Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coronado Springs... For the First Time...

For Columbus Day weekend we decided to take our oldest daughter (11 years old) down to Disney World for a special trip... One without her younger siblings. She does a lot to help s with the little ones, and we wanted to reward her with some alone time with Mom and Dad, before she gets too cool for us. So we dropped off the little ones with my mom, and headed south for two nights at Disney's Coronado Springs resort.

This would be our first trip to Coronado Springs, and we were very excited to try a new resort, something we really enjoy doing. I had heard mixed reviews on Coronado Springs, it seems like people are pretty passionate about the resort, they either love it or don't. The two biggest complaints I had heard were the vast size of the resort, and the distance you could be from the main building. The other popular com
plaint was the poor transportation.

It was easy for me to dismiss them for this trip, as we were planning on spending a majority of our time in the parks, so location of our room wouldn't be a big issue. We also had a rental car, so transportation would not be an issue for us either.

The positive things I had heard about Coronado Springs were that it was probably the nicest of the moderate resorts, the pool was awesome, and the food court, The Pepper Market, was a bit confusing, but delicious. To be honest, I was looking forward to trying the Pepper M
arket more than anything at the resort!

We arrived early on Saturday morning around 5am. Luckily, we were able to get our room early, in building 7a, which is about as far away from the central building as possible! But it was close to the main pool, so our daughter would be happy. After taking a long drive around t
he property to park we went to the room for a couple of hours of sleep before we hit the parks.

The grounds are very well themed with a Mexico/Southwest feel. Giant red boulders and
white stones surround the walkways. There are hitching posts in front of the buildings, and there is a huge lake that the resort is built around. This lake is what makes getting to the main building so difficult. While the lake makes the resort gorgeous, it spreads out the property a lot!
It was about a 10 minute walk (at a brisk pace) to get from our room to the main building. At least the walk is pretty! The pool is about halfway to the main building.

We had a room that faced the courtyard on the second floor. The first time we went up to it we took a very round-about way of getting there. After a couple of trips in and back we found the best way, but it was a little confusing at first.

The room was well decorated, and the furniture looked to be pretty new. The resort has been recently renovated, including flat screen televisions. The decor was a deep brown color, and had a definite southwest feel. It really reminded us of a bed & breakfast we stayed at in T
uscon a few years back. The bathroom was separated from the rest of the room by two large sliding doors, a nice upgrade from the curtains at other moderates.

One of the nicest features at Coronado Springs is the main pool area. The pool is very big, with a fun water slide that is good for kids and adults. The big feature of the pool
is a huge Aztec pyramid that towers over the grounds. In addition to the main pool there is a kiddie pool and a bar that serves drinks and sandwiches.

There is also a great playground for the kids as well. This is

the best playground that we have found at any of the resorts. There are swings that are built into large stone arches, and some playground equipment that matches the Mexican ruins theme. for the older kids
there is ping-pong, and a giant checkers board.

The main building holds the registration area, gift shop, quick service cafe, the Pepper Market, and the table service restaurant. Rix Lounge and the convention center is also located here.

This was not the first time we stayed at one of the resorts with a convention center, but it was the first time that we really noticed the convention crowd. Maybe it was just where our room was, but we saw a lot more convention attendees than we saw vacationers. It was a little surreal to see people walking around the resort grounds in suits and ties.

We really enjoyed Coronado Springs. My wife has named it her favorite moderate, knocking Port Orleans French Quarter out of the lead. The grounds and the rooms are absolutely gorgeous, and the pool is awesome. We actually spent more time at the resort than we had planned to because we liked it so much. We ate at the Pepper Market for lunch and dinner, and were pretty impressed by the food. The prices were a little higher than your typical food court, but the food was a little better, and was made fresh while you wait. We did not eat at the table service location, Maya Grill. We did grab some sandwiches from the quick service cafe, but they were nothing special.

The only real negative that we found at Coronado Springs was its size. We did find being that far away from the central building was a bit of a hassle. If we needed to go grab anything there we had to count on a 30 minute trip. It was just a little too far away. We all felt that at the resorts that we have stayed at so far, this was the one where paying the extra for a preferred room would be worth it. Other than that we had no complaints.

I am certain that we will be back to Coronado Springs in the future. Next time we will stay longer so we can take better advantage of what the resort has to offer, including the Maya Grill and some of the recreation options like the marina.

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