(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, see this.)
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is one of 5 moderate resorts at Walt Disney World:
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, the first Disney World hotel to be designated a moderate, which opened in 1988
- Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort (opened in 1991 as Disney’s Port Orleans Resort)
- Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort (opened in 1992 as Disney’s Dixie Landing Resort)
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (opened 1997) and
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, officially classed as moderate in 2008, but opened (as the Wilderness Homes) in 1986. (Fort Wilderness Campground opened much earlier, but precursors to the Cabins did not arrive until 1986.)
The moderates have much more room than the value resorts, more amenities, and (except for Fort Wilderness) much better landscaping. See this for what you get by Disney World price class.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is themed to a “blend of Spanish, Mexican and Southwest American cultures… This beautiful lakeside oasis offers classic influences, Disney touches and modern comforts to energize and inspire as you delight in an array of new features, eateries and enhancements.”
Rooms here typically have two queens or one king, and dozens of suites are available as well, uniquely among the moderates. Club level rooms (“club” is what Disney calls “concierge”) are available as well–also uniquely among the moderates.
The resort is divided into El Centro, with some amenities and the convention center, and four differently themed lodging areas:
- The Casitas, resembling a graceful cityscape
- The Ranchos, based on Southwestern desert habitats and architecture; and
- The Cabanas, intended to give the sense of “a quaint beachfront retreat complete with cozy hammocks.”
- Gran Destino Tower, which extends the theming concept to South America and Spain, and has most of the other amenities
Gran Destino rooms are accessed from interior corridors, and rooms in the other three areas have a different layout as they are accessed from exterior corridors.
The two basic rooms types have largely similar amenities, but Gran Destino rooms have less Disney theming, better baths, yet a weak bath layout compared to standard rooms elsewhere in the resort. Gran Destino is best for adults, and the Cabanas are best for families. See the map for their locations.
THE CASITAS AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
The Casitas, closest to the main building and Convention Center, have the loveliest architecture among these.
Until Gran Destino Tower opened in July 2019, the Casitas also had the highest appeal to conventioneers, being both closest to the convention center, and the location of most of the Coronado Springs suites. They remain a sound choice for convention visitors, but Gran Destino is better.
Most suites are in Casitas 1, and there are many lovely courtyards and fountains between Casitas 1 and Casitas 2.
(Yes, Coronado Springs is the only moderate with suites; these are required to compete for convention business, as they are often given away or heavily discounted to meeting planners in return for reserving a block of rooms, and are also required as sales and meeting settings by some exhibitors.)
Buildings 1, 2 and 3 are closest to the services at Gran Destino and to El Centro and to the Convention Center. They are also interconnected by covered walkways, very handy in the rain or summer sun. Buildings 4 and 5 are balanced between El Centro and the main pool at The Dig Site. Buildings 2 and 4 are closest to the bus stop.
THE CABANAS AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
The Cabanas, the opposite direction from the Casitas, have undistinguished, dull architecture, meant to recollect casual beach houses, hence the perhaps overly subtle patching on the roofs…
…but look lovely from across the lake. These rooms have the best location for families, being in between the El Centro services and the main pool.
Alone among the three room areas of Coronado Springs, the Cabanas are fronted by beaches.
Another view of the beaches…
…and the beaches in the morning.
The kid appeal of these beaches and overall convenience to both the Gran Destino and El Centro services and to the main pool makes the Cabanas the best area for families, and is why I rate Coronado Springs as the second-best moderate for first-time family visitors.
Building 8c (formerly 9a) is the Cabanas building most convenient to both Gran Destino and El Centro and the main pool, and is the best choice for family travelers. Buildings 8a and 8b are also fine choices–a little further from Gran Destino and El Centro, but closer to the pool and bus stop.
THE RANCHOS AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
The third area, the Ranchos, is the only area off the water, and has a wilder cactus-y Southwestern theme, which may be a little too realistically arid and barren for some kids to enjoy.
Theming includes dry washes…
…and animal tracks.
The buildings are meant to reflect the main buildings of old ranches. This works better in the tall buildings, not so well in the two-story buildings.
Note the stonework on the columns and the (fake) chimneys.
The Ranchos are also a hike from the resort central services and convention center, though some of these rooms are near the main pool. Building 7a is next to the bus stop but is otherwise the most inconvenient building at Coronado Springs. If you are here as part of a team attending a convention, your colleagues are in Gran Destino, and you are assigned by your boss to 7a–well, update your resume.
GRAN DESTINO TOWER AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
Gran Destino Tower is the tour-de-force at Coronado Springs, and has both the best amenities and best location, although its bus stop can be over-pressed with guests.
It is the only Disney World moderate space with accommodations, dining and bars in the same building, the only moderate space with interior corridors, and the only accommodation area at Coronado Springs with a temperature-controlled walkway to El Centro and the convention center there. The club lounge is also here.
You will read, here and there, claims that the Disney-Dali collaboration Destino deeply influenced the theming of Gran Destino Tower. The actual influence of the film is fairly slender-the only material references you’ll find are a couple of names and dandelions. Jim Korkis has more on this here.
And if you know your Dali, you will recognize that this is a good thing. Ants turning into bicycles is not the recipe for a delightful place to stay.
What you will find instead in Gran Destino is a gorgeous set of colors and textures that, while not often much Disney, together create, by far, the loveliest spaces among the moderates.
A few more images from inside Gran Destino:
The issue with Gran Destino, if there is one, is its rooms, so let’s now turn to the two basic rooms types at Coronado Springs.
This review continues here!
TOPICS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
- Overview and summary review of Coronado Springs
- The theming and accommodations areas of Coronado Springs
- A photo tour of a standard room at Coronado Springs
- A photo tour of a Gran Destino Tower room at Coronado Springs
- Amenities at Coronado Springs
- Dining at Coronado Springs
- The pools at Coronado Springs
OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD
- Where to stay–the Basics
- Where first-timers should stay
- Reviews of all the Disney World resorts, based on my 150+ stays in them