Maya Grill, a Hidden Gem at Disney's Coronado Springs Resortby Donna Fesel, contributing writer
When you are members of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC, Disney's timeshare program), as my family is, one of the coolest things you have access to is a feature called "pool hopping." On our most recent visit, we pool hopped to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort's Dig Site Pool. The Dig Site features a 20-foot replica of a Mayan pyramid, an outrageous water slide, and a hot tub with room for 22 people.
Coronado Springs is a hugely impressive resort complex near Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, where the accommodations are arranged in small clusters, making it an ideal site for corporate functions. I had stayed at Coronado Springs for a work conference, and found it very hospitable. I had no idea the resort had so much to offer for a family day of fun. We had a blast at the Dig Site Pool, and even ran into someone from our small town in upstate New York—isn't Walt Disney World funny that way?
After enjoying a few hours at the Dig Site Pool, we decided to enjoy dinner at one of Coronado Springs restaurants, the sit-down Maya Grill. Maya Grill is billed as a Mexican dining room with ancient modern styling serving Nuevo Latino cuisine. It is an architecturally interesting space serving some of the best Tex Mex I've had on WDW property. The dining room features lots of cool stone, a lovely fountain, and a calm cool theme that is the perfect respite from a sunny WDW day.
To start the meal, I enjoyed a fabulous jalapeño margarita on the rocks with salt on the rim. It was a refreshing and quenching start to a delicious meal.
We enjoyed the queso fundido, a melted Mexican cheese fondue featuring Memonita cheese (semi-soft cheddar/Monterey jack style cheese), with chorizo (spicy Mexican sausage) bits, served with a side of flour tortillas for sopping, and a fabulous freshly-made guacamole.
I am a guacamole snob, I freely admit it. Avocados are one of nature's most fabulous treats, and so many people add all sorts of crazy stuff to their guacamole like mayo or sour cream. A nice, ripe avocado is all that is needed to make a guac creamy and dreamy. Maya Grill adds some lime, onion, serrano peppers, and cilantro for a just right dip you will scoop up like crazy with their house-made chips.
We also ordered the calamari. It was lightly breaded and served with onions, cilantro, tomatoes, serrano peppers, lime oil, and an ancho chili remoulade. It is some crunchy, spicy heaven.
Next up, we had fabulous entrees. My husband enjoyed the very fresh and fabulous Red Snapper Vera Cruz. A wonderful red snapper filet is served "Vera Cruz" style with tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, capers, and olives on top of cilantro rice. My husband found the meal packed with flavor, but light and refreshing.
My son and I shared the Parillada "Del Grill," a sampler of fantastic meats (your choice of steak or chicken) served with more flour tortillas for wrapping and chowing. We selected both the strip steak and chicken. It was perfecty cooked and served with adorable mini chorizo, black beans, more of that fab cilantro rice, and esquites (a Mexican corn salad). The parillada was fabulous. The meats were high quality, and the mix and match sides were all winners. It was a ton of food, and if you are travelling with wee Mouseketeers could easily serve a handful.
To cap our meal, we enjoyed some "Dessert Shots," the perfect wee little treats to end our fabulous and filling meal. For three bucks a pop, you can select one or more little nibbles of Mexican deliciousness for a bit of sweetness to end your meal. We selected the Key Lime, Chocolate Mud Pie, and Peanut Butter Parfait. Each selection was a fantastic one or two bites to cap off a great dining experience.
Maya Grill may be a bit out of your way, but in our experience it was every bit worth the trip. It is a true hidden gem. The setting relaxing and lovely, and the food, darn right tasty. Maya Grill is open for dinner only, beginning at 5 p.m. It is one Table Service Credit on the Disney Dining Plan. Maya accepts the Tables in Wonderland card (20% off your meal with this Disney discount dining card), and provides a 10% discount for DVC members. What are you waiting for folks? Head over there.