If I was going to sum up Coronado Springs Resort in two sentences, they would be:
1. Coronado Springs is a beautiful resort that offers the nicest rooms and best amenities of any of the Moderate level resorts.
2. It’s huge.
Coronado Springs Resort is a Moderate resort that directly “competes” with Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, and Caribbean Beach Resorts. Generally speaking, rooms are $5 more expensive per night than the other Moderates. Coronado Springs has a number of unique amenities that you won’t find at any other Moderate or Value Resort. First, it’s the only Moderate with a convention center attached and the resort hosts many conventions of varying size throughout the year. It’s also the only Moderate with a fitness center, spa, nightclub, and business center.
A Quick Look Around
Let’s have a look around Coronado. We’ll return to the highlights for a better look later.
Pulling up to Bus Stop 1, which services El Centro, Coronado’s main building. Inside, you’ll find registration, resort concierge, shops, and restaurants.
Let’s go inside.
Just inside and to your left, you’ll find Panchito’s, the main gift/sundries shop, and the long hallway that leads to the convention center and restaurants.
To your right is registration (check in/out) and the hotel concierge. In this instance, check-in was extremely smooth. It helped that 20 people were working with a total of about eight guests. I completed online check-in again and my room was ready at 1pm.
Just outside the door, you’ll immediately get a sense of the resort’s beautiful theming…and size.
Looking to the right.
A little further up the path looking back toward El Centro.
I’m indecisive. Dig Site?
We’ll come back for a better look at the pool.
Looking across the 15-acre lake.
The Cabanas section.
And up into Ranchos:
This is my favorite section of the resort. Unfortunately, it’s also the furthest from El Centro.
Far, far away.
Across the Bridge to the Casitas section of the resort.
A look at the Casitas section:
Haha, this thing is pointing in five different directions!!!..Continue through Casitas?
More Casitas, closer to the Convention building and El Centro.
Outside the Convention Center and Pepper Market.
Pepper Market entrance and outdoor seating:
Gee Whiz, How Long Did That Walk Take?
Click for full size.
These are the approximate walking times in between points of interest at the resort. It took about thirteen and a half minutes from the time I stepped out of my room in Ranchos 6B until I set foot in El Centro. A 27 minute round trip.
Without a doubt, Coronado Springs has the nicest rooms of any Moderate level resort. Although Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside have come a long way with their refurbishments, Coronado Springs still has a lot more going for it. You’ve got wooden doors separating the bathroom and sleeping areas, glass cups(!), a separate desk with office chair and light, granite countertops in the bathroom, an ottoman, and separate shampoo/conditioner bottles(!).
Two queen beds, a stylish ceiling fan, LCD television, good-size dresser, desk, desk light, office chair, ottoman, coffee maker, ice bucket with four (glass) lowball glasses, refrigerator, nightstand. It’s a well appointed room.
A better look at the desk.
One possible detraction is the fact that Coronado rooms only have one sink, rather than the two you’ll find at other Moderates. The granite countertop is a nice upgrade and you’ve got a little bottle of lotion there too!
For very important businessmen…
Better look at the sink area.
Pretty standard Disney bathroom….except for the individual shampoo and conditioner bottles!! Believe it!! Also..am I the only one that can never open the soap packages?? I always get a mouthful of soap trying to bite into it.
Glasses!! A much classier way to consume your scotch than the plastic cups you’ll find at other resorts.
The only place I’ve ever made a pot of coffee is at a Disney resort. You’re paying for it…might as well consume it.
A decent size fridge insider the dresser.
Overall, Coronado Springs’ rooms are one of its biggest assets. The addition of queen size beds and LCD televisions at the Port Orleans resorts is certainly a step in the right direction, but Coronado still has more better amenities.
The Pools – Dig Site Complex
One of Coronado’s other assets is its pool complex, which is arguably the best of the Moderate resorts and eclipses several of the Deluxe resorts as well. Aptly named the “Lost City of Cibola,” it includes the 272,000 gallon feature pool, the 50-foot tall Mayan temple that houses the 123-foot long water slide, a 22-person hot tub, a playground and pool area for kids, an arcade, a pool bar and grill, and a volleyball court.
It really is a sight to behold.
The rule book.
This month’s pool activities. Click for a larger image. There are a bunch of activities to keep the kids occupied. The campfire and movie are a lot of fun.
The Dig Site provides towels, but the quiet pools require you to bring towels from your room.
The Explorer’s Playground:
I’m a little big for this.
The Iguana Arcade and bathrooms to the left.
I can see some pretty funny games of volleyball played by drunk conventioneers.
Siesta’s Pool Bar and Grill:
Ask me about my Bacardi 151 story sometime.
There’s a ton going on at the Dig Site and you’ll want to take a close look at Coronado Springs if you plan to spend a lot of time poolside.
You’ll also find a “quiet pool” in each of the resort’s three sections.
In the Cabanas section.
In the Ranchos section.
In the Casitas section.
The Dig Site pool is so popular that few people are in the quiet pools, which is nice if you’re looking for a quieter experience.
Someone asked about laundry prices…so here you are ^_^
Each section of the resort has a laundry facility like the one pictured in the first image. The cost is $2 per wash and $2 per dry.
The Fitness Center and Salon
Coronado Springs has a very nicely appointed fitness center that is almost never busy. There is a lot of weight equipment out of sight, but there were some bros working out and I was a little nervous about photographing them. Rest assured that you’ll get your pumps in though.
The salon is sort of a hole in the wall, but it would certainly suffice if you were looking for a little attention. There are separate massage rooms as well.
The Fitness Center is open all day, every day. Just remember your card during off-hours.
Because of the convention aspect, Coronado Springs offers a lot of choices, including a robust room service menu. You’ve got Pepper Market, Maya Grill, Cafe Rix, Rix Lounge, and Siesta’s Grill (pictured in pool section above). Let’s have a look.
All of the restaurants are located down a convenient corridor that runs off to the left of El Centro.
A recycled image from above – you’re only about two minutes away from all restaurants, other than the pool grill, from here.
Here’s the Pepper Market:
Pepper Market has a huge seating section inside and also offers outdoor seating around the lake. The theme is a lot of fun too and fits in well with the overall vibe of the resort.
Now, Pepper Market is different from other quick service locations. Here’s how it works:
1. You arrive at Pepper Market’s entrance, where you’ll see a “Please wait to be seated” sign. A host or hostess will walk you to an open table and explain the ordering process. You may also opt to take your food elsewhere, in which case you won’t be seated at a table. Pepper Market charges a 10% service charge if you eat within its indoor seating area. If you eat outside, across the way at Rix Lounge, back at your room, or anywhere else, then you won’t be charged the service fee. The waiter will take and deliver your drink orders, answer questions, clear the table after you’re done, and basically do what waiters would normally do other than deliver most food items.
2. Instead of purchasing your food before you consume it like you would at most quick service locations, you’ll be given a card to record what you order. The person taking orders at each of the food stations will stamp your card with whatever items you purchase. Once you are finished with your meal, you will take your card up to the cash register and pay for your meal. Here’s what the cards and stamps look like:
Someone asked if you needed an advanced degree to order here. While an advanced degree generally helps with life, I think most uneducated people will be able to figure out the process too.
Here’s a look at the menu, which the hostess will provide assuming you opt for a table. Menus are also provided at each station, as we’ll see next.
Click for full size images or skip ahead for a better look at each station.
Here’s a look at the various stations and menus:
Hot Sandwich Station
Pizza and Pasta Station
Click above image for slightly more readable version.
Ice Cream Station
And for Breakfast
See Bakery and coffee above.
Here’s What I Had
This is the Steak Burrito from the Chef’s Station. All food is prepared fresh in front of you after you order it, which is nice. Unfortunately, I failed to capture the immense size of this burrito. It’s HUGE. I almost regretted ordering it, knowing that I would be running around Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for the next seven hours. It was really good though and a great value at $10.50, especially considering we’re talking about Disney World here. Overall, I had a very pleasant experience at Pepper Market. It helped that I was the only person there, but service was attentive and the whole ordering process isn’t particularly complicated, even if it is a little different.
Hours of Operation
Unlike most resort quick services that operate throughout the day, Pepper Market doesn’t serve from 2pm to 4:30pm.
Cafe Rix is Coronado Springs’ “grab and go” location, offering a variety of hot and cold items from 6:30am – 12am every day. As you walk down the restaurant corridor, it’s the first door on the left.
And Cafe Rix for Breakfast
See bakery items above.
What I Ordered
Not very exciting. Really good blueberry muffin and I love chocolate milk though ^_^
I didn’t get to Maya Grill this time. The general consensus, which I tend to agree with, is that it’s an overpriced Mexican restaurant with mediocre food and lousy service. It’s not a bad deal if you’re staying at the Coronado Springs and have the Dining Plan, but it isn’t worth making a special trip out and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it if you can make plans elsewhere. You’ll find it at the end of the restaurant corridor, just past Pepper Market. Note that Pepper Market, Maya Grill, Cafe Rix, and Rix Lounge are all run by the same company that operates the restaurants in the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot.
Rix Lounge is located across from Pepper Market. It’s open throughout the day if you want to take your food over from the Pepper Market to avoid the service charge, but they don’t begin serving food/drinks themselves until the official “opening” time. It opens at 1pm on Sundays for football and 6pm on other nights. You’ll find a live DJ beginning at 9pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
The atmosphere depends greatly on who’s there. It’s populated mostly by conventioneers staying at the resort, but everyone (over the age of 21) is welcome to visit. They stock a full bar and offer several appetizers.
Check out those liquor prices!!
Laguna Bar is located along the water right across the way as you exit El Centro. A very nice location.
Poanchito’s Gifts and Sundries
Panchito’s is located right inside of El Centro on the left side as you enter from the front.
A nice assortment of gifts and food items, including a lot of stuff you won’t find at other resorts. Again, that has a lot to do with the resort’s convention center.
There are four bus stops located around the resort – one out in front of El Centro and one nearby each section of the resort. I had a poor experience one morning waiting for the Animal Kingdom bus to morning Extra Magic Hour. I arrived at the bus stop at 7:30am and the bus did not arrive until 7:58am. We watched two buses to Hollywood Studios, two buses to Magic Kingdom, and a bus to Epcot go by before the Animal Kingdom bus arrived. No one got on these buses, but there were 30+ people waiting for the Animal Kingdom bus. Once the first bus arrived, a second Animal Kingdom bus pulled up right behind it. Other than that, bus service was okay. You’re looking at less than ten minutes to Animal Kingdom, about 15 minutes to Magic Kingdom from El Centro (add another couple of minutes from the other stops), about 15 minutes to Epcot, and less than 10 minutes to Hollywood Studios. Not bad at all.
There were a few unsecured networks in the convention center area, but none of them seemed to provide an actual internet connection. There was no WiFi in the room and ironically, my phone didn’t even get a reliable data connection in the Ranchos section.
In my opinion, the best rooms are located in the Cabanas section in building 9B. You’re close to El Centro, Dig Site pool, and the bus stop. On the other hand, you’re further away from the Convention Center if that’s important to you. Casitas building 1 would also be close to El Centro and the Convention Center, but further away from the Dig Site. Casitas 1, 2, and 3 are “preferred” rooms, which cost a little bit extra. The Ranchos section is far away from El Centro, but it is a very pleasant resort if you’re willing to walk and I like the architecture in that section the most. If you’re driving or don’t have much interest in El Centro, then you might consider the remoteness of Ranchos as a positive attribute. It’s also worth noting that a convention may completely book up Casitas and potentially Cabanas as well. You may be stuck in Ranchos no matter what you request.
This was the bounceback offer in the room.
I enjoyed my stay at Coronado Springs and have a lot nicer things to say about it than Pop Century . A big part of that is the price I paid – $140 with tax with my Annual Passholder discount and weekday value season pricing. You might recall that I paid $130 at Pop Century just last month with a similar discount, but summer season pricing. Coronado certainly has a ton going for it, but my personal preference is still Port Orleans French Quarter because of its compact size. The recent refurbishments at Port Orleans have also closed the gap in room quality between those three resorts. Still, Coronado Springs may be a better choice for your family, particularly if you plan to eat several meals at your resort and spend a lot of time at the pool.