We have made no secret in the DVC Fan Facebook Group that while we love being Disney Vacation Club members, we hold a special place in our hearts for Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Our love started with nine nights in Coronado’s Ranchos section before owning DVC. Even pre-refurbishment, there was so much to love about those beautiful Spanish/Mexican buildings surrounding the peaceful resort centerpiece – Lago Dorado. We finally got to check-in to the Gran Destino Tower for the first time a few months ago. Throughout our entire time at Gran Destino, we couldn’t help but dream about what it would be like to be able to own a piece of one of our favorite resorts. We know Disney’s odds of adding DVC to a moderate resort are slim but hear me out, Disney. There are many great reasons to add a Disney Vacation Club Tower to Coronado Springs:
Even before Gran Destino opened, the hotel room upgrades gave off a deluxe feel. They are modern and stylish with just enough theming and hints of Disney. The tower takes that to another level, adding huge rooms, upgraded headboards, an accent wall with hidden Mickeys, floor-to-ceiling windows, and decorative bathroom tiles. The whole remodel is fantastic. The standard rooms at Grand Destino clock in at a whopping 375 square feet, which is larger than most DVC Deluxe Studios.
Deluxe Common Areas
Gran Destino opened around five months before Riviera Resort, and it’s hard not to compare the two. I find Gran Destino’s common areas to be similar to the luxury feel at Riviera, with Gran Destino being just a little more colorful and a little grander. There was also no shortage of Christmas trees, including a large one against the multi-story windows that face Lago Dorado.
Each morning of our recent stay, Paul and I found great joy in grabbing some coffee from the lobby and walking the loop around the resort. The grounds of Coronado Springs are beautiful. Aside from Gran Destino, the resort has three other sections: Cabanas, which are reminiscent of Mexican beach houses, Ranchos designed to look like southwest cattle ranches, and Casitas, designed after Mexico City buildings. Each area is unique and has its own unique foliage to match. Overall, the theming and grounds of the resort rival the quality and care that goes into Disney deluxe resorts.
We were completely awestruck by the view we received in a standard room at Gran Destino. We could see the Tower of Terror, Galaxy’s Edge, Spaceship Earth, and so much more from our giant window. We could even see as far as Sea World, Volcano Bay, and The Wheel at Icon Park. I imagine the fireworks would be impressive when they come back. From the large windows at the ends of the hallway on our floor, we could see Expedition Everest on one side and The Contemporary on the other. We realize we were lucky to be put on the 15th floor, which is club level (there were no club services), but I imagine the lower floors offer some great views as well. On a side note, we really want to try club level here, and it seems to be one of the more affordable club level locations on property.
While Coronado Springs doesn’t technically have a signature restaurant, it comes pretty close with Toledo, where you can find rooftop views while enjoying tapas, steak, and seafood. The rest of the resort provides a wide variety of dining options such as a large quick service location, sports bar, grab & go cafe, lounges, an over-the-water outdoor eatery, and more. Unfortunately, since Coronado Springs is still in its reopening stages, we couldn’t experience all that the resort normally has to offer. Still, we thoroughly enjoyed a peaceful and tasty dinner at Three Bridges Bar & Grill, which sits over the lake – Lago Dorado.
I know what you’re thinking. Coronado Springs is a conference resort. They built Gran Destino to add a level of sophistication for executives coming to conferences. There is no way Disney would take any part of Gran Destino for Disney Vacation Club villas. I agree. Indulge me if you will. When Riviera was built, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort lost nine buildings – the entire section originally known as Barbados (buildings 11-16) and half of Martinique (buildings 21-23). Obviously, Disney saw greater value in adding a DVC Resort here and knew the cash villas at Riviera would make up for the lost room inventory. Instead of taking over portions of Gran Destino, I would love to see a new DVC tower that takes over part (or all) of the Cabanas section. This section is not only the smallest but houses the shortest buildings. It doesn’t add a lot of inventory to the resort. It wasn’t even being used while we were there in December. A tower could be placed here that matches Gran Destino’s height, mimics the theming, and doesn’t take views away from its guests if angled properly. It could offer DVC members fantastic views of EPCOT and Hollywood Studios on one side and water and Animal Kingdom on the other. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t sign on the dotted line fast enough.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts. What do you think about DVC coming to a moderate resort without distinguishing itself as a new resort as Riviera does? Would you call it Villas at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort or Gran Destino Villas? What hesitations would you have? Would you consider buying points at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort? Let us know how you feel!