Gasparilla Island Grill
Tucked into one of Disney World’s most iconic resort hotels — The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa — Gasparilla Grill is one of the only restaurants open 24 hours in Walt Disney World!
Gasparilla Grill is the the counter service location at the Grand Floridian and is sandwiched between the Grand Floridian Cafe and the Grand Floridian Kids’ Club.
It offers both hot and cold (grab-and-go) items as well as bakery items and soft-serve ice cream.
You’ll find plenty of seating inside and outside. Outdoor seating has a fantastic view of the Grand Floridian harbor (and passing monorails!).
And the Grand Floridian’s video game arcade is located right in the restaurant!
Choosing and Ordering Your Food
There’s lots of variety at Gasparilla Grill, and when we dined there we were pleasantly surprised by most of our meals.
It works like most other counter service locations in the resorts — guests have a couple of “pods” from which to choose food items; order and pick up are in the same areas.
You can also visit the bakery section, the soft-serve ice cream area, and the grab and go section before heading to one main cashier station where a cast member will add up all of your purchases.
Gasparilla Grill has a wide variety of cold, grab-and-go items that include fruit, sushi, salads, cold snacks, cupcakes, and more.
The ice cream dispenser had at least three flavors each time we visited, so it’s not usually just the standard chocolate and vanilla!! (Good to know.) There are also toppings available for make-your-own-sundaes!
Kids’ options are noted on this menu. When we visited, they also had the kids’ options “modeling” on a plate so that kiddos could look and see which ones they wanted.
Drinks are also available via your standard paper cup or the refillable mugs found at all Disney resorts..
Self-serve beverage stations are available for guests (VERY helpful when you need a refill on your mug in the middle of the night).
Once you’ve picked up your food, note that there are plenty of appliances, condiments, and other accoutrement(s) so you can be sure that your meal is as complete as possible. I love when they’re this accommodating at Disney resort counter-service locations.
When you get up to the cashier, all of your purchases will be paid for together. As usual, you’ll have multiple payment options.
Note that pickings are slim during the overnight hours, but just to be able to get some hot food or a beverage when you arrive at the resort after midnight (whether you’re coming from the airport or from Extra Magic Hours!) is often very helpful!
Over the course of our visits to Gasparilla Grill, we sampled several lunch and dinner options from the menu, including the chicken nuggets and fries, the standard cheeseburger, and the roast beef sandwich. We also tried one of the new cupcake offerings — the s’mores cupcake (you can see the Cherry Berry and Florida Orange cupcakes in the grab and go section above — I’ve heard very good reviews)!
We started with the chicken nuggets, which were delicious. As many of you know, I do love my chicken nuggets, and these were standard, Disney counter-service fare. The fries were excellent as well — crispy and not at all soggy even though we were visiting very late at night. I like the fact that some of the potato skin was left on!
The cheeseburger looked gorgeous, but was a bit overdone. Don’t expect gourmet or medium-rare here, folks; this is your typical cooked-too-long-so-it’s-safe burger. But I thought the melted cheese was a nice value-add and the homemade kettle chips (similar to the chips you’ll find at Friar’s Nook in the Magic Kingdom) were a good addition. I would have chosen fries again, but if you’re a fan of thick, crunchy, kettle-cooked chips, these are for you.
The roast beef sandwich was a beauty. Piled high on ciabatta with fresh greens, caramelized onion, and Boursin cheese spread, this isn’t your typical counter service fare. It got high marks!
Sadly, I can’t say the same for the s’mores cupcake. I definitely should have chosen one of the other new cupcakes in the refrigerated section, because this one was a dud. (Note: please do NOT confuse this s’mores cupcake with the awesomeness that is the s’mores cupcake at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. It is awesome. This is not.)
The “roasted” marshmallows on top were a cute addition, but the whole thing was a soggy mess. The graham cracker on top felt (and kind of tasted, let’s be honest) like wet newspaper, and while the marshmallows were toasted on the top, they were still cold non-toasted marshmallows throughout.
That bulge on the top is chocolate frosting covered in a chocolate coating, and that frosting was the best part of the cupcake as far as I was concerned. The cake itself was a bit dry.
Of course I did dig out the chunk of frosting in the middle of the cupcake and just eat that. Yes. Yes I did.
Gasparilla Grill offers a good variety of high-quality counter service options, and is a great pinch-hitter for a meal when you’re on the run.
Gasparilla Grill also meets a great need in Disney World with its 24-hour status. I really wish Disney would open a few more 24-hour options around the “World.” It would be so convenient!
That said, I do prefer both Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary Resort and Captain Cook’s (also open 24-hours) at the Polynesian Resort to Gasparilla — they both seem to offer better variety and both have updated computerized ordering systems. They also have better specialty desserts (the bakery case at Contempo is awesome, and you have the Dole Whip available at Captain Cook’s).
All in all, though, when you’re at the Grand Floridian and need a quick meal, Gasparilla fits the bill!
I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts about Gasparilla Grill! Let me know your reviews in the comments section below.