Coronado Springs Resort Update: October 2018
We’re back at Coronado Springs to check-in on progress of the 15-story hotel tower, over-the-water restaurant, and pool refurbishment as we continue our ongoing October 2018 Walt Disney World construction updates. As noted previously, these resort-wide enhancement project is aimed at making the hotel appeal more to Walt Disney World’s business and convention guest clientele.
Let’s start with the main project at Coronado Springs, that 15-story tower. The giant cranes are gone and there’s noticeably less construction equipment on the ground. The work zone is still really noisy, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was 6 months ago.
Tinted windows are now mostly installed for the guest rooms, and there’s visible work occurring on the inside of the building. On the exterior, dooms on the far left and right sides are now installed, and other architectural details are taking shape. A lot of work remains to be done, though…
The one really big positive of the weather-proofing on the outside now being mostly done, is that most work will soon be shifting to the interiors. Granted, there is still a good amount of exterior detail-work to be done and some ornamentation to be installed, but this should not be a loud construction site for much longer.
Here’s a look at the lobby:
While my feelings on this project remain mixed (mostly because it’s such a mismatch for the existing style of Coronado Springs), I think this lobby has a lot of potential.
The concept art for this tower looks a lot like it was recycled from Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, and that has a beautiful lobby. (Hopefully Disney drops the Art Nouveau for this version of the hotel. That’d be weird at a Southwest-themed resort.)
Large work crews continue on the exterior. With each visit, significant progress is visible on the exterior. I’d assume the interior is making similar strides. Clearly, this project is a priority for Walt Disney World.
Next up, the Dig Site’s refurbishment. This project started last month and is scheduled to wrap up by December 12, 2018. The entirety of the Dig Site is closed at this time, including the volleyball court, playground, Iguana Arcade, Siestas Cantina, and the Lost City of Cibola feature pool (“Mayan Ruins Pool”).
Prior to its closure, I was concerned that this project was larger in scope than could reasonably be accomplished in three months, perhaps with plans to modernize the pool and add more upscale amenities consistent with Coronado’s trending in that direction.
Unless those plans have not yet commenced, this seems like a pretty standard pool refurbishment. I caught glimpses of the drained pool through the foliage as I passed by, with a lot of workers present in and around the pool. It would appear, at this point at least, that the project won’t entail building anything new, and is confined to the existing footprints of structures. As such, reopening in December seems likely–although nothing is certain.
I also stopped by the other pools at Coronado to see just how “slammed” they were with the Mayan Ruins pool out of commission. Both were veritable ghost towns, with only a handful of guests at each, and this was on a hot day.
Previously, I had wondered why Disney was starting this refurbishment in hot months instead of January, but no longer. Perhaps the resort is booked largely with convention clientele through December? Or perhaps regular guests have a “Mayan Ruins or Bust!” mentality?
I’m curious as to how Walt Disney World will market Coronado Springs Resort once the new tower is finished.
While I appreciate the charm and feel of the Cabanas (above) there is a world of difference between this section of the hotel and the new tower. Imagine seeing a promo video for the luxurious tower, and arriving to be assigned a Cabana room? I can see some dissatisfied guests.
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely not the type of guest who would have an issue. Imagine being a first timer, already overwhelmed by the complicated nature of booking at Walt Disney World vacation. Even with defined room categories, it seems like an easy mistake to make.
Maybe Disney will just quietly market the tower to convention guests, and no one else? That seems like a plausible theory and a smart approach given how markedly different it will be from the existing resort. If (or perhaps when) convention business experiences a lull, I could see that approach going out the window.
I mention all of this because, to my knowledge, Walt Disney World has never had a single resort with such a stark difference between regular room categories. The closest thing that comes to mind is Contemporary’s A-frame versus the Garden Wing.
On a tangentially-related note, I find it interesting that Walt Disney World is leaning so heavily on conventions in planning future development. Convention business is notoriously fickle, trend-focused, and competitive. Walt Disney World might be one of the “it” places right now, but will that be true in 5 years? Especially when so many cities around the country are investing heavily in updating their convention centers to compete for the same piece of this lucrative pie.
Speaking of pie, I assume some is served at El Mercado de Coronado (how’s that for a segue?!). This is the “new” restaurant at Coronado Springs, replacing Pepper Market last month.
Absolutely nothing is different here except for the name. I’m 43% sure this name change was made to confuse people, with 22% of me thinking it was to sidestep negative reviews when you google “Pepper Market.”
Either way, there’s a 0% chance I will remember this name. It’s been over 5 years and I still can’t remember the full name of the Little Mermaid dark ride (what I call it) in Magic Kingdom. It probably doesn’t help that Disney named the California version something different, and included a squiggly line thing in the name. (I think it’s “The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Voyage ~ THE ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY IN WHIMSICAL WATER.)
Heading back outside, we have the over-the-water bar & grill being built in the middle of Lago Dorado.
Work continues here at a fast pace, as well. We assume that the hotel and restaurant will be finished at around the same time–Spring 2019 (probably late spring).
As we’ve noted before, this bar and grill is being built in–literally–the middle of Lago Dorado, which is itself the center of Coronado Springs Resort. As such, the sound carries across the water to almost every section of the resort.
Personally, I wouldn’t stay at Coronado Springs between now and next April unless a really good deal convinced me otherwise. With Caribbean Beach’s re-imagining now finished (and only minor work remaining on the periphery) and both Port Orleans resorts having refreshed rooms (Riverside’s project is ongoing; French Quarter is done), I think there are more upsides to the other three Moderate Resorts and fewer downsides. That’s not to say you should freak out if you already booked a stay for Coronado–the level of construction has already peaked, and so long as you don’t have a water view room, you might not ever even hear the work from your room.
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Have you stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort since the construction started? What did you think of the experience? Would you recommend Coronado during construction to others? Planning on staying here between now and early 2019? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
The thing that’s odd about the interior is that the theming looks very Gaudi-inspired. I know that Coronado is Southwest with a heavy Spanish influence, so maybe that’s where they’re trying to make the connection?
Disney have been making some weird design decisions lately, which just screams “internal corporate power struggle” to me.
My favorite thing about Coronado was the view across the water. Every morning I loved coming out of my room and seeing the themed buildings and palm trees, instead of a parking lot or a wall, and seeing the lights reflected at night. I can’t imagine the scene being as beautiful and peaceful with a prominent, modern high rise in the mix. Maybe I’m just sentimental but I’ll miss the old view.
This is where we landed after the horrible bait and switch at CRB last Friday. It’s the second time we’ve stayed here, first at Casitas and last weekend at Rancheros. The whole experience changed for the better upon check in. First, they were pleasant and accommodating, unlike CRB. My husband even got 2 free snacks at the bakery for his birthday. The room was exquisite. Exactly what I’d hoped for at CRB but didn’t get since they “upgraded” us to a pirate room. The next freebie was a total surprise. Found in the room were 3 brand new exclusive and complimentary pins featuring Donald, Coco and another bird with a paint brush, hammer and the other bird holding an “Under Construction “ sign. Another extra was cooling gel, basically blue aloe, which I needed because I forgot the suntan lotion this trip. The tv was the biggest I’ve ever seen at any of the resorts and we were just at Saratoga last August. The queen sized beds were extremely comfortable. The extra chair (not the desk chair) was not but I only used it to put on sneakers. The rain styled shower was awesome and there was a hand held shower head as well. We were the farthest away from construction so it wasn’t even noticed. We ate at Rix lounge for a couple dollars more and it was totally worth it. The food was excellent and the atmosphere quiet while we caught up on sports updates, tv’s were everywhere but not loud. We didn’t use the pool this time on our adult weekend but we used the main pool a few years ago and our son loved it. It wasn’t open anyway. I felt like I was out west at Rancheros, it was like another world. Casitas, not so much but I’d definitely stay here again.
I am not sure why anyone ever stays at this hotel> The convention center makes even the close rooms far from the front of the hotel. The food court is awful with higher prices for less and worse food than Pop Century. The room was bigger than our room at Pop, but that is really all you can say. For almost a hundred bucks more for the two night stay than Pop we got a little more floor space. The bathroom does have an extra sink but otherwise was identical to Pop except that Pop has much more storage. I wouldn’t pay the same for Coronado as Pop let alone a lot more. The bus service was the worst we had our entire week. WE missed rope drop when we were at the bus stop an hour before because they never sent an Animal Kingdom bus. The two nights we spent at this hotel in September confirmed my opinion that this is the worst moderate hotel and not as good as Pop and probably not as good as Art of Animation. What is the point of paying more for so much less. Construction didn’t cause one bit of problems, it was the hotel itself that sucked. No new tower or new restaurant will solve those. The best pool is at the buildings miles from the lobby and restaurants. It sucks
Some people don’t mind long walks.
I generally prefer (and often request) a room far from the lobby. It allows me to regularly walk the beautiful Disney Hotel grounds.
First time to Disney last month and stayed at Pop Century and in a One Bed Villa in Kidani (incredible). Very impressed with Pop Century, for all the snobbery that people show for it I think it was a solid choice.
Arriving at Coronado Springs in two weeks. We’ll be spending time at the pool each day (weather permitting) and I am not sure what to expect in the way of construction noise. But as my travel friends keep telling me, it doesn’t matter because we will be at Disney, and being at Disney is always better than being at home. So I’m going with that.
I’ll post another comment when we get home as to what extent (if any) the noise affected our time at the pool.
I agree that the new tower looks out of place at Coronado Springs Resort. (I thought it was to be DVC and convention?) but must have been mistaken. We stayed at Coronado on our first ever onsite visit, and liked the “feel” of the place. It was unique with it’s heavy southwestern vibe. Now? Not so sure what the vibe is? I guess I just don’t like the convention look of this big hotel/tower with the rest of the resort. So, one vote against it.
“Dooms on the far left and right…”
I realize it was a typo for “domes” but for a moment I had a giddy vision that they were going Haunted Mansion for the theme of the new tower…
Hi we have reservations at Coronado for the holidays. Anyone have any additional feedback (current or recent stays)? I am glad to hear the food court is open. Assume construction noise will start after we leave in the mornings. Not worried about the pool because we’ll be in the parks. But nervous about staying here under construction-anything I am missing that might mess up our stay?
Hello- I stayed with my boyfriend here last December, it was both our first times at this resort and we liked our room a lot, but found the construction took away from feeling like we were at Disney due to its hindering of the resort theme. It wasn’t anything beyond a “feeling” that was lacking that we’ve had when we stay at other, non-construction zone hotels, so we did have a great trip none the less. In the grand scheme, you’re at Disney and it usually works out in the end! Hope you have a great trip!
My mom and I stayed here in a water view Casitas room 9/30-10/7 and we loved it. We weren’t bothered at all by the construction noise or the walk to the lobby and food court. We got breakfast at the food court a couple of times and enjoyed their options. The refurbished rooms are very nice, we definitely took advantage of the Keurig coffee machine, and we thought the decor was modern and pleasant.
We visit every 2 – 3 years and of late (last 3 visits) have stayed in Coronado Springs and honestly love it. Of course everyone has their preferences but we love the charm and the Spanish Christmas music playing during the holidays (we typically come around Thanksgiving).
The resort (specifically the tower) was under construction last year when we visited and although the tower did create some noise, we were in the parks during the noisy time of day. Our favorite place to stay is in the Cabanas. These are 2 story buildings which as a by-product have fewer guests and thus less guest noise. Like one of the other comments, we enjoy being away from the front desk and love the walk around the lake so the Cabanas are a good fit there.
The rooms are appointed well and we also like the sliding wooden privacy door in the bathroom area (vs. just a curtain) as this allows one to limit the disturbance to sleeping partners.
The Pepper Market (name now changed of course) is fine but consider visiting other resorts as well to sample their dining. We never had any issues here but it is pleasant to get around to see other food courts/quick service locations.
My advice is to NOT let any construction worry you and enjoy the magical time you will have. Hope this helps and enjoy your time!!