall, although I failed to get decent photos of the services besides snack time. You’ll have to use your imagination here.

Breakfast was standard Disney Club Level offerings for the most part, with one major, huge, insanely big exception:

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Even with a slightly deformed face, Mickey waffles never disappoint.

Yes, you read this correctly. No, your eyes are not deceiving you. They make Mickey waffles for you. Every other morning. In the Club Lounge. As many as you want. With mimosas.

It’s OK to admit you’re already planning your trip to Sugarloaf now. We understand.

Beyond the waffles, though, we’re talking the usual cereals, meats and cheeses, pastries, etc. Snacks were more creative and plentiful than some other Club Levels offer, with lots of vegetables, breads, crackers, and dips alongside some sweets. Then there’s the afternoon tea. The Grand Floridian is one of only two resorts at WDW to offer an afternoon teatime in their Club lounges, the other being Animal Kingdom Lodge. Both Sugarloaf and Royal Palm Club have this, and their tea snacks are much more elaborate than those at AKL. Stuff like jam tarts, homemade scones, clotted cream and jam, etc. It was our favourite part of the day. During our stay there weren’t many folks who were in the lounge during teatime, so the extra quiet made it even nicer.

Evening appetisers rotated nightly. There was usually a hot food station with a chef, which is the new thing across all the Club Levels. Wine, beer, and cordials were served for you by a concierge staff member, but we can personally attest to their more-than-healthy pours. You won’t leave wanting.

The building itself is three storeys, and the resort rooms line the atrium area on either side and all around. If you’re concerned about potential noise wafting up from the lounge, we’d recommend requesting a room on the second or third floors, further down the hallways. Our room was on the third floor at the very end of a hallway and we never heard a peep from the lounge, even during breakfast. It was peaceful and quiet, which is a true gem of a find at Disney.

We booked a standard view room and were pleasantly surprised by what we got.

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Seriously, I don’t think there’s a bad view in this place.

Being on the top (third) floor, our room was a dormer-style room with tall, slanted ceilings. We loved it. Grand Floridian rooms aren’t small anyway, but the high ceilings made the room feel even bigger than it was.

King rooms are available in Sugarloaf by request, but they aren’t bookable. There are several suites in Sugarloaf, as well. Most rooms are the double-queen type with a pull-out sofa, like the one we got. They’re very spacious and luxurious, with marble sink tops and wood flooring and a small foyer when you walk in. Oh, and bathrobes and slippers with the “GF” logo embroidered on them. Extra fancy.

Some of our favourite features of the room design in Sugarloaf, and the Grand Floridian in general, were all the little touches they added. The pillows, the little Mickey heads in the curtains, and the towel Mickey on the bed (something that has died off at every other Deluxe resort, sadly). Even the artwork is adorable and perfectly Disney. You can tell they go above and beyond here, and it shows.

So then, the questions remains: why stay in Sugarloaf? What’s the difference between it and Royal Palm over in the main building?

More than anything: price. Sugarloaf will always be consistently cheaper than Royal Palm. We’re not talking a huge, deep discount or anything, but you’ll definitely pay at least $100 a night less to stay Sugarloaf, any time of the year. Part of the premium you’re paying at Royal Palm is for the luxury of being in the main building, of hearing the sounds of the band wafting up into the lounge area as you have your evening glass of wine, and the general hustle and bustle of the lobby throughout the day. It’s really an experience. There are also a few other perks to being in Royal Palm, like a multi-storey lounge, more suites (including the Walt Disney and Roy Disney Suites, which are the Presidential and Vice Presidential), views of the fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant from the lounge, a bit more staff, and a couple extra food/drink options.

Sugarloaf also has a tendency to be a bit easier to book, especially on short notice. We noticed also that Sugarloaf attracts more families with children, at least when we were there. This might be due to the fact that Royal Palm is simply more expensive, and thus folks who book there are often celebrating something or wanting as upscale an experience as they can have at WDW, which, as we here at this particular blog know all-too-well, usually doesn’t involve dragging a few kids along. But that being said, Sugarloaf is not a daycare. There will be children, sure, but nothing out of the ordinary for Disney. We spent time in both Sugarloaf and Royal Palm during this trip, and both seemed about the same crowd-wise. There were more couples in Royal Palm, but several (besides us) in Sugarloaf as well.

Between the two Club Level options at Grand Floridian, we don’t think you can go wrong either way. Try them both. You’ll like them both, for different reasons. We’ll save our review of Royal Palm for another post.

 

Were the concierge staff right when we checked into Sugarloaf? Did we become Grand Floridian people? Maybe so. We still love the Contemporary. It’ll always be our favourite. But we only have one trip booked for next year, and you can probably guess where we’ll be staying.

The Queen Victoria Room at Victoria & Albert’s

Writing about a place like Victoria & Albert’s is difficult.

I say this because it’s one of those meals that goes so far beyond just “good food” or “nice ambiance” that it’s hard to really explain once you’ve done it. So let me start off by saying that Victoria & Albert’s is an experience. It’s not the kind of thing you do on a regular basis, nor is intended to be so. No one should be throwing down upwards of $1,000+ on a single meal for two on a regular basis. But if you decide to take the plunge and go to V&A’s, know that the money you do spend on that evening will reap a lot more than just a full belly. It’ll be one of those experiences you talk about for years to come.

Because of the nature of a place like V&A’s existing at Disney World, a resort area made up of theme parks that most folks assume are geared solely toward young children and their frazzled parents, there are definitely a lot of misconceptions about it. Yes, Victoria and Albert’s is legitimate fine dining. There’s a reason it’s been ranked one of the top restaurants in the country for so many years, and it’s not just because you can walk out the doors from your super-expensive meal and enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant mere steps away (although that’s enough to catapult V&A’s to the top of the list regardless, in our opinion). Yes, Victoria & Albert’s is expensive. Fine dining is expensive. But it’s not extravagantly more expensive, considering what you’re being served, than any other highly-ranked fine dining restaurant simply because it’s on Disney property. The “mark-up,” if you will, is for the quality and care put into the menu and the overall experience you get while you’re dining there, not because it’s at the Grand Floridian.

But the biggest misconception we’ve seen is that so many people think they shouldn’t go to V&A’s.

“It’s too fancy for us.”

“We won’t feel comfortable there.”

“We’ll stick out like sore thumbs.”

Basically, many folks assume that V&A’s is a place for people who aren’t them. Fancy people. Rich people. Stuck-up people who eat like this all the time. The fact is, however, that V&A’s is for anyone who wants to go there and is willing to pay for the privilege.

The people eating at Victoria & Albert’s are exactly like you. Typically they’re celebrating something, whether it’s an anniversary, birthday, honeymoon, whatever. That’s one of the main catalysts for people forking over that much money in a single sitting. They’re there for the same reasons you are, and for many it’s their first time visiting. They’re just as awed by their surroundings as you. They’re not-so-discreetly peering around at other tables for guidance on whether or not they’re eating their caviar properly. They’re taking photos of their food and posting them on Instagram because they’re just as excited to be there as you are.

Please don’t let the fear of “not fitting in” get in your way of an amazing experience. V&A’s is not pretentious. You won’t be looked down upon. The staff is wonderful, they encourage you to take photos, and they’re super eager to give you tips on how to best enjoy your food. Don’t worry.

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This place is beautiful and you deserve to be there! Go team!

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk more about V&A’s in general.

There are 4 different dining options:

  • Main dining room 7-course meal
  • Main dining room 10-course meal
  • Queen Victoria Room 10-course meal
  • Chef’s Table

The lowest-priced option is the first one. “Lowest price” is, of course, a relative term when speaking of V&A’s, so if you opt for this don’t feel like you’ll be getting a lesser experience because of it. Everything at Victoria & Albert’s is great. You aren’t missing out. For many years, the only way to get the 10-course menu was by booking a room in the Queen Victoria Room. That has changed, however, and now you can order the exact same meal you’d get in the QVR in the main dining room. This is good news because the Queen Victoria Room has a grand total of 4 tables. They only serve 4 tables a night in there. So if you can’t score a reservation for the QVR, never fear. The food tastes just as amazing in the main dining room, and you’ll get a lot more ambiance since you aren’t cloistered off in a separate room behind closed doors. The Chef’s Table is the most exclusive of experiences, so naturally this isn’t something we’ve done. You get your own menu designed specifically for you and cooked in front of you by the chef. We’d love to do this someday.

I sadly do not have photos of the main dining room, but they’re easy to find. There is a harpist who plays off and on throughout the evening. It’s just lovely, and definitely makes you feel all fancy.

The menus are all prix fixe, and there are optional add-ons (for an additional cost, of course) if you’d like to enhance your meal with additional courses. We felt so full at the end of our meal that we were afraid we’d need to contact landscaping to wheelbarrow us out of there, so approach these add-ons with some restraint. There is also the option for wine pairings. We loved this option and recommend it highly. The sommelier at V&A’s is sent directly from heaven.

The night we went, we were lucky enough to get one of the four tables in the Queen Victoria Room. It’s a smaller, more intimate room at the back of the restaurant, located behind a set of beautifully-engraved wood and glass doors. When we initially booked, we were on a waiting list for the QVR. We got a call about a month before our trip asking us if we’d like to have the table. So if you’re wavering on whether to book the main dining room or wait to see if the QVR becomes available, don’t. Go ahead and get the main dining room reservation, and ask to be put on the waiting list for the QVR. There’s a decent chance someone will cancel and you’ll get in. And if not, you still get to eat at V&A’s. Win-win.

The QVR staggers their reservation times. The first starts around 5pm when the restaurant opens, then they continue hourly after that until each table is filled. That’s it for the night in there. Why? Because the whole experience of having a 10-course meal at V&A’s takes at least 3-4 hours. Our reservation was at 6pm and we left around 11pm. We loved every minute of it.

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Our menu for the night. Dear lord it was amazing.

If you look at the menu, you can see some items have a price listed next to them. Those are the extras. Don’t worry, your waiter/waitress will very clearly point these out as optional, and there is zero judgement if you choose to not do any of them. We didn’t. We don’t feel we missed out. We wanted to try the menu exactly as it was.

You get to keep the menu page, by the way. It’ll be personalised for you with your names and, if you’re celebrating something, a special greeting.

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You get to eat while Prince Albert stares stoically at Queen Victoria’s ear.

Probably one of the coolest aspects of the Queen Victoria Room is the wait staff. There were a grand total of two waiters the night we went, and believe it or not, they’re actually husband and wife. It was adorable. They were honestly the most knowledgable and attentive waiters we’ve ever encountered. They have the service down to a science. We loved asking them questions and picking their brains on various aspects of the restaurant. We never once felt intimidated by the surroundings or afraid to ask a question, no matter how silly it might’ve been. That’s part of the Disney charm, I guess.

I’ve written enough for now. I’ll just post the photos of the food and let them speak for themselves. They’re posted in the order they were served, which is the same as the order on the menu above.

So yeah. The food was as beautiful as it was delicious. As was the wine.

 

Some of the more interesting experiences you get when you dine at V&A’s are the butter tray, cheese cart, truffle chest, and the famous coffee service.

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A chef hat made entirely of butter. Congrats, you’ve officially seen everything.

The photo above is the butter tray. The waiter brings it to your table and carves some of the super-creamy butter into a dish and presents it to you to spread on your assortment of breads served throughout the meal. Do NOT miss out on trying the breads and butter. It’s well worth losing some precious stomach real estate for.

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Cheese, all prettied up and ready for the ball.

The cheese cart is also a thing of beauty. Your waiter will spend what might seem like way too much time talking up a bunch of cheeses, but trust me, this cheese deserves it.

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Not part of a chocolatey dream sequence, I swear.

This specialty-made wooden box filled with truffles comes to your table at the very end of your meal. Like the cheeses, you can choose as many as you want. You’ll be lulled sufficiently into a food coma by now, but give these a try anyway. They’re all wonderful.

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Coffee tastes that much better when it’s brewed by magical contraptions.

What Disney fan hasn’t heard about the coffee service at Victoria & Albert’s? The videos are all over YouTube. Let me go ahead and dispel the myths here: yes, the hype is very much deserved. It’s exceptionally cool, not to mention delicious. There’s also a really neat-looking tea service they’ve added, as well, if you aren’t a coffee drinker. We asked (sadly, after the fact) if you can order both services, and we were told that was perfectly OK. So do that. I highly recommend it.

Oh, and did I mention you won’t find any children under the age of 10 here? It’s the only place on WDW property with that rule. The night we were there, we didn’t see any kids at all. I think there was one family with a teenager out in the main dining room. Otherwise, it was all parties of adults or, most often, couples by themselves. It’s an escape.

 

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Every woman leaves with a rose.

Overall, we feel like Disney has perfected the fine dining experience with Victoria & Albert’s. In many ways, Disney removed the pretentiousness and stuffiness one normally associates with a place that serves this kind of meal without sacrificing anything in the process. It’s a magnificently gorgeous restaurant. It’s the kind of place that could exist on its own in any major city and do crazy amounts of business. Yet it also feels distinctly Disney in all the right ways. Anyone can eat here and feel at home, something Disney excels at. We paid with our MagicBands at the end of our meal and somehow it felt normal to do so. We rode the monorail to and from. Victoria & Albert’s essentially transports all the great things about the finest of fine dining to the Grand Floridian, removes all the elitist crap, and inserts some amazing Cast Members who truly love their job and the restaurant itself. It’s quite an accomplishment.

We hope to go back someday.