Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort was one of the few resorts we had never stayed at in Walt Disney World. Having recently visited two other moderate resorts—Port Orleans - French Quarter and Caribbean Beach—we were excited to see how Coronado Springs compared. Read on to learn about our experiences at this Disney World moderate resort!
Coronado Springs Basics
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is a moderate resort at Walt Disney World, which means it should fall between the value resorts and deluxe resorts in price and quality. The other three are Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans — French Quarter, and Port Orleans — Riverside. Rates start at $208 per night in 2019. Guests at all of Disney’s hotels get access to a variety of perks, including Extra Magic Hours and advance FastPass+ booking.
Coronado Springs is also home to a convention center, which makes it unique among the moderate resorts. Catering to business types, the resort is maybe a little more understated in its theming, which is Spanish Colonial Mexico. The resort is currently under construction, which is where we’ll start our review.
Construction at Coronado Springs
Until mid-2019, Coronado Springs has ongoing construction. The Dig Site pool area has been completed, which was the big hinderance to guests. Now, they’re working on finishing up the Gran Destino Tower, which will serve as the new main building for the hotel, and a restaurant that will sit in the middle of the resort’s lake, Lago Dorado.
This review isn’t really impacted much by the construction. We think it’s an eyesore, but the views are usually not a huge part of how we think about Disney’s hotels, Animal Kingdom Lodge excepted.
That said, if you’re reading this review after the tower and restaurant have opened, the hotel is probably quite different, so you’ll want to search for more recent reviews.
Finally, even though the construction is limited in impact, the resort is clearly in a state of flux. Food options in particular are changing, with certain servings disappearing, names changing, and servings moving between quick and table service.
Booking Coronado Springs
We booked Coronado Springs via the Walt Disney World website. There was an Annual Passholder offer, which brought the rate of our room down from $259 nightly to $172—about 34% off. This isn’t the best price we’ve seen for Coronado Springs, but it’s a good price.
Arrival and Check-In
We arrived via Uber from our nearby apartment. Most guests will arrive via Disney’s complimentary Magical Express shuttle service from Orlando International Airport.
We checked in using the My Disney Experience app. It’s often beneficial to go to the desk to check in, particularly if there’s no line, as they might be able to find you an available room. We weren’t in a rush, and we when we arrived at about 11:20AM we hadn’t heard anything about our room, so we explored the resort a bit.
We received a text alert at 11:55AM that our room was ready. This was actually the earliest room-ready text we’d gotten in a while. It’s likely that due to the ongoing construction (the Dig Site was only recently reopened), the resort is operating below capacity.
Grounds and Theming at Coronado Springs
Coronado Springs can be broken down into six sections. El Centro is the main area of the resort, containing most of the restaurants, the store and the lobby. The Convention Center is attached to El Centro.
Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabanas are the room sections. Each has three to five buildings of rooms, a laundry room, and a small pool. With El Centro, these are located around the Lago Dorado lake and comprise a loop of just under one mile.
The Dig Site is the main recreation area of Coronado Springs. It comprises a pool, playground, arcade, and volleyball court. The Dig Site is about a five minute walk from El Centro. We cover The Dig Site more below.
Coronado Springs is themed to Colonial Mexico. It has more understated theming than the other Disney resorts. This might be appealing to some, but if you’re comparing to the other Disney resorts, particularly the values or the better deluxe hotels, don’t be surprising to feel like the theming is pulled back.
Our Room at Coronado Springs
Our one fan knows how much I hate writing about rooms. But you know what—I can also just put in the necessary pictures (and video) so you can make up your own mind!
Our room at Coronado Springs was a nice combination of some of our recent stays. We had a corner room, which impacts our assessment a little as it at least felt like it had more space (we don’t know if it actually did). The new rooms at Coronado Springs (like ours) have hardwood floors, one of the new features of Disney’s rooms that we really like.
The vanity area was the largest we’ve had recently. It had significantly more counter space than the one we had at Yacht Club, a deluxe resort, recently.
Like the new rooms at the All-Star Resorts, the Coronado Springs rooms make good use of their space. This is most notable in their use of the dresser space under the TV. Instead of just having a dresser there, the counter sits over a dresser and open space for a chair, creating desk space.
Outlets and USB ports abound, and the beds have reading lights.
For their price, these are some of the best rooms on property. They’re easily a step up on the other moderate rooms; they’re larger than the refurbished value rooms; and they are more reasonably priced than the deluxe rooms.
The Dig Site, Pools, and Recreation at Coronado Springs
The main recreation area at Coronado Springs is called “The Dig Site” or, alternatively, “The Lost City of Cibola,” named after the mythical cities of gold sought by Coronado.
The Dig Site is located over by the Cabanas and Ranchos buildings, about a five-minute walk from El Centro. This means guests in Casitas get the benefit of being close to El Centro, but are farthest from The Dig Site.
The main pool, the Lost City of Cibola Pool is overshadowed by an impressive Mesoamerican pyramid structure.
The pool and pyramid also house a water slide (not pictured here). There’s also a kids’ play area pool, though its a little simpler than some of the other resorts’ offerings.
Siestas Cantina, a bar and counter service spot, offers refreshments at The Dig Site.
The arcade, spa (hot tub), volleyball court, and playground are also at The Dig Site.
Cabanas, Ranchos, and Casitas also have their own secondary pools. There’s nothing noteworthy about these, and they’re useful only if you want to avoid crowds or just be completely alone.
Coronado Springs maintains an active recreation schedule, including a nightly campfire and Movies Under the Stars. Our most recent visit was during Christmas season, so we have that schedule:
Location and Transportation at Coronado Springs
Coronado Springs is categorized as being located in the “Animal Kingdom Resorts Area.” These designation are, frankly, misleading, and Disney shouldn’t use them. From Coronado Springs, you have to take the bus to all four parks, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Disney Springs. Magic Kingdom is the farthest, about a 15 minute trip.
Coronado Springs, like the other moderate resorts, except Port Orleans — French Quarter sometimes, utilizes multiple bus stops. This is theoretically great because it means you don’t have to walk all the way to the main building for your bus.
Practically, it’s a disaster, because your bus trips can take an extra 20 minutes. As always, we’re keen to suggest you consider Uber for getting around Walt Disney World, but of course you’ll have to walk all the way to El Centro for Uber, and this won’t help you getting to Magic Kingdom in a pinch (Ubers drop off at Transportation and Ticket Center for Magic Kingdom).
For a business hotel, this isn’t such a huge problem, but for families who stay here (with or without business people), transportation continues to be a problem at the moderate resorts.
Food and Drink at Coronado Springs
Coronado springs has two table service restaurants, two quick service restaurants, one snack shop, three bars (two are at two of the restaurants), and in-room dining.
Table Service at Coronado Springs
Coronado Springs has two table service restaurants—Maya Grill and Ricks Sports Bar and Grill.
Rix Sports Bar and Grill
Rix Sports Bar and Grill is a standard sports bar, but with a very limited menu.
Our time at Rix was the low-light of our time at Coronado Springs, as the staff struggled for 45 minutes to work the TVs. It was an NFL Sunday, and several TVs were showing college basketball, college football highlights, and soccer. At one point, despite multiple requests from multiple tables for (American) football, they only managed to get the three TVs in front of us to show soccer.
Quick Service at Coronado Springs
Coronado Springs has two quick service restaurants—El Mercado de Coronado and Siestas Cantina.
El Mercado De Coronado
El Mercado de Coronado is the food court-style option at Coronado Springs, serving things like bowls, burgers, and pizzas. This was one of the more disappointing food court options at the moderate resorts, but it’s not super surprising.
The hotel is Mexican-themed, and middling Mexican food is available throughout Walt Disney World regardless. Contrast this with a place like Port Orleans, which offers New Orleans style food not available anywhere else. Regardless, we found the selection to be more limited than we like.
Siestas Cantina is a quick-service enhanced pool bar at Coronado Springs. It’s located over at The Dig Site, making it a good option for guests in the Ranchos buildings. It serves a very limited menu, sort of designed to have one item in every category—one burger, one fish, one chicken, one salad, etc.
Bars and Snacks at Coronado Springs
Cafe Rix is listed as a quick service option on the latest listing of Disney restaurants, but it’s only a snack stop now, serving pastries, cereals, candies, and coffee.
There are bars at Siestas Cantina and Rix Sports Bar and Grill, which we previously discussed. In addition, Laguna Bar is a bar just outside the main lobby. Besides offering a decent view of the resort, it’s just another watering hole.
In Room Dining at Coronado Springs
Coronado Springs has a limited in-room dining menu, serving from 7AM to 11AM and 4PM to 11PM.
Shopping at Coronado Springs
Coronado Springs’ store is “Panchitos.” Besides standard hotel essentials and Disney merchandise, Panchitos has a small selection of Coronado Springs gear and Mexican-inspired items.
Coronado Springs — Conclusions
I’m happy to have stayed at all of Disney’s moderate resorts so I can conclusively say—I just don’t get it. Coronado Springs is a fine hotel, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t distinguish itself enough from the value resorts for me to really recommend it.
You’re talking about roughly an $80 per night premium to stay at Coronado over All-Star Movies, which also has newly refurbished rooms. Over five nights, a family of four would save $400, enough for a signature dining meal and almost enough for something really special, like the Keys to the Kingdom Tour.
The ongoing construction makes it easy to recommend the other moderate resorts over Coronado Springs. There’s no reason to put of with the poor views and chaos of the area if you don’t have to.
If you’ve already got Coronado booked, or if you’re coming for a convention, fret not, there’s plenty to look forward to. The resort is in pretty good shape for dining and drinks. The updated Dig Site is a fantastic spot for kids. And no one should be complaining about the new rooms.
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