The New Gran Destino Tower At Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

I just returned from a stay at the new Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Walt Disney World. If you have been following along, you have probably heard mixed reviews from fellow Disney bloggers, vloggers, and fans that either love it or hate it. Personally, I loved it! Gran Destino has the deluxe Walt Disney World resort hotel feel for a moderate resort hotel price. The most common complaints that I have heard is that the Gran Destino Tower isn’t “Disney” enough. Yes, it’s true, Gran Destino isn’t overly “Disney” in fact, it isn’t overly themed at all. It reminds me a bit like staying at Bay Lake Tower, the Disney Dream cruise ship, the Bellagio in Vegas, or a high end Marriott anywhere in the world. So while Gran Destino Tower might not have the detail and theming that guests come to expect at Walt Disney World from resorts like Art of Animation, it definitely has its place in the line up of hotels. The Gran Destino is a great fit for solo travelers and couples looking for quiet elegance, subtle theming, luxurious rooms, and upscale dining. If you’re considering a stay at the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resorts, check out these details courtesy of Disney:

Celebrating the rich cultures and vibrant landscapes of Spain, Mexico and the American Southwest through contemporary design and Old World traditions, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort shines with renewed luster. Recently, the resort completed a multiyear re-imagining focused on today’s travelers, marking the official debut of a new tower, new restaurants and a new arrival experience.

The new Gran Destino Tower rises dramatically on the southeastern shores of Lago Dorado (“Golden Lake”), the resort’s 22-acre lake. The tower offers 545 modern guest rooms (including 50 suites and club-level services), a grand two-story lobby, new meeting venues, and a rooftop restaurant and lounge with spectacular views. The distinctive tower becomes the stylish new gateway to the 2,385-room resort.

Gran Destino Tower takes its name from the classic Disney film “Destino.” Drawing inspiration from the surrealist animated short, the tower is a whimsical, magnificent visual feast, diverse in its design and execution. The tower’s outdoor Destino Plaza are also ideal for weddings, business receptions or other special events.

Past its grand entrance and signature ribbon-patterned design that climbs up the side of Gran Destino Tower, guests step into a stunning lobby – an homage to the Catalan Modernism style. On their way to check in, new arrivals pass intricate wooden screens with rows of beautiful Moorish hanging lanterns, while decorative bronze screens inspired by Spanish tile patterns accent the rear wall of the lobby.

The warm colors and patterns of Barcelona inspire the sun-filled Barcelona Lounge on the lobby’s lower level, offering plenty of casual seating and lake views. Beneath a magnificent chandelier framed by sculpted plaster columns, guests can enjoy coffee in the morning and cocktails as the day progresses.

The Catalan theme extends to the tower’s stylish new guest rooms and suites. A wall covering in each room is inspired by Spanish tile medallions, adding an Old World touch to a contemporary design. The new tower also offers club-access rooms for guests who want to enjoy the benefits of the Chronos Club. The club boasts commanding views of Walt Disney World Resort and cast members who can assist with vacation planning. Light refreshments are available throughout the day.

Each tower guest room also offers a new interactive television system that provides a more customized and Disney differentiated in-room experience. This new television system will enhance the guest experience with Disney-quality services, content and personalization. For example, guests can view their Disney PhotoPass images on the large screen and stream their entertainment services from their personal devices to the in-room television.

Gran Destino Tower is crowned by dramatic rooftop dining locations, Tolédo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood and Dahlia Lounge, offering breathtaking views of Walt Disney World from the tower’s 16th floor. Named for the storied Spanish city home to avant-garde writers and artists of the 1920s and ’30s, Tolédo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood is a table-service dining experience. The Spanish-inspired menu features entrees like chuletón, a 32-ounce, Spanish-style ribeye for two, as well as sustainable seafood and classic Spanish sides. It’s all served in a setting that features live olive trees, vibrant colors and an intricate vaulted ceiling with stained-glass accents. There’s also an onstage tapas kitchen inspired by the flavors of Spain, specializing in small plates, charcuteríá and cheeses.

The adjacent Dahlia Lounge takes its mesmerizing shapes and swirling patterns from Spanish Modernism, inviting guests into an intimate, artful space where they can enjoy signature cocktails and panoramic views.

As part of the broader re-imagining of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, three new pedestrian bridges now extend across Lago Dorado, allowing for quick and convenient passage to and from all parts of the resort. In the middle of the lake at the nexus of these new pathways is Villa del Lago (“Lake Villa”), home to a new outdoor restaurant, Three Bridges Bar & Grill. The open-air, waterfront dining location offers delicious entrees and shareables, along with refreshing cocktails and signature sangria pitchers. Three Bridges Bar & Grill features a rustic, Old World charm anchored by a large stone hearth behind the central bar.

These new experiences complement the wide array of amenities and experiences at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, including floating gardens, scenic nature trails and palm-shaped courtyards. Throughout the resort, guests can enjoy a diverse collection of dining options, including:

  • Maya Grill – A grand Mexican dining room featuring ancient-modern styling and Nuevo Latino cuisines.
  • Rix Sports Bar & Grill – A stylish establishment with a unique spin on classic bar food.
  • El Mercado de Coronado – A food court filled with kitchens serving made-to-order breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a wide array of options so there’s something for everyone.
  • Café Rix – A charming grab-and-go location offering pastries, coffee and tasty snacks.
  • Laguna Bar – A breezy lakeside lounge boasting signature cocktails.
  • Siestas Cantina – A poolside hideaway to unwind with refreshing beverages and snacks.

Shoppers can delight in an updated Panchito’s merchandise location. Named after one of the main characters from the Disney film “The Three Caballeros,” Panchito’s resembles an open-air Mexican market.

The Dig Site – a sprawling pool complex with a Mayan-ruins theme – is fed by water cascading dramatically down a Mayan pyramid and features a water slide that evokes the spirit animal of a jaguar. The Dig Site can be accessed via the new bridges over Lago Dorado.

All existing guest rooms at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort were updated with new fixtures, furnishings and lighting. Guest feedback helped shape the room remodel that introduced an expansive desk space, hard-surface floors, platform beds and more. In addition, a fresh, sophisticated new color palette ties together the entire resort experience.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is now a celebration of Spanish, Mexican and American Southwest cultures, infused with a profound respect for the natural world – most notably water. These design motifs span centuries to form a common thread that connects the new with the newly re-imagined.

For more information or to book a room at the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, please call 407-W-DISNEY or click here.

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New Dining Options At Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Along with the recent reimagination of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and the gorgeous Gran Destino Tower, several new dining options are now open throughout the resort. Here’s everything you need to know courtesy of Disney:


With two restaurants and a stylish rooftop lounge leading the way, new food and beverage experiences share the spotlight as Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort emerges fresh from a multi-year, resort-wide re-imagining. The two new restaurants extend the wide variety of palate-pleasing dining options found throughout the resort.

The new Gran Destino Tower is home to an unforgettable new dining experience, Tolédo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood, a unique rooftop table-service restaurant offering dishes and small plates inspired by the flavors of Spain. Featuring sweeping views of Walt Disney World Resort, this charming, surrealistic location invites guests to dine indoors under a pair of large olive trees nestled beneath an intricate vaulted ceiling with shimmering stained-glass accents.

Tolédo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood is the namesake of the Spanish city that was home to avant-garde writers and artists in the 1920s and ’30s. Spain also inspires the savory menu choices:

  • Begin the adventure with tapas from the Basque region of Spain. An onstage tapas kitchen serves small plates, charcuteríá, and cheeses.
  • Or choose from Cazuelas – chef interpretations of classic recipes presented in a traditional Spanish terra cotta dish.
  • Entrees include rioja-braised chicken, Spanish-style bone-in ribeye or golden tilefish (100% sustainable seafood).
  • Spanish sides include bravas (potatoes) with pimento aioli, braised gigante beans with aged sherry vinegar, and roasted cauliflower with harissa vinaigrette.
  • Three signature desserts from the Master Pastry Chef include the Tapas Bar, a crunchy chocolate bar with bite-sized flavors of Spanish coffee, crunchy chocolate, raspberry mousse and lemon curd.

In the Disney animated film “Destino,” from which the tower takes its name, the immortal Chronos is in love with the mortal Dahlia. This passion shines through in the Dahlia Lounge, a convivial room that shares the tower’s rooftop with Tolédo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafood. The heroine inspires the lounge’s visual aesthetics – from dandelion chandeliers and metal bell accents to ceiling coffers with swirling patterns reminiscent of her flowing hair. Cocktails are crafted by expert mixologists, while wines from California and Spain include high-end cavas handpicked by the master sommelier. Visitors to the lounge – indoors or outdoors – can also choose from tapas or small-plate specialties.

The second new restaurant at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is on an island in the middle of Lago Dorado. Three convenient new walkways stretching across the 22-acre lake lead to Villa del Lago and its Three Bridges Bar & GrillOffering casual waterside dining in an open-air setting, this idyllic new location presents a varied menu that includes curry-lentil hummus, Szechuan peppercorn wings, salads, a signature burger and a grilled skirt steak with pepper relish. Behind the central bar, a beautiful stone hearth invites guests to unwind with a pitcher of sangria or a vibrant cocktail while enjoying tranquil lake views.

Here’s a taste of other venues found at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort:

  • NEW! Barcelona Lounge – On the ground floor of the two-story lobby in Gran Destino Tower, this dramatic yet casual space offers a European coffee experience paired with Spanish and classic American pastries as well as healthy breakfast items. The city of Barcelona inspired the eclectic patterns and warm colors, including the stained-glass feature wall behind the bar. Under a magnificent chandelier, the space transforms throughout the day, transitioning by late morning to an artisanal cocktail bar with a variety of tonics to complement an international gin collection. Those tonics include the resort’s own house-crafted, signature Gran Destino Gin Tonic. Guests can linger over lake views while enjoying select wines and craft beers from both Spain and California. Dishes of cheeses, olives and more, paired with sourdough, are served beginning at 11 a.m.
  • NEW! Chronos Club – With its casual yet intimate shadings, this bright, open-air club-access space located on the 15th floor of Gran Destino Tower is perfect for unwinding and enjoying light refreshments throughout the day. Chronos Club offers lake views and a Barcelona vibe with its cooler color palette.
  • Maya Grill – This grand Mexican dining room features ancient-modern styling and Nuevo Latino cuisine.
  • Rix Sports Bar & Grill – This stylish establishment puts a unique spin on classic bar food.
  • El Mercado de Coronado – There’s something for everyone at this food court filled with kitchens serving made-to-order breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Café Rix – At this charming grab-and-go location, guests find pastries and coffee, among other tasty snacks.
  • Laguna Bar – Signature cocktails are available at this breezy lakeside lounge.
  • Siestas Cantina – This poolside hideaway is a place to unwind with refreshing beverages and snacks.

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Will you be trying the new dining options at Disney’s Coronado Springs?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

2019 Fall Fun At Walt Disney World

If you are looking for some place to take one last fall vacation before winter sets in again, look no further than Walt Disney World. With so much for the entire family to enjoy, there’s no better time to go than 2019! Here’s everything you need to know to experience a fun-filled time with your friends and family at Walt Disney World this fall courtesy of Disney:


As the calendar turns the page into fall later this year, the curtain will lift on an exciting time for Walt Disney World Resort. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be brand new at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, while Magic Kingdom Park will unveil a new fireworks show as part of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will run for a record number of days, and the park will wave a fond farewell to “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” before ushering in a new nighttime spectacular, “Epcot Forever.” These enticing options and more are all part of a season of fun where guests are invited to “fall into magic.”

New Fireworks Show for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Park

A new Halloween-themed fireworks show debuts this year during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This new show will feature state-of-the-art projection effects, lasers, lighting and dazzling fireworks that come together to tell a not-so-scary story about how anything can happen on Halloween night. The show will take guests along for a trick-or-treating adventure, where four friends – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy – find themselves drawn into a mysterious haunted house.

Held for a record 36 select nights from August 16 – November 1, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a specially ticketed event that captures the spirit of the season with spooky décor, lighting and music parkwide, along with returning favorites such as “Mickey’s Boo to You Parade,” the “Hocus Pocus Villains Spelltacular” castle stage show and trick-or-treating throughout the park. Also returning for this year’s party will be special attraction experiences for Mad Tea Party, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain. Children are encouraged to dress in costume and enjoy the spirit of Halloween with their families. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a ticketed, after-hours special event. Tickets start at $79. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

DID YOU KNOW … The Headless Horseman will appear prior to “Mickey’s Boo to You Parade.”

Record Number of Days Set for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

The Epcot celebration of cuisine, music and more takes place August 29 – November 23 – a record 87 days. During this foodie festival, the park will brim with marketplaces, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, specialty merchandise and much more. In some fun for the whole family, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak will send guests on an adventure searching for Remy in a savory scavenger hunt around the festival. Eat to the Beat concerts will bring a lineup of pop, rock, R&B, country, Christian, swing and Latin artists, with three shows every night of the festival through November 19. Families will find a play area for kids and an international flair – including kid-approved menu items – at many of the 30-plus Global Marketplaces.

DID YOU KNOW … This year’s festival will offer 249 Eat to the Beat concerts.

Last Call for “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” as “Epcot Forever” Debuts October 1

For nearly 20 years, the nighttime spectacular “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” has brought each day at Epcot to a thrilling close. Guests have marveled as World Showcase lagoon came to life with fireworks, fountains and lasers paying homage to the joyful story of humanity and the remarkable achievements of our time. The show’s final night will be September 30, to make way for an all-new, limited-time spectacular, “Epcot Forever,” debuting October 1. This new show will be a celebration of the past, present and future of Epcot, built around the magical soundtrack guests have come to know and love at the park. The new show will feature fireworks, lasers and choreographed special-effect kites accompanied by a stirring collection of songs celebrating Epcot.

DID YOU KNOW … “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” has entertained millions of guests since it debuted in October 1999.

Bounce into Fall at Disney Springs with NBA Experience and Special Seasonal Offerings

Basketball is officially “in season” this fall, after NBA Experience holds a championship-worthy grand opening August 12 at Disney Springs. When guests step into this re-creation of a modern NBA arena, they’ll feel what it’s like to be a basketball superstar. The one-of-a-kind destination features 13 unique interactive and hands-on experiences where Disney magic merges with the thrills of the NBA and WNBA.

NBA Experience is part of the ever-evolving Disney Springs area. Also new is Jaleo, offering the very best of Spanish cuisine and design seen through the creative lens of renowned Chef José Andrés. Jaleo (which means “revelry” in Spanish) treats diners to an extensive tapas menu, reflecting the rich regional diversity of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine, complemented by sangrias and a premier selection of Spanish wines. Just off the main entrance is Pepe by José Andrés, the first brick-and-mortar location of the chef’s wildly popular Spanish food truck.

Jaleo is one of six restaurants at Disney Springs featuring James Beard Award-winning chefs, and dining venues throughout the district will offer sample-sized fall food and drinks. With the help of a printed guide, guests can make their way through Disney Springs and sample all the flavors of the season from select locations.

The fall season is also a great time to enjoy entertainment and shopping at Disney Springs. Colorful backdrops will make great seasonal photos for the entire family, while new fall looks will be available in shops throughout the shopping district, including Halloween costumes for kids and clothing for adults featuring their favorite Disney characters.

DID YOU KNOW … NBA Experience will span 44,000 square feet of basketball action and fun.

Make the Jump to Lightspeed in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

On the heels of its August 29 opening, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge offers Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests the chance this fall to live their own Star Wars stories. The action takes place on Batuu, a far-flung planet populated by scoundrels and adventurers. While visiting the land, guests can stop for a drink at Oga’s Cantina or discover rare artifacts at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, among other immersive Star Wars experiences. The groundbreaking attraction Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run gives guests control of the iconic spacecraft as the ship hurtles through space on a smuggling mission. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, a second attraction opening later in 2019, will put guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

DID YOU KNOW … Guests will play one of three unique and critical roles in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – pilots, gunners or flight engineers – providing multiple ways to experience the attraction.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its experiences are subject to capacity.

Disney Skyliner Takes Flight this Fall

A new mode of transportation will float through the air around Walt Disney World this fall when Disney Skyliner, a state-of-the-art gondola system, begins gliding guests across the sky in custom cabins. Disney Skyliner will conveniently connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, as well as the 15th Disney Vacation Club property, Disney’s Riviera Resort (planned to open in mid-December). Select gondolas will have iconic Disney characters incorporated into their exterior designs to give the appearance that a Disney pal is riding along with guests. Disney Skyliner will offer a new way to experience Walt Disney World with amazing views only available from the sky.

DID YOU KNOW … Several Disney Skyliner gondolas will be adorned with graphics based on Disney films, attractions or characters.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park Lights Up at Night

As the sun sets earlier and earlier this fall, these nighttime experiences will come to life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • “Rivers of Light: We Are One” is the next chapter for this nighttime show on Discovery River. Updates include dramatic new imagery and familiar animal characters from Disneynature films along with a colorful tapestry of unforgettable moments from Disney animated films.
  • Pandora – The World of Avatar continues to come to life each night with bioluminescent fauna and flora as guests hike amid floating mountains, fly on their own mountain banshee, take a mystical river ride and more.

DID YOU KNOW … On May 1, 2019, a baby western lowland gorilla was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Named Grace, the gorilla and her parents can now be seen at the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail inside the park.

Disney Resort Hotels News

To welcome fall travelers, there’s always something new at Disney resort hotels. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will greet guests with its new 15-story Gran Destino tower (opening this summer), adding 500-plus guestrooms, including suites and concierge-level services. New waterfront dining and a retail shopping area have come to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, while a mid-December opening is planned for Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club property inspired by the grandeur and enchantment of the European Riviera.

DID YOU KNOW … Sitting atop the new Gran Destino tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will be Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood, a new table-service restaurant featuring dishes and small plates inspired by the flavors of Spain.

2019 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Marks 10-Year Milestone

Wine and Dine Half MarathonThis fall’s runDisney race season is a delectable celebration 10 years in the making as the 2019 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend takes place October 31 – November 3. Filled with a delicious slate of events and Disney magic along every mile, this year’s event includes a 5K, 10K, half marathon and kids’ races. During this year’s Disney Fall Feast 5K, guests can run, jog or walk their way around Epcot for the first time during this fall event. At the November 3 post-race party, guests enjoy after-hours access to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, including marketplaces and select Epcot attractions. For all race-season details, please click here. Guests can also register via the celebrated charity for this year’s event, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

DID YOU KNOW … runDisney is one of the most popular race organizers in the United States, with more than 188,000 runners participating in events throughout the year.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Will you be visiting Walt Disney World this fall?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!