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 — w. Most Recent Stuff

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.


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.


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.


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 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.  This is largely bunk–the only material references you’ll find are a couple of names and dandelions.

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!





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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.


This review continues here!





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August 16, 2019   No Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Mission: SPACE

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.


By Jim Korkis

At a cost of over a hundred million dollars, Mission: SPACE in Epcot’s Future World opened in 2003, replacing the former Horizons attraction. Mission: SPACE takes place at the 45,000 square-foot ISTC (International Space Training Center) in the year 2036.

Each capsule of the X-2 Deep Space Shuttle holds a commander, pilot, navigator and engineer who are each given a task to perform during the mission. Each capsule has more computing power than a space shuttle. The attraction mechanism is basically a huge centrifuge that has multiple arms.  It spins and tilts in order to create the feeling that the guest is actually taking off and floating through space. The attraction has the rider experience up to 2.5Gs at liftoff, more than twice the force of gravity felt every day.

The Orange Mission is a trip to Mars and a descent to the surface. The Green Mission–that does not utilize the centrifuge but includes the tilting–is an orbit of the Earth.

It took more than 650 Walt Disney Imagineers more than 350,000 hours (the equivalent of 40 years of time) to develop Mission: SPACE. The Imagineers’ efforts took place over a five-year period.

Nearly 100 shades of red were tested before Imagineers decided on the color of the red planet that dominates the dramatic facade of Mission: SPACE.

The Gravity Wheel in the Space Simulation Lab rotates at one rotation per minute. It is 35 feet tall and 12 feet wide. The logo of the former Horizons attraction is affixed to the hub. The Horizons logo is also on the front of the cash register counter in the gift shop at the exit of the attraction. The planter in front of the attraction was the planter that formerly contained the Horizons marquee.

At the launch for the Mission: SPACE attraction in 2003 both astronaut Buzz Aldrin (who had shot a commercial promoting the attraction) and astronaut Wally Schirra (who wore a Mickey Mouse wristwatch during his October 1968 Apollo 7 mission) were in attendance.

The LRV (Lunar Rover) suspended from the ceiling in the Sim Lab is on loan from the Smithsonian. According to Walt Disney Imagineering, it is the only LRV constructed by NASA that is not on the moon.

The music was custom-written and scored for this attraction by Trevor Rabin, a one-time member of the rock band Yes, and a prolific composer of motion picture scores.

WDI worked with more than 25 space experts from NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory including five astronauts. NASA provided tours, briefings and discussions on current human and robotic missions, as well as the challenges that future missions, like a trip to Mars, might present.

With a career in the NASA space program that spanned more than 30 years, six-time NASA shuttle astronaut Story Musgrave is an ongoing consultant to the attraction. Musgrave describes the attraction as “a place where guests can imagine our future in space and their role in it, walking in the footsteps of heroes and building on the wealth of technology we’ve developed to date.”

Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios Dick Cook began an initiative to turn theme park attractions into films and one of the projects he approved was Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars (2000). The finished film has little direct relationship to the Mission to Mars theme park attraction but did inspire the Mission: SPACE attraction at Epcot in Florida, with actor Gary Sinise playing the same role he did in the film.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, The Unofficial Walt Disney World 1971 Companion: Stories of How the World Began, and Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.



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August 16, 2019   No Comments

Amenities at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

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


Amenities at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort has more amenities, by far, than any other moderate resort. Most are centrally located in either Gran Destino Tower or El Centro, but a few–especially the pools, but also some dining–are elsewhere in the resort.  This review has separate pages on dining at Coronado Springs and the pools at Coronado Springs. Other amenities are covered below.


Gran Destino Tower is where you check in and also where you’ll find guest services for help with your tickets, luggage, or other matters.

You can valet at the large port cohere outside the tower, or self park.

The area to which you are directed for self parking is fine for check-in parking, but too small for those staying in the tower. Another large parking area, shown above, is steps away, across the bus stops and nearer El Centro. (For those returning to Coronado Springs, this second area is the old check-in parking area.)

Also outside of (and also shown above) Gran Destino Tower is a bus stop that can be overwhelmed by the net increase of about 465 rooms using this bus stop (545 new at Gran Destino, about 80 demolished in the old Cabanas 9b). The other three lodging areas each have their own bus stop.

There’s a separate set of bus stops for Disney’s Magical Express…

…and also outside Gran Destino is an area that can help with boarding passes and luggage for those not using the Magical Express. (This is a tip-based service, and not all airlines are included.)

Inside Gran Destino Tower you’ll find the lobby, with decorating concepts inspired by the Disney-Salvador Dali collaboration Destino.

On one side of the lobby you’ll find check in services, and also help with tickets, dining and such…

…some nice seating areas…

…and an area that does double duty. Sometimes it is open and you can sit/charge your electronics here…

…and at other times it used for overflow check-in services when a bolus of folk attending a conference, meeting or convention have shown up.

Also in this area is one of two workout gyms at Coronado Springs. That’s two more than at any other moderate, BTW.

The other gym is near the Casitas quiet pool, where you will also find the La Vida spa–the only spa at a moderate resort.

Most other amenities at Coronado Springs are in the next-door El Centro. There’s an enclosed, temperature-controlled walkway from Gran Destino to El Centro–in the image, it is the curving corridor-shaped space.


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

In El Centro you’ll find shops, much dining (dining at Coronado Springs is covered here) and the entry to the convention center.

The gift shop Panchito’s is large, and while it has mostly standard Disney hotel gift shop stuff, there’s a bit of a Mexican selection similar to what you can find in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion.

Convention Center Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Coronado Springs is a convention resort, with a medium-sized convention center in El Centro, a circumstance which has led to much fussing, most of it silly.

All the deluxe resorts except the Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and Animal Kingdom Lodge are also convention resorts, and these get little fuss.

Conventions yield fewer people overall because there are fewer people per room, and most of the time they are spending their time in meetings, in catered meals, and on the exhibit floor, rather than clotting the buses or food courts.

Demands for business services means that Coronado Springs also has more amenities than any other moderate–more than double the dining options and bars, club level rooms,  a real pool grill, a spa, workout gyms, a health club–none of which you’ll find at the other moderates.

But when a thousand people leave a meeting and head to the pool, you’ll notice.


This review continues here!





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August 15, 2019   No Comments

Next Week (August 17 through August 25, 2019) at Walt Disney World


The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

For more on August 2019 at Disney World , see this.


The Magic Kingdom will be open from 9a-10p 8/17 through 8/195, 9a-6p 8/20, 9a-10p 8/21 and 8/22, 9a-6p 8/23, and 9a-10p 8/24 and 8/25

Epcot will be open from 9a-9p every day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-9p  8/17 through 8/24 and 9a–8.30p 8/25

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 9a-9.30p 8/17 and 8/18, 9a-8.30p 8/19, 9a-9.30p 8/20 and 8/21, 9a-8.30p 8/22, and 9a-9.30p 8/23 through 8/25


Saturday 8/17 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 8/18  Morning:  Hollywood Studios Evening: none

Monday 8/19 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Tuesday 8/20 Morning: none Evening: Epcot

Wednesday 8/21 Morning:  none Evening: Magic Kingdom

Thursday 8/22 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 8/23 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Saturday 8/24 Morning: Animal Kingdom  Evening: none

Sunday 8/25 Morning:  Hollywood Studios  Evening: none


The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon parade: 2p every day


Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom: 9p 8/17 through 8/24; 9.15p 8/25

IllumiNations at Epcot: 9p every night

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9p 8/17 through 8/24; 8.30p 8/25

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9.30p 8/17 through 8/24; 9p 8/25

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  8.45 and 10p 8/17 and 8/18; 8.45p 8/19; 8.45 and 10p 8/20 and 8/21; 8.45p 8/22; 8.45 and 10p 8/23 and 8/24; 8.30 and 9.30p 8/25


See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.


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August 15, 2019   No Comments

Dining 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 always had a wider range of dining options than any other Disney World moderate resort, and added even more in July 2019. In dining, it now far outclasses the other moderates, and is comparable to several deluxes.

Dining options are in four areas.

  • Gran Destino Tower offers a new table service venue, Toledo, and two new bars, Dahlia Lounge and Barcelona Lounge, each of which also serves hot food. Barcelona Lounge during the daytime does double duty as a coffee shop with various simple breakfast options.
  • Also new, over the water between the Casitas, Ranchos, and Dig Site, is the Three Bridges Bar and Grill, which combines a table service venue with a small bar.
  • In El Centro are two table service venues, a counter-service option, and a grab and go coffee shop.
  • It shares with Caribbean Beach the distinct position among the moderates of having hot food at the main pool bar, and it has a more extensive room-service menu than any other moderate, although the room service menu is weaker than it used to be.

Coronado Springs also has six bars–two in Gran Destino, two in or near El Centro, one over the water, and one at the pool.

If you are counting, that adds up to four more bars than any other moderate, and three more table service venues than any other moderate.


The standout at the new in July 2019 Gran Destino Tower is Toledo, a sixteenth floor Spanish-influenced venue with some nice, though limited, views, of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Toledo specializes in steak, seafood, and small plates. The non-entrees are the stars–the appetizers, cazuelas, house boards, and pintxos.  Above are a couple of these, the stuffed piquillo peppers and the Spanish charcuterie, both of which were delightful.

The rooftop setting is lovely for a moderate–or any hotel, for that matter–but can get quite loud, so much so that I would not consider it a date night option.

Despite the noise, I enjoyed the hanger steak, served on a bed of crushed potatoes and with charred peppers, greens, and salsa verde mixed in.

Here’s the review from our book:

You can find the menu for Toledo on Disney’s website here.

Next to Toledo is the new bar, Dahlia Lounge.

Quite nice, it has both indoor and outdoor seating.

The view from outdoor seating at Dahlia Lounge. Just under the rail at almost the far left you can see Tower of Terror; the blue building just to its right is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The camera lens makes these appear farther away than they are–we are just over a half a mile away.

Dahlia Lounge also has an extensive food menu.  See it here. Above are the savory churros, which I kinda felt I had to order, but were a little disappointing–other than the presentation.

And by the way, if you, like me, are a tad empty in the head regarding just what is a Dahlia, above are some examples, courtesy of the Cuyahoga County Fair–my go-to source for Disney World questions. That said, the namesake of the bar is not a flower, but the love interest in the Disney-Salvador Dali collaboration Destino.

The third new option at Gran Destino is Barcelona Lounge.  This first floor space is on the way out to either the pools or El Centro, so it sees much traffic. While there is nothing wrong with it, during times both are open I can’t think of any reason to go here rather than the Dahlia Lounge.

Barcelona Lounge also serves hot food–the full afternoon and evening menu is here.

Not in the online menu (at least as I write this post) are the breakfast offerings–a range of cold and room temperature options like pastries and fruit plates, and also coffee drinks.

There’s no refillable mug station in Gran Destino–there should be–but there is a set of coffee urns off to the left (if you are facing the bar).

There’s an event lawn just outside the Barcelona Lounge. Above is a shot of it from my 8th floor room, while it is being set up for a wedding, which Disney would film for its “Fairytale Weddings” series. The Barcelona Lounge is just behind the left side of the picture.

The propinquity of this event space–and the presence of the Dahlia Lounge upstairs–makes me expect that at times the Barcelona Lounge will be closed for events.


Also new in July 2019–but not part of Gran Destino Tower–is the Three Bridges Bar & Grill.

This over-the-water venue on Lago Dorado is connected by three bridges–also new–that start from El Centro, the Casitas, and the Dig Site–shortening walks from the Casitas to the Dig Site in particular.

Among other Disney World resort venues, Three Bridges is most like Geyser Point at the Wilderness Lodge, with its views, and the fact that its sides are open to the weather. But it is larger than Geyser Point, and feels more like a restaurant than a bar–though besides tables, it does have a lot of lounge chairs that can do double duty as either bar-area or dining-area options, depending on how much dining is booked.

The night I dined here, dining was so heavily booked that bar guests literally could sit only at the small bar–although the cast member volunteered to move me to a table if one opened up.

I had the stuffed mushrooms appetizer, and the braised pork tacos entree.  Both were terrific.

Overall, Three Bridges Bar & Grill is the most comfortable (so long as the weather cooperates) and casual of the Coronado Springs table service venues, and has some pretty nice prices (the tacos were $13, and the mushrooms $12). That said, I could easily see it being a popular event space as well.

The Three Bridges Bar & Grill menu is here.


El Centro, between Gran Destino and the Casitas, has a gift shop where you can buy various shelf-stable and refrigerated snack sand such, and also a grab and go shop, a bar that doubles as a table service venue, a food court, another table service venue, and another bar outside along the lake.

Grab and Go Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The grab and go food shop offers pastries, coffee, soft drinks, and such, and can get quite crowded if a convention or meeting is happening.

Next to it is the food-court style El Mercado de Coronado, formerly Pepper Market, the “quick service” meal offering.

Food Stations Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The food stations used to be overly complicated, but fresh and interesting, making Pepper Market then the best food court among the moderates, though admittedly convoluted.  Now El Mercado de Coronado is much more like any other Disney World food court, with a bit of an added garnish of southwestern offerings and flavors.

Check Out Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Checkout and payment used to have a mystifying multi-step approach that garnered the envy of former Warsaw Pact customer service staff, but now is utterly simple. El Mercado de Coronado is now comparable to other moderate quick service offerings, a loss on the food front but a gain on the service and simplicity dimension.

The El Mercado de Coronado menu is here.

Maya Grill Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

There are two table service offerings in El Centro.  Best known of these two is the Maya Grill.

The Maya Grill review from The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019:

The Maya Grill menu is here.

Las Ventanas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Also available for dining is the Rix Sports Bar & Grill, offering a table service menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Rix Sports Bar & Grill is in particular a great option for a hot breakfast that’s fresher than the cafeteria style offerings at EL Mercado. That’s the Chorizo Skillet, at $14 not wildly more expensive than a less tasty option at El Mercado.

The Rix Sports Bar & Grill menu is here.

Outdoor Bar Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

On the lake side of El Centro, you’ll find the last venue in the El Centro area, the Laguna Bar.

Because of its lakeside setting, Laguna used to the best bar among the moderates. However, it is now just the third or fourth best bar at Coronado Springs–a testimony to the quality and number of bars that opened here in July 2019.

Outdoors Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Also here is lots of other outdoor seating.


The main pool bar, Siestas Cantina, is unique among the moderates in offering a hot menu.

One of my lunches-Carnitas Tacos–from Siestas Cantina, no longer on the menu.

Another more pedestrian lunch. As much as my co-author Josh is dubious about their actual ingredients, that Snake River Wagyu Hot Dog is quite good.

A perhaps more legible version of the menu is here.


Coronado Springs used to offer the best room service menu among the moderates.

Above is the room service menu from as recently as April 2018.

The menu is much less interesting now…

…and food from it is presented unappealingly.

I expect that the demands of the meetings and conventions markets will force Coronado Springs to up its room service game.


This review continues here!





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August 14, 2019   No Comments