Coronado Springs Resort — Part Two

The Dig Site is located in the middle of the resort and this is where you’ll find one of the best themed swimming pools at Walt Disney World. The centerpiece here is the Pyramid of the Sun. Inspired by the Temple of the Great Jaguar at Tikal, this structure is covered with years of jungle growth and a waterfall cascades down the ceremonial stone steps into a pool measuring 120′ by 90′ and containing 272,912 gallons of water. Towels and life-vests are available poolside.

The pool officially opens each morning at 10 am. To kick things off, children are invited to participate in a simple ceremony where they are asked to chant to the Mayan gods asking them to let the waters flow.

Pyramid of the Sun

Pyramid of the Sun

This area is called the “Dig Site” as it is supposed to represent a modern day archeological excavation of a lost Mayan community. Numerous “finds” are located throughout this area including a Mayan idol and hieroglyphs etched into the pavement.

Mayan God


No Disney pool would be complete without a water slide and the Dig Site is no exception. The entrance is located behind the pyramid and this 123 foot long ride takes you through a jungle and beneath a spitting jaguar. The “splashdown” is well positioned to afford a good photo op.

Jaguar Slide

Jaguar Slide

Jaguar Slide

Young children can enjoy their own pool complete with fountains and for those of you who wish to soak away your aches and pains, a 22-person hot tub is on hand.

Children's Pool

Hot Tub

One of the most imaginative children’s spots you’ll ever hope to find is located to the left of the pyramid. Explorer’s Playground features an assortment of Mayan ruins that have been unearthed and “converted” into a swing set, slide, sandbox, and jungle gym. The 3D face of a Mayan god is especially compelling.

Explorer's Playground

Explorer's Playground

Explorer's Playground

Explorer's Playground

Near the playground is Iguana Arcade where you’ll find the typical assortment of electronic games for the kids and dad. Be sure to notice the architectural details of the building. Giant serpents flank the entrance and intricate Mayan carvings line the exterior walls.

Iguana Arcade

Iguana Arcade

Next to the arcade is Siesta’s, a pool bar that offers just about any concoction you can think of. A reasonable selection of food is available here like sandwiches, salads, and nachos. The choices are numerous enough to create a nice lunch so you do not need to return to El Centro for a bite to eat. Refillable mugs can also be replenished here. Siesta’s is open from 11am to 7pm.


To the left of Siesta’s is a Mesoamerican Ball Court that the archeologists have converted into a volleyball court. If you look to one side of the playing field you’ll see the traditional hoop of this ancient game. Although the rules of this contest have been lost to antiquity, it’s believed that the Mayans used their hips to toss a heavy rubber ball through this vertical hoop.

Volleyball Court

Volleyball Court

The guest rooms at Coronado Springs are divided into three, distinct villages, Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabanas. Each village has its own, “quiet” pool and laundry facilities. No towels are offered at these pools so be sure to bring some from your room. I’ll start my description with the Casitas village.

The Casitas guest rooms are located in three and four story buildings and are themed after urban areas of the Southwestern United States (such as Santa Fe) and Mexico (such as Monterrey). The buildings exude the feel of an ultra-deluxe hotel. One would never guess you were in a moderate resort. Fountains, overhead walkways, arbors, courtyards, and lush landscaping create a feast for the eyes. I was amazed the first time I walked through this area. It is remarkably beautiful.






The Casitas village is located closest to the convention center and these rooms are generally allotted to those participating in a sponsored event. It’s also in the Casitas Village that you’ll find the Casa de Belleza Salon and the La Vida Health Club (Building Four). Located nearby is the quiet pool.

La Vida Health Club

Casitas Pool

The guest rooms of the Ranchos village can be found at the far end of the resort and are designed into two and three story pueblos associated with the American Southwest. Think upscale dude-ranch. The landscaping is intended to look like rural desert ranchland and is dotted with large wind-swept boulders, a dry creek bed, and various varieties of cacti. The effect is so convincing that it’s almost possible to forget about Florida’s humidity for a moment. It’s interesting to note, the dry creek bed, or arroyo, is actually used as a water runoff channel during the rainy season.





Ranchos Pool

The third village is called the Cabanas. The theme here is that of a small tropical fishing village found along the Mexican coast. Four, two-story buildings sit beside an inlet of Lago Dorado. Velvety lawns, palm trees, and low hedges create an exotic atmosphere. Nearby, a white sandy beach, complete with hammocks, beckons you to relax and enjoy the lake breeze. In many ways, this village reminds me of sections of the Caribbean Beach Resort.





Cabanas Pool

Cabanas Beach

The guest rooms at Coronado Springs measure approximately 314 square feet. Most rooms feature two queen beds. There are 224 rooms with king-size beds and 99 disabled-accessible rooms.

The beds are simply made, covered with a white duvet and blue runner featuring a silhouette of Mickey Mouse. The headboards are tall and constructed of dark wood, creating a nice contrast to the light-colored linens and walls. Enclosed florescent lamps cap each headboard.

Guest Room Bed

Guest Room Bed

Guest Room Bed

All of the guest rooms were renovated in 2009 and now feature flat-screen TVs and a desk rather than a table and chairs. The desk is designed with laptop computers in mind. Electrical plugs and a high-speed internet connection are located on the desk’s back panel for easy access. Internet access costs roughly $10 per day. The internet cable can be found hanging in the vanity area. The desk chair is also functional for “office” use.

Guest Room Desk

Guest Room Desk

Guest Room Desk Chair

The TV and DVD player sit on a dark wood chest. The chest contains six drawers and a small refrigerator. A coffee maker, ice bucket, and glasses are also located on the chest.

Chest of Drawers

Chest of Drawers

Chest of Drawers

Chest of Drawers

Something that I really like about Coronado Springs as compared to Port Orleans and Caribbean Beach Resort is the divider between the vanity and the bedroom. Instead of being a flimsy curtain, sliding wooden doors separate the rooms. This helps tremendously in keeping the vanity light and noise from intruding into the bedroom.

Sliding Vanity Doors

Something I don’t like as well about Coronado Springs as compared with the other moderate resorts is it only has one sink. A family getting ready in the morning needs two.


In the vanity are clothes hangers, an ironing board and iron, and a key-locking safe. This safe is extremely small. At the most you could store a wallet and a pocket sized camera in it. The hair dryer is not attached to the wall as it is in other resorts. Instead it’s found in a bag along with the hangers. Be sure to look for Mickey Mouse on the bathroom mirror.

Hanger and Ironing Board


Hair Dryer

Mickey Mouse Mirror

The toilet and shower area is separated from the vanity with a solid door. The shower curtain rod bows out at the top allowing for more space when bathing. The shower head generates a decent spray with three settings.

Tower and Shower

Overall, I like the bedroom decor at Coronado Springs. I think it’s well themed and executed. But I have to admit, the vanity and toilet area are uninspired. I like to believe the Imagineers could have created a more inviting look even if this is a moderate resort.

Another advantage to Coronado Springs over Port Orleans and Caribbean Beach is the availability of room service. Whereas the other moderate resorts only offer pizza delivery after 4pm, this resort provides a decent menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Note, a $3 delivery charge, an 18% tip, and appropriate taxes will be added to the bill.

About half of the Cabana rooms offer a lake view. I decided to spend the extra money to see what I’d get. This first picture was taken with a standard lens setting from my window. In the second picture I zoomed in all the way. You tell me if you think the view is worth the money. I’m sure other rooms offer better vistas, but what room you’re assigned is the luck of the draw.

Water View Standard View

Water View Zoom View

Coronado Springs is a large resort. A very large resort. My room was in building 9B, one of the closest to El Centro. It took me between three and five minutes to walk to the lobby. Although you can drive to El Centro from your nearby parking lot, there really aren’t all that many spaces once you get there. Primarily, this area is used for those guests checking in and out. It was the designers’ intent that you use Disney transportation if you don’t wish to walk to and from El Centro and the convention center. Each village has its own bus stop. If you wish to ride TO El Centro, catch a bus marked Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom. This will drop you off at the main bus depot. When you wish to RETURN to your room from El Centro, board any Downtown Disney bus.

Bus Stop

I think Coronado Springs is the “forgotten” moderate resort. Many people have a deep love for the Caribbean Beach or the Port Orleans Resorts and they aren’t willing to give the Coronado Springs a try unless they are forced to stay here due to a lack of availability at other properties. That’s a shame. Its large size really isn’t any more inconvenient than Caribbean Beach and it has just as much charm as Port Orleans.

I’m a big proponent of trying everything Disney has to offer. To stay at the same resort year after year and to eat at the same restaurant time and time again is limiting. Disney has put a lot of effort and imagination into everything they do. When you try something new, it might not make it to your top-ten list. But then again, it just might. And it’s rare that Disney will give you a bad experience so you really don’t have anything to lose. So next time you’re contemplating booking a moderate hotel, consider Coronado Springs. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

When I wrote about Port Orleans, I created two separate articles, one for the Riverside and one for the French Quarter. This allowed me to create shorter videos. Since Coronado Springs cannot be divided so easily, my video is rather long running at 13 minutes. This was necessary to capture the entire resort. The second video is of the room interior and is just a little over a minute long. Enjoy.

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30 Replies to “Coronado Springs Resort — Part Two”

  1. Hi Jack, thanks for all the great info. Trying out this resort in May. What is a good place to be on the resort grounds? My first choice is 9b but if that’s full what do you recommend? I’m traveling with my mother (63) and daughter (11).

  2. Hi Jack, thanks for all the great info. Trying out this resort in May. What is a good place to be on the resort grounds? My first choice is 9b but if that’s full what do you recommend? I’m traveling with my mother (63) and daughter (11).

    Jack’s Answer:

    You want to be as close to El Centro as possible so 9b is an excellent choice. 9A and 8B are also acceptable. 1, 2, and 3 are also good, but these are often reserved for conventioneers.

  3. This is my favorite moderate resort. Having stayed at all the other moderates I must say the Coronado is the most beautiful and awe inspiring. I marvel at the detailed architecture and the beauty of the resort every time. A HUGE plus, is the oversized hot tub at the main pool. Even when it’s busy it’s never full! Can’t wait to stay there in June again.

  4. Wonderful review! We stayed at Coronado in ’98 when they still had the suspension bridge. Guess they took it out to accommodate golf carts and bike riders. We have stayed several time since, using our points from DVC. We have stayed in all 3 areas and they were all great. We actually prefer Coronado to Caribbean Beach, it has a more adult atmosphere.

    Only regret is that you can’t swim in the lake because of the sharks! LOL!

    It’s our favorite moderate with a wonderful staff and as usual your pictures and blog are tell the perfect story of this resort.

  5. Just a heads up, the photos you provided for the standard room are photos of the business club level rooms. You can tell because of the the robe, arm chair, dvd player, crown molding and tile floor in the vanity area. This items are not in all the rooms, just the rooms in cabana 9b.

    Great review by the way.

  6. Hello, Jack. Thank you for this excellent blog and the videos. Despite many visits to WDW, I have never been to this resort, so I really enjoyed your comments and photos. Kudos on the videos-I loved the music and the ambient sounds, even if some may have been “enhanced.”

  7. I couldn’t agree more, we had many a heated family debate each morning trying to get to the one sink. But we loved the dividing doors they were so useful with a growing family a little more privacy was lovely. Would recommend this resort to families or couples. I love reading your reviews long may they continue.

  8. I love reading your blogs, and this is just another which has helped me a great deal in planning my vacation to Disney! My fiancee and I will be staying in Coronado Springs for our honeymoon in December. I’m now looking forward to our stay even more thanks to your blog about the resort! Thanks again!

  9. Thank-you Jack.
    We are booked into CSR in late Nov. 2010. I was worried about different aspects of this resort as we have always stayed at POR. But you addressed most of my concerns. I am now really looking forward to staying here. One additional question. In the Pepper Market can you use the re-fillable mugs or are the drinks served as in other restaurants.

    Jack’s Answer:

    To be honest, I’m really not sure if the Pepper Market offers a refillable mug station, but I don’t think so. However, just a short walk away you can refill your mugs at Café Rix so I don’t see this a major difficulty.

  10. I think this place looks wonderful and would give it a try next trip (looks like 2014 for us!)but we are a party of 5. I think only Riverside could accomodate us this past trip without going up to a deluxe resort or booking 2 value resorts. Does Coronado accept larger parties such as mine? I wasn’t too fond of Riverside and would love to try another moderate!

  11. Great article as usual Jack.

    We were lucky enough to stay in a brand new refurbished room in August of 2009. Loved the resort except for the dining aspect. You can tell that Disney does not run the food service portion of this resort. Not up to usual Disney standards by my opinion.

  12. Hi Jack,
    I enjoyed seeing the videos. CS is a lovely resort and I would recommend it to anyone.
    Because it is a convention center it does have some nice merchandise in its gift shop. I bought a sweatshirt there in 97 and when I wear it I always get nice comments.
    Thanks again for providing your readers with an informative blog.

  13. Thanks for the super detailed article… so very helpful in making our choices. We are going to be at CSR in Sept/2010 for our 1st WDW trip and praying for fair weather like you document in your videos. After viewing your pix, when I check in online, I will definitely request a room with easy access to the sandy hammock areas in Cabanas so my husband can snooze after we run him ragged in the parks!

    Also, your explanation of the Pepper Market is the 1st one I’ve read that actually made sense. It was never clear to me how exactly it was different from other counter service locations (other than being slightly more expensive and “+ tips”). I know my family will love it as we have a very similar market-style resto here in Toronto called Marche (used to be run by the Swedish co. Movenpick). Great concept with kids!

  14. Thank you so much for posting this review. We stayed there for our first trip to the world in 2005, which was also our 10th anniversary. 8 trips later, it is still one of our favorites. It is so peaceful. We sometimes felt like we were the only guests at the resort and that was with 2 conventions being held there.

    This is the first time I have seen pics of the renovated rooms. WOW! They are beautiful!

  15. Hey Jack, great article, we are 10 days away from our stay at Coronado Springs and it was great to get perspective. It just looks amazing. We were able to check in tonight so things go smooth on the 28th so after that we found this and had a real good time seeing where we will be. I have heard a lot of negatives about this resort so i am glad to get your side of things and really look forward to seeing it for ourselves.

  16. Love the blog, as usual. The only moderate we have ever stayed at was CBR and my husband and I were not impressed or very happy there, so much so that we vowed never to stay in any resort other than a Deluxe. Well after reading your blog and watching your videos I think I may have to give CSR a try.
    Will be visiting WDW in a month and even though we will be staying at AKL, my sister and her family will be staying at CSR. You bet I’ll be paying them a visit to check out the resort first hand and maybe staying there on my next trip. At the rate Disney is raising prices we may have no choice but to downgrade to a moderate so it’s nice to know CSR is a good option.

  17. Jack, You do such a beautiful job. I am so glad that you decide to do another resort. Thanks for time and dedication.

  18. I always enjoy your blogs, but this one was especially great for me. I was a front desk CM at CSR from 99-01, so this brings back lots of memories!

    I love seeing the new rooms, I always thought they were a little too busy with all the patterns and everything. The new decor is a huge improvement. I especially love those sliding doors that divide the vanity space.

    Great job!

  19. That is a very interesting tip about the park buses stoping last at the main building and the downtown disney buses stopping there first. I can see that being a very useful thing to know at this resort and many others. Do you know if that is the case with all multi bus stop WDW resorts?

    Thanks as always for your great blog! I read every entry.

  20. Thanks Jack! I always enjoy reading your blogs; they’re great.

    Coronado Springs was “home” during my first visit to Disney World. When I was booking my trip, I wanted to stay at Caribbean Beach, but, due to a lack of availability, I was booked at Coronado. I was a little disappointed ..until I got off the bus! When I booked my trip the next year, I immediately asked for Coronado Springs. During this second trip, I joined DVC b/c I had enjoyed staying on property so much. I knew WDW was my vacation spot.

    Although I now stay at WL or AKL villas, I still stop by Coronado Springs on my annual pilgrimages to the World. I love sitting by the lake or grabbing bite to eat at Pepper Market. Thank you for refreshing my memories.

  21. I stayed at Coronado Springs in 1998, after staying at Caribbean Beach my previous two visits. I LOVED CSR over CB. The problem I ran into continually at CB was the busses were always packed, if you were one of the last stops you always had to stand and coming back at park closing was always a long wait because the queues were so long. At CSR, the bus service was much improved. We ended up with a king bed and lake view, and walking out the door to that every morning was fabulous. I got in the “habit” of visiting the quiet pool every evening for an hour or so after we got back from the parks, and it was an excellent way to “wind down”. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting a moderate resort.

  22. Great blog Jack!!! We are planning to visit WDW in January 2011, and knowing the specific characteristics of each resort it´s always a great help!! Thanks for keeping us all well informed!! Last weekend my wife and I finally decided to choose the Caribbean Beach Resort as our hotel, but when she looked at the photos of the Coronado Spring Resort in the Disney Parks webpage she liked it a lot. The main reason we opted for the CBR it´s because we are mexicans, and wanted to visit something “different” but now that I´ve read your great article i´m also doubting about which of those two moderate priced hotels would be better for us. Do you have a favorite between these two resorts?

    Jack’s Answer:

    Actually, my favorite of the moderate resorts is Port Orleans. I have written reviews of both sections of this resort (Riverside and French Quarter). Reading these might sway you to stay here. My least favorite of the moderates is Caribbean Beach. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with Caribbean Beach. In fact, it’s a great resort. But for me, I like the other two resorts better. This is very subjective. All of the resorts have pluses and minuses. There is no easy answer.

    Coronado Springs is a stylized representation of Mexico. So the fact that you’re Mexican shouldn’t really play into your decision. But I completely understand your desire to experience something different than what your homeland has to offer.

    Bottom line, you’re going to have a fantastic time whatever you choose.

  23. Hi Jack! I absolutely love your blogs and check every day to see if there is a new one. If there isn’t, I feel slightly like Santa hasn’t come yet 🙂 You are so thorough and give me my Disney fix until we visit again.

    My family and I stayed at CS in Oct. 2000 and we loved the hotel. We stayed in the Ranchos and they were a pretty far walk to the main building. When we arrived, bell services took us and our luggage on a golf cart, which was nice. I totally agree with you on the bathroom decor. My husband loved the Pepper Market layout. The main pool was awesome. We felt it was very quiet during our stay, even though there were conventions going on. There used to be a mariachi band that played outside the lounge, and we all had an impromptu dance! Good times. He wanted to stay there when we went this year, but we decided to try POR for a new experience and enjoyed that very much.

    We are planning our next trip for Dec. 2011 and are thinking about splurging to stay at the Polynesian. I would love for you to do a blog on that hotel!

    Thanks again for all your hard work on these blogs. They brighten my day.

  24. As always Jack, nice job! I have had the pleasure of staying at Coronado Springs before and it was a nice place, big, but very nice. We stayed in the Cabana’s but next time I stay there I am going to request the Casitas as though look lovely with all the water fountains, etc.

    We are counting down the days, my partner and I leave in 29 days, staying at Pop Century for 10 days! She and I can’t wait.

    Again thanks for a lovely trip down memory lane at Coronado Springs.

    Jen Tremley

  25. Great review! Coronado Springs is our fave mod and seeing your great photos brought me back there for a moment. Just a little correction…most CSR rooms have 2 queen size beds not 2 double beds.

    Jack’s Comment: You’re right and I’ve corrected my blog accordingly.

  26. Jack: This was an excellent article. I haven’t stayed at a moderate resort for the last 20 years; I like having an interior corridor and being able to keep the drapes open without everyone seeing into the hotel room. Plus we could never get one of the queen bed rooms. But this was very interesting. If nothing else, perhaps on the next visit, I might stop over to have a drink and look around.

    I enjoy your blogs a great deal and the photos really add to the info provided. Thanks!

  27. Hi Jack

    I am so glad to have found your blog! We are going to be first time visitors to WDW in 2011, coming all the way from South Africa. We are a Mom,Dad and two daughters aged 5 & 7 at the time we visit. We are planning on staying at a Moderate resort but don’t know which will best suit our needs (we won’t have our own transport). Do you have any recommendations or advise?


  28. Another great article Jack – it reminds me that I need to do more resort-hopping in my future trips to WDW! 🙂

  29. Hi Jack,

    Part II was worth the wait. I thought that Coronado Springs had renovated rooms with queen size beds? I’ve never stayed here but have visited the resort to eat and shop. I am one of those people who has a few resorts that they stay in every visit. I wish all the moderates would have the trundle bed option – that would make it easier to switch and stay somewhere different. We always stay for 7-14 days too so we’re always worried about trying something for a long visit and not liking it as well – I guess we could stay for a few days to try it out.

    Where are you going next?