Walt Disney World offers three moderate resorts, and in the past Disney’s Coronado Springs was always firmly at the bottom of my list. But we recently stayed at the new(ish) Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs, and my recommendation has changed: this is absolutely where I’d suggest staying in the moderate category!
Gran Destino Tower offers something that’s somewhat rare at Walt Disney World: an excellent quality product at a very reasonable price. The tower is beautifully designed and feels much more like a deluxe property than a moderate one. Best of all, the prices are more on the reasonable side, closer to other moderate resorts than deluxe resorts. Therefore this resort can be a huge steal, and fantastic value for money. Read ahead to find out why!
Disney’s Coronado Springs overview
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is a moderate property located at Walt Disney World. Although the resort itself has been around for a while now, in summer 2019 the resort added Gran Destino Tower, a large 15-floor building at the very front of the resort.
The resort is linked to the parks through Disney’s complimentary bus transportation system, and is closest to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. It offers a large themed pool, as well as three smaller quiet pools, and features a wide array of dining opportunities.
The resort is large, with over 2000 guest rooms, and is split into four different sections. Gran Destino Tower is at the front of the property, and has just over 500 rooms. The rest of the rooms are in motel-style buildings with exterior hallways (similar to the other value and moderate properties) and are divided into three sections: Cabanas, Casitas, and Ranchos, all of which have their own quiet pool and their own bus stop.
We’ve stayed at this property twice before; the first time was over 10 years ago when we stayed in the regular guest rooms in the Casitas section, and more recently we stayed in Gran Destino Tower. The difference in these two parts of the resort are, in my opinion, night and day – it feels like a different resort! Read on to find out more about Gran Destino Tower and why we loved it so much.
Gran Destino Tower
Gran Destino Tower is the latest edition to Coronado Springs Resort, and completely changed the look of the resort. Not only does the resort add a number of guest rooms and dining facilities, but it offers a level of guest room that was otherwise not available at a moderate resort; Gran Destino Resort features standard guests rooms as well as Club Level rooms and suites.
Gran Destino Tower draws inspiration from the Disney short film “Destino”, and reflects the cultures of Mexico, Spain, and the American Southwest. The film tells the story of Chronos, the personification of time, who falls in love with Dahlia, a mortal, as the two star-crossed lovers seek each other out across surrealist landscapes. The film was created in 1945, but not released until 2003, when it was nominated for an Academy Award.
The cultural inspiration from the movie is evident in the design of the resort, both inside and out. In the picture below you can see an interesting pattern at the middle of the tower, which flows downward. At night this is lit in blue, portraying a waterfall. The lobby is a homage to Catalan Modernism (no, I didn’t know what that was either, but it looks very impressive!)
The bold colors, intricate designs, and show stopping pieces of art are the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a deluxe resort at Walt Disney World, not a moderate resort, and they absolutely blew me away. Pictures really don’t do the designs justice, they really are incredible; the theming is very well done.
Not surprisingly, rooms in Gran Destino Tower are more expensive than those in the other sections of the resort, but not ridiculously so; we paid $50 more per night to stay there, and I thought it was absolutely worth the price increase.
If you are just using the room as a base for your stay and plan to spend very little time in it, then the cost might not be worth it to you. But considering these rooms were still vastly cheaper than a room in a deluxe resort, it’s worth looking into if you’re looking for a little more luxury.
Coronado Springs Tower rooms
Gran Destino Tower rooms are the largest of any moderate property at 375 square feet. As well as the standard rooms, there are Club Level rooms and suites which offer a Club Lounge. None of the rooms offer a balcony, which might be important to some people, and all have the interior hallways.
Since the property is fairly new, the rooms are still in great shape. Our room had two double beds, and that was plenty of room for one adult and two kids. I think four adults might feel cramped, but I think that’s true of all standard guest rooms across Disney property. There was also a spacious bathroom and shower.
One important thing to note is that there are standard rooms and pool view rooms. Standard rooms face east and during the day they offer a rather uninspiring view of the parking lot. They do overlook Epcot and Hollywood Studios in the distance, however, meaning you can see the nighttime fireworks. Since we’re rarely in the room during the day but often back early in the evening, we much preferred this view!
Dining at Disney’s Coronado Springs
Dining at Coronado Springs is pretty impressive, with everything from high end table service restaurants to quick service options to a pretty well stocked pool bar. There were lots of options, but the only problem we found was that hours weren’t always consistent and I didn’t feel like there was a time that everything was open at once.
Gran Destino Tower
Gran Destino Tower offers three dining options: Toldedo, Barcelona Lounge, and Dahlia Lounge.
Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood is Gran Destino Tower’s rooftop table service dining location. With spectacular views over Coronado Springs Resort and the Walt Disney World property thanks to floor to ceiling windows, this is a great restaurant for a special occasion. It’s not, however, so fancy that you would feel uncomfortable taking children, and the menu features some great steak and seafood options.
Barcelona Lounge is a lobby bar, and one of the locations that seemed to operate strange hours. The bar is on the lower level of the lobby, and offers bar seating as well as a few tables. In the mornings, it serves coffee and other breakfast beverages (juices and smoothies) and in the evening, offers wine and beer, as well an extensive cocktail list and some small plates. During our visit, the bar was closed during the day.
Dahlia Lounge can be found at the top of Gran Destino Tower, and opens in the evening. It offers indoor and outdoor seating with fantastic views, and serves the usual bar menu of wine, beer, cocktails, and appetizers. The interior is beautiful, with incredible artwork throughout. It would be a great place to grab a drink before dinner at Toldeo, or somewhere for a light dinner.
El Centro is the original part of Coronado Springs Resort, and offers a wider variety of dining options with more consistent hours.
Three Bridges Bar & Grill is a quick service location in the middle of the lake, connected by three bridges (see what they did there?!) It offers a great menu with lots of options besides the usual burgers and fries, and a dedicated take out area to pick up online orders.
Café Rix is a grab and go location with things like pastries, sandwiches, salads, etc. We found the hours to be a bit inconsistent, but it was a great option when open for if you’re in a hurry.
Laguna Bar is an outdoor bar that offers wine, beer, and cocktails, as well as a limited appetizer menu. We only saw it open in the evenings.
Rix Sports Bar & Grill (not to be confused with Café Rix!) is a table service location a little like ESPN on Disney’s Boardwalk. They offer bar food like burgers, chicken tenders, nachos, etc. both within the location and to go.
El Mercado de Coronado is Coronado Springs food court. Similar to the food courts at the other value and moderate resorts, it offers various stations featuring different cuisines. There is also a grab and go area, and this is where you can refill your refillable mug if you purchase one (they can also be purchased here). This is also where you can find Mickey waffles!
Siestas Cantina is the pool bar, and offers drinks and a limited quick service menu. We found the lines could be long here, especially in the middle of the day, but the food and drinks were good and perfect pool food.
Maya Grill is a casual table service restaurant serving Latin American inspired dishes. The restaurant offers limited hours and only operates certain days of the week.
The pool and amenities at Disney’s Coronado Springs
The main pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is called The Dig Site and is one of my favorite pools at Disney World. It’s a large pool featuring a huge Mayan Temple with a waterfall down into the pool. There is a waterslide as well as a hot tub, and plenty of seating.
The only issues we’ve come across at this pool is that it can get very, very crowded. While seating is unlikely to run out, the pool itself can feel crowded and that’s a lot less fun. If the pool does get crowded, head to one of the quiet pools instead; no waterslides, but lots more room to swim!
Other amenities include a kids play area (located next to the pool), an arcade, volleyball, table tennis, a jogging trail, and kids activities. There is also a nightly campfire movie under the stars. There was plenty for us to do, and my kids loved everything on offer.
Would I recommend Coronado Springs Tower rooms?
This is a two part answer: yes, I would recommend Coronado Springs Tower rooms, but those are the only rooms at Disney’s Coronado Springs that I would recommend. If your only option is to stay in the regular rooms, then I would choose a different moderate resort instead.
The Gran Destino Tower really is a high end property in terms of design, and definitely worth the additional cost of staying in those rooms. The regular rooms at Coronado, however, aren’t worth the cost in my opinion; there are other moderate resorts such as Port Orleans French Quarter that I’d suggest instead.