Changes to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Changes to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

On a previous Disney News on Parade update, I provided my first impressions of the Gran Destino Tower recent opening at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. This moderate resort doesn’t look so moderate any more, and it has clearly elevated the conference side of the hotel’s business. Conventions is what Coronado is all about, but don’t let that stop you from booking this hotel as a tourist. While the business guest are in meetings, you will have free-reign of the resort.

A New Look For a New Tower

The design of the new tower is influenced by an unusual historical connection. In the 1940’s Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí combined thought to created the film titled Destino. This short was not completed until 2003 by Roy E. Disney, Walt’s nephew, who took the lead in seeing it’s completion. It is the story of Chronos, who represents time, falling in love with a mortal woman known as Dahlia. If you haven’t seen this short, check it out:

Different, huh? Interesting that Destino was produced during the same era as the more light hearted features, The Adventures of Mr. Toad and So Dear to My Heart. Truth is, while the hotel takes on that surrealistic feel that Dalí brings to his work, it really serves to create a beautiful–even stunning Spanish-style setting for this hotel. You feel it the moment you enter the lobby.

Lamps surround you on both walls as you walk into the lobby. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Fine back-lit detail is shown along the receptionist’s desk area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The carpets make a statement almost as much as the tile work does. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The centerpiece of this lobby, however, is a two-story setting that provides not only for a lounge, but as a gathering place, or simply somewhere to work on your laptop. Still, despite it being used as a work setting, the imagery is fairly stunning.

The centerpiece of the tower takes on an entirely different look depending on the time of day. Contrast the look at dusk when the sun is setting behind the lake, Lago Dorado (“Golden Lake”). Here that “golden” Dorado look plays out.

Throughout, you get a sense of Antoni Gaudi’s work that is so prevalent in Barcelona, Spain. It weaves well into this decor and plays off of the Destino theme as well.

You can see the detail of the tile against the Catalan Modernism-style pillar. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The new tower offers 545 modern guest rooms (including 50 suites and club-level services), new meeting venues, new lounges and a rooftop restaurant. In total there are now 2,385 rooms at this resort. Many reviewers are noting the unique elevators (you enter your floor number and go to an elevator assigned to you) along with plenty of plugs for phones and laptops. In truth, Disney is catching up to what is already common in many hotels across the globe.

You step down into the lounge area of the two story entry. There you find the appropriately titled Barcelona lounge has a unique stain glass look that also plays off of the Gaudi style:

Stained glass approaches in the lobby lounge. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

There are several new dining options at the resort to include Toledo–Tapas, Steak & Seafood and Dahlia Lounge (named after the heroine in the film) located on the 16th floor of the tower. Unique to a moderate resort is a club lounge named after Chronos (the main character in the film). All of them have wonderful views over looking the fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

And out in the middle of the big lake at Coronado Springs (Lago Dorado), you will find the new Three Bridges Bar & Grill at Villa Del Lago,  an open-air, waterfront restaurant not too unlike Geyser Point Bar and Grill at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This offers two benefits: First, that you typically don’t get food & beverage experiences of this caliber at a moderate resort. We’ll review these in the not too distant future as the opportunity arises.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Second, it provides a cross walk to move through the sprawling resort. It really is a time saver having the three bridges connect with this food & beverage location. Again, more to come on the culinary aspects of these locales.

A New Look for an Old Hotel

One might say that the former Pepper market was bright, colorful, but perhaps a bit gaudy. You might say the hotel is now more Gaudi than gaudy.

Old Pepper Market. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The new look is more professional, but maybe more of what I would find at a Marriott hotel in the Southwest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Heaven knows I love Marriott and I’ve stayed my share of nights conducting business. I’m just not sure the look is a Disney look.

New El Mercado de Coronado. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

You can get a sense of how that change has come to the Casitas section of the resort. This section has usually been more dedicated to those attending conventions in the past. Now the tower will be first priority to them. Here’s a former image of the more colorful buildings:

Old Casitas & fountain. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here’s what it looks like now:

New Casitas & fountain. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here’s a slightly closer view showing the differences:

The former look of the Casitas. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The new look of the Casitas. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The former look of the Ranchos. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The new look of the Ranchos. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Moving to the Dig Site, we don’t see as many changes, but there is some darkening of tones:

Old feature pyramid at the Dig Site. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The newer look of the feature pyramid at The Dig Site. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here’s the Iguana arcade, with its elaborate facade for a game room.

Lighter tones formerly on the Iguana Arcade.

Even with the transformation its color tone has been largely darkened.

Darker tones now on the Iguana Arcade. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

At the Explorer’s playground we found this large mouth that someone thought children would want to run through (and they do).

The old Mayan mouth. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Of everything in this resort, this was the one thing that was painted up with more color. And, the sand has been removed.

The newer Mayan mouth. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

One thing for sure, you will probably welcome the Gran Destino tower at night. It has an impressive color scheme that blends between blues and greens. Make sure you check it out before you retire for the evening.

Gran Destino Tower at night. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Changes come and go. There will be more changes here in the years to come. As a whole, I welcome the changes. As I mentioned on my previous Disney News on Parade update, it seems in some ways like a return to color and styles found in the Seventies. Others look more favorable. Everyone has their preference. Hopefully, it will pay off for Disney as it seeks to attract more guests.

How about you. Do you like the new look? Are you already a fan of Disney’s Coronado Springs? Do the new additions interest you in staying there?

J. Jeff Kober

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