*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts, Tables in Wonderland, or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
Our quest to stay at every resort on Walt Disney World property recently brought us to Gran Destino Tower. While my husband and I have stayed at Coronado Springs many times, we hadn’t stayed at Coronado Springs since Gran Destino Tower opened. We only had the opportunity to spend 3 nights at Gran Destino, so we didn’t get to experience everything the resort had to offer, however, these were my overall impressions about the room, dining, and transportation.
Gran Destino is a newer hotel property, so my expectations were pretty high. The hotel room was beautiful, spacious, and very functional. When you walk into the room, there is a large empty space next to the wardrobe. This is an excellent spot to store luggage or strollers. The bathroom is very large with a tiled shower with two shower heads, two sinks (each with its own electrical outlet- rejoice!), 3 different hooks to hang belongings like toiletry bags, and a toilet.
Moving into the bedroom, there were two beds, a smart TV, a large desk, a chair with a side table, a large window, a fridge, and a coffee maker. The wall that housed the television and coffee maker was an accent wall. While electrical outlets and USB charging ports were plentiful, I was frustrated that there was only one central nightstand between the two beds. I wish all Disney resorts would install a nightstand on either side of the beds. Even though there were very few true Disney touches in the room, it conveyed the Mexican theme well.
Taking into account the number of dining options at this resort that have yet to reopen since the closure, I found myself disappointed in the dining options available. When we stayed at Coronado Springs in the past, we always visited El Mercado de Coronado, the main quick service restaurant on property. This location used to have a variety of food options, most notably some Mexican options fitting with the theme of the resort. When we visited El Mercado on this trip searching for dinner, I was shocked at what had been done to this place.
Now when you walk in, there are several industrial refrigerators for grab and go items like sandwiches and salads. There are only two adult hot menu options available, a meatball parmigiana sub and a chicken tender basket plus two hot kids’ entrees. I hope these limited options are temporary changes and they bring back the large variety of options that were previously available!
Café Rix, another quick service dining option at Coronado Springs, has not yet reopened, leaving El Mercado and its pitiful menu as the only true quick service option available. All of the other options for dining at Coronado Springs are pool bars and lounges or sports bars with more expensive menu options than what I was looking for.
Gran Destino Tower/Coronado Springs is one of the few Disney resorts (and the only moderate resort) that offers one method of transportation- the Disney bus system. Gran Destino Tower also shares buses with the rest of Coronado Springs, which is a massive resort (over 1900 rooms). I guess this explains our terrible experience with bus transportation.
On the first day of our stay at Gran Destino, we were trying to get to Disney Springs. The monitor at the bus stop that tells when the next bus is expected wasn’t working. There were about 10 couples ahead of us in line to get on the Disney Springs bus. Several couples cheered when the bus showed up, usually a good indicator they had been waiting a while. Finally, when we were the last couple waiting to get on the bus, the bus driver told us he was full. Rather than wait an undetermined amount of time for another Disney Springs bus, we ended up driving ourselves. The next day, we were trying to get to Epcot about 15 minutes before park opening. When we got to the bus stop right outside Gran Destino tower, there were at least two bus loads of people waiting for the Epcot bus. So again, we drove ourselves. The last day of our stay, we were scheduled to go to Magic Kingdom. Learning from our mistake the day before, we waited 2 hours after park opening before going to the bus stop. The monitor said the next bus would arrive in 19 minutes. That time kept getting pushed back until it was a longer than 30-minute total wait for a bus. We decided to give up on going to Magic Kingdom and drove to Disney Springs before heading home.
We might have just had horrible luck with Disney transportation, but when you take into account that buses pick up from 4 different bus stations around this resort, and the buses are currently running at limited capacity, it seems that Disney needs to add more buses onto the Coronado Springs/Gran Destino loop. Disney transportation is one of the perks of staying at a Disney resort. It’s a perk my husband and I take advantage of as often as possible to avoid driving unfamiliar roads with Orlando traffic. We were frustrated by the amount of time we wasted waiting on buses only to be disappointed and having to deal with the stress of driving ourselves everywhere.
Although I loved our room and found Gran Destino Tower quite beautiful, the dreadful transportation we experienced and the extremely limited quick service food options have made this resort a place we will not revisit again, at least not for a long time.
Have you stayed at Gran Destino tower yet? What was your experience like?