Hey everybody, there’s a new itinerary out for arrivals 8/31 through 10/26/2019. You can find it here.

By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Category — q. Reviews

Review and Photo Tour of Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou Rooms

For the first page of this review of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, see this.

THE ALLIGATOR BAYOU ROOMS AT PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

Port Orleans Riverside has two areas and three distinct room types.

Its Magnolia Bend area has two room types, Royal Rooms and Standard Rooms, each sleeping four in two queen beds.

Its Alligator Bayou area rooms sleep five in two queen beds and one short (~66 inches long) Murphy bed.

These Alligator Bayou rooms are one of only two traditional moderate resort spaces that sleep 5 (non-Pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach are the other), and these rooms are as a result very important to families a little larger than average or families that work best with three sleeping spots

For families that don’t need the extra bed, these rooms have so-so theming (although it is warmer and more cheery after the latest refurb), are kind of ugly in spots–although your taste may vary–and are a bit thin on storage. Such families have better options.

REVIEW OF THE ALLIGATOR BAYOU ROOMS [Read more →]

October 14, 2019   No Comments

Review: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2019

MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY 2019

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (“MNSSHP”) is a special, separately ticketed party that happens on certain nights every September, October and some years–like 2019–even early November at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

At the party you will find un-crowded rides, a special parade (shown twice, at 9.15 and 11.15p), special fireworks at 10.15p, a Hocus Pocus show, trick-or-treating, a dance party…and a ton of guests in costumes!

I had a chance to see it again in mid-September 2019, and the scoop follows!

(See this for more on logistics–Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates, ticket prices, etc.)

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2019 AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY

The 2019 party pretty much follows the pattern set in 2015 and continued since. The most important change over the period is that the first parade is later.  This limits a bit the crowds in the hub during the first part of the party. You will still see crowds everywhere–ride waits are low to very low but the paths are mobbed.

The big change for 2019 is a new fireworks and projection show, Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular, replacing the old Hallowishes. There is a lot to like with the new show, but I liked the Hallowishes finale much better, and, because of the projections, you really need to be in the hub–with 15,000 of your twitter followers–to see it at its best.

In 2018, three rides were “plussed” for the party” and Pirates of the Caribbean is much better plusse din 2019 than it was in 2018.  I don’t want to give anything away–just ride it and let me know what you think.

The Mad Tea Party gained a different soundtrack, lights, and spooky smoke effects, greatly increasing its popularity–except with me.

Pirates of the Caribbean gained some live characters…

Finally, the experience of Space Mountain really changes with a near blackout of the ride.

A big part of the fun of Space Mountain has been not being able to see what comes next–and a refurb a few years ago made the ride even darker (though not everyone is a fan). For the party, we have something different–a near black-out.  All lighting effects are turned off, objects formerly lit are now dark, there’s no stars in the sky.  All you can see is a few red dots here and there and some distant “EXIT” signs.

The effect is to make Space Mountain much more scary than before–as testified to by the quite louder screams, mostly of joy, you will hear while riding it. (Note that I did not ride Space Mountain this year, so my description is from last year.)

One reviewer innocent of analytical skill recently posed hat the plussing of these rides reduces crowds by pulling people into their lines. Hint: lengthening the lines of three rides by about ten minutes each is not enough to reduce the all-night pressure on the hub…

The best approach to the Party remains the same–skip the character meets, defer trick or treating until later, see rides until the fireworks, and watch the second parade rather than the first. If you do this will avoid crowds (except in the hub and around the parade route) and have a fun evening.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

But because of the crowds remaining after the 9.15 parade, it will be hard to get to the hub to see the fireworks and projections from there. See my images later in this review to see how much the projections and such might appeal to you.  My advice is to make your way to the hub as soon as the first parade has passed through, a little before 10p.

So do rides until just before ten, find a fireworks spot in the hub and see them, then see the characters and go trick or treating, see the 11.15p parade, and see the midnight Hocus Pocus show. A late night.

COSTUMES AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY

Costumes are not required, and not everyone wears them. But even after the increased security that began in December 2015, they are still allowed at the party.

Above is the official Disney lingo (click it to enlarge it). Note that these guidelines are solely for the Halloween Party.  “Regular” attendance is subject to different rules, basically ruling out costumes for those 14 and older.

Guest Costumes Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

The most common costumes continue to be princess costumes and pirate costumes, and after that Star Wars costumes.

Guest Costumes Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

And this group in Tomorrowland proved a Disney princess theme was not required!

THE PARADE, FIREWORKS, DANCE PARTY, HOCUS POCUS SHOW AND TRICK-OR-TREATS AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY

Besides most rides being open to short (or shorter) waits, MNSSHP has a special set of Halloween-themed activities (see above–click to enlarge it).

Boo to You Parade at Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net (2) (800x525)

For example, the parade–Mickey’s Boo-to-You Parade–is seen only at MNSSHP.

It begins with a surprise–pay attention when the cast members start to rope off the crosswalks (dampness on the streets may eliminate this first surprise).

Then a bunch of characters stroll by.

It then shifts to ducks and mice…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (8)

…then some pirates…

…a pirate friend…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (7)

…more pirates…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net
…but then shortly shifts to my favorite part, Haunted-Mansion themed dancing gravediggers and ghouls.

Boo to You Parade at Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net (8) (450x800)

More ghouls.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (6)

The gravedigger dance.

More from the Haunted Mansion.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (5)

Soon comes candy…

…and added in 2019 more Pixar fun:

 

…then the parade goes back to scary, ending with Disney villains!

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (4)

There’s two showings of the parade, at 9.15p and 11.15p, with a Halloween-themed fireworks and projection show between at 10.15p.

The show is best seen from the hub, about halfway in.

Below are fireworks photos. Note the projections on the castle in particular.

Also offered are some entertainments.

Dance Party Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Dance Party Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

The Liberty Square dance party left years ago, but there’s still an outdoor Monsters-themed dance party at the thingy between Astro-Orbiter and Space Mountain.

New for 2019 you’ll find a Disney Descendants themed dance party in Cosmic Rays, which had a lot more energy than most prior parties in this space.

There’s a Disney Junior dance party in Storybook Circus…

…not much attended, at least during my visit to it.

You’ll also find lots of Halloween-themed merchandise.  Some is specific to the party (and may be sold out–see your brochure for locations) and the rest is generally available–including, somewhat jarringly, in the Christmas shop.

Although to be fair, it appeared that Santa Claus might have visited the party on holiday…I saw him in the Caribbean Beach bus line.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (3)

The Hocus Pocus show is quite popular.  The three sisters from the movie return…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (2)

…and call on hordes of Disney villains to help them stay.

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2016 from yourfirstvisit.net (2)
The show includes strong songs and dances, fun characters, and some spectacular effects. Those familiar with the movie need not get close to the stage (thought it can’t hurt), but if you haven’t seen it, the characters of the three sisters are much more apparent if you are closer to the stage.  This is easier at the midnight show, not so easy at the earlier shows.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne

Character meet-n-greets are all over the place–with both common and unusual characters.

Some more characters:

There’s also a ton of trick or treat locations, marked by lighted columns.

Get your trick-or-treat bag on the pathway that begins at the left of Town Square…

…and your first handful of candy, too.

But both the characters and trick-or-treating raise an issue.

STRATEGY AND RIDES AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY

Wait Times Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

All the major rides are open, and many minor rides as well. Most have very short waits–e.g. 10 minutes for Space Mountain. Typically, only Peter Pan and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train have annoying waits.

Characters Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

The trick-or-treat spots and especially the character greetings, on the other hand, have pretty long lines, and the hub is packed all evening.

So the best approach is to skip the character greetings and trick-or-treats–or delay them until after the fireworks–and spend the first part of the evening on rides.

Do rides until 30 minutes or so before the 10.15p fireworks show, head to the hub then, and watch it.

Now try trick-or-treating or character meets. Then see the second (11.15p) parade and the midnight Hocus Pocus show.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net (2)
I struggle with whether or not this party is worth the money for first-time family visitors who may never return.

It’s quite expensive–for a family of four, well over $300, and even over $400 on many dates. And it’s just a five hour show (7p to midnight)–though Disney unofficially lets you in starting at 4p.

Yet the fireworks, while not I think as good as prior shows, are among the best Disney World offers, the parade is a hoot, the rides have short lines…and the costumes are fun!

Magic Kingdom 2014 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net

My overall take is that for first-timers this time and money is better spent elsewhere, but that’s a really close call, and for sure I’d recommend it to returning visitors!

 

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September 25, 2019   No Comments

Review: Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy in DIsney’s Hollywood Studios

In March 2019, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the far end of Sunset Boulevard—about as far from Galaxy’s Edge as it could get, which was probably part of the point, to spread crowds (if they ever do show up) a bit.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is in what had been the rarely-interesting Sunset Showcase building, set in a courtyard accessed through a gate just to the right of the entrance to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

You wait for it outside, with umbrellas providing some relief from the elements. Since shows are continuous, you likely will need to wait at most 12-15 minutes, just until the next performance.

Frankly, I had low expectations for this ride, but it is a winner. Yes, you need to enjoy Cars to get much out of it.

But if you do—or someone in your family does, perhaps younger than you—then it is a solid attraction, with a great audio-animatronic of Lightning McQueen, fun racing scenes, more appearances by other good guys, a bad guy, and virtue triumphant.

The bench seats are about as uncomfortable as you’ll find at Disney World, but the duration of the show is not long enough for this to much matter.

Outside the building, Cruz Ramirez from the Cars franchise takes pictures with guests, and a DJ-led dance party is also intermittently scheduled outside in the courtyard.


Here’s the review from our book–we are working on the 2020 edition, I promise!

 

 

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September 16, 2019   No Comments

Amenities and Dining at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando in the Bonnet Creek Resort

(For the first page of this review of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, click here.)

AMENITIES AND DINING AT THE WALDORF ASTORIA ORLANDO

The Waldorf Astoria is deep in the Bonnet Creek Resort.

You access this area from Buena Vista Drive, just east of the old Caribbean Beach entrance, soon to become the Riviera entrance, then drive a while and turn right at the stop sign. In the image above, the intersection of the access road and Buena Vista–Chelonia Parkway–is marked in yellow, and the Waldorf Astoria Orlando is marked in red.

There’s both some standard Disney signage (albeit in a different color scheme)…

…and also a large sign indicating the entrance.

On the way to the Waldorf Astoria, you will pass sister resort Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, then their shared parking garage, and then come to the Waldorf Astoria, with a port cochere where you can valet.

Most amenities except the pools and one restaurant are just inside on the second floor, including the check-in area and other guest services.

There’s little lobby seating, but strong service and staffing suggest little is needed–and the adjacent lobby bar has plenty of seats.

The lobby bar also functions as a coffee shop in the morning.

I ate several times in this bar and quite enjoyed my crab cakes…

…and heirloom tomatoes.

There’s another more robust bar, Sir Harry’s, that I did not experience.

Also on this level is Bull and Bear, a classic expense-account steakhouse that is destination dining for many.

Across from the lobby bar are a couple of small shops, one a bit focused on sundries and the other on resort wear.  A classic Disney shop is in the next-door Hilton.

Downstairs on the way to the pool is the more family friendly Oscar’s, well known for its breakfast buffet, and there’s more dining at the pool and at the next-door Hilton. The full scoop on dining at the both the Waldorf Astoria and the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is here.

You’ll also find at the Waldorf Astoria a spa…

…and a nice workout room.

Outside, near the port cochere, is a stop for theme park buses. Buses here run too infrequently, and have too many stops, for me to be able to recommend them.

For example, in my May stay, Magic Kingdom buses left generally every thirty minutes (there were a few 60 minute intervals).  From Magic Kingdom half went on to Epcot, then to Hollywood Studios, and half went on to Animal Kingdom. Buses to the Studios could take 45 minutes.

Moreover as is the case with all non-Disney buses, Magic Kingdom buses dropped off at TTC, not the park itself.

Having a rental car, or using cabs, Uber or Lyft (or for a pricey variant of Lyft, a Minnie Van) is a better option.

Theoretically one could walk out of the Bonnet Creek Resort, into the Disney resorts Caribbean Beach or Riviera, and board Disney’s Skyliner gondola system there after its September opening. But it’s a long walk (two miles or more, unless someone punches a path through between Caribbean Beach’s Trinidad and Barbados, which would bring it down to about a mile), and the path ends on Chelonia–there’s no walking path on Buena Vista

The final amenity worth noting is the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club.

Including the additional amenities in the next door sister resort Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek–especially the Hilton’s pool complex and its lazy river, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando has as full a set of amenities as pretty much any non-Disney resort with similar perks.

The Waldorf Astoria’s own pool complex is less interesting, especially for families–the full overview of the Waldorf Astoria pool complex comes next!

THE POOL COMPLEX AT THE WALDORF ASTORIA ORLANDO

This review continues here.

MORE ON THE WALDORF ASTORIA ORLANDO

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can book your Disney World vacation at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando–or at any other Disney World hotel!  Contact her using the form below.

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September 4, 2019   No Comments

Theming and Accommodations in Gran Destino Tower and the Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabanas at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

(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:

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 from yourfirstvisit.net
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.

A photo tour of a Gran Destino room is here, and a photo tour of the sort of standard rooms you’ll find in the rest of the resort is here.

THE CASITAS AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT

Casitas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

The Casitas, closest to the main building and Convention Center, have the loveliest architecture among these.

Casitas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Fountain Casitas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Most suites are in Casitas 1, and there are many lovely courtyards and fountains between Casitas 1 and Casitas 2.

Casitas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Flowers Casitas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

(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.)

Casitas Walkway Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

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

Cabanas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

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…

Cabanas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

…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.

Cabanas Beach Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Alone among the three room areas of Coronado Springs, the Cabanas are fronted by beaches.

Cabanas Beach Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

Another view of the beaches…

Cabanas Beach Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

…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

Ranchos Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Dry Wash Ranchos Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Theming includes dry washes…

Hithing Post Ranchos Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…hitching posts…

Animal Tracks Ranchos Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…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.

Ranchos Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

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.

PHOTO TOUR OF A CASITAS/RANCHOS/CABANAS ROOM AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT

This review continues here!

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August 17, 2019   No Comments

Photo Tour of a Standard Casitas, Ranchos, or Cabanas Room at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, see this.)

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort has two standard room types. One, found only in Gran Destino Tower, is covered here. The material on this page covers the other standard room type, which you will find in the other three accomodations areas at Coronado Springs–the Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabanas.

Coronado Springs completed a room refurb project in its Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabanas areas in the fall of 2018. The main differences in the refurbed rooms compared to what was offered in these areas before:

  • Double rather than single sinks
  • More Disney theming
  • The addition of an easy chair
  • Wooden rather than carpeted floors
  • Higher beds, with storage underneath
  • Bigger TVs and many, many more power points
  • More structured storage, especially in the old closet area
  • Many rooms with showers instead of tub/shower combos, and where tub/shower combos still exist, the shower curtain is now sliding glass, rather than fabric

The rooms continue to be largely similar to those in the other Disney World moderate resorts, but with a few key differences related to the importance of the convention and meetings market at Coronado Springs–specifically, a desk instead of a table and two chairs, and a dresser optimized for two convention-goers.

As you enter the room, on one side you’ll find a pair of queen beds.

The bed side from the back.

A closer view of one of the queens.

Besides the lights over the beds you can see, there’s four of these pencil reading lights–one on each side of each bed.

As has become common in recent Disney World refurbs, the beds are a single mattress on a platform, and are about 30 inches high.

Open underneath, there’s now room for you to stick your luggage under the beds–there’s about 14.5 inches of clearance.

Between the two beds is a bedside table. Note the Three Caballeros-inspired art above.

There’s multiple power points on either side of this table…

…and a drawer, small but big enough for your important books.

Inside the table you’ll find a safe.

It’s as large a safe as I’ve seen in a Disney World room, likely so it can hold to hold the valuables of two conventioneers.

To give you a sense of its size, my book is six by nine inches.

The other side of the room is dominated by an easy chair and a long mini-fridge/desk/dresser combo.

This side of the room from the back.

The easy chair by the window is new in this refurb, replacing a couple of small ottomans, and makes the room more comfortable for conventioneers or families. Note more Three Caballeros art.

Next to it is the first part of the long object…

…with a glass-doored mini-fridge below…

…and a coffee service above.

Next is the desk area with a task lamp and set of power points.

 

Next is the dresser with a 54 inch TV above and another set of power points in between at the right.

The six drawers of the dresser will easily fit the two conventioneers or family of four that these rooms can hold.

The divided bath is in the back of the room, separated from it by a pair of sliding doors.

The sinks are just behind these doors. Note the makeup mirror, new with this refurb.

There’s an extensive set of toiletries, including sunburn relief gel, a shower cap, and a sewing kit–more than you’ll find at other moderates, or most deluxes–suited to the demands of business travelers.

There’s some storage below the sinks…

…and also at the back of the sink area.

The formerly open closet area is now enclosed.

Inside the closet you’ll find the iron and ironing board.

The rest of the bath is enclosed behind a pocket door.

It features either a shower, or (as I learned on Mario’s terrific Coronado Springs Facebook group–also see his site and forum), a shower/tub combo with sliding glass doors. If a tub is important to you, Mario says to request one.

Either way you’ll get a rainfall showerhead and in addition a hand-held head.

As is becoming common in hotels at Disney World and elsewhere, shampoo, conditioner and body wash is available in large wall-mounted bottles.

A motion-sensitive fan is in this part of the bath, and because it is loud and seems to never shut off, it may drive you mad until you realize that you can turn it off by tapping on the left-most of the three controls in this area.

In general this refurb is a positive step. Some will object to the lost carpet, and others to the shower or the glass doors in the tub. But the added sink, added easy chair, bigger TV, plethora of power points, re-structured closet, and other additions are all positives for both business and family visitors.  And the Three Caballeros art adds a bit of Disney theming to a space that in its prior life did not have any.

PHOTO TOUR OF A GRAN DESTINO TOWER STANDARD ROOM AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT

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August 16, 2019   2 Comments