Moderate resorts at Walt Disney World can offer the best of both worlds on a Disney vacation. One moderate Disney resort that family travelers often overlook is Coronado Springs, in part because it is best known for hosting a large convention crowd. Find out what works for family travelers at Coronado Springs and what doesn’t in TravelingMom’s comprehensive Coronado Springs Resort review.
Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World is one of Disney’s moderate resorts. Offering an old world Mexico theme, it is probably best known as the convention center hotel. As a result, you may indeed find more business suits than Mickey ears among its guests. But guests will also find a myriad of dining choices good for any kind of guest as well as a pool sure to please any kid or kid-at-heart.
Depending on your family’s needs and travel goals, family travelers shouldn’t necessarily overlook Coronado Springs. The unique status of Coronado Springs offers family travelers some equally unique benefits as well as some challenges.
What Works for Families at Coronado Springs
- Kid-friendly themed pool complete with kids play area and waterslide.
- Doors that close off the sleeping area from the sink the the rest of the bathroom (a nice feature when traveling with kids with early bedtimes)
- Many on-site food choices.
- Bus service from the parks is usually direct (bus routes most times of year aren’t shared with other resorts, meaning fewer stops).
- The price: rates can be as low as $175 a night (and additional room discounts can be found some times of year).
What Doesn’t Work for Families at Coronado Springs
- Long walks due to the resort’s layout and large size.
- Standard rooms only sleep 4.
- No monorail or boat access to any of the parks; only bus service available.
With nearly 2,000 rooms, Coronado Springs is a huge Disney resort. As one of Disney’s moderate hotels offering lots of amenities and a better location than many value resorts, it is naturally a resort that many different types of Disney guests might consider. It is considered one of Disney’s Animal Kingdom area resorts, but it is equally close to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, giving it a fairly central location.
When I visited, I spotted a number of family travelers in addition to the usual convention crowd, which begs the question whether Coronado Springs is a good fit for more than just convention attendees. The resort definitely has some advantages for families, but those come with corresponding trade-offs.
As a larger hotel, the amenities and dining are extensive and varied, which offers value to anyone staying there, regardless of whether they are attending a convention or not. The Dig Site pool area is undoubtedly one of Disney’s best and sure to be a hit with kids.
Additionally, as a moderate resort, the resort isn’t a lot more expensive than a value resort during certain seasons of the year. Families looking to upgrade their Disney vacation without breaking the bank might find real value in a stay at a moderate resort like Coronado.
The biggest drawback for family travelers, however, is simply the size of Coronado Springs. The hotel’s buildings complete encircle a 22 acre lake called Lago Dorado. Depending on where your room is located, you may find yourself with a lengthy walk to other parts of the resort. Those with older kids may not mind. But after a long day walking in the parks, even a few extra steps can be painful for anyone. Although I didn’t have my toddler with me on this trip, I knew I would have found the additional walks (especially in the extreme Florida heat many months of the year) quite frustrating.
The hotel is divided into several different sections. The lobby area is called El Centro and has many restaurants and shops in addition to the adjacent convention center. There are an additional three sections of the hotel containing guest rooms: the Casitas, the Ranchos, and the Cabanas. Each has a unique Southwestern style. Disney’s bus routes to the parks make a stop at each of these three room areas as well as a stop at El Centro, mitigating some walking when you need to head to and from a Disney park. But for guests needing to get around within the resort, there is really no way to avoid walking on a consistent basis.
Coronado Springs Resort Rooms
Like most Disney resort rooms, the rooms at Coronado Springs are generously sized. I stayed in a water view room in the Casitas with two queen beds. Kings are also available as are some more expensive suite options. The room had ample space for luggage and for a Pack N Play for younger kids (VIP TravelingMom Tara Settembre even fit two Pack N Plays comfortably in her room for her twins). I found the rooms a bit dark but they were otherwise comfortable.
The beds at Coronado Springs have duvet covers rather than bedspreads, which makes for a more luxurious and potentially more germ-free experience. The beds are quite comfortable and include a nice hidden Mickey touch.
The best feature of the rooms for family travelers is that the sleeping area can be closed off from the entire bathroom by two beautiful wooden doors. Many Disney hotels I’ve stayed in have the sink area of the bathroom open to the room, which can be an inconvenience when you are traveling with young children who are trying to sleep while others in room need to access the sink. There is a second door that closes the sink area off from the tub and toilet for additional privacy.
Unfortunately for larger families, Coronado Springs’ regular rooms only sleep four (plus a child in a crib). There are, however, some affordable room options for larger families staying at Coronado Springs, including booking adjoining rooms or a junior suite.
Rooms include a desk and large dresser with flat-screen TV. Inside the dresser is a mini-fridge. Families staying for an extended vacation with lots of clothes might not find the drawer space adequate but the closet area (which is really a long hanging bar open to the sink area) has a lot of spillover space.
During my stay, I encountered one service hiccup, as my room was somehow overlooked by the housekeeping staff one day. I was in the park all day and returned very late to find that my room had never been made up (I had definitely removed the “Do Not Disturb” sign from my door that day, which is sometimes the reason for such an oversight). The resort was extremely apologetic and offered to bring any additional towels or things that I might need when I called to let them know. I was luckily not really in need of anything and was able to go to bed for the night. I did wonder whether the large size of this resort, however, lends itself to small service hiccups like this on occasion.
Coronado Springs Resort Amenities
As one of the larger Walt Disney World hotels, Coronado Springs has impressive amenities: a fitness center, beauty salon, and multiple pools can be found alongside a business center, self-service laundry facilities, and a large well-stocked gift shop.
If walking around all day in the parks isn’t enough exercise for you, Coronado Springs has a fairly large indoor fitness facility, La Vida Health Club. It’s open 24 hours a day, which is a rarity for hotel gyms, making it convenient for convention attendees needing to hit the gym at odd hours.
The main Coronado Springs pool area, known as the Dig Site, is definitely the highlight of the entire hotel. Its focal centerpiece is a large Mayan pyramid with a waterfall. The pool area includes waterslides, play areas, a volleyball court, and a pool bar (Siestas Cantina) serving quick service food. It also has free life jackets to borrow if your kids aren’t quite water safe, which is a Disney touch that I always miss when staying at other hotels.
Coronado Springs Resort Dining
Coronado Springs’ large size also means ample dining options at all price points on site. The hotel has a large food court called Pepper Market with several cuisine choices near the entrance to the convention center. Next to that is Maya Grill which serves slightly higher-end Tex-Mex food. Las Ventanas is the place for a sit-down breakfast. Of course, room service is available along with a grab-and-go convenience store, Cafe Rix.
For drinks, choices include Rix Lounge and the outdoor Laguna Bar overlooking the lake.
Considering Coronado Springs with kids? Check out TravelingMom’s guides to the resort at every age and stage: