Coronado Springs Resort Review at Disney World Orlando Florida

by josh on March 15, 2013

Address:

1000 West Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000

Phone: 407-939-1000, Fax: 407-939-1001, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

Coronado Springs is a Moderate resort along with Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter.  Standard rooms are $5/night more expensive than the other three Moderates, running between $167 and $258 per night.  From there, Coronado offers Water View ($192 – $288), King Bed ($192 – $288), Preferred ($192 – $288), Preferred King ($202 – $298), Water View King ($202 – $298), Business Class ($217 – $313), Business Class King Bed ($242 – $338), Junior Suite ($370 – $608), 1-Bedroom Suite ($680 – $953), and Executive Suite Casitas ($1010 – $1364).

Because no rooms have balconies or patios, “upgrading” to a view won’t make much of a difference in your overall resort experience and is not recommended.

Location:

Coronado Springs is officially an Animal Kingdom Disney Resort.  While no theme parks are in walking distance, Animal Kingdom is less than ten minutes away by car or bus.  Magic Kingdom, the furthest theme park away, is 15 to 20 minutes away.

Size:

Coronado Springs is a gigantic resort with 1,921 rooms sprawled around a 15 acre lake.  This equates to a walk of as much as a mile each way between the main building and the Ranchos section of the resort.  Expect a round-trip walk from El Centro to Ranchos to take between 15 and 25 minutes.  It is possible to hitch a ride on a golf cart and be driven to your destination by a resort employee.

Convention Center: Coronado Springs is Disney’s most popular convention center resort and the only resort in the Moderate or Value class with an attached convention center.  This means that  some number of guests may not be at the resort for the usual reason– a Disney vacation.  Because convention goers generally stay in the Casitas section, near the convention center, you likely won’t run into a lot of them if you’re staying in Ranchos.  You may run into some in Cabanas with the addition of Business Class or in Casitas if you opt for a Preferred location room.  Generally, the conventioneers are not particularly bothersome, but they do tend to fill the Rix Lounge, Maya Grill, and Pepper Market for breakfast.

Room Amenities and Quality:










Coronado’s queen beds aren’t quite as big of a deal since recent renovations to Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter saw queens replace the doubles over there.  Nonetheless, the beds are as nice as they are at the Port Orleans properties and larger than Caribbean Beach Resort, which still sports doubles. One distinct advantage Coronado still has over the others is the wood panel doors that separate the sleeping area with the vanity/bathroom area.  The doors provide additional privacy and keep more of the noise and light from the bathroom away from the sleeping area, where others may be trying to sleep.  Each room also has the other standard Moderate amenities, including 32″ flat screen LCD television, DVD player, a small table, two desk chairs, two bed-side tables, luggage seat, dresser, mirror, hair dryer, small safe, pod coffeemaker, small  21” x 16” refrigerator, iron, and ironing board.  Shampoo, conditioner, and bar soap are also provided.  Each of the regular rooms is the standard 314 square feet.  WiFi Internet is now complimentary in all Disney guest rooms and most public areas.

The Junior Suite is about the size of two standard rooms put together and sleeps up to six people.  There is a bedroom with either two queens or one king bed and a separate living room type area with a sleeper sofa.  There are two bathrooms, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. 1-Bedroom Suites are also one bedroom with two queens or one king, but the main living room area is twice the size of the Junior Suite bringing the overall size to about three standard rooms put together.  The living area has a wet bar, a second bathroom, a sleeper sofa, two sitting areas, and a dining room table that seats four.  Finally, the Executive Suites have two bedrooms and a main living area.  One bedroom features a king bed with full bathroom and whirlpool tub and the other bedroom has two doubles and a full bathroom as well.  The living area has a wet bar, two seating areas, half bath, sleeper sofa, and a dining table that seats six.  All suites also have the standard Moderate amenities.

Additional Resort Amenities: Since this resort doubles as a convention center, there are a number of amenities designed to please the business crowd that are not found at other Moderates.

This includes the La Vida Health Club located in the Casitas section.  There are a half dozen treadmills and elliptical machines along with free weights and weight machines.

A tanning bed and massage rooms are also available for use.

Also in the Casitas section, the Casa de Belleza Salon provides haircuts and other assorted beauty services.

There is also a business center with computers, fax machines, internet, copying, notary, and other various business services.

Theme and Layout:

The theme of the Coronado Springs is Spanish Colonial Mexico and the Southwest United States.  The resort is split into three distinct areas – Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabanas that all surround a 15 acre man-made lake.

The Casitas section, referred to as an “urban terra-cotta paradise” by Disney, is generally used by convention guests.  Casitas is nearest to the Convention Center and buildings 1, 2, and 3 are nearest to the dining area.  Casitas 4 houses the spa and salon and Casitas 5 is closest to the main pool.

The Cabanas section features more of a beach look, complete with hammocks and its own nearby quiet pool.  Buildings 8A and 8B are closest to the Dig Site pool and 9B is best if you prefer to be closer to dining and service.

Finally, the Ranchos section is the furthest away from the dining area and main building.  This remote section features desert landscaping and buildings that resemble Southwestern Pueblos.

Although it looks as though Ranchos is nearest to the Dig Site pool, the area is actually separated by a swamp, so it may be a lengthy walk to the main pool and as much as a half mile to the main building and restaurants.  Ranchos does have its own quiet pool and bus stop like the other sections, so if you aren’t planning on visiting the main building or don’t mind a bit of a walk then the Ranchos section may be an oasis of peace and serenity.

Pool:

Arguably, Coronado Springs’ Dig Site pool is the best of the Moderates and probably the third or fourth best pool overall.

It is also one of the most popular so it may be crowded, especially in the summer months.  The pool, named “Lost City of Cibola,” holds 272,000+ gallons of water and features a 50 foot tall Mayan temple.

The Jaguar water slide is 123 feet long and the 22 person hot tub is one of the largest on property.  Each morning, children may participate in the pool’s “opening ceremony” which is a fun way for kids to get involved.

Like the other resorts, the main pool offers organized games and activities for kids.  A campfire and Disney movie are also offered nightly.

If the hustle and bustle of the main pool isn’t your thing, each section features a quiet pool.  Above is the Ranchos pool.

Casitas pool.

And Cabanas.  Trees and foliage provide a little privacy from the main walkways and there are plenty of chairs and loungers to aid in your enjoyment.

Adjacent to the Dig Site sits a playground area for kids.

It’s themed better than most and would give kids an opportunity to spend some energy outside the water.

Iguana Arcade, one of the resort’s two arcades, is also found nearby.

While not particularly large, it affords an opportunity to get out of one of Disney’s famous afternoon showers.

Kids that aren’t into swimming would also enjoy some time spent here.

Siesta’s Cantina is the resort pool bar:


With El Centro, the resort’s main building, being so far away from some of the guest rooms, Siesta’s offers more food than most resort bars.  You can also refill your resort mug here.

Transportation:

Coronado does not share bus service with any other resort.  The resort also has several stops which can add ten or more minutes to the trip depending on what stop you use.

All bus transportation times are approximate and begin only after the bus has departed its last stop on the way to the Park.

Bus transportation times:

Hollywood Studios: about 10 minutes
Epcot: about 15 minutes
Animal Kingdom: less than 10 Minutes
Magic Kingdom: about 20 minutes

Best Rooms:

This is a more difficult question to answer because the resort is so spread out and guests may want to be closer to the pool rather than the main building or the bus stop rather than restaurants.

Casitas buildings 1, 2, and 3 are designated “Preferred” and are a separate, more expensive booking category.  Compared to Standard rooms, Preferred rooms are $30/night more expensive.  Casitas 1 is closest to the food, main building, and main bus stop. Casitas 2 and 3 aren’t much further away.  Consider requesting Casitas 4 or 5 to be relatively close to the main building without paying the hefty Preferred room upcharge.   Casitas 4 is nearest to the Casitas bus stop, fitness center, salon, and Casitas quiet pool.  Casitas 5 is the furthest away from the main building, but closest to the main Dig Site pool.

The Ranchos section is the most remote, but of those buildings, 7A is nearest to the Dig Site and bus stop.  Ranchos 6A and 6B are the furthest out, which may also make them the quietest depending on your neighbors.  Being near the pool isn’t necessarily a good thing as that area is generally the noisiest and brightest section of the resort.  Although the Ranchos section is farther out, it may be the ideal location if you have no need to go to the main building, value privacy, and enjoy an occasional walk around the lake.  It is also possible to ride one of the “shuttles” around the resort, which can be a fun golf cart ride.

Cabanas 9B is closest to the bus stop and across the bridge from the Dig Site.  However, Disney converted this building to “Business Class” in late 2012 and is now a separate, more expensive room category.  Cabanas 9A is my favorite building – close to El Centro, the Dig Site, and on the opposite side of the convention center.  Cabanas 8B is almost as good and Cabanas 8A would be closer to the Dig Site, but further from the main building.

Lobby and Check-in:

Coronado’s lobby is large with plenty of room down the middle separating check-in with the resort concierge.  Straight ahead, additional information is available for conventioneers and their guests.

Cafe Rix, Rix Lounge, Pepper Market, and Maya Grill are all located down the hall to the left.

Enter El Centro from any direction and you’ll be greeted by this fountain in the middle of the building.

Panchito’s Gifts and Sundries is the resort’s store.

It’s the usual assortment of Disney’s most generic merchandise.

They do have a small assortment of merchandise similar to what’s found in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot – carved wood, maracas, ponchos, and similar items.

Bottled beverages, alcohol, and a small selection of food are also available:








With the convention traffic, the selection of cigars is larger than most resorts I think.

On-Site Dining Options: Because dining includes a lot of pictures, I’ve moved it to the end of the review.

Best For: Those looking to pay Moderate resort prices and have access to some Deluxe amenities, like a gym, spa, and salon.  People who don’t necessarily mind the thought of being 10 to 15 minutes away from the main building in order to enjoy peace and quiet.

Worst For: Those who would prefer short walks between their room and various points of interest at the resort.  People who want to eat at the resort often, but not spend a lot of money.  Guests expecting an in-your-face Disney experience.

Summary of Key Points: Coronado Springs is one of the largest, most sprawling resorts at Disney World.  On top of that, there is a 15 acre lake in the middle that makes it impossible to walk directly to most places.  You have to walk around the lake.  Despite its large size, it is also one of the most beautifully landscaped properties and walks are usually quite pleasant as long as it isn’t 100 degrees out and raining or you’re toting crying children.  There are a variety of amenities at the Coronado that are not available elsewhere, including the fitness center, salon, and business center, which any resort guest can take advantage.  The recently renovated rooms are nicer than the rooms found at the Caribbean Beach Resort and the queen size beds make it easier for four people to sleep comfortably.  While a small addition, the wood doors that separate the vanity and sleep areas can make a major difference in comfort.  Those on the Disney Dining Plan may enjoy significant savings here, as the Pepper Market and Maya Grill can get pricey.  It’s possible to spend $20+ on a single meal at Pepper Market and more than $40 at Maya Grill.  The pool is also one of the best on property, but it does get busy, especially when the weather is warm.

The biggest complaint about Coronado Springs is the size of the resort and the amount of walking necessary to get from place to place.  Luckily, if you are reading this, you already know about the best room locations so that should be less of a problem.  The Convention Center and conventioneers in general can have both a positive and negative impact on your vacation.  Chances are the convention will be catered, but if it is not, there may be a lot of extra people at the Pepper Market.  Unlike most children, Conventioneers also smoke and drink alcohol, which can be annoying as well, especially if you are in the Casitas section where most of the conventioneers are housed.  The Pepper Market may be confusing when ordering and can get expensive, but the food is generally freshly prepared with large portions.  The Maya Grill is expensive and not well reviewed.  I would recommend the Coronado over the other Moderate resorts to anyone that wants to take advantage of its unique amenities and doesn’t mind potentially long walks to points of interest on property.

On-site Dining:

Cafe Rix is as close as you’ll get to your typical Disney resort quick service.

It’s on the small side because Coronado also offers the Rix Lounge, Pepper Market, and Maya Grill restaurant.

But this is the quickest way to grab a meal – especially breakfast:








Do they really call them “RIX-CINNOS?”

Pepper Market is not your typical quick service for a variety of reasons.

First, you’ll be seated by a host, who will provide you with your order card. And a server will take your drink order and deliver them.

You then proceed to one of the stations to order your food.

The person that takes your order at the station will stamp your order card.

Once you’ve finished your meal, your server will take your card, ring up what you’ve purchased, and bring you the bill.  Pepper Market no longer charges an automatic 18% service charge unless there’s six or more in your party.  They had switched to a buffet for breakfast and lunch, but switched back to an a la carte menu for all meals on January 1st.  They had originally wanted to be a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a quick service credit.  But Disney wouldn’t let them offer a buffet for dinner for a quick service credit.

Trying to take in all the options can be a little overwhelming as each station has a menu on one side of it.  Here’s what’s available:



















Pricing is in line with Disney’s other resort quick services.  However, dining at Coronado is outsourced to the same company that operates San Angel Inn, La Hacienda de San Angel, and La Cava del Tequila.

And I think portions are gigantic across the board.  This is the $13.99 Honey Adobo Roasted Chicken, which comes with two sides.  I think it’s safe to say that it’s twice as much food as what’s served at Cosmic Ray’s or Fairfax Fare.

The skin had a nice honey flavor, but the chicken, while extremely moist, didn’t have a lot of flavor.  A little salt and pepper helped.

The rice had obviously been sitting there under a heat lamp for too long – extremely dry and flavorless.  It was around 1:15pm when I waltzed in and there were maybe 15 other people there.  So from a cost perspective, there wasn’t much of a reason to whip up a new batch of rice.  But quality certainly hurt because of it.

The potatoes were a little better, but seemed greasy and old too.

I had an excellent, gigantic burrito there last year.  My advice would be to order something that’s prepared fresh, like the burritos, sandwiches, and salads or arrive right when service begins.

I like Pepper Market a lot.  It may be my favorite resort quick service.  While the sides on my chicken were kind of duds, the service is fantastic and the portions are large.  Most of the items offered are home runs for the same prices you’d pay for your typical Disney fare.  If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you can’t do much better for a quick service credit.

Maya Grill, the resort’s table service restaurant, may be another story.

I have never dined here myself.

But the reviews I’ve seen have been “mixed” at best.  Service is usually slammed and prices are noted as being atypically high for the quality.

Cafe Rix, located right across from Pepper Market, is a little trendier than your typical resort bar.  It opens at 3:30pm daily.

Since it’s also operated by a third party, they often have special events for sporting events.

Serving more drinks, Laguna Bar sits just outside El Centro.

Margaritas are about 70% as good as La Cava del Tequila at a slight discount.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelley May 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I am thinking of staying here on my families first (and likley only) 10 day trip to WDW in OCOTBER 2011. Do you have a convention schedule? I am leaning toward this location for the pool (two boys ages 10 and 13) AND the queen sized beds. Here’s the catch… I LIVE IN ARIZONA. am I going to be sorely disappointed in the theme? is it going to look like home? Your amazing articles are GREAT and I read that the French Quarter has queen sized beds as well now, but sounds like more of an adult atmosphere with no theme pool, no quick food, etc… I trust you! What do you think?

Wendy March 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Josh – any thoughts on the new business class? I’m considering booking it for my trip but am curious on opinions and whether or not people think its worth it. Thanks!

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