Disney’s newest moderate resort is, to over-generalize, the Caribbean Beach Resort for adults. Both have some type of tropic décor, both surround a large lake, both are large enough that busses make a number of stops to service each area, and both offer the mixed blessing of solitude (if your room is on the outside) coupled with lots of walking if you intend to make frequent trips to the food court and main services. The resort is, at times, beautiful. Lush landscaping and unique buildings remove guests from Florida and transport them across the Gulf of Mexico. Yeah, it’s fake – but emotions don’t connect directly to brains.
However, Coronado Springs is also Disney’s only moderate convention resort. Depending on the group that’s in town, you’ll see more suits, enjoy higher-class bars, and have access to better business-type services, such as workspaces and Internet access at Coronado Springs.
“It’s a convention hotel,” sounds scary to families afraid that an army of suits will turn leisure time into work time. But, depending on the convention, that isn’t usually the case. In fact, a convention could generate thinner crowds around playgrounds and pools, making the resort feel more exclusive. If half the guests attend a 3 p.m. lecture on analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy, they’re not at the playground or poolside. (But they may be in the bar at 5 p.m.)
Coronado Springs takes its theme from Old Mexico and the American Southwest. Three main room sections have different styles, though all reflect Mexican architectural roots. One section recreates the country, with ranch-style buildings. A second reflects the look and feel of seaside homes. A third – and the one that hosts the main building and restaurants – has an upscale style found in the cities. While room amenities vary little from Disney’s other moderate resorts, the Mexican décor feels comfortable and somewhat real. Don’t think Taco Bell
– it’s far better than that.
Coronado Springs has a restaurant and perhaps the moderate resorts’ most unique food court. They’re located, along with check-in, in El Centro. The resort also has one of the neater pools, centered by a Mayan pyramid with a slide. Because the swimming pool sits across the lake from El Centro – an island and bridge connect them – no single room is close to everything.
Due to the resort’s size, Disney busses pick up passengers at multiple stops around the outside of the complex. That’s good for walking from room to bus – it’s not far. It’s bad for travel times, however, since a single bus stops at least four times. If you’re the last stop, it’s a quick trip to your destination; even then, however, you’ll be the last to get home at the end of the night.If you have a car and like to drive, it’s not inconvenient. If you plan to use Disney’s transportation system most of the time – or don’t have a car at all – the walking can get old.
Who should stay here
Coronado Springs is ideal for anyone who needs a workspace, demands better business service, and, of course, is attending a convention. It’s also a good choice for adults who want a moderate resort without a primary focus on kids. For many people, Coronado Springs also feels more like a vacation get-away thanks to the Mexican theme. Disney’s other moderate resort that appeals to adults – Port Orleans – has many touches familiar to Americans. Coronado Springs captures another world.
Who shouldn’t stay here
Kids will prefer Caribbean Beach if considering a moderate resort, and adults who want to leave the sight of business suits behind should look elsewhere. If you want a moderate resort and hope to minimize walking, consider Port Orleans’ French Quarter, where the buildings sit close together and the food court is a five-minute walk.
Busses connect to all Disney areas. They circle about every 15 minutes, but connection times can take a while as they stop at other sections of Coronado Springs.
Questions to ask when booking
If proximity to either pool or restaurants is important, negotiate that when booking. (No room is truly close to both, but talk to the reservationist. Ask also if a convention is planned, and who it might be. It’s possible that the convention blocked off the rooms that require less walking, leaving the only available rooms on the far side of the lake. Those are not bad rooms – they’re even tranquil by Disney standards – but accept the distance when making your reservation.
Disney’s website: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/coronado-springs-resort/