In true Disney fashion, the Coronado Springs Resort delivered all I expected. The elegant and eclectic Colonial-Mexican theme was woven throughout the entire property, but it was not overdone.
In my opinion, this resort flies under the radar in comparison to others above and similar in price range. From the fare to the overall feel, Coronado Springs offers a bit of a refined reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the parks.
Coronado Springs Pool and Decor
Upon arrival, we were wowed as we stepped into the lobby, which set the tone for an elaborate, luxury fiesta. A two-tiered fountain centered in a shallow, decorative pool was featured by a vibrant, frescoed dome, high overhead.
The connecting area was impressive as well—with countless columns and arches below a continuing, high ceiling with exposed, wooden beams. Restaurants lined the inside of a nearby corridor, with more arches and windows.
The grounds of Coronado Springs sprawl around a lake in the middle of the property. There are picturesque, Southwestern views along the winding paths surrounding the lake. Single hammocks and benches make for quiet stopping or lounging points about this widespread, tranquil resort.
Compared to other Disney resorts I’ve visited, this one pleasantly distributes its theme throughout, but theme becomes more understated beyond El Centro (the lobby, registration, and restaurant area) and the main pool. If you are expecting cacti, sombreros, or Mickey & Minnie at every turn, you’re most likely to be disappointed.
Capable of catering particularly to the needs of conventions and business travelers, Coronado Springs’ atmosphere is comfortably sophisticated. It was just what we needed.
While this resort is certainly not devoid of families with young children, it’s definitely not what I would characterize as a rowdy or “high energy” resort. Decompression and unwinding were necessities for us, and we got just that at Coronado Springs.
It’s for these reasons and more that make Coronado Springs, in my opinion, one of the best places to stay at Disney World with kids.
Coronado Springs Resort Rooms
Of the moderately priced Disney World resorts, the value for the dollar at this resort was unbeatable, in my opinion.
Our group shared two water view rooms on the ground floor of the Cabanas. I had hoped for adjoining rooms, but that wasn’t possible. It turned out to be less of an issue than I’d originally thought since we were side by side.
The rooms were equally spacious and immaculate, with quality bedding and linens. I particularly liked the curtain that could be pulled to separate the sink/toiletry area from the bedroom. This made it nice for whoever wasn’t the first to rise or the last to bed.
We were mere steps away from the quiet pool shared by guests of our building. It was never crowded or noisy, and it was well-kept, nestled inside trees and tropical foliage. Although we didn’t use it a great deal, we certainly made the most of it.
With only a few minutes here and there, I could jump in for a refresher, a couple of laps, or some playtime with the kids in our group. Exercise is an important part of nearly every day for me, even while on vacation. So having the fitness center on-site had been a plus when making our hotel decision.
But in the interest of time, I ended up using the quiet pool as my workout option. And we wouldn’t have had nearly the swim time if the only option had been the main pool.
Best Time to Visit Disney World?
Early May, I believe, is the best time of year to go to Disney World. The rates are generally better because it is after spring break and before Memorial Day. Since most children are still in school, the parks and lines aren’t as crowded; likewise, neither are the resorts, their pools, or restaurants.
The weather is pretty reliable and quite nice this time of year. April showers have passed, and typically if rain comes, it comes and goes fairly quick. The temperatures aren’t anywhere near the dog days of summer, but they are certainly warm enough to enjoy the pools and all water-related attractions. I always kept rain parkas compactly tucked in my everyday backpack, but we had no need for jackets to be worn.
Enjoying the Pool
One day we had planned exclusively for taking a break from the parks, and we set aside plenty of time to relax and enjoy the main pool. This turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. The main pool was an easy walk from our room. I got some priceless pictures around the big, Mayan pyramid waterfall feature, and even more photos of the kids playing in the dig site play area.
The pool itself was plenty large enough, and it never felt crowded. The giant, winding waterslide was a blast, but I nearly died when my husband let our two-year-old go down it—but he loved it. He’d been swimming for over a year. But please note, this is not a slide for a typical two-year-old in the least, or for a beginning swimmer.
Downside of Coronado Springs?
The only downside of staying in the Cabanas section of Coronado Springs was that it was a decent hike to the main area and restaurants. We made the trek once, but we called for a ride on a golf cart on another occasion. We had to wait a fair amount of time for someone to arrive, so that was a somewhat of a disappointment.
On the plus side, however, having a refrigerator in our rooms is absolutely awesome. None of us particularly care to get up early and have a full breakfast. We prefer to have more of a continental style breakfast in the room as we leisurely get ready for the day. This also was a big help in saving us a meal service. We’d intended to use room service, but the convenient hours and pick-up foods like fruit, yogurt, and milk at Cafe Rix, made it unnecessary.
Coronado Springs Dining
Coronado Springs has plenty of food/dining choices for guests. The following are among the options:
- Maya Grill
- Cafe Rix
- Pepper Mill
- Las Ventanas
- Siestas Cantina
- Room Service
My first dining experience at Coronado Springs was not long after our arrival. We’d had an early breakfast and flight that morning, so by the time we’d checked in, it was about 1:00 pm and we were hungry for lunch.
Our room wasn’t ready quite yet, and since Las Ventanas was still serving lunch, that was an easy choice. The dining was casual and cozy. I enjoyed some scrumptious calamari and a few bites of someone’s tasty French dip. Las Ventanas was a perfect place to sit, catch a second wind, and plan the rest of our day over a filling meal.
We had breakfast at least once at Pepper Mill. The kids were anxious to see past the brightly colored, giant dog and chili peppers and to have the much anticipated Mickey waffles. We were seated and drink orders were taken. Upon returning with our drinks, our server gave each of us a ticket we were to have stamped at the various buffet stations. Pepper Mill was a nice diversion from our usual light breakfast in the room.
On our day of rest that included an extended visit at the main pool, we took advantage of having a hot lunch poolside, with very little effort. Siestas Cantina allowed us to make the most of our pool time, and we ordered burgers and wings to share. I also enjoyed a refreshing cocktail or two.
The Maya Grill, serving dinner only, has to be among the best restaurants in all of Disney World, although it seems little known beyond guests of Coronado Springs.
On one evening, we’d come back from a park in the late afternoon, and we just weren’t up for dragging the kids out again for a dinner reservation in a different park. We canceled and had no problem dining at this nicer, convenient restaurant.
Maya Grill has a laid-back vibe and is is quite welcoming of children. It offers a wide variety of Mexican fare fused with a taste of Texas. Another pleasant surprise– the kids (recognizing we were in a “fancier” place to eat) were on their better behaviors.
The guacamole was superb, and the fish tacos were exceptional. In respect to the ambiance, service, and quality of food, I found the prices to be far more reasonable than I would have expected. But it wasn’t a factor since we were on the Disney dining plan.
Service and Quality
From the moment we got off the shuttle to Coronado Springs Resort from the airport, I was well-pleased with service. A kind gentleman took care of our numerous bags, checking them to be held until our rooms were ready.
Registration was relatively fast and very informative. We were kindly referred to Las Ventanas for lunch, just around the corner. Since it was near the very end of lunch service, we practically had the place to ourselves.
Our server was most helpful, taking time to explain how the dining plan and our wristbands worked. We were really grateful for that when it came to checking out at busier locations.
I found service, particularly at the restaurants, to be well above average. Compared to a couple of other Disney resorts at which I’ve stayed, I felt more attended to while dining at the Coronado Springs’ restaurants. I didn’t feel as rushed or “herded,” especially in comparison to counter service/buffet-style restaurants at other resorts.
Overall, I considered our service to be excellent. Although we had to wait longer than we wanted for a golf cart ride from our room to El Centro one evening, the morning we checked out was a different experience indeed.
A gentleman arrived promptly at our requested time, and he immediately loaded our bags and assured us we had plenty of time to gather our remaining odds and ends. With two small children and their last-minute items spread between two rooms, his patience was truly appreciated.
Food, accommodations, amenities, and service are all things I considered to be well above average quality. Everything was clean and appeared well-maintained. All encounters with staff were pleasant and friendly. It seemed they genuinely wanted their guests to have their best Disney experiences possible.
Convenience and Accessibility
Coronado Springs is situated just between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios; Epcot lies just beyond the latter. Disney Springs (formerly Downton Disney) is just beyond Epcot. All four of these parks were on our must-visit list.
We knew we wanted the convenience of staying on Disney property, the comforts of a higher-end hotel at a more affordable price, and so Coronado Springs seemed to be the best fit. And it truly was.
The kids had a pool right outside the room, and the impressive main pool with all the extras nearby; we adults had a quiet retreat, a bit of pampering, and uncrowded dining with a couple of more discriminating alternatives.
I rate Coronado Springs 4.25 stars out of five.
And lastly, to see an update on the Coronado Springs construction, please check out the video below:
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