Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is a Moderate Resort at Walt Disney World with a Southwest theme. This hotel review features room photos, our thoughts on staying at Coronado, including during the midst of the construction project that has already started. (Last updated June 1, 2018.)
Coronado Springs is very spread out with Lago Dorado, a 22-acre lake, in the center. The resort is described as evoking “the spirit and romance of Spanish-colonial Mexico” during the time that explorer Don Francisco de Coronado searched for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. Around the same time I believe he was also searching for Three Caballeros topiaries.
Coronado Springs Resort is often considered Disney’s convention hotel, but it is so much more (and thanks to its convention hotel designation, the amenities are better). It’s not adjacent to any of the theme parks, so guests of this resort must rely upon bus transportation or their own vehicles. There is no boat or monorail transportation from Coronado Springs Resort to any of the theme parks or Disney Springs.
June 1, 2018 UPDATE: Walt Disney World has announced that the Dig Site will be closed for refurbishment from September 4 until December 12, 2018. This includes the feature pool, volleyball court, playground, Iguana Arcade, and Siestas Cantina. Do not be surprised if the actual end date slips into Early 2019, as this is a rather ambitious project.
Room refurbishments are also underway, occurring in phases by building, and should be entirely finished by very soon. We stayed in a new room last fall, and were fairly impressed with it. This review has been updated to include photos of both the old and new rooms.
At this time, unlike our recommendation for guests staying at Caribbean Beach Resort, we are not recommending Coronado Springs guests switch resorts unless visiting after September 2018, as that’s when the large Dig Site/pool project begins. Otherwise, the Coronado Springs construction should be less intrusive for guests. The tower is being added to an unused plot of land (not finishing completely until 2019), and is distant enough from the rest of the resort that noise can’t be heard in guest rooms. It is a visual blight from around the resort, though.
Anyway, that’s what you need to know as far as updates go. From here, we’ll continue on with the normal review. Since our first stay at Coronado Springs, after which we originally wrote this review, we’ve been back several times and have updated this as the hotel–and our perspective–has changed over the years.
Theming-wise, we both think that Coronado Springs is really underrated. There are three different architectural influences at the resort (all under the general umbrella of Southwestern): Ranchos, Cabanas, and Casitas. The architectural styles around the resort vary from urban to countryside, and in between.
Ranchos have more neutral color schemes and draw inspiration from southwestern cattle ranches. Cabanas are more colorful, and are designed to evoke the feel of Mexican beach resorts. Casitas are more urban (yet still colorful), with Spanish architecture similar to what exists in Southwestern cities.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is possibly the most divisive resort on Walt Disney World property. Proponents believe it’s very underrated with nice rooms, a well themed pool, and good dining.
Critics feel that the atmosphere is ‘ruined’ by too many convention guests who take away from the ‘vacation’ feel of the resorts; others also complain that the resort is too spread out. As for the positive attributes, I feel they’re all spot on. As for the criticisms, I never once felt that business-travelers were in any way negatively affecting my experience.
If anything, I’d much rather book a resort with a lot of business guests who, presumably, won’t be engaging in impromptu cheer sessions or door slamming in the middle of the night.
Business people, in general, are more respectful than average Disney guests or other large groups (think youth sports of international tour groups–neither of which typically stay at Coronado Springs), in my opinion.
As for the resort being spread out, it absolutely is. If you don’t like walking, this is not the resort for you. I love a nice walk and I find spread-out resorts to have more to explore and a better opportunity to convey their ambiance, so this “negative” is a big positive for me.
As for theme, some areas do an incredibly great job conveying their themes, especially the arid rock-covered paths in the Ranchos area. While the Ranchos fit the theme very well, I’m glad the entire resort isn’t designed this way.
The vibrance and more cheery architecture around the lobby is great, and we found to strike the perfect balance between Southwestern architecture and a charming ambiance. Ranchos, while well done, doesn’t have a theme I particularly want to see in a resort. That might just be me, though.
The Dig Site pool is one area that is spectacular. It cracks our list of the Top 10 Pools at Walt Disney World, and frankly could rank much higher once you consider this entire area that offers a lot. Beyond the pool and its 123-foot water slide, there’s also an arcade, play area, Siesta’s bar, volleyball court, and the largest hot tub at Walt Disney World.
During our visits, we’ve always noticed that this pool is always less busy than almost any other hotel at Walt Disney World. While I originally figured this was just our anecdotal observations, I now think it might be attributable to the hotel’s demographics. Can’t be using the pool midday if you’re in a convention. (Great for families who want midday pool time–no fighting the crowds!)
Now, let’s turn to the guest room. First, a look inside of the old rooms, which are becoming increasingly rare as the room refurbishment project continues:
Irrespective of whether you’re looking at the pre or post-refurbishment rooms, we think Coronado’s guest rooms are the most nicely-appointed of any Moderate Resort. We’ve found the bedding and pillows to be nicer in quality, and the desk workspace nicer. This is likely all attributable to the ‘business/conventioneer’ nature of many guests.
At one point, we would’ve sweated that Coronado also had the largest rooms of any Moderate Resort. Apparently, that’s wrong (see our Hotel Room Sizes at Walt Disney World post for more info), but we still think they feel more spacious. Perhaps that’s just a more efficient use of space than the others?
Above is a look at the newly-redesigned room. We’re on board with the new streamlined desk/storage space under the television, and it’s nice to have a surplus of charging ports. We also like the removal of carpeting, but that can lead to more noise (we haven’t experienced this firsthand). The Three Caballeros art is also a nice touch.
For me, the change of the headboards and sliding doors is a downgrade. I loved the texture and rich wood, and thought that style simultaneously added a feeling of sophistication and thematic coherency. The new headboards look more modern, but also cheaper. The doors also look cheap, but without looking modern. For like the thousandth time, I think bed runners would go a long way in making the beds look less sterile, but I realize the hotel industry is moving away from them.
Coronado Springs has Maya Grill, Las Ventanas, and Cafe Rix, none of which we’ve ever tried. These are actually three of only a handful of restaurants at Walt Disney World that we’ve yet to do. Our hesitation is that all seem to cater to convention-goers, and not the normal family audience that reads this blog.
Overall, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is a bit of a mixed bag depending upon your perspective, but we think it’s mostly good (or more). The rooms are great, the pool is nice, and there are flashes of brilliance in theming. The counter service restaurant is great, too. The convention clientele is actually reassuring for us, as we have less concern that we’ll be stuck next to a rowdy group of cheerleaders or a tour group (in all of our stays at Walt Disney World, this has never happened to us, but it’s still a lingering concern). That said, a lot of the theming doesn’t suit my personal tastes.
The neutral color scheme found in many of the buildings leaves a bit to be desired for me, personally, but it’s still well done. In the grand scheme of things, this may seem insignificant, but it’s important to us. Fun theming is a big draw for me, and Coronado Springs seems to lack this in many of its buildings. The lobby and pool are a different story, but with Caribbean Beach Resort and Port Orleans Riverside as alternatives that I love, I just can’t get too excited about Coronado Springs. That said, I hardly hate it, and it’s worth giving each element in this review appropriate weight as they matter to you, as my ultimate conclusion here may seem contrary to the sum of the individual elements of the resort.
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What do you think of Coronado Springs…is it a stuffy convention hotel, or a great value with Deluxe-level amenities Anything you love or loathe about Coronado? Any tips or thoughts to add? 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!