Day 1: Checking In to Spring Stay #1
When I left you last, we had just driven under the glorious Walt Disney World sign officially welcoming us to Disney property & like a “tale as old as time”, I just couldn’t contain myself!
I need to back up a little because I had forgot to mention that during our final routine gas stop while on the Florida Turnpike, I had received a text message and email from Disney letting us know that our resort room at Coronado Springs was ready & it was only 10:42 AM! This was awesome because check in was not until 3:00! The text message/email even told us what room we had and said that since we had MagicBands, we could go straight to our room without having to visit the front desk to check in. Remember that one of the functions of MagicBands is to act as your room key. This was the first time we got to use this new service of bypassing the front desk since it was just launched this year. In order to opt into using this service, you need to complete the Online Check In process on My Disney Experience and have an active MagicBand and obviously provide them your cell phone number. Online Check In can be completed 60 days in advance.
Knowing that our room was all set and waiting for us, we followed the magical purple street signs to Coronado Springs for our first ever stay at a Walt Disney World Moderate resort.
^^Excuse the bad quality, I took the picture at the last minute before turning!^^
After minimal navigation, we checked in with the parking lot guard who scanned our MagicBand to ensure we were registered guests and not some crazy people and we were on our way to the Casitas area of the resort.
Coronado Springs is a large Spanish/Southwestern themed resort which also houses a convention center. The resort is basically one large loop which I imagine probably makes for a nice jogging trail. There are three sections your room can be located in: Casitas, Cabanas and Ranchos. I was actually pleasantly surprised that we were put in Casitas because that area is usually reserved for conventioneers, but there must’ve not been any events during the two nights we were there or if there were, they were relatively small. The Casitas area is near El Centro, which is the main hub of the resort where you will find guest registration and concierge as well as the resort’s restaurants (Maya Grill and Pepper Market) and gift/convenience shop (Panchitos). Our location to El Centro was super convenient especially when we wanted to grab a quick bite to eat, which we would need to do soon since we had not had lunch yet.
^^Deceiving Signage ^^
We arrived at the Casitas parking lot and hopped out of the car to locate our room. This is when I had wished we had visited the front desk because we could not find our room and the Cast Members always give such good detailed directions! Our location was Casitas 3 room 3324, which was located on the third floor. I must say, the signage for Casitas needs to be a little better! Each of the Casitas buildings has its own set of elevators and stairways, and it can get quite confusing and we often found ourselves at a dead end even though we followed the sign! At one point we had thought we had made it to Casitas 3, but we were still in Casitas 1. Finally, after much exploring, we found the correct elevator bank. After lots of long winding hallways, we arrived at our room and prayed that our MagicBands would unlock the door so that this wasn’t all for nothing. Luckily for us, they worked!!!
The room was nothing overly special, just your standard hotel room, but we found it clean and comfortable which is just what we expect. Now that we had a better idea of where our room was, we headed back to the car to grab the rest of our luggage and actually found a stairway which acted as a shortcut to our room, so the walk turned out to not be so bad in the end. Since we were only staying 2 nights, we did not need to unpack everything and didn’t need to use Bell Services.
We took some pictures along the way which really capture the beauty of this resort. Around every corner there were fountains and lush greenery which made for a very picturesque landscape. You will also notice in most of the pictures, there are no people in sight! A lot of the popular Deluxe Resorts on property are always so busy because of the amenities and proximity to the parks, but we found Coronado to be a nice & quiet retreat. We hardly encountered anyone else in the hallways until we reached El Centro or The Dig Site (main pool). Looking back at these pictures, I really love the colors of this resort!
^^Our View!! So pretty!^^
Once we finished unpacking, our stomachs gently reminded us that we had not had lunch yet. We knew we had dinner reservations at Le Cellier in a few hours which is located in Epcot, but there was no way we could hold out until then because Disney makes us hungry! We decided to hit up El Centro to check out their quick service restaurant: Pepper Market.
Pepper Market has lots of different options from sandwiches/burgers to pasta to Mexican favorites such as quesadillas and nachos which is what we opted to share! As you can see, the Nacho plate was HUGE and it was delicious as were the quesadillas. There are so many options at Pepper Market to suit every taste and it is always nice to find a place with a good variety of options! Not all quick service locations are so lucky in that respect.
After a very satisfying lunch we checked out the rest of El Centro and visited the front desk to receive our welcome packet with the park hours and resort happenings schedule. While the option to bypass the registration desk is a nice addition, I actually missed the whole traditional check in process where you get to interact with the Cast Members, especially if you are celebrating a birthday or other occasion. I definitely recommend the express check in service if it is a resort you have stayed at many times, but if you are a first time visitor to Walt Disney World or even that particular resort in general, I think it is wise to visit the front desk and get some assistance from the always knowledgeable Cast Members. As for the Welcome Packet documents, it would be nice if they could deliver that to your room upon arrival if you do decide to use Online Check In, which they may indeed do, I just didn’t give it a chance to check it out. What can I say, I am impatient. Maybe I will test that out on our next trip.
^^ 3 Caballeros are the cutest!^^^^ Love that Donald!^^
With our bellies full and check in process officially complete, it was almost time for our first FastPass+ reservations so we were off to explore the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (Epcot)!!