Coronado Springs Resort is Walt Disney World's first moderately-priced convention resort hotel. It is themed in a fantastic Mexican motif that just drips with atmosphere. However, being a convention hotel, Coronado Springs tends to have a more formal air about it than does Caribbean Beach Resort and Port Orleans. This tour focuses on the guest areas. Since MousePlanet is primarily a vacation planning site, I figured I'd leave convention planning information to the Disney folks.
Coronado Springs approach
In this photo tour you'll get a glimpse around the resort and a little taste of the atmosphere that you're likely to experience here. First, notice the VERY big drive through area here. Again, it's apparent that this resort is designed for folks that are using taxis and shuttle services (rather than personal vehicles) to transport them to the facilities. The other moderate resorts have an overhanging drive way, too, but it's no where near the size of this one.
When you enter the resort's main building, the first thing you see is this lovely fountain. It's the centerpiece of the entry hall. Straight ahead (to the right and outside of the picture above), is a door that takes you out to the back terrace for a view of Lago Dorado, the huge lake that the resort surrounds.
If you look up, above the fountain, you'll see Coronado Spring's famous entry way ceiling. It's a spectacular piece of artistry that acts as a sky light during the day, and provides lovely backlighting in the evening and nighttime hours.
Then, to the right of the entry hall is the main check in area. This is a larger facility than the check in areas a the other moderate resorts for two reasons. First, the room has a larger than normal guest services area (to the left and outside of the picture below) due to the convention traffic. Second, conventioneers don't like to be kept waiting, so when necessary, additional staff is brought on to keep the lines down.
Check in lobby
It's not that Disney doesn't mind when "regular" guests have to wait, it's just that they've recognized that convention hotels tend to have much greater crowds coming and going depending on their meetings.
Panchito's is a pretty typical WDW resort store. It has the typical Disney souvenirs as well as just about anything you'd need for a few days away from home. It's just about the same size as Fulton's General Store at Port Orleans Riverside and is quite a bit larger than Jackson Square at Port Orleans French Quarter. I've never really noticed anything in the shop that would lead me to believe that it caters to the convention crowd. The items sold are very typical for a Disney hotel.
Panchito's Gifts and Sundries
Outside the main building, the rest of the resort facilities are laid-out around the lovely Lago Dorado ("golden lake"). Here, you can see the marina (located on out on the peninsula that juts into the lake on the left. The umbrella tables out on the promenade are often filled with conventioneers taking a break from their meetings. Usually, though, the area is quite peaceful and relaxing.
Main resort facilities across Lago Dorado
Here, you can see the marina (located on out on the peninsula that juts into the lake on the left. Several different types of water craft are available for rent for use on the Lago Dorado.
In a closer view of the marina area, you can see the bicycle livery where you can rent regular bikes to ride about the resort, or one of the famous surrey bikes that accommodate a group of four.
Bike livery (photo by Sue Holland)
The Jumping Bean isn't the best arcade in Walt Disney World by a long stretch. The Fun Center at the Contemporary Resort wins that battle hands down. Still, the machines here can keep even die hard arcade fans tied up for at least some brief times of amusement.
Jumping Bean arcade (photo by Sue Holland)
Of course, the main recreation area of this resort is the Dig Site, where a great Mayan pyramid centerpieces a fantastic pool facility seen here from across Lago Dorado.
The Dig Site across Lago Dorado
Dig Site pool (photo by Sue Holland)
...that also includes a fun place for the younger kids to cool off.
Kiddie pool (photo by Sue Holland)
One last thing to point out is that there are several quiet pools (besides the main Dig Site pool complex) that are scattered around the resort. This one happens to be in the Casitas area.
Casitas quiet pool (photo by Sue Holland)
Francisco's is a relatively small lounge located next to the Pepper Market. Often you'll find musicians performing for the crowd. Usually, Francisco's is a bit on the noisy side... not just because of the live music, but also because it's located in the same great hall that the Pepper Market food court is located in. It just makes for a noisy area.
Pepper Market operates in a very unusual manner. When you enter the restaurant, you are shown to your table. A server brings your beverages (at least they're supposed to...I've often found it quicker to get my own). Then, you are provided with a blank "stamp card." As you make your food selections, the servers stamp your card with an identifying stamp. When you're done with your mean, you take your card to the check-out and pay for everything at the end.
Pepper Market's food serving area
The system makes it much easier to deal with dinner for a family with kids -- or any group for that matter -- that all want different things for dinner. In a more typical food court, each person would have to pay for each item at a separate check-out. Not so at Pepper Market. Of course, some folks dislike the fact that you don't get a total price until the end of the meal (although all food items are labeled with prices, if you're not closely supervising your kids you might be in for a surprise).
Pepper Market's seating
Some people don't like how Pepper Market operates. I love it!
If you continue down the hallway past Pepper Market, you'll come across the resorts premier restaurant, Maya Grill. The Maya Grill specializes in grilled seafood, but also has some landlubber's options, too. Prices tend to be oriented toward the corporate expense account, though, with many entrees in the $20 and up range. The restaurant is lovely, though, decorated as an ancient Mayan city.
Maya Grill seating
That's the the last of the restaurants inside the main building. Outside, though, there is one last place to point out. It's a snack bar, called Siestas, and it's located in the Dig Site.
The actual guest rooms of Coronado Springs Resort are located in several different themed areas around the lovely Lago Dorado ("golden lake").
Looking from the Main Building and looking out toward the Lago Dorado, you'll see the Casitas, Ranchos, the dig site (the themed pool area) and the Cabana buildings arrayed around the shoreline in a clockwise sweep.
The Casitas are themed to appear as urban apartments or townhouses. The ranchos are dressed up as inland ranch homes. The cabanas are intended to appear as Mexico's seaside villages.
The Casitas Buildings.
Casitas across Lago Dorado
Ranchos, at the far end of Lago Dorado from the main resort buildings.
Ranchos across Lago Dorado
The Dig Site.
The Dig Site across Lago Dorado
Cabanas, nestled in between the Dig Site and the other main resort buildings (including the restaurants).
Cabanas across Lago Dorado
I jumped in the car to take a road tour around the resort. There really isn't much to see from the perimeter road, but I'll show you the guest buildings from this side just for kicks.
First, the Casitas Buildings. Again, notice the taller more compact look of these "city buildings."
Casitas guest buildings
The Casitas Buildings.
Another view of the Casitas guest buildings
There's an abrupt change of scenery as you drive around the perimeter road. The ranchos are definitely more secluded. Not only do they look less busy, they are located as far away from the main resort buildings as one can go. I suppose that can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your own preferences. Beware, though, if you're attended a conference, or just like to be where the action is, don't settle for a rancho building room location.
Ranchos guest buildings
The Cabanas are located just around the corner from the main resort buildings. The 1 and 3 casitas buildings are probably closer to the main resort areas, but the 9B cabanas building would be a close second. Another advantage of the cabanas are that they are closest to the dig site, if that's something you and your family would appreciate.
Cabanas guest buildings