You may remember that I didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about either.
I like Coronado Springs a lot more.
Coronado does have two major detractions.
Like Riverside and Caribbean Beach, it’s gigantic. If you get stuck in Ranchos, you’re a solid ten to fifteen minutes away from El Centro, the main building.
That’s how far away you are.
And it’s a convention center. Depending on the date, you may run into a lot more blue button up shirts and black skirts than Mickey ears and Tinker Bell balloons.
But Coronado has a lot going for it too. It’s the only Moderate with a 24 hour health club. It’s the only Moderate with a salon. The only Moderate with wood doors separating the vanity and sleep areas inside the room. And it’s the only Moderate with a business class. I think that’s all true at least.
Buses connect Coronado with the theme parks and Downtown Disney. Your transit time to Animal Kingdom should be less than ten minutes. Unlike the similarly large Caribbean Beach Resort, there is no internal bus that circles the resort.
Magical Express would drop you off right out front.
And there are bus stops at each section – one behind Cabanas 8A/B, one behind Ranchos 6A, and one behind Casitas building 4. The Cabanas stop is visible through the trees.
El Centro is the resort’s main building, where you’ll find the restaurants, concierge, check-in, and the resort store.
Panchito’s Gifts and Sundries isn’t anything particularly special.
It’s the usual collection of generic Disney merchandise.
And no resort specific merchandise.
They do have $5.75 Bud Lights though.
Check-in is what you’d expect. I’ve visited a lot of Disney resorts numerous times and it occurred to me that I’ve never seen much of a line at the concierge or check-in/out. The “Express Check Out” has certainly helped with that. Last time I stayed at All-Star Movies, I was emailed a PDF of my bill.
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 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. For the Super Bowl this year, they have a buffet for $15.95 and specials on drinks, including a bucket of five beers for $15.
Serving more drinks, Laguna Bar sits just outside.
Margaritas are about 70% as good as La Cava del Tequila at a slight discount.
“Coconino Cove” is a new addition to the Coronado Springs. Disney is now happy to charge prospective business clients for access to this lounge, located in Cabanas 9B.
According to Disney, “Guests with Coconino Cove access will enjoy upgraded, semi-exclusive services and amenities, including:
- Use of in-lounge iMac and PC stations, computer gaming consoles and flat screen televisions
- Electronic device charging stations & boarding pass printing
- Areas suitable for small groups to gather and meet in a relaxed setting
- Assistance with dining reservations, ticket information and other special requests
- Food & beverage offerings throughout the day”
You had me at “semi-exclusive.”
“Business Class” runs about $56 more per night. I have never been inside the lounge, so if you have, please post a comment about what it’s like! It sounds similar to the Concierge Class Disney offers at the Deluxes. If they have complimentary beer and wine and you’ve got four people in your room, it may be a worthy upgrade.
Like the Caribbean Beach and Riverside Resorts, each section of the Coronado features a quiet pool.
No takers in the middle of a warm afternoon, but you’d be just a minute or two away from a swim regardless of your room location.
The Dig Site pool complex is the resort’s feature pool, complete with 123 foot slide.
And Disney World’s largest hot tub with room for 23 people that you would probably prefer to see with clothes on.
With El Centro so far away from the Ranchos section in particular, you may find yourself doing the bulk of your eating and drinking at Siestas Bar, located just a hop and a skip from the Dig Site:
With a refillable mug station and decent menu, it’s not a bad place to grab a quick bite to eat.
Unlike the playground in the Lion King section of Art of Animation, kids are actually allowed to play here.
And a real working slide!
Iguana Arcade sits nearby.
But still cheap.
If you purchase a $25 card, a play on those driving games would only be $1.
One of my favorite things about Coronado Springs is that each of the three sections feature distinct architecture.
The Ranchos section is my favorite:
And it’s otherwise so pretty.
Casitas 1, 2, and 3 are Preferred buildings close to El Centro and the convention center. A Preferred room would run you an extra $30/night. Because of their proximity to the convention center, you’d most likely see more convention people on that side. Cabanas 9A and 9B, with their close proximity to the Dig Site and El Centro, would be my personal preference.
I’m not sure how popular Business Class is, but they get priority placement in Cabanas 9B closest to El Centro.
Casitas buildings are closest to the spa and health club.
The architecture may be less interesting than Ranchos.
But the courtyard areas are very pretty:
Hopefully this bee is scheduled to pollinate this flower at 2:57pm via MyMagic+. Are you wearing your wristband bee?
Speaking of MyMagic+, RFID is only becoming more prevalent at the resorts.
You don’t quite need a key to the laundry room yet, but you’re going to soon.
You couldn’t get into the bathroom at the quiet pool without a card. It was actually locked. I had to go!
Bathroom locks seem to be on the unnecessary side of things. Next thing you know you’ll have to have a MAGICal band and a reservation to throw something in the trash.
The rooms all had the new RFID scanners for entry.
Coronado’s queen beds aren’t as big of a deal now that the refurbishments to Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter added them last year.
But I prefer the more subdued theming inside the rooms. It “feels” more relaxing. And that wooden divider is nice in the morning when someone is trying to get a little more sleep.
While I usually scout the resorts for possible scotch drinking locations, this hammock looked to be a nice spot to enjoy one of those on-the-rocks margaritas.
And plenty of benches for a lakeside Chivas. It’s what Walt would have done. I’m certain of it because I know the three Walt quotes by heart.
I’m positive about Coronado Springs, where I wasn’t particularly positive about the Caribbean Beach Resort. Looking around the resorts, the only thing I can see Caribbean Beach doing better is the feature pool theme.
But Coronado has nicer rooms, additional amenities, better food, the same quiet pools, and pretty surroundings.