Gran Destino Tower is a new addition to Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World, offering a totally different type of accommodations that are arguably Deluxe-caliber, but at a Moderate price. In this hotel review, we’ll share room photos, thoughts on amenities, plus the pros & cons of staying at Gran Destino Tower.
One thing we won’t be covering extensively is the themed design and my personal grievances with Walt Disney World choosing to plop Gran Destino Tower in the middle of a sprawling Moderate Resort. For that, see our Gran Destino Tower First Impressions & Photos. Likewise, if you’re looking for a review of the outlying building clusters, see our Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Review.
It cannot be understated just how different the rest of Coronado Springs is from Gran Destino. While the latter is at the former, these are less similar to one another than the Contemporary is to Polynesian Village Resort. The outlying buildings of Coronado Springs are materially different from Gran Destino Tower, even if they are technically part of the same property.
Coronado Springs Resort is Walt Disney World’s main convention center hotel, and Gran Destino Tower undoubtedly was built to satisfy the conventioneer demographic that only has a passing (at best) interest in Disney. This is evident in the general design and substantive offerings, which are reminiscent of Las Vegas. It’s also apparent in the marketing, and the indoor pathway to the convention center.
Along with the explosion of high-end dining at Disney Springs and new lounges added over the past few years, this is yet another way that Walt Disney World is catering to demographics beyond just families with small children. To the contrary, Gran Destino Tower seems to intentionally avoid appealing to families.
While there are legit criticisms about how this has resulted in more muted theming, the upside is that regular guests to whom this style might appeal–who aren’t conventioneers–can also take advantage of Gran Destino Tower’s approach.
Let’s start with a look at the guest rooms in Gran Destino Tower…
Gran Destino Tower offers 545 guest rooms, including 50 suites and Club Level rooms. Regular rooms are differentiated by their view and whether they have two queen beds or one king bed. Rooms are 375 square feet in size, which is larger than other Moderate Resorts.
This is actually larger than some Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts, on par with Epcot Deluxes, and smaller than Magic Kingdom Deluxe Resorts. (See our Hotel Room Sizes at Walt Disney World for more.) In reality, these rooms do not feel significantly larger than regular rooms at Coronado Springs, though. Much of it is devoted to the entry hallway.
The other downside as compared to all of those Deluxes is that Gran Destino does not offer balconies, which is potentially a big blow. During a nicer time of year, I would’ve missed having a balcony, but not during our July stay when the ‘feels like’ temperature was over 100 degrees most of the day.
Guest rooms in Gran Destino have laminate faux-hardwood floors, a sizable desk, wall-mounted smart television, pod-style coffee machine, and mini-fridge. The room also has a good amount of storage, with multiple drawers, plus a dedicated armoire, and luggage storage under the bed.
Walt Disney World has been touting this television, which features interactive content and personalization. It’s possible to display Disney PhotoPass images on the screen, and stream from personal devices to the in-room television. (This is another feature that’s reminiscent of Las Vegas hotels.)
In terms of style, there are some accents like the headboard and wall patterns to give the room some semblance of character. Calling this room “themed” to anything would be a colossal stretch, and not even remotely accurate. It’s fine, but if you told me this were a Marriott or Hilton in some random place, I wouldn’t question that.
That’s likely an intentional choice, and we’ll reiterate once again that Gran Destino Tower was designed in large part for conventioneers who aren’t particularly interested in Disney. These rooms will likewise appeal to other guests who want a muted room design. (As is becoming par for the course, there are no bed runners, and the sterile white bedding adds to the boring, vanilla appearance of Gran Destino’s rooms.)
Gran Destino’s bathrooms are among the nicest, but also the most perplexing at Walt Disney World. The bathroom is separated from the main living space by a large sliding door, and there’s another door that divides the two sinks and the glass-walled shower from the toilet…and the shower rack?
This is an interesting use of space in the bathroom, as the sink and shower cannot simultaneously be used except by those who are intimately familiar with one another. It’s almost as if these rooms were designed for couples or parties of one, which would again make sense for conventioneers.
The flip side to this is that this use of space in the bathroom alone will likely make Gran Destino Tower really unappealing to families, as it’ll prolong the time it takes everyone to get ready in the morning. Theoretically, it would take twice as long for everyone to shower and get out the door–that’s a tough sell for parties looking to rope drop the parks.
The good news is that, layout aside, it’s all really nice. It features a hand-held shower head and a ceiling-mounted rainfall shower head. The sink area has a vanity cabinet with plenty of storage and shelving, large mirror. Lighting is multi-directional and brilliantly illuminates the area.
When it comes to room categories, we’d recommend sticking with standard view. It’s cheaper and from this side of the tower, you’re potentially facing Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The water view is facing away from the parks and towards the rest of Coronado Springs Resort (you can also see Expedition Everest in the distance).
We’d recommend requesting a standard room that faces Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Epcot (some standard rooms will have views of both), and also a higher floor. The reasons for both requests should be pretty self explanatory. These standard rooms will be on floors 3 through 14, with higher level rooms reserved for suites and Club Level.
Gran Destino also offers the ability to book rooms with access to the Chronos Club Lounge, which is Gran Destino’s Club Level. Chronos Lounge serves breakfast, dinner, and dessert options, as well as alcohol and coffee (the espresso is the same as what’s served at Barcelona Lounge!) throughout the day. It’s among the largest Club Level lounges at Walt Disney World.
Chronos Club is also by far the cheapest Club Level options at Walt Disney World. (We paid ~$275/night for Club Level after discount, which is much less expensive than its counterparts.) Despite this, we found the cuisine to be among the better Club Levels at Walt Disney World. We’ll have a full review of Chronos Club soon, but suffice to say, it earns our seal of approval.
If you’d prefer to do dining at Gran Destino Tower as you go, there are a trio of options. Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood is the rooftop table service restaurant that is arguably California Grill-lite.
The next-door Dahlia Lounge offers one of the coolest bars at Walt Disney World. Downstairs, the lobby Barcelona Lounge is a coffee bar during by day and a bar by night.
Toledo and Dahlia Lounge are both closer to what you’d expect at a Deluxe Resort than they are a Moderate Resort. The rooftop location is a huge selling point, and both also offer a nice moody atmosphere and lighting.
These strike us as similar in atmosphere to the adult areas of the various Disney Cruise Line ships. (We’ll also have full reviews of both soon.)
In addition to the convention center on the other side of El Centro, there are a number of meeting spaces in Gran Destino Tower. While it’s unlikely many people reading this will have much use for them, but they’re quiet areas when not being utilized by convention guests.
There are also a lot of public workspaces in the lobby, which are a good option if you need to take your laptop out of the room to get some work done. In general, we found the lobby to be a fairly loud activity hub, so you might want to bring headphones.
We also found the fitness center to be far more popular than its counterparts at other resorts. My plan was to take photos of it at 5 a.m. before anyone was in there, but even at that hour, several people were using it.
I’m not going to awkwardly take photos of people working out, so you’ll just have to take my word that it’s nice. Above is a photo of a random lamp instead.
Elevators are another interesting, nice, and Vegas-like feature of Gran Destino.
Rather than hitting the up or down button, you tap your floor, and the screen directs you to a certain elevator. It’s much more efficient than a normal elevator system, and we loved it. (With that said, I also rode the elevator with no less than 3 parties who were somehow confused when the elevator didn’t stop at their floor.)
Otherwise, resort amenities at Gran Destino Tower are those at Coronado Springs Resort, and are covered in our full review of the main hotel. The most significant of these is the Dig Site pool. This makes our list of the Top 10 Pools at Walt Disney World; there is a lot to love about this pool area, which has a ton of recreation options beyond just the pool, some of which are more appealing to adults.
There’s also the matter of buses. Although entirely anecdotal at this point, our (admittedly limited) experience with Gran Destino Tower led us to believe that Walt Disney World increased the number of rooms without increasing the number of buses servicing Coronado Springs. We found the buses to be more cramped than normal. Bus service at Walt Disney World can be very hit or miss, so hopefully this was simply a “miss” for us. If not, hopefully the problem is remedied.
For families, it’s hard to see the appeal of Gran Destino Tower unless you can get past the use of space in the restroom and lack of Disney themed design. There are other upsides, but these two downsides would seem to pretty much make it a non-starter. There’s also the more ‘adult’ and convention atmosphere, which is already a frequent complaint about Coronado Springs and will only be more pronounced at Gran Destino.
Setting aside the issues of theme, scale, etc., this is pretty much all upside for adult couples who book here. Gran Destino Tower instantly becomes our #1 mid-range hotel recommendation for an adults-only trip to Walt Disney World or for honeymooners who are on a budget. As appealing and romantic as Port Orleans is, Gran Destino has it beat on substance.
With Gran Destino, you get the consolidated hotel experience and have almost all of the amenities you need under one air-conditioned roof, and don’t have to brave the Florida sun and heat to have dinner, go to the bar, or use the fitness center. Additionally, the main food court, convention center, and even the bus stops are all pretty close and under covered or indoor walkways.
For some Walt Disney World guests, me included, part of the resort experience is the expansive and lush grounds, with area to explore, enjoy the themed environments, and so forth. As a guest of Gran Destino Tower, you also get that…but only if/when you want it. You don’t have to walk 15 minutes outside from the lobby to your room when it’s hot, humid, or rainy. Finally, you don’t see the ugly building towering on the horizon if you’re inside said ugly building. This makes staying in Gran Destino Tower something of a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario.
By contrast, guests of the outlying buildings arguably have a ‘worst of both worlds’ scenario: they have to walk outdoors those long distances to Gran Destino or El Centro, while also having tower serve as an eyesore from their building clusters. Because of this, Coronado Springs Resort now only appeals to us in one of two scenarios: 1) we book Gran Destino, or 2) the outlying buildings are cheaper than every other Moderate Resort by at least $15-20 per night.
Overall, that’s pretty much where we stand with Gran Destino. From the outside around Coronado Springs, it’s an ugly eyesore…but if you’re staying inside of it, you don’t necessarily see that exterior too much. The Las Vegas-lite style won’t appeal to everyone, but the same could be said for more thematically-rich hotels at Walt Disney World, too. If you don’t care about theme, are value-conscious, want Deluxe-caliber amenities and somewhere with a more adult vibe, Gran Destino is tough to beat. Just keep in mind that even then you’ll have to sacrifice a balcony on your room and being within walking, boat, or monorail distance of Magic Kingdom or Epcot. However, if you don’t mind all of that, you can save a considerable amount of money by booking Gran Destino. With all of that in mind, it should have tremendous appeal to some Walt Disney World guests.
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!
Does Gran Destino appeal to you? Is the (lack of) theme a deal-breaker for you? What do you think of the bathroom layout? Are the upgraded amenities a selling point for you? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!