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Photo Tour of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Friday, February 22, 2002
The newest of the moderate resorts, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is a delightful place to stay for a vacation or a business meeting. Themed to represent the Disney version of Mexico and the American Southwest, the resort appeals to many visitors. Set along the shores of 15-acre Lago Dorado, this allows the almost-2000 guest rooms to be spread out enough that it does not feel crowded, unlike the All-Star Resorts.
The rooms are grouped into three distinct areas. Closest to the main building (El Centro) are the Casitas, which are themed to represent a city setting. Buildings in this section are three- and four-stories high, with the highest concentration of guests. Due to the proximity to the Convention Center, guests attending meetings are often housed in this section.
Between buildings there are courtyards with fountains and a particularly nice quiet pool. The health club and beauty salon are also located in Casitas.
Continuing around the lake, the next section is the Ranchos, which are themed to represent the arid desert part of the American Southwest. There are live cactus, some dried up streams and a few rocky springs.
These buildings tend to be only two stories high, and in my opinion are the most attractive of the three sections. They are also the furthest away from El Centro, but have their own bus stop and are convenient to the main pool.
Located between Ranchos and El Centro are the Cabanas, themed to represent a coastal resort. With hammocks strung on white sand beaches, this is a popular section. Rooms here are in buildings two and three stories tall.
The rooms in each section are identical on the inside, with two double beds. Square footage is 314, which is the same as the rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside. What sets these rooms apart is the addition of a small coffee maker and a daily packet of coffee.
Recreational opportunities abound at Coronado Springs. The main pool area is called the Dig Site and is actually a recreation complex. A large pyramid called the Pyramid of the Sun is a fountain with water cascading into the pool. A twisting jaguar water slide is popular with people of all ages. The pool is so large it does not get that crowded feel so common at some of the other resorts, and quite often the lifeguards organize pool games for the kids.
Younger children have their own wading pool, along with a nice-sized playground. The spa seats 22 people, and is the largest one I have ever seen!
Volleyball is also available, and Siesta's is a very good snack bar that serves food, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Refillable mugs from the resort can be refilled here, saving a walk back to El Centro!
It seems every Disney resort has an arcade, and Coronado Springs is no exception.
Other recreational pursuits include using the health club, jogging around the lake, renting bikes and surrey bikes, and renting watercraft on the lake. Although the lake is pretty large, do not rent a Water Mouse (mini speed boat) here. For the most fun, I would recommend saving that for a Magic Kingdom resort, where there is more lake to cover in that area. Kayaks however, would be a great choice for Coronado Springs.
El Centro is the main hub of the resort, housing the check-in area and dining venues. Upon entering, the first thing you see is an attractive fountain.
Do not rush past quickly - instead take the time to look up, and see the beautiful tile dome. During the holidays they remove the fountain and put up a beautiful Christmas tree in this spot.
The lobby is quite large, and unfortunately the line can get quite long. There is a seating area for children, with a TV showing Disney movies. During busy times, a cast member typically helps expedite the line by sending people to guest services to check in when those cast members are free. Panchito's Gifts and Sundries is the resort shop. Nice and large, it has a wide variety of merchandise.
Eating is an important part of any vacation, and Coronado Springs has dining options that are a step above the other moderate resorts. Although their full-service restaurant, Maya Grill, is definitely pricier than what you might expect at a moderate resort, it receives great reviews for its Latin American fare. Maya Grill is open for breakfast--normal buffet breakfast items are available--and dinner only.
More casual dining is available at the Pepper Market, which is unlike the other Disney food courts in a number of ways. Diners here are seated by a host, and receive a copy of the menu that lists the foods available at each of the market stalls. Real dishes and flatware are used instead of plastic, and cloth napkins are used instead of paper! A cast member takes your drink order and brings your drinks, and clears your table after you are finished eating. A 10% service charge is automatically added to the check, unless the food is ordered to go. Anyone planning to do this should tell the host upon arrival, so that they are given a ticket with "to go" stamped on it to alert the cashier. Colorful and attractive, the Pepper Market also has some of the best food of any food court - with many items that are more ambitious than what you would normally expect to find. Portions are large, and since the prices reflect that, do not hesitate to share a meal. People who do not want to leave their room to eat have the option of calling Room Service, with Coronado Springs being the only moderate resort to offer this amenity.
Directly across from the Pepper Market is Francisco's, the resort bar. Here you can enjoy snacks and a wide array of beverages, including their signature margaritas and tequila samplings from 4 p.m. until midnight.
The resort has bell services staff to assist with luggage, but no valet parking. Since the addition of another bus stop, there are now four bus stops spread throughout the resort, so no room is terribly far from one of them. However, if being close to a bus stop is important, that request should be made when the reservation is being made. Having stayed at this resort several times since it opened, the convention traffic has never been a problem. From my experience, filling some of the rooms with people who are tied up in meetings all day is a good thing - it means fewer people crowded onto the buses, fewer people at the pool, etc. When I attended a meeting there we were such a large group all of our meals were included, so we did not even impact the Pepper Market traffic, although smaller groups most likely would.
Overall, Coronado Springs is definitely worth considering as a place to stay when visiting Walt Disney World. Priced as a moderate, but with a few extra amenities, and with a location convenient to everything, it has a winning combination!
Contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.
After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.
She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.
Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.
You can contact Sue here.
Get the latest info about the resort at Park Update: Walt Disney World.
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