Is a stay at Disney’s Coronado Springs worth the cost? Get the opinions of our loyal Value Resort queen and WDW Magazine CEO, Stephanie Shuster.
I’m a loud and proud, self-proclaimed Value Gal—a huge fan of the Value Resorts at Walt Disney World. But In February 2022, I was treated to a two-night stay in aStandard View room in the Ranchos section of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Truth be told,this is myfavoriteModerate resortat Walt Disney World, and one that I’ve stayed at before and dined at many times. And the reason this Value gal loves this Moderate so much is because it feels more like a Deluxe (if that’s not music to a Value-lovers’ ear, I don’t know what is!).
Read on to see why I believe Coronado Springs is worth the cost.
Arrival and Departure from Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
This was my first trip “home” since theexpiry of Disney’s Magical Express. While there are some great alternatives out there likeshuttle servicesandprivate car services, I went with good ol’ Lyft this time. I was ready to hit the ground running after my early morning flight!
The entrance canopy at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Photo by Danny Shuster
When you arrive at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort,you’re dropped off at the impressive port-cochere at the lobby of Gran Destino Tower. It’s a glamorous arrival to be sure, but not the most convenient if you’re staying outside the tower in one of the three other sections of the resort.
Check-in is to the rightwhen you enter, and elevators are to the left. Take those to the ground floor if you’re staying in the Casitas, Ranchos, or Cabanas area instead.
Bell Servicesare there curbside to help if you want to check your bags or have them delivered to your room, but I was fine to wheel my carry-on across the resort. That wouldn’t have been the case in summer heat or those Florida downpours.
We stayed in the Ranchos section of Coronado Springs. Photo by Danny Shuster
I had completedonline check-in before my arrivaland was able to head straight to my room once it was ready without a visit to the front desk. (In the meantime, Igrabbed some lunch in the sunshine).
Check-out was just as smooth.I got my guest folio in my email and had no reason to visit the front desk, so I just left my room and went to the port-cochere to call a Lyft. Easy peasy.
How did the experience rate out of 10?
For the super convenient and luxurious arrival and departure experience, Disney’s Coronado Springs is worth the cost.
Transportation at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Less easy at this resort is transportation to and from the parks.It’s my only real complaint, but it’s a big one that might be a deal breaker for some. Coronado Springs is huge. Just look at this map!
A map of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Photo by Danny Shuster
There arefour bus stops, so you should be “close” to one of them (relatively speaking, you’ll never be farther than you would be from the farthest room at a Value resort with only one stop), but because of that, there are logistical headaches.
The buses stop in sequence, sothose at the later stops may miss buses because they are full upon arriving. Likewise,those at earlier stops may not be able to get on a bus that’s still full of passengers being dropped off.
If someone with a scooter or wheelchair needs to get on a partially full bus, some guests may even need to get off and then back on … The transportation process can be exhausting;it makes transportation to the parks way less magical than it should be.
I experienced this on past trips, and I’m sad to report that it hasn’t gotten better. Even in speaking with other guests, they reported that it wascommon to wait 45 minutes or more for a chance to get on a bus, and even then it might be full.
I was outside 90 mins before early theme park entry began at Magic Kingdom, and even so,I arrived after it had begun.
How did the experience rate out of 10?
Transportation to the parks was the only miss for me during my stay at Coronado Springs.If you are only prioritizing super convenient transportation to the parks, Coronado Springs Resort may not be worth the cost for you.Consider something on the monorail loop or on theSkyliner routeinstead.
Around Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
The last time I stayed here was December 2017 just after thebig renovation of the original rooms, but beforeThree Bridges Bar & Grill and their namesake three bridges were added to Lago Dorado. While it was a beautiful resort, it took so long to get around to different areas.
Getting around the lake is now much easier. Photo by Danny Shuster
We had trouble with our MagicBands, andit took over an hour for me to walk all the way over to El Centro (where the front desk was at the time), wait in line, get help, and walk back. We didn’t go grab late night snacks because we were just too lazy to walk a considerable distance after a day in the parks.
I’m pleased to report that the “walk around the whole lake to get anywhere” situation is no more!The bridges traversing Lago Dorado make it super quick to get from Ranchos to El Centro or Casitas to the Dig Site. We were in building 6A, which was previously one of the most inconvenient buildings, andwe could get anywhere we wanted to go in 6 minutes or less.
A view of the Casitas Pool. Photo by Danny Shuster
Plus, there’s the bonus ofone of my favorite lounges at WDW:Three Bridges Bar & Grill. This is an evening-only spot (which is sad, it would make for a lovely lunch date!) withfantastic food, incredible views, and sangria flights. Need I say more?
That’s not the only food to write home about either. There areso many dining choices here, I imagine in part because of the attached convention center, which hosts dozens of events each week. In the new(ish) Gran Destino Tower, you’ll findToledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood, as well as theDali-inspired Dahlia Lounge(their rooftop balcony is perfection) and the vibrantBarcelona Lounge(serving up espresso and express breakfast in the morning, cocktails, and tapas in the evening).
El Mercado de Coronadois a grab-and-go spot any time of day for meals and snacks (though sadly, the menu is less Mexican-influenced than a few years ago), andCafe Rixis open occasionally for coffees and pastries.Rix Sports Bar & Grillis a popular hangout with upscale pub grub, andLaguna Baroffers an outdoor retreat for a quick cocktail.Maya Grillis also located here, featuring Table-Service dining.
Want to Know More About the Foodie Paradise That Is Coronado Springs?Become a digital subscriber for less than the cost of a Mickey Bar to unlock more than 100 issues of WDW Magazine, includingIssue 98, “Anyone Can Eat,”where we offer an in-depth dining review of this foodie haven.
Plus,my favorite pool bar at Disney(so far, haven’t tried them all!) is here:Siestas Cantina. Get the tacos. Get the nachos. Get the margaritas and Mojitos.And as Maui says,you’re welcome.
Easy access to this amazing pool bar makes a stay at Coronado Springs worth the cost. Photo by Danny Shuster
Disney’s Coronado Springs is divided into four sections:Gran Destino Toweris the new, iconic tower here with modern Spanish design. Theroom décor is a little differentfrom the other three sections, which share the same layouts and styling, and is more artistic in keeping with the tower.
Casitasis closest to the convention center, and that’s where you’ll find the gym, the spa, and the lap pool (see, I told you this resort feels like a Deluxe!).Cabanas is close to the Dig Site pool complexand a has little sandy strip of beach with dreamy hammocks and loungers.Ranchos is designed with southwest flair, complete with lots of cactus and rock gardens.
Cozy up in a beachy hammock for a lazy afternoon if you’re skipping a park day. Photo by Danny Shuster
In addition to the three leisure pools located around the resort,the Dig Site is a real show stopper. The main pool features awaterfall on a Mayan-style pyramid, a waterslide, and a spacious hot tub (the largest at WDW). There’s a playground and an arcade, and this is where you can find Siestas Cantina.
We really dig the Dig Site Pool. Photo by Danny Shuster
The grounds and resort amenities here are so great,I’d be happy to stay here for a vacation on its own even without going to the parks. But it’s Disney—of course I’m going to the parks!
How did the experience rate out of 10?
For the amenities, dining, and entertainment around the resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs is worth the cost.
Video Tour of the Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Check out our short video tour of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort belowfor a more in-depth dive into this resort!
The In-Room Experience
The rooms at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort are reallya step-up from the Value resorts—and the other Moderate resorts too. At314 square feet, it has the same space as the other Moderates, but in my opinion, it uses that space to greater effect.
The Ranchos Standard View room feels quite spacious. Photo by Danny Shuster
The design of the rooms at Coronado Springs is clean, modern, and fresh.The rooms look as good now as they did four years ago!
The beds are very comfy. Photo by Danny Shuster
Double sinks and a large vanity, a sliding privacy door, and some extra H20+ amenities in the bathroom are a nice touch to elevate the room from one at a Value resort. The Keurig coffee maker and an actually workable desk space over the minifridge and dresser makeWFH (work fromhotel) life appealing.
We loved the double sinks. Photo by Danny Shuster
This desk is a game-changer if you have to work during your trip. Photo by Danny Shuster
Overall, the rooms here (like much of the resort) feel a little more mature and sophisticated than some other Disney resorts.
How did the experience rate out of 10?
For the room amenities and style, Disney’s Coronado Springs is worth the cost.
Room Tour: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Let’s take a complete tour of the room we stayed at – a Standard View room in the Ranchos area, building 6A!
Did This Value Gal Become a Moderate Resort Devotee?
As I said at the outset,Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is my favorite Moderate resort. It has its pros and cons like any hotel, but the reason I think it’s a great choice for a Value gal like me is thatyou’re paying a bit of a premium over Value Resort prices but getting amenities that are much closer to those at Deluxe Resorts, which is a really great bang for your buck. And that’s what value is all about!
Will I be back? Yes, especially on trips when I won’t be spending as much time at the parks.Will it replace all my on-property stays? No way, I need fast, easy bus access to the parks, and I’d rather use those extra savings to spend on a sangria flight at Three Bridges when doing a post-parks resort hop.After all, I am a Value Gal …
We’ve taken a look at four resorts so far in this series.I wonder which resort I should stay at next …
How did the OVERALL experience rate?
That’s right: It’s a tie! Booking a Disney Resort is really about deciding what’s more important to you. If low nightly rates, easy transportation, and classic, larger-than-life Disney theming are what you’re after, go Value all the way. But if you want a more upscale retreat with luxurious amenities and access to some of the best restaurants on Disney Property, go with a stay at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Can’t wait to check outDisney’s Coronado Springs Resort?Or are you more of a Value Resort fan?Either way, book your dream getaway today—just fill out this form to get a quote on your stayfrom our partners at Destinations to Travel!
Thanks to Disney for hosting us on a Media Preview of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser where we got to tour the ship, try some of the onboard experiences, hear from Cast Members working to bring the project to life, plus had the chance to stay at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. #GalacticStarcruiser
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