Review: The Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs offers deluxe accommodations at a moderate price

The Gran Destino Tower is a 16-story addition that has completely transformed the look and feel of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Designed to make the resort more attractive for conventions and their guests, the Gran Destino Tower has shifted the overall perception of the resort from traditional moderate accommodations to something quite a bit nicer.

It’s impossible to miss the Gran Destino Tower looming over the rest of the resort. Despite its large size, the tower fits in surprisingly well with the theme and appearance of the resort’s surrounding buildings and landscaping.

You might even capture some some picturesque moments if you take a nighttime stroll around the walkways and bridges after a fun day in the parks.

A beautiful Florida night.

The tower, beautiful landscaping and the boardwalks that stretch across the lake help create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere that rivals any Walt Disney World resort.

But we’ll get back to the exterior in a moment. Let’s talk about what’s inside this massive building and what guests can expect when booking a room.

The main lobby for the resort has moved over to the Gran Destino Tower, offering guests a chance to explore one of Disney’s latest additions even if they’re not staying in one of its rooms. The two-level lobby is home to the check-in area, Barcelona Lounge and plenty of seating complete with USB outlets.

Lower level of the Gran Destino lobby.

Despite being designed for convention goers and those traveling on business, the lobby is richly appointed with beautiful art and a surprising number of hidden Mickeys. This awesome piece of art with Walt and Mickey can be found on the lower level near huge windows that overlook Lago Dorado, the resort’s lake.

Remember – It all started with a mouse!

But let’s get to the heart of the matter. How do the rooms in the Gran Destino Tower compare to other accommodations around Walt Disney World?

You’ll immediately learn this isn’t your normal Walt Disney World hotel experience when you head over to the elevators. There you’ll be met with a digital screen that asks for your floor. Tap the floor of your choice and you’ll be assigned an elevator that will whisk you up to your room.

Good luck finding floor 13.

Admittedly, it’s a little weird walking into an elevator that doesn’t have any buttons. It’s hard to override years of instinct that urges you to look over for a button.

Elevator logistics aside, you’re met with another surprise when the doors open and you turn down the hallway to head to your room. Where other Disney resorts appear to be moving away from bright colors in favor of more clean designs, the Gran Destino Tower embraces a bright array of colors in its hallways.

Apologies for the low-quality photo.

The photo above doesn’t do it justice. The hallway is a sea of oranges and reds that we loved. It had energy, but still felt warm and welcoming. Kudos to Disney for still embracing bright colors and strong theming with this project.

Finally, we made our way into our room. Note that it was a dark and rainy day outside, so you may find the room looks a bit more gloomy than it actually was in real life.

We’ll talk about the view shortly.

Two queen beds, laminate flooring and a ton of counter/desk space make up the room. There was an abundance of room for the two of us, but we could easily see groups of four being extremely comfortable.

The TV in the room was a great size and included on-demand Disney movies and shows. The on-demand selection wasn’t nearly as big as the one found on Disney Cruise Line, but it was the first we had seen at a Walt Disney World resort. It’s a nice bonus.

Shifting over to the bathroom, guests will enjoy two vanities and a very nice walk-in shower. There’s lots of space for everyone to get ready without bumping into each other. The water pressure could have been a bit better, but that’s us being picky.

The bathroom is separated from the sleeping area by a large sliding barn door. This door has a little Disney detail that sharp-eyed guests might spot.

Hi there, Mickey!

Rounding out our bathroom tour, we have a separate room for the toilet that’s separated by a sliding pocket door.

This sliding pocket door was the lone flaw we found in the room. While the larger barn door has a “soft close” catch, the one near the toilet doesn’t. We found this out the hard way by accidentally slamming the door into the wall while trying to close it. The resort may have to address this sooner than later as we imagine these walls are going to take a beating.

OK, let’s go back to that view. We picked a “Tower – Lake View” room without really knowing what we’d be able to see. We were treated to a great view from the ninth floor.

Can you spot Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the distance? You can see Expedition Everest and the Tree of Life easily from the upper floors of lake view Gran Destino Tower rooms. Looking out the window at the end of the hallway, we were able to make out the edge of the Epcot Resort area and Spaceship Earth. You can get a much better look of the surrounding areas by heading up to the top floor to have a drink or for a dinner at Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood. It’s crazy realizing just how close you are to the parks.

Does the rest of Coronado Springs live up to the high bar set by the Gran Destino Tower? It does!

Guests are able to travel to the original areas of the resort through a curving hallway that ends at the old main lobby area. It’s unclear what Disney has planned for the old check-in area, but hopefully they’ll think of a creative use for this beautiful spot.

A surreal and kind of creepy photo of the old lobby.

This old lobby is home to one of the coolest hidden Mickeys in Walt Disney World. We love how the lights create a perfect Mickey over the resort’s coat of arms.

Hopefully this survives future changes.

Coronado Springs as a whole thrives in the dining department. Their quick service location, El Mercado de Coronado, is an outstanding collection of different dishes that should appeal to even the pickiest eaters while still allowing more adventurous palettes to try something new.

El Mercado de Coronado’s seating area.

The quick service area is huge and has several stations for guests to order their entrees. Seating is plentiful and comfortable, ranging from tall bar tables to more traditional tables with colorful chairs. We were pleased with all of the meals we ate here as well as the late-night brownie that we simply couldn’t pass up.

It’s worth noting that the grab-and-go section of El Mercado de Coronado is a bit limited, but that’s more than made up for by Cafe Rix – an outstanding quick service location down the hall that offers everything from pastries and gelato to coffee and drinks.

Combined, Cafe Rix and El Mercado de Coronado cover all the bases and might make Coronado Springs the Walt Disney World resort with the best overall quick service options. We enjoyed our quick service dining experience here far more than when we stayed at Port Orleans: Riverside.

Let’s wrap this up. We had a great stay at the Gran Destino Tower and we wouldn’t hesitate to book another stay. While the addition of such a large building may feel imposing or take away from the more quaint feels of Coronado Springs, it brings a more deluxe offering at a price that’s far more reasonable than the ones found at any of the deluxe resorts.

The deluxe resorts are able to charge as much as they do for one simple reason – location. Who doesn’t want to be able to walk to Epcot or take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom? But if you’re looking for a room that’s extremely similar to the deluxe offerings at a much more manageable price, and you don’t mind taking a bus to the theme parks, consider a stay at the Gran Destino Tower.

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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