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Review: Gasparilla Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

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!

Atmosphere

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.

Gasparilla Entrance

Gasparilla Food Area

You’ll find plenty of seating inside and outside. Outdoor seating has a fantastic view of the Grand Floridian harbor (and passing monorails!).

Gasparilla Indoor Seating

Gasparilla Outdoor Seating

View from Gasparilla Grill

And the Grand Floridian’s video game arcade is located right in the restaurant!

Gasparilla Games

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.

Main Menu -- click for larger image

Grab and Go and Late Night dining -- click for larger image

Drinks and Sides -- click image for larger version

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.

Gasparilla Order and Pick Up Window

Gasparilla Hot Breakfast Items

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 Bakery

Crumb Cake

Sticky Buns

Rice Krispie Treats

Gasparilla Grill has a wide variety of cold, grab-and-go items that include fruit, sushi, salads, cold snacks, cupcakes, and more.

Fruit

Gasparilla Cold Items

Sushi Vegetable Rolls

Sushi California Roll Close Up

Cupcakes

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!

Ice Cream Dispenser

Ice Cream Toppings

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.

Gasparilla Kids' Picks

Gasparilla Kid Sides

Drinks are also available via your standard paper cup or the refillable mugs found at all Disney resorts..

Disney Parks Paper Cup

Refillable Mugs

Self-serve beverage stations are available for guests (VERY helpful when you need a refill on your mug in the middle of the night).

Gasparilla Beverage Refill Station

Hot Beverage Station

Tea Dispenser

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. :-)

Toaster

Microwave

Condiments

Condiments

Condiments

Half n Half Coffee Creamer

When you get up to the cashier, all of your purchases will be paid for together. As usual, you’ll have multiple payment options.

Payments Accepted

Oh -- and FYI -- Limit 2 Alcoholic Beverages

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!

Eats

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!

Nuggets and Fries

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.

Cheeseburger

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!

Roast Beef Sandwich

Boursin Cheese Spread

Close Up of Roast Beef Sandwich

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.)

smores cupcake

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.

Smores Cupcake Close Up

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.

Smores Cupcake CrossSection

Of course I did dig out the chunk of frosting in the middle of the cupcake and just eat that. Yes. Yes I did.

Smores Cupcake

Overall

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.

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22 Comments

  1. Emma says:

    We used the Gasparilla Grill a few times while staying at the Grand Floridian on our honeymoon last month.
    We bought drinks & icecreams (strawberry fro-yo, mmmm!) to have by the courtyard pool; and one night we got drinks from there and sat on a bench near the marina to watch Wishes across the lake :)

  2. Vader's Mom says:

    My husband and I don’t feel like our trip is complete unless we swing in here and order a pizza. One of the best in all of Disney World.

  3. TraciLeigh says:

    My favorite part of the Gasparilla Grill…sitting at one of the outside tables, watching the Monorail and listening for the WDW Railroad train whistle. I could sit there for hours. (sigh…now I really need to get back to the Grand Floridian). :)

  4. Amy says:

    Thanks for the review! We will be staying at GF for our first time in September and its great to see first-hand reviews of places. I look forward to a CARMEL drenched soft serve while sitting outside at night (I LOVE carmel and it’s hard to find).

  5. Tony says:

    Although years ago it offered more selections, it is still a very handy place to have on the resort’s grounds (especially since the in-room snack/bars no longer exist). We’ve stopped in at Gasperilla’s numerous times over the years.

  6. Galloping Gourmand says:

    That seating area outside looks like it’s the real draw of the place. Just lovely. It does seem a little small. Do people at the deluxe resorts generally not choose to eat at the food courts? I only have experience at the moderate and value, which are jam packed at breakfast. This couldn’t hold 1/4 of the people those places do.

    The menu looks fairly standard for a quick service place. It’s your typical food court fare with some upper end items to match the overall theme and “level” of the resort. I would be interested to know how the lobster or the tabbouleh is. Oh, and they cut their roast beef too thick (a lil NY deli snobbery coming out, sorry.)

    Finally, whenever I see a food establishment that has “Games” in it’s name I remember the old Food and Fun Center on the first floor of the Contemporary. It was a highlight of my stays as a kid. Ah… the memories!

  7. James (Disneynorth) says:

    Sigh…. No Cherry Coke at the fountain….

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Does the hotel offer any backstory on the Gasparilla name? Being from Tampa I am happy that our celebration is represented at the Grand Floridian Resort…since we consider ourselves both grand AND Floridian over here on the Gulf Coast. ;-)

    Here are a couple of links for anyone interested in knowing a little more…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Gaspar

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasparilla_Pirate_Festival

  9. Christie says:

    We too were pleasantly surprised by the selection at the G.Grill, and didn’t have anything that we were not happy with. Being open 24 hrs was huge. We typically stay at the Poly, and I have to say, even with the updatd comp system, we are not a big fan of their new meal choices. We found the roast beef sandwiches, salads, parfaits and Italian subs much more enjoyable than anything Captain Cooks is serving up lately- except the Dole Whips. I think on our trip in Oct i may walk over from the Poly to grab food at the G.Gill instead of Captain Cooks, much more variety.

  10. Dina says:

    Can you use Dining Plan Counter Service credits here? Would like to try it on our Aug. trip for something different for lunch when we’re at MK.

  11. Dina says:

    oops, just found my answer, yes DDP accepted for Ctr. Svc. & snacks :)

  12. canada68 says:

    I stayed at the GF Feb ’10 and went to Gasparilla a few times…one of the best things about it was that they brewed REAL coffee (I don’t mean espresso, etc.- just regular coffee) instead of the usual, unpalatable Nescafe brew . Do they still have this AJ? I would agree with the previous comments- the strawberry frozen yogurt was very good and the outdoor seating area has a gorgeous view of the castle and I also loved listening to the WDW train whistle :)
    The one thing I really disliked (and, really, it doesn’t seem to fit in with the GF theme at all)- was the arcade being in the same room- I found it very loud while eating. Why not have a separate room like the Poly? Much nicer to sit outside if the weather permits.

  13. Andrew says:

    I love this blog…..because I love Disney, and food. And A.J…..you seem really really sweet. I listen to you on WDW Today. BUT……you write a FOOD BLOG and you write about chicken nuggets and a cheeseburger? you can get these at EVERY Disney counter service! Why not try something unique to this location? The foods you are reviewing are items reserved for children and mid westerners with no developed taste buds.

    I would love to have heard your opinion on the vegetable lasagna or the lobster mac and cheese!

    Again, AJ, I really do enjoy your blog, and your appearances on WDW Today…..but this has been bothering me lately.

  14. AJ says:

    Emma — So romantic!!

    Vader’s Mom — Great to see you on the blog again! I didn’t try the pizza, but I’ll have to go back on your recommendation!

    TraciLeigh — Aren’t those “monorail resort” noises wonderful?!

    Amy — Can’t wait to hear how you liked the ice cream!

    Tony — Thanks for your comment! Agreed that it’s a handy place to have around. Wish I was there when the in-room snack bars were there!

    GG — Great question about choosing to have breakfast. Most of the deluxe resorts really DON’T have large food courts or grab-and-go areas for quick dining. I never thought about it that way.

    James — Alas… (I wonder if I can get them to have cherry coke available at the Snack Attack for you!)

    Elizabeth — Thank you!!!

    Christie — Thanks for your review!

    Dina — Glad you found out! Yes, you can :-)

    Canada — Not sure about the real coffee here! What I saw were those machines in the post, but I didn’t look around for other options. That’s a good question. The arcade does look a bit misplaced; maybe there’s a refurb coming down the pike where they’ll create a separate arcade. GF is the only spot that I know of that still has it combined with counter service.

    Andrew — Thanks for your criticism. We always appreciate constructive suggestions from our readers. We’ll try to get some more interesting stuff in there for ya in the future. :)

  15. Emma (daydreamingdisney) says:

    Interesting post AJ. I would never have thought about seeking out this place in the GF but seems really nice. The menu seems to offer a few different choices to the norm as well. Another one for the list :)

  16. Bret says:

    I am so sorry I was out of town when this came up…

    I did not see the best thing on the menu here… You must try the Lobister Mac n cheese.
    It is a must for me one of the best things I have ever had at a CS. I was sataying at the Wilderness Lodge and went all the way over just to get it……

  17. Jsuede says:

    Wow,that soft serve station with the hot fudge and caramel KS worth the price of a GF room alone!

  18. Paul S says:

    It’s been almost two years, but the muffins here were great. I don’t know if they still have them all day, but when we were on the deluxe dining plan with lots of extra snack credits, we would buy muffins in the evening to eat the next day in our room for breakfast. Then we’d use the breakfast + dinner credit to eat at a signature (almost) every night. Good stuff.

  19. canada68 says:

    I checked out the coffee situation at Gasparilla the weekend of July 30th… they do still brew fresh coffee- it is to the left of the espresso machine. There are about 4 or 5 large thermal carafes that they brew real coffee into- a great alternative to Nescafe concentrate coffee.
    I found the arcade games, etc. even more out of place here than I remember- it is very loud when you are eating and the tables here seem like an afterthought. There seem to be more games than tables and you feel as if the arcade games are crowding the seating area.
    I had a croissant breakfast sandwich which was piled high with scrambled eggs plus processed cheese and 4 slices of bacon- that seemed extra generous!
    It was a bit lukewarm but tasty. It was too big for me to finish- it would easily feed 2 people.
    The cast members I dealt with were very friendly.
    Going to the Poly in September and since I really like the walkway between these resorts I’m going to walk over to Gasparilla (at least once) and have some real coffee in my refillable mug :)
    (I know there is real Kona coffee at the Poly but of course you can’t refill your mug with it!

  20. chantel says:

    The lobster cobb & the lobster mac & cheese are definite winners here! Next on my to-try list is the tabbouleh pita! And my veggie daughter swears by the lasagna here.

  21. Ken says:

    We stayed at the Grand Floridian for the first time in about 20 years. Overall, we had an enjoyable stay. We had one main complaint about the Gasparilla Grill. The coffee is located in what is essentially a nook that doesn’t accommodate many people. In the morning it is extremely crowded with people trying to get to the coffee machines. However, the most annoying thing is that there is no creamer dispenser, only a couple of carafes that were almost always empty or nearly empty. Several mornings, we had to find an attendant and ask to have the carafes refilled. It seems like a silly oversight for such a classy resort. We prefer to stay at the more casual Wilderness Lodge where the equivalent facility is the Roaring Forks. It is smaller than Gasparilla Grill, but the coffee machines and the creamer dispenser are easy to get to, and there is a more orderly and logical traffic flow.

  22. Leo Guerra says:

    Had the opportunity to visit on 1/3/13 while on our family New Year’s vacation; really enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere. Had the Philly cheese steak sandwich which was a was not very meaty but still quite tasty. Watch out for the birds if you sit outside as we did (they will be happy to chow down on any unattended food or crumbs that you may scatter!

    Very enjoyable view of the marina, MK castle and monorails passing by. As others of said, the toot from the MK train is also heard quite well.

    You will enjoy!

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