by Jackie Perrin
At Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, a tribute to Mexico and the American Southwest, kids can swim under a Mayan pyramid, climb a fortress and search for buried treasure in a Dig Site built especially for young explorers.
Opened in 1997, the expansive Animal Kingdom-area resort is Walt Disney Word’s only moderate category convention property, and as such, caters to a mixed crowd of business guests and pleasure-seekers. Consequently, things are a little different at this 1,921-room hotel, compared to other mid-priced Disney resorts.
Newly renovated rooms contain queen beds, versus the double beds available at comparable spots like Disney’s Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans Resorts. A wider variety at the food court is accompanied by a spa menu (healthier options) that includes both children’s and adult services. And for those unable to break away from the daily grind, Wi-Fi, along with an onsite fitness center, is available.
Junior and One-Bedroom Suites sleep up to six (a nice option for families looking to stick together). A trendy onsite nightclub is a hotspot for locals, as well as Disney travelers, too. And after a long day at the theme parks, guests can order up a steak dinner and have it delivered to their guestroom via a full-course private dining service.
Our Editor Loves
- Three heated pools and dig site-themed pool
- Family dining at the Maya Grill
- Complimentary transportation
- All Inclusive Rates
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Spread out around a 22-acre lake, accommodations at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort are divided into three architecturally distinct areas representing Mexico and the American Southwest, including Cabanas, Casitas and Ranchos.
Renovated in 2009, standard 314-square-foot rooms sleep up to four and are designed with a Southwest flair, featuring white linens with turquoise accents and contrasting dark wood furnishings. Most rooms contain two queen-sized beds, an attraction for those traveling with teens and college-age children (note that there's a $15 surcharge per person for more than two adults in a room).
All rooms contain a refrigerator, a coffee maker, a flat-screen TV, an alarm clock with an iPod docking station and a desk with an office chair. Two small square stools offer additional seating. Families accustomed to the dining table available at other moderate resorts might find themselves at a loss for mealtime seating, and since bed covers are a crisp white, the situation gets messier. It's best to pack a portable booster seat if you have small children. Complimentary Pack 'N Plays and bed rails are delivered upon request and microwaves are available on a first-come, first-served basis at check-in. Wi-Fi is complimentary.
A wide vanity is located outside the bathroom and features one sink instead of two, typically available in moderate category Disney properties. This area is separated from the rest of the room by a sliding wooden divider -- another diversion from other Moderate category resorts, where a fabric curtain provides privacy. One nice feature of the divider, for families with little ones, is that there's an inch or so of a gap in the middle which prevents tiny fingers from getting pinched.
Three categories of suites cater to the business traveler, as well as the leisure crowd.
Suitable for larger families, 628-square-foot Junior Suites sleep up to six and feature two bathrooms, a master bedroom with a king or two queen-sized beds and a living room with a queen-sized sofa bed.
Other options include One-Bedroom Suites (940 square feet) and Executive Suites (1,570 square feet).
Suites do not include Concierge Club privileges like those available at Deluxe Disney resorts.
Preferred and Business Class Rooms
For convenient access to resort dining, book a Preferred Room (surcharge). This guarantees proximity to El Centro -- the main building -- where the majority of resort dining venues are located. Business Class Rooms are located in Cabanas 9B, which are convenient to El Centro, as well as the main pool. Business Class Rooms include complimentary breakfast served in a private lounge, as well as evening snacks and refreshments.
We just stayed in club level of the Gran Destino tower at Coronado Springs. The room was very beautiful. However, we watched people come in the Chronos lounge (club lounge) who did not have magic bands. These individuals at a a lot of food and not much was left for others. The food that was there tasted good. I just don't like to see individuals taking advantage of something they weren't entitled to. The lobby was crowded and seemed unorganized. Magical Express didn't leave paperwork for the bus and we had to try to find someone to help us in the morning...not very good service.
by Emily L
We stayed in this hotel for three nights during the first week of the Grand Destino Tower opening and honestly I wasn't impressed. I have stayed at Coronado two years ago during all of the construction work, and almost 6 years and I think I enjoyed it better those times. The tower is beautiful but looks more like a Vegas hotel than anything that should be in Disney. The addition of the bridges and the 3 Bridges bar is excellent - we had great experiences at that bar each time we went - shout out to the best server Carol! The lounges on the 16th floor of the hotel were also really nice. My issues were with the quick service in the old building, our room, and the bus situation.
Our room was in building 7A, was a king size wheel chair accessible room on the 2nd floor of the building. The problem with that is that there is not an elevator in 7A - and if there was, it was so well hidden that not only did I never see it but it also isn't anywhere on the map of the building. Our room was fine except the closet door would close itself every time you opened it, so that if you were standing in there getting clothes it would close on you. And then when you went to close it it wouldn't latch and just fling itself open - not a big deal, just annoying considering this room had just been updated. The design of the sink and vanity area is just dumb. The sink is so tiny and so inset into the wall/vanity with a shelf so close to the top that any time you would wash your face or spit out tooth paste you would hit your head on the ledge of the top shelf. Also a bad design is that the hooks for towels is on the opposite side of the bathroom from where the shower is, so you have to walk across the bathroom to get your towel. This is just poor design that we noticed and considering it's Disney, we thought it would just be smarter. My sister had a corner, double room on the first floor in building 6 and she loved her room, so maybe it was just this room. Also, the walk to the tower and food services was 10 minutes minimum, so we rarely utilized the dining opens in El Centro.
Another thing we found frustrating is that all of the pools closed at 11pm. Even the quiet pools that don't have life guards on duty were closed and we couldn't get in. We would get back from the parks at 11pm and change to go to the pool to relax and they were all closed. This was frustrating because I don't think I have ever had this issue at a Disney hotel. Even with quiet pools, they have been open at all hours.
I believe that Disney runs buses every 20 minutes, but our waits were more like 30-40 minutes. It could be that this was the first week that the tower was open and they just didn't estimate it would be so crowded, but it was frustrating to wait that long and spend sometimes over an hour using transportation.
Finally, on our last night we were so tired we just wanted a quick bite to eat at the El Mercado food court. This was the worst decision of our trip. The food options are horrible - they consist of pizza, pasta, burgers, chicken fingers, nachos. The only vegetarian options are prepackaged salads sitting in a refrigerator that don't look appetizing at all. We decided to head to the grill for a burger and chicken fingers. Apparently the chef had just taken a break and even though there were three people cooking and preparing the food, we all had to wait over 15 minutes to get served food that had been sitting there ready to be handed to us. The chicken fingers were sitting under a heat lamp in a bowl behind the glass in front of me and I stood there for 20 minutes waiting to get them served to me. The chef finally came out and was so determined to hand out burgers to people that he never served chicken fingers until I had to tell him that that is what me and the kid in front of me who didn't speak English were waiting for. It was just absurd. Then we go to pay and the cashier was just the rudest woman I've ever encountered. She said no words to us other than "you have to move over there to pay with your magic band". No greeting or smile, which was just frustrating after we spent 20 minutes waiting for food to be put on a plate.
Overall, I think this hotel really has it's advantages - the new tower is beautiful, the front desk workers are polite and helpful, the rooms are clean, the 3 Bridges Bar is really awesome. But I think they aren't paying attention to the old aspects of the hotel that originally gave it all of it's charm and they just need to work out the kinks of the new addition to the hotel. Considering what we spent to stay here, I know there are better Disney hotels that I can spend my money at and will have a much better experience, so I will not be back.
Lost City of Cibola Pool
An elaborate five-story reproduction of a Mayan temple, complete with a working waterfall, is the showpiece of the expansive Lost City of Cibola main pool complex, which features a 123-foot jaguar waterslide and a 22-person hot tub -- one of the largest at any Walt Disney World resort. Nearby, a rectangular kiddie pool has a spraying fountain and is surrounded by lounge chairs. Each morning, there's a pool opening ceremony that kids can participate in. Complimentary towels and life vests are provided, and swim diapers are required for non potty-trained children. They're available at Panchito's Gifts and Sundries (open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.), along with baby and toddler supplies, souvenir items and limited groceries. Hours are 8 a.m. to midnight and lifeguard hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Located in each of three main lodging areas (Cabanas, Casitas, Ranchos), non-lifeguarded village pools are a great spot for families looking for a peaceful break. They're open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Towels aren't provided, so bring one from your room. Near each village pool, there's a guest laundry facility.
Kids really dig this playground, a resort oasis for children ages 2 to 12. Featuring two play structures with slides for smaller, as well as bigger children, and two sandboxes for excavating and digging, it's an ideal spot to blow off some steam after a long day of touring. There's limited shade, so be sure to slather on the sunscreen.
Iguana Arcade and the Ball Court
Twin reptile heads welcome guests to the Iguana Arcade, a small poolside game room containing around 30 games. It's open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Just outside, you'll find foosball and Ping-Pong tables and nearby, there's a sand volleyball court. If balls run out, you can borrow more from a lifeguard (Magic Band or valid resort ID required).
Featuring a good variety of fare, including some special offerings not available at other Disney resorts, like nachos, an Aztec Burger, crÃ¨me brulee French Toast and Mexican breakfast specialties, bright and airy Pepper Market is a departure from the typical Disney food court. Multiple themed food stations (Chef's/Mexican, Grill, Sandwiches & Salads, Soups, Pizza & Pasta, Bakery) provide ample choices for adults. For kids, options like Mickey Waffles for breakfast and pizza or pasta meals (both served with fresh fruit and a cookie) are reliable palate pleasers.
Pepper Market currently operates on a "stamp" system, where guest tickets are stamped at each station when a particular item is ordered, and payment is made at the check-out station after (rather than prior to) dining. Although abbreviated table service and meal buffets were available at one time, these features have been discontinued.
Grab 'N Go selections include a number of items with kid-appeal, like a kids' fruit plate, a granola parfait and churros.
When a large convention is onsite, seating can be an issue, largely due to the lack of space to accommodate the resort's sizeable leisure and business population. For calm, quiet and a lovely view, grab a table outdoors on the poolside patio. When the mercury rises (or during inclement weather of any kind), stocking your in-room refrigerator with snacks and breakfast items will go a long way towards preserving the family peace. Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Located in El Centro, this sit-down a la carte restaurant features a wood-fired grill and serves traditional to sophisticated fare, with a South of the Border taste infusion. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner. High chairs are available.
Near the Gift Shop, this quick-service spot offers hot breakfast sandwiches, as well as cold grab-and-go items, like wraps, salads, fresh fruit, yogurt and a variety of baked goods. There's also gelato, smoothies, beer and a coffee counter where you can order up a cappuccino or have your Disney mug refilled. Hours are 6 a.m. to midnight.
Opened in 2014, this table-service venue is open for breakfast and lunch. Kids' lunch options include a chicken breast sandwich and a grilled cheese sandwich. Both are served with fruit, veggies and seasoned fries. A children's breakfast plate includes an egg, sourdough French toast, bacon and potatoes. Menu standouts for adults include a Chorizo Skillet for breakfast and a Ventanas Burger with Vermont cheddar and peppercorn bacon.
Siesta's Cantina Pool Bar and Grill
Kids' picks at this poolside bar and grill and official Rapid Refill refreshment station include popcorn chicken, mini hot dogs and turkey sandwiches, all served with French fries. For adults, a decent selection of sandwiches, snacks and Tex-Mex specialties is available. Soft and frozen drinks are served.
Bar hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and food service hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Room Service (Private Dining)
Order up a plate of pancakes in your PJs, or host an in-room pizza party or fried chicken picnic at lunch or dinnertime. Hours are 7 to 11 a.m. for breakfast and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. for dinner. There is a 18-percent gratuity charge and 6 percent sales tax, and a delivery charge will be applied.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
While some might say it lacks "Disney Magic," decorative and architectural details at this resort, created by the same architect responsible for designing Disney's Vero Beach Resort, are truly impressive. Tile roofs, arched doorways and mosaic accents are complemented by regionally representative vegetation, like sagebrush and cactus, and water features like mini rock falls and El Centro's giant fountain add an element of calm.
Overnight guests enjoy a number of special perks, like early-entry and late-stay theme park privileges (Extra Magic Hours), free onsite transportation, free parking, the ability to make FASTPASS+ reservations 60 days in advance and the opportunity to participate in a Disney Dining Plan with a Magic Your Way Package. Additional privileges include online room check-in (up to 10 days in advance), resort airline check-in and airport transportation service via Disney's Magical Express.
Kids Nite Out, an independent agency, provides in-room resort childcare. Rates are $16 per hour for the first child, with a four-hour minimum and a $10 caregiver transportation fee.
Fitness Center and Spa Services
La Vida Health Club offers some of the latest in exercise equipment, as well as massages (by appointment from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.). An attendant is on duty 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and access is available 24 hours with a venue-activated resort keycard. Next door, at Casa de Bellaza, you can get a facial, a manicure or a quick haircut -- or buy a set of "Island Braids." Services for kids are also available. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 407-939-3965 for an appointment.
The Art of Smart Timing
When traveling to Walt Disney World Resort, it's best to avoid peak travel periods. Generally, these times include holidays and the summer months -- in other words, any time schools are out of session. If you do opt to visit in summertime, pack sunscreen, hydrate frequently and, unless you want to squander your souvenir money on ponchos at the parks, don't forget your raingear.
When a major convention is onsite, dining lines can be long, but the upside is that during the day, pools and buses are often less crowded than at other moderate properties. In any case, the expansive layout of the resort means guests have a good chance of enduring a brisk walk to dining and/or recreational facilities -- and for those traveling with small children, the added effort, especially during the hot summer months, can be a real energy drainer.
Free roundtrip airport transportation via motorcoach is available to guests (advance reservation required; limited hours) from Orlando International Airport (MCO) via Disney's Magical Express. To reach the resort by car, take the South Exit Road from Orlando International Airport to SR 417 Toll Road (GreeneWay) West and follow signs to Walt Disney World/Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. Plan on about $3 in tolls.
For Mom and Dad
Get your groove on at Rix Lounge (21 and over only; dress code), where a live DJ spins tunes Thursday through Saturday, or head to La Vida Health Club for a relaxing aromatherapy massage and body wrap. The Laguna Bar is also great for an afternoon happy hour if you can sneak away from the kids for a bit.