Living in Florida, Walt Disney World has become my go to location for a “staycation”. A mere hour drive and we can feel like we are transported to another part of the country or the world. One of my favorite get away places on Walt Disney World property is the Coronado Springs Resort. This is a Colonial Mexico/American Southwest themed resort with a convention center. Don’t let the fact that there is a convention center scare you off. This simply means that the resort has a few more amenities than the other moderate level resorts at Walt Disney World. For example, there is a wider variety of room types such as suites and offers an expanded room service menu. The hotel and the grounds are well themed with a keen eye to detail and are fun to explore.
El Centro is the main building where you will go to check in for your fabulous vacation. Upon entering El Centro, La Fuente de Las Palomas or the “Fountain of the Doves” welcomes you. El Centro also houses the gift shop Panchito’s Gifts and Sundries which is stocked with handicrafts and Disney character merchandise. The shop is named after Panchito, the Mexican parrot in Three Caballeros. The Three Caballeros are represented well in the cute topiary located on the walkway behind El Centro overlooking Lake Lago Dorado which is the central hub of the resort.
El Centro also houses several dining options:
- Cafe Rix, just off of the lobby area, is a convenient spot to purchase and refill mugs. They are open early morning until late night for quick-service meals such as egg & cheese sandwiches, paninis and wraps. They also dish out fresh baked goods like cookies, muffins, and danishes. Specialty coffees, along with an array of bottled beers, water and soft drinks, can be found at the coffee bar. Newspapers can also be purchased here, and Disney Dining Plan credits are accepted.
- Maya Grill is the resort’s table-service restaurant serving Southwestern fare and features a huge, wood-fired grill. The wine list features offerings from Mexico, Argentina and Chile. The Maya Grill is open for dinner only.
- Rix Lounge is a 300-seat lounge serving up specialty drinks and appetizers. Check the schedule as they also often host special themed events.
- Pepper Market is set up like a food court and seats over 400 guests in an open-air market atmosphere. The Pepper Market serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a variety of options from pizza and burgers to Mexican cuisine such as tacos and tostadas. Stop by the espresso window for gourmet coffees and pastries. Another bar counter serves up margaritas and beer.
- Laguna Bar, directly outside of EL Centro’s back door, offers refreshing margaritas, mojitos and other libations in a bright lakeside environment.
Now, on to your home away from home for your stay – the guest rooms. The rooms are spread out amongst three villages Casitas, Ranchos and Cabanas, with each representing a different Spanish region. Each of the resort villages have multiple buildings and their own quiet pool. Please note – no towels are available at the Quiet Pools so you’ll need to bring the towels from your room. Coronado Springs Resort sets itself apart from the other Moderate resorts as it also offers junior and 1-2 bedroom suites. All of the standard rooms (non-suite) accommodate 4 guests and have one sink instead of the double sinks that other Moderate resorts have.
- Casitas (Little Houses) is themed to be an urban area with lovely plazas, fountains and courtyards. The brightly colored buildings are 3-4 stories. Casitas has the closest accommodations to the Convention Center. Casitas 1 is directly over the convention center and closest to EL Centro. The Casitas quiet pool, health club and beauty salon are all near Casitas 3 and 4.
- Ranchos reflects a more rustic, arid rural region with pueblo style 2-3 story buildings and small streams and prickly cactuses. To be close to the Dig Site, request Ranchos 7A and 7B. If you are looking for a quiet location, Ranchos 6A and B are the furthest buildings.
- Cabanas are coastal region beachfront cabana style 2 story buildings with a sandy shoreline. As matter of fact, most of the Cabanas buildings have lake views. Cabanas is also home to the Club level rooms which offer Business Club Level service such as personalized Front Desk and Guest Services, turndown service plus a lounge with continental breakfast, midday snacks and evening cheese and wine (for an additional fee). Extra amenities include a DVD player and robes. These rooms are similar to the Concierge service at the Deluxe resorts.
The Coronado Springs Resort grounds are landscaped with trees from ten different states and an interesting tidbit is that shredded wood from recycled pallets make up the mulch in the landscaped beds. Walking around the resort is enjoyable with a lot to see. Keep in mind that it can be a bit of a distance to get to and from some areas of the resort. There are four bus stops with one in each village and one at El Centro – Bus Stop 1). Casitas 4 is nearest Bus Stop; 2.) Ranchos 7A is the closest. Ranchos building to Bus Stop; 3). Cabanas Building 8A is closest to Bus Stop 4.
I can’t forget the jewel in the crown of the resort — The Dig Site pool complex! The theme is that of an archaeological dig site of a lost Spanish kingdom. This playful pool extravaganza features a 46 foot tall Mayan pyramid that cascades water down into the Lost City of Cibola Pool.
There is also a shallow children’s pool which sports a fountain. Enjoy the thrill of the 123 foot long Jaguar Water Slide or, conversely, relax in the huge outdoor hot tub. Kids can conquer the Explorer’s Playground complete with swings, slides and climbing areas and get their game on at the Iguana Arcade. Watch out for the spitting statue that will spray water on unsuspecting wanderers. Hungry? Step on up to Siesta’s Pool side bar for counter service items such as nachos, wings, sandwiches and grab a refreshing beverage (with choices to please both the adult and younger crowds). Unlike the quiet pools, the Dig Site complex provides towels. Games and activities are held daily poolside so be prepared to join or watch the fun.
Coronado Springs Resort is in the Animal Kingdom resort area of Walt Disney World and is located at 1000 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830.