For my recent solo trip to Walt Disney World, I chose to stay on property at a moderate resort, the Coronado Springs Resort. For those who don’t know, there are three price ranges for resorts at Disney World: value, moderate, deluxe. Obviously, the moderates are the middle of the price range. The values tend to draw families because of their theming and low prices (read: tons of children everywhere), and the deluxes are way beyond my price range, so moderate was a happy medium for me.
I have stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter in the past (another moderate), and I didn’t really care for it. While researching resorts for this stay, I decided Coronado Springs would be a great choice for me, because it is a convention resort, so there are as many childless adults on site as there are families. That appealed to me as a solo traveler. Plus, the grounds are beautiful, and I really loved the Spanish theming. In this two-part blog post, I will review my stay here.
Coronado Springs Resort is a large and sprawling resort. It features a central building (El Centro, “the center”) that houses the restaurants and lounge, convention center, registration, and shops. Spread around the lake (Lago Dorado) are three “neighborhoods” with their own unique theming: the Casitas (“little house”) has more traditional Spanish architecture, with beautiful courtyards and fountains; the Ranchos are designed like pueblos of the Southwest desert regions; and the Cabanas have white sandy beaches like the Mexican Riviera. It is a nonsmoking resort, with designated smoking areas.
Disney reservations now has online check-in at its website, which theoretically speeds up the check-in process when you arrive at the resort. I tried to check in online ahead of time, but kept getting an error message, so had to check in the old-fashioned way. Luckily, I was at the front of the long line from my bus, so I didn’t wait long, and my room was ready when I got there. I had faxed in my room request a few days early and got almost everything I wanted–a renovated room in Casitas 4 with a water view. Casitas 4 is about a five minute walk to El Centro.
Unfortunately, my room was on the ground floor rather than upstairs (which I generally prefer when I’m traveling alone), and the “water view” was not of the lake, but of the “quiet” pool (which wasn’t so quiet). I had room 4111, right around the corner from the health club (which I never used–I was getting plenty enough exercise by walking everywhere, thank you very much). It was also a connecting room, which meant I was able to hear my neighbors as if they were in the same room with me.
Fortunately, I learned long ago that the most valuable item to bring on any trip is earplugs. Once I had the earplugs in, I couldn’t hear anything outside my room. I slept really well here. The beds are super comfy. I really loved my room. The new decor is gorgeous. I felt like I was staying in a deluxe (at a moderate price!) every time I was in my room. Cautionary Tale: The doors to the bathroom slide back and forth but even when open, are not flush with the wall. One night when I got up to use the bathroom in the dark, I walked toward the dark rectangle of the doorway, and walked nose-first into the edge of the door, which was protruding beyond the wall. I thought I broke my nose.
The water pressure in my room was great, there was always plenty of hot water, and soap and shampoo is provided. (But it’s nothing special. If you like frou-frou stuff, bring your own from home.) There were a flat panel TV, hairdryer, iron and ironing board in the room, as well as a coffee maker, refrigerator and room safe. All worked fine. The safe is not large enough for a laptop (unless it’s a very small one), but it sufficed for cash and credit cards. I often did not need to bring anything more than my room key with me when I went out, since room keys at Disney resorts also serve as park passes and charge cards.
I had a couple of issues with housekeeping, but nothing that was a dealbreaker. My room was very clean when I arrived, except that when I first went to use the coffeepot, I found an old soggy packet of coffee in there already. Yuck. Because I had plenty of towels, and I’m neat and tidy, I only had housekeeping come into my room twice during my weeklong stay. Once while I was there, to take out the trash and give me fresh towels, and once when I wasn’t there to do whatever they needed to do. On the day when they came during my absence, I returned to my room to find they had left the door ajar. Nothing was missing, but anybody could have walked into my room. Still, overall, I was satisfied with the cleanliness of my room.
Almost all the staff members at CSR that I came into contact with were very friendly and helpful. I especially liked the valet staff. I tried to tip one of the valets one night for calling me a cab–he refused the money, saying it was his job, and I should just go and enjoy myself. I was flabbergasted. I’m used to going to Vegas where everyone has their hand out for a tip. I guess Disney World really is different from the real world.
Coming up in part two, I will review the rest of the facilities and grounds of Coronado Springs Resort.