Disney’s Coronado Springs has been undergoing a massive re-imagining of the entire resort. With brand new colors, themes, room renovations, restaurants and a massive 16-story luxury tower, this “moderate” resort just set a new standard of excellence.
We have watched the resort transform over the past two years starting with beautiful room upgrades in the Casitas, Ranchos and Cabanas. We watched the theme gradually change from the brightly colored southwestern desert to far more subdued Spanish earth tones. Disney promised a first of its kind “floating restaurant” and on June 10, the Three Bridges Bar & Grill welcomed their first guests. With all the changes inside the resort, another change was made outside with brand new signs.
These changes would have been enough to put Coronado Springs in a class of it’s own, but all these additions literally stand in the shadow of Disney’s brand new Gran Destino Tower.
Before, we take a look inside, we have to understand the history behind this work of art. In 1946 Walt Disney and Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí began collaboration on a short animated film called “Destino” that would feature the art of Dalí along with music written by Mexican songwriter Armando Dominguez. The film wouldn’t be finished until 2003, nearly 60 years later. It was this beautiful relationship between two brilliant minds that would be the inspiration behind the new Gran Destino Tower.
As we venture through the tower it’s important to know some of the symbolism used to recreate this beautiful story. These are just a few examples of many, it’s up to you to find your own connections on your next adventure.
Dahlia is the beautiful main character that is featured on a mural in the lobby. The Dahlia Lounge can also be found on the sixteenth floor.
The bell that eventually becomes Dahlia’s dress is easily spotted inside the lounge.
The dandelion flower is predominant throughout the animated feature and can be found in beautiful paintings throughout the tower. Here we see the bell with the dandelion petals blowing in the wind, hanging in the Dahlia Lounge.
While dancing, Dahlia is transformed into the dandelion. These amazing light fixtures capture just how beautiful that moment really is.
The brilliant artists and Imagineers found countless way to incorporate every piece of animation, even down to the bread service inside the Toledo Restaurant.
The Disney Imagineers found a world of inspiration from a six minute work of art, created by the genius of Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí. They were able to bring to life a fifty year journey that will allow guests to live inside this masterpiece. Let’s finally take a look at the Gran Destino Tower.
“Gran Destino”, meaning “great destiny”, is just that. A fantastic new destination for all to enjoy. The tower is grand by every measure, both inside and out.
The entrance is inviting and just the beginning of what awaits inside.
The elegant, but massive two-story lobby features grand pillars that run from the lower level to the ceiling.
Beautiful golden chandeliers hover in front of the three large windows looking out onto the courtyard and Lago Dorado.
The windows allow for gorgeous views, but also let in enormous amounts of natural sunlight.
Checking in is both elegant and fun. Cast members provide assistance in a very casual and inviting setting.
The wall panels are back-lit and colors can be changed based on the occasion. Red, white and blue was perfect over Independence Day. Here’s guessing that the Christmas Holidays should be something special to see.
Of course the kids will never be left out. Even the kid at heart will find comfort in this little spot. “Destino”, the animated feature is actually shown on both sides of the lobby, further incorporating the design history behind the experience.
Wonderful seating arrangements can be found all throughout both levels of the lobby.
As we can see, the lower level is calling for some attention. So let’s head down to the Barcelona Lounge.
Located on the lower level, the Barcelona Lounge is a perfect place to grab a quick drink after your arrival. The stain-glass backdrop is so intricate, it’s hard to take your eyes off it.
There is not a full service menu available at the Barcelona, but there are quick snacks, pastries, sodas and coffee ready to go.
Seating is designed to bring guests together. Who would’t want to share this stunning hardwood table with some new friends?
It’s here that we finally find lovely Dahlia. The mural is so beautiful and captures the sadness and pain that appears to be in her heart.
Personally, I think this is the most fantastic piece inside the lobby and quite possibly the entire tower. Honoring Walt and his pal Mickey is a perfect tribute to the genius behind all that we hold dear.
If you want that early morning workout, then you will love the brand new gym located on the lower level. It is a peaceful oasis, with beautiful views of the courtyard.
The Catalonia Boardroom is the perfect spot to hold business meetings or a corporate get together.
Again, so much history can be found around every corner and on every floor. Make sure you keep your eyes and mind open.
Just outside the lower level is the lovely and peaceful courtyard. Out here we get some wonderful close up views of the tower and can find access to the rest of the resort.
This lovely fire pit will be a very popular gathering spot in the evening. Bring the entire family or just find some new friends. Just make sure to enjoy a beautiful night under the stars.
As wonderful as the lobby is, it’s nothing compared to what lies on the sixteenth floor and getting there is half the fun. The elevator is actually controlled from outside. Simply select your floor from the digital keypad and head to the door identified on the screen. It’s fun and fast.
Once you arrive on the sixteenth floor you will find two excellent choices. To your right is the “Dahlia Lounge” and to the left is “Toledo Tapas, Steak & Seafood“.
The Dahlia Lounge is the perfect spot to sit back with your favorite cocktail and enjoy the rich history of Walt Disney, Salvador Dali, Destino and the beautiful Dahlia.
This is such a wonderful treat to see these rare photos of the collaboration between two amazing artists.
Here is where you will find so much of the artistry found in “Destino”.
Inside the Dahlia Lounge is certainly beautiful, but really it’s what you find outside that makes the experience unlike any other at Disney. The Gran Destino Tower is the tallest resort on Disney property and makes for one outstanding experience sitting outside. We will get to all the views in just a bit.
Leaving the Dahlia Lounge and heading over to the “Toledo Restaurant”, just take a few steps, but entering the Toledo is quite unforgettable to say the least. “Toledo” is an ancient city set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain, which is fitting for this prestigious restaurant sitting high above Walt Disney World. The dinning area is grand, the seating is elegant and the ceiling is luminescent.
Even more breathtaking views await on both sides of the restaurant. Every seat is an experience waiting to happen.
We talked about the bread service earlier and the connection to “Destino”. This is where you will find a delicious selection of aged cheese ready ready to be melted on the bread in the open fire oven.
Private dinning areas are available, like this very quaint room located just off the balcony.
The real experience is sure to be found in this private “Moonlight” dinning area.
The wine selection is vast to say the least. Once you had a chance to view all of the selections, you will certainly be overcome by the stunning views.
Okay, we are finally here. The views are what we have been waiting for and they are far from disappointing, in fact they are absolutely overwhelming. You can literally see for miles in all directions.
We can see the entire Coronado Springs resort from a birds-eye view. It’s beautiful on the ground, but magical from the air.
Such an incredible view of the “Three Bridges Bar & Grill” and the “Dig Site” pool.
So many attractions like we have never seen them before.
Take a look at all the pictures from the Gran Destino.
This is just he beginning of the wonderful experience waiting at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and the Gran Destino Tower. Enjoy the amenities and have fun learning about the history behind this incredible venture. The wait was long, it was fun to watch over the past two years and the results were more than expected. My sincerest thanks go out to the Imagineers, architects, contractors, artists and cast members that make something like this possible. Most of all thank you to Walt Disney and Salvador Dali for a beautiful six minute work of art that inspired this “Great Destiny”.
The Gran Destino Tower officially opens to the public on July 9. Make sure to follow PASSPORT TO THE PARKS for more information and “live” videos on opening day.