Review: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
By Dave Shute
DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
Note: Coronado Springs has entered an extensive refurb. See this for more.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is distinctive among Disney World’s moderate resorts for its level of amenities–higher than at any other moderate–and some of the characteristics of its rooms.
Both of these distinctions come from its dual role as both a family hotel and a convention hotel, which yields both positive and negative effects.
- Extra amenities available only at Coronado Springs among the moderates are those typically offered to business travelers, including a substantial room-service menu, a fitness center, and a grill at the main pool. For access to these, you may pay $3-$6 more a night for a standard room than you’d pay at one of the other traditional moderates some nights of the year.
- The rooms differ a bit from other moderates in that their fixtures and fittings have been optimized for double-occupancy convention stays, so things are just a little different than in the other moderate rooms. (More on this later.) Moreover there overall decor is starkly masculine, and not as fun as, for example, the Disney-themed rooms at Caribbean Beach.
Even so, my half-dozen stays at Coronado Springs (most recently in November 2014) confirm that Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort remains the second best of the moderate resorts for first time family visitors.
(For what the moderates provide, and how they compare to the other Disney World resort classes, click here)
You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort.
However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. (See this for why.)
That said, the moderates represent ~30% of the rooms of Walt Disney World, and will be sought by some because this site’s recommended resorts are sold out, because you are on return visits, or because–sensibly–you’re just not that into my rankings!
So I’ve stayed (so far) in the moderate resorts twenty-seven times, and published reviews of each.
REVIEW: CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience. On this basis, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is the second-best moderate resort for first time family visitors.
(Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is first but see this before you consider booking it, Port Orleans Riverside is third, and Port Orleans French Quarter fourth; these results are very close. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are ranked last, and this is not close.)
FLOOR PLANS AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
These rooms are quite spacious, and the bedroom area is particularly ample–bigger than the bedroom spaces at the smallest deluxe resorts. (See this.)
The rooms sleep four in two queen-sized beds. You can add to this capacity of four a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.
They do have some differences compared to other standard moderate rooms, mostly tied to their potential use by double-occupancy convention visitors.
- Rather than a table and two chairs, they have a desk with one chair
- Rather than a set of several large drawers, there’s two sets of three smaller drawers–one set for each convention occupant
- The TV wall next to the bath omits the small bench and coat rack typically here at the other moderates
- The bathroom is divided, but is set up for single use, and for more privacy while it’s being used. The screen separating it from the bedroom is solid wood, not fabric (among other moderates, only refurbed rooms in Caribbean beach have this), and it has one sink rather than two
Other room points worth noting:
- The heating/cooling unit has been moved from in front of the window where you’ll find it in other moderates to a walled in space next to the first bed. This frees space by the window compared to the other moderates, and that space has been filled with two little ottomans
- The room overall is stark and masculine.
KID APPEAL AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
While slight, the kid appeal of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is enough to bring it to second in the ranking on this measure among the moderates, after Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Coronado Spring’s kid appeal comes from:
–The American southwest and Mexican architecture and theming, which will be exotic and intriguing to some kids who have not traveled to or lived in such regions.
–The beaches in one of the resort’s three sections, the Cabana area.
–And the fun main pool, decorated with a Mesoamerican pyramid
The rooms themselves have zero kid appeal, being the most “businesslike” of rooms in any of Disney’s moderate resorts.
CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
Disney’s Coronado Springs is the second most convenient of the Moderates, exceeded only by Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter.
Disney calls it an “Animal Kingdom Area Resort,” and is poorly placed on maps in many websites and guidebooks right next to the Animal Kingdom.
It is in fact just a bit west of World Drive, is as close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios as it is to the Animal Kingdom, and is the most centrally located of all the moderate resorts.
(It is just south of the (theme park attendance weighted) center of Walt Disney World. This center is located in the undeveloped area west of World Drive, north of the Coronado Springs Resort, and south of the Magic Kingdom parking lot.)
OTHER DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
For adults, Coronado Springs Resort presents far and away the best value for money among the moderates.
It is the only moderate with a spa, the only one with a health club, the only one with a substantial room-service menu, and the only one with real business services support.
It also has in Pepper Market one of the better food courts among the moderates, although it is much less fun, varied and interesting (and complicated…) than it used to be.
For all this, you may pay $3-6 more per night some nights of the year than you would at the other moderates.
On the other hand, the reason it has such good amenities is because Coronado Springs is the only moderate which also serves conventions. If a big convention is at the resort, the food court, restaurants and bars can be choked up with the crowds.
The peak season for Orlando conventions is January through March.
BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms (because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms, or going to the main resort food area often; the single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.)
Coronado Springs has three architecturally different areas: the Casitas, buildings 1-5; Cabanas, buildings 8-9; and Ranchos–buildings 6 and 7.
There’s pretty stark trade-offs among the areas in terms of access to the food court and main pool.
See the map (click it to enlarge it.)
Standard rooms on the top floors (quieter) in buildings 8a and 8b of the Cabanas section are the best bet, because of their access to the kid-pleasing beaches that are present only in this section of the resort, closeness to both the main pool and the dining area, and nearby bus stop.
(I used to recommend 9a, but construction in the former site of 9b makes me hesitant to advise staying there.)
The top floors (quieter) of the Casitas are the next best choice, partly because their architecture provides a mostly sun-and-rain-shielded walkway to the central services and food area. Buildings 1, 2, and 3 benefit from this walkway, and are closer to the food court; buildings 4 and 5 don’t have the walkway, and are further from the food court, but are closer to the main pool.
Avoid the Ranchos (buildings 6 and 7), as their theming—southwestern desert—is too subtle for most kids, and may show up to them as ugly or forbidding instead. They are also farthest from the food and other central services—though many are quite close to the main pool.
Here’s the online check-in form:
Families that will take advantage of the extra amenities—the room service, spa, health club, business center, etc.
Families that won’t—the extra price, and risk of convention congestion, would suggest Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort instead.
PHOTO TOUR OF A STANDARD ROOM AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
This review continues here!