In this post, we review the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs. This post supplements our exiting review of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, which you can find here.
Gran Destino Tower and Coronado Springs
The Gran Destino Tower is not its own distinct hotel. Rather, it is a tower complex located at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Practically, this means a few things.
First, Gran Destino rooms are booked as a special category of room at Coronado Springs. Here’s a screenshot showing Gran Destino Tower rooms at the bottom of the search results for Coronado Springs rooms:
Second, Gran Destino shares a bus with the rest of Coronado Springs. Typically (according to Cast Members), Gran Destino is the last pickup before heading to the parks, but I’ve ridden it as both the first and last drop-off returning from the parks.
Third, Coronado and Gran Destino share all other resort-specific amenities, like pools and fitness centers. The resort check-in desk and concierge for all Coronado Springs rooms are also located in the lobby of the Gran Destino Tower.
Gran Destino Tower at 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.
If you’re considering Coronado Springs, you may want to read some of our other posts. We have a ranking of the best Disney World moderate resorts. We also have a guide to all the hotels of Walt Disney World. And here are our reviews of all the moderate resorts (links open in new tabs):
Review of Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs (you are here)
Rates at Coronado Springs start at $223 per night in 2020. Rates at Gran Destino specifically start at $263 per night in 2020. This is barely higher than the $246 nightly starting rate at the Port Orleans resorts, and it’s lower than the $300+ starting rates for the Royal Rooms at Riverside and the Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach.
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. This appeal to business-types is further accentuated by with addition of Gran Destino Tower.
Booking Gran Destino Tower
We booked our Gran Destino Tower room with the help of our stellar travel agent Lauren Quirk of Enchanted Escapes Travel. We booked a Club Level room, which cost $477 nightly, or $92 more than the $385 nightly rate for a standard Gran Destino room without Club Level.
When new room deals were announced, Lauren immediately got us a reduction of $143.10 nightly, bringing the room rate down to about $334. This is exactly the sort of reason we recommend booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
Arrival and Check-In
We arrived via Disney’s complimentary Magical Express shuttle service from Orlando International Airport. We were the third stop, and having boarded the bus at MCO at 10:58AM we were in line to check in to the hotel at 10:54AM.
Typically I advise checking in using the My Disney Experience app. When reviewing Club Level experiences, I like to check in at the desk to see how that is handled.
At the deluxe resorts, it’s standard for them to have a Cast Member greeting arriving guests and directing them appropriately. Typically this Cast Member would just send us up to the club lounge to check in. With no such Cast Member at Gran Destino, we simply waited in line for a few minutes.
Due to the volume of guests checking in, we were actually taken to some nearby seating and checked in via iPad. Check in was mostly smooth, but with two issues.
First, there were Magic Band problems. I always have Magic Band problems, allegedly because of my huge number of Magic Bands. I don’t blame Gran Destino for this as it seems to happen at every hotel, but I’m neither the first nor last guest to deal with inexplicable Magic Band issues. The CM checking us in handled whatever the issue was in a timely manner, though.
Second, the Cast Member failed to ever mention we were club level or direct us to the lounge. Small things like this don’t bother me personally, but it is reflective of Disney still not getting fundamental details down in their hotel operations.
There’s no reason to think a guest who booked club level just knows where to find the club lounge, or even that they should just head straight there after check-in. I’d even wager that for a significant number of guests, club level at a Disney hotel is literally the only time they’ll ever have club level, due to purchasing it as a “splurge.”
Several guests wandered into the lounge sort of confused as the day went on because they never had the very helpful introduction to the lounge you get if you come there and deliberately say “hey, I’m new, please show me around and explain hours/servings/etc.”
Anyways, from check in we went straight up to the Chronos Lounge (review forthcoming), and then over to our room.
Standard Rooms at Gran Destino Tower
We were surprised with an upgrade to a suite. This didn’t involve any action on our part, and I have no reason to think Disney knows/cares who were are, particularly not in a positive light that might cause them to treat us well. I’m 99% certain it was just a room availability issue on the Club Level floors.
Unfortunately, you probably most want to know what a standard room looks like. Frankly—I still want to know what a standard room looks like. So we’ll do you the solid of directing you to Disney Tourist Blog, who has a thorough review of the tower, including standard room photos.
Our Deluxe Suite at Gran Destino Tower
We were upgraded to a Deluxe Suite. That room had a rack rate of $755 vs. the $477 we originally paid, for an upgrade value of $278. Here’s a video walkthrough of the room:
Now we’ve got some photos of the room:
And of course, the bathrooms. The final two shots are the bathroom attached to the living room, the rest are master bathroom shots:
I’ve already written that the Coronado Springs rooms are my favorite moderate rooms—and some of my favorite rooms across all tiers—on property. These are good, modern rooms with an appropriate touch of theming.
The Gran Destino rooms show no signs of breaking this trend. There were ample outlets and USB ports, along with an abundance of space (well, you know, I was in a suite, so…).
One cool feature I loved was the addition of on-demand content to the television. Among other things, this meant a small selection of Disney films(!!) available on-demand.
There were only seven options during my visit (pictured), but I did watch Monsters, Inc. from 2AM to 4AM while updating my Guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (link opens in new tab).
Gran Destino Tower Lobby, Grounds, and Layout
As noted above, the Gran Destino lobby is now the resort lobby—all guests check in there. Here’s a gallery of photos, with some discussion below.
The lobby has ample space for sitting and working, which fits the push for business-type guests. It’s also nice for bloggers and partners of bloggers who need to work while bloggers are the parks 😏.
The lobby is on the second floor. Vehicles drop off there, and the lobby overlooks the Barcelona Lounge, which is all the seating you see from above. The actual bar is “hidden” right under the lobby.
There’s no doubting that, in its own way, the Gran Destino Tower is one of Disney’s most beautiful hotel buildings. As I joked on instagram and with a Cast Member, the hotel is perfect if you need a new iPhone background (if you have to have one of these full-res, hit me up on social):
You’ll have to leave the tower to access a pool. The smaller Cabanas and Casitas pools are relatively close, and the feature pool at The Dig Site is probably about five minutes away walking.
Also inside the tower are: Dahlia Lounge, Toledo Restaurant, and a Fitness Center. I don’t have information on the Fitness Center, but let’s move on to discuss the dining options.
Gran Destino Restaurants and Bars
As always, all guests have access to all restaurants on property, so Gran Destino guests will also want to swing by our Coronado Springs review to read about the other restaurants on-site. We’ll just be briefly covering the dining and drinking options in the tower itself here.
As previously mentioned, the Barcelona Lounge is the bar “under” the lobby, on the ground floor of the tower. It offers coffee beverages, alcoholic beverages, and small bites. Because it’s a “lobby” bar, we found service to be a bit lacking outside they bar during the day. They understandably expect that many people are just lounging around, so you’ll want to be proactive if it doesn’t look like anyone is coming to your table.
Located on the 16th (top) Floor of the tower, Dahlia Lounge is a bar offering incredible views, drinks, and small bites. You cannot order off the menu fo the neighboring Toledo Restaurant.
We haven’t had a chance to visit Toledo Restaurant, also on the 16th Floor. WDWNT has a thorough review. I’d read that Toledo would be categorized as a Signature Restaurant—requiring two table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan—but the website currently indicates it only requires one.
Transportation at Gran Destino Tower
Y’all know I’m not about to forget to complain about bus transportation at Walt Disney World!
The biggest downside of the moderate resorts is that their gigantic footprints require multiple bus stops, which adds to the already often-frustrating experience of Disney bus transportation. Coronado Springs has four bus stops.
According to Cast Members, Gran Destino should be the last pickup on the way to the parks. I’ve had it as the first and last stop returning from the parks.
If you drive, you’ll seriously cut down on your transportation times at the moderate resorts. If you don’t drive, we generally advise to use Uber to get to the Disney parks in a pinch.
As part of this stay, I did use my first Minnie Van to get to Magic Kingdom. Because Uber cannot drop off at the Magic Kingdom date, the best alternative to a bus for direct drop-off is a way overpriced Minnie Van. I paid $35 for the ride to Magic Kingdom. Uber probably would have cost about $10 for that same distance.
For starters, you should be able to look at all the photos in this review and decide whether the aesthetic of Gran Destino is for you. This isn’t Art of Animation or Animal Kingdom Lodge—it’s more of a typical chic, modern hotel. If you’re thinking “it’s not Disney enough,” well it is meant to appeal strongly to business travelers, so I’m not surprised.
The rooms at Gran Destino are some of the best on property and, to us, the best of the moderate rooms. And with the variety of dining options in and near the tower, and the nearby dig site pool, you can’t fault it on the amenities front.
Where you can continue to fault the resort is in its transportation. With the Disney Skyliner gondola system coming to Caribbean Beach (to be clear, we don’t know how much of a perk that will really be), Coronado will continue to lag alongside Port Orleans Riverside when it comes to getting around.
Do I blow this problem out of proportion? Maybe. Many guests visit and have no bus issues at all. But then every one out of a dozen times I need to ride a bus, I wind up waiting 20 minutes, or there’s that time it took Emily an hour to get from our room to Magic Kingdom from a moderate resort.
And here’s the thing. If you’re visiting for four days and have four mornings to rope drop four big rides, then just one of four mornings going poorly can really be a thorn in your $5000 trip.
But if you can look past that issue, or if you can throw down the money for Uber, Lyft, Minnie Vans when you’re in a hurry, then Gran Destino offers one of the best values on property.
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