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.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!


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!

13 Responses to “Coronado Springs Resort Update: October 2018”
  1. Cruzer October 18, 2018
  2. Karen October 17, 2018
  3. Laura October 17, 2018
  4. Leslie October 13, 2018
    • Jeff October 13, 2018
    • EM October 14, 2018
  5. Barbara October 12, 2018
  6. ruth October 12, 2018
  7. Keith Goodnight October 12, 2018
  8. S October 12, 2018
    • Jamie O. October 12, 2018
    • Caroline October 15, 2018
    • Wade October 22, 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *