Disney’s Gran Destino Tower is a Walt Disney World Resort located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The tower hotel sits on the same property as Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
This Disneys Gran Destino Tower review will cover a visit to the resort. We’ll take a look around inside, stay in a standard room with a water view, and even check out the different food options available.
The new Gran Destino Tower opened a few years back and is the newest addition to the resort. Inside you’ll find Spanish Nouveau theming along with fine architecture and details.
While I enjoy the bright bursts of color and modern design at the Disney resort, I can see how it’s not something for everyone.
If you haven’t had the chance to visit this resort yet, you might be in for a bit of a surprise.
Going into this stay, I didn’t really have any expectations other than excitement for the new resort. Having stayed many a time at Coronado Springs in the past, I already could have told you it is most definitely the best moderate resort.
And from the moment I first entered Gran Destino, I was completely floored. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Let me untangle my feelings for you.
Since this is a rather lengthy review, here are the sections if you are looking for specific information.
Disney’s Gran Destino Tower Review
Gran Destino Tower has a central location on West Buena Vista, making it extremely close to Animal Kingdom theme park and an easy drive over to the three other parks. The tower is also within walking distance to Blizzard Beach water park. It sits less than a quarter-mile diagonally across the street.
Below is a picture that was taken from the top level of Gran Destino Tower. That’s the slopes of Blizzard Beach in the distance.
Additionally, you’ll find the tower is located at the front of Disney’s Coronado Springs. The resort hotel has its own parking area for those with vehicles on hand.
Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Address:
1000 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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Coronado Springs falls under the category of Disney moderate resort. The newer Gran Destino Tower has numerous dining options, recreation activities, and other amenities you would find at a Disney resort.
Another positive is that this resort hotel has interior access. Additionally, a bus stop is located outside the main entrance making it extremely close to access transportation. If you are looking for a guest room that offers interior access over the exterior, this is the best option for the price.
Early on, I anticipated this being one full Disney’s Coronado Springs resort review. However, after starting the work to put this all together, I realized that the new Gran Destino Tower was a destination within itself. Therefore, most of the thoughts in this review are specific to the tower, except for a few shared resort amenities.
Gran Destino Tower Rooms
We will start with a look at a standard room at Disney’s Gran Destino. An interesting note here is that I was coming off a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge when I arrived.
When I was here on Disney property, I went from a deluxe resort to a moderate, and then a value. Please, don’t ever try to pull it off unless you travel light. I was very out of place and stressed, partly due to a hurricane threat, and I blame some on other Disney bloggers. I guess that’s just some of the perks of the job.
Here we have a look at the room. It’s very nice, clean and modern. You will probably be looking for something easy on the eyes, especially after you have walked through the vibrant hallways of the resort to find your room. We will get to that.
Anyway, I really appreciated the simplistic look and feel. I enjoyed the clean lines with the neat and tidy look.
This long counter serves multi-purposes in the room. I immediately set up my workstation and felt like I had plenty of room to spread out.
And then we have the water view outside my window. On this particular visit, the curtains were kept open the entire stay. I’m sure you would do the same. Who can resist a room with such a beautiful view?
Speaking of staying around the resort, I hope that’s one of the things I pass on to you. The Walt Disney World resorts are quite a destination within themselves. There are days when I drive over and spend the entire day at one of them.
Sometimes I even visit for a walk or bite to eat. I highly recommend planning what they call a resort day on your trip. You are paying to stay here, so you might as well enjoy a little relaxing on your vacation.
And yes, that’s Expedition Everest in the background above. You might even see the green faux leaves from the Tree of Life as they stand out a bit to the right of Everest.
The bathroom area really works for the most part in the Gran Destino Tower. I felt like the overall design was nice.
The water closet is separate to the left with its own door. However, even though you can close the pocket door, you can’t really have two people getting ready in privacy in this area.
The shower was very modern, and I favor this style of bath over a traditional shower with a tub combination.
There’s a rain-style shower head with a detachable head like we saw in our review of Disney’s Pop Century.
A nice tile job in the shower makes it feel a little more luxurious than it probably should.
Here’s a better look at the water closet. I did think that the towel placement in this room was a little odd. You might notice that there’s not much space in the open bath area to hang bath towels.
Below is a picture of the large barn-style door that slides over the entire bathroom area for privacy. I think this probably works well for a smaller party. But a family of four might enjoy a better layout in another section of Coronado Spring. If you decide to go that route, I really enjoy the cabanas section, but the casita section has preferred rooms.
These barn doors seem to be more of a trendy item. I feel they will probably be on the way out long before they get their wear in this resort.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining about them. But the bathroom layout and misuse of space make it seem like Gran Destino tower wasn’t designed with the average family in mind.
I guess that’s a fair statement because Coronado Springs is deemed a Walt Disney World’s convention center. Even several NBA teams have stayed here in the past! So if you are a larger party, keep these space issues in mind before making a reservation.
Below, you can see the standard Disney H20 products are secured to the shower wall.
There were a few toiletries on the counter as well.
These cabinets underneath the sinks provide a decent storage area. It’s a nice touch that you can store things out of sight if you desire.
A makeup mirror is available.
The room also had a chair with a nightstand in the corner. It’s a great place to start or finish that book you carry with you everywhere. You can also sit here while ignoring your family as you scroll through social media or whatever the going thing on your phone screen is these days. You are on vacation after all.
I like to take advantage of the in-room coffee maker and appreciate having regular mugs and to-go coffee cups. Just don’t forget to bring some bottled water with you. Sometimes I wonder if people use the water out of the sinks in the bathroom? I probably wonder too much, though.
Most of the resorts now offer Keurig-style coffee machines or similar. They have Joffrey’s coffee pods along with the accompaniments. Resorts used to have a bottle or two of complimentary water, but that’s another trend of the past. I’m sure it has something to do with conservation and plastic.
The shelves are a nice place to keep these items out of the way.
I also really appreciated the extra lighting here. This lamp was a bit odd but actually doesn’t take up much space. It also provided good reading light and additional charging ports in the base.
A closer look at the desk area.
The foyer is actually larger than it should be, in my opinion. But there is a decent place to put up a luggage rack if needed.
A nice bench provided a spot for removing shoes and sliding them underneath.
The refrigerator is the standard Disney room size and is tucked into this cabinet. Eliminating the need for the see-through glass door in a sense. Whoever designed this hotel had style over function in mind in most aspects.
You know what they say in fashion, “one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” But as a person with a real estate background, I say that function is comfort, and comfort almost always prevails.
The stand-alone closet is standard with a safe and ironing board. This is also where you will find a full-length mirror.
For some reason, I took a picture of the thermostat—one thing to note about these hotel rooms. If you turn the air down at night to say 65 degrees and then wake up feeling like you went to Iceland instead of Florida, do not turn the thermostat back up to say 72 degrees. The heat will kick on, and you will be sweltering before you know it.
Just turn it to the off position and let the room adjust accordingly. When you start feeling a bit stuffy, turn the air back on to a more reasonable temperature. This is something I tend to forget from time to time.
There are pin lights built into the headboard of the bed as well.
Lastly, Gran Destino does offer several different room categories. You can upgrade to a king bed, club level room, or deluxe suite when staying here.
Make sure to check with a travel agent for the best options and rates. And remember that the club level lounge might not be available on your next visit.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the Gran Destino offerings to see if it’s a fit for your family or group.
When I first entered the lobby of Gran Destino Tower, I was taken aback. The white color palette with strong bursts of colors was shocking. I guess this design is meant to shock, though. I feel like it’s one of those things that you really embrace or don’t care for pretty instantaneously.
Does it feel as high-end as it looks? Yes, right now it does, but we will have to see how this design holds up to traffic over time. I really do like it for the most part. There are some areas where the color comes on a little strong and feels off-putting.
The picture below shows the check-in desks for the tower.
The lobby is two stories, and you enter on the second floor. There are staircases and elevator options to venture down to the lower lobby.
These large windows are really a nice architectural element, and I love the sculptured ironwork in them.
There are plenty of workspaces in the lobby.
Below is an even better idea. Does it almost feel a little airport-y?
The ceiling work and fixtures are exquisite. These are all nice details.
You can see how the upper floor of the lobby wraps itself around the lower floor. The see-through balcony is a nice touch. I don’t think they anticipated too many kids smudging their noses and little cheeks up against it.
Below is the stained glass art featured under the ledge of the upper balcony. It’s almost a hidden from view lounge until you reach the downstairs floor. I remember when I walked down the stairs the first time and thought –oh, I didn’t know you were here.
Yes, there’s even a section about the elevators in this review. But wait, there’s a reason! The elevator system is somewhat backward from what you have probably been accustomed to in the past. You kind of order an elevator, except it’s not quite so custom.
Below is the list of the floors. The Chronos Club is the club lounge for guests staying on the concierge floor. Those guests will have special access to that floor.
The lobby area of the elevator has these screens like in the picture below. You will select the floor to which you are headed. Next, the screen changes and tells your elevator assignment. Arrows are pointing that will point you in the direction of your elevator.
The reason I’m telling you this is because there are no options or buttons inside the elevator. During my stay here, I saw multiple people running, trying to catch the elevator I was boarding. They had to exit the elevator at the next stop and make their own selection, to their dismay.
This probably cost them even more valuable time, especially since they broke their necks trying to get on the first available elevator. Sometimes I wonder why so many people are in a hurry to stand in line? Oh, who am I kidding? There’s been at least some point in my life where I’ve been guilty of the same.
Barcelona Lounge does appear to be somewhat hidden on the lower lobby, as you can see in the below image.
It’s a nice lounge with coffee and a variety of drink options. There are some food selections available as well. I do love the detailing of the stained glass look.
There’s also an area to purchase a coffee and prepare it for your own desired taste.
Here are a few of the coffee offerings including Spanish.
In case you forgot we were reviewing a Disney hotel, here is that subtle nod to Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse on the lower lobby level. It was probably difficult for the designer to blend this into the theming. I’m sure Walt loved this kind of stuff.
And there’s a sunshine mural. I always love anything sunshine. Oh, here you can see where Walt and Mickey are kind of tucked in the corner over there. It happens to the best of us. Speaking of Mickey, make sure to look for a hidden Mickey or two while visiting.
There was also this large workspace or conference room on the lower level of the lobby. I assume that anyone could go in and use the space when it was open. There was nothing indicating you couldn’t. It looks like a great place to hold blogger board meetings.
Another thing I like about staying here is the addition of a second fitness center. It’s located on the lobby level of Gran Destino Tower.
It’s very high end and offers a lot of nice equipment and free weights.
There are aerobics plus strength training machines. The resort has an additional fitness center you can use if desired. I always feel better when I exercise while on vacation. I know you are walking quite a good bit, but these kinds of workouts tend to help more than hinder.
Here is that wide range of free weights.
The top floor of Gran Destino Tower is home to two different dining options. Toledo that we recently reviewed in the dining section of the site, offers a nod toward a more formal meal. You can check out the full review of Toledo, Tapas, Steak, & Seafood here.
Here’s a preview of the interior of Toledo. It has a pretty ceiling fixture that runs the length of the dining room.
Dahlia Lounge is across the foyer from Toledo. It looks more formal than the Disney vacation crowd will probably feel during high crowd times.
This side of the tower looks out to some pretty amazing views of Walt Disney World property.
It’s a very nice place to relax when an outdoor table is available. Since Gran Destino is a part of the larger resort, you have access to all of the dining options at Coronado Springs Resort.
Outside we have a look at the backside of Gran Destino Tower. You can tell there are no balcony rooms available at this resort.
The back lawn of Gran Destino Tower has this unique bench-style seating that offers some pretty mosaic tile work.
Here is the opposite side showing where you can sit and stare out at the view.
They were still doing some landscape work during my stay, but they all came together very nicely.
It is quite beautiful here.
If you walk out to the right you will quickly find yourself going across a bridge and walking toward the resort’s main pool area.
I’m mentioning this because Gran Destino Tower itself doesn’t have its pool. If you are looking to use the nearest quiet pool, there’s one next door in the Cabana village.
But most will want to use the main pool over at The Dig Site. Here is the walkway over to The Dig Site. Below is the bridge so you can kind of gauge the distance.
Additionally, the resort has several white sand beach areas with lounge chairs and hammocks. I really enjoy jogging the exterior here.
We’ll take a quick look at the feature pool. It’s very sizable and offers a faux Mayan pyramid with water rushing down the stairs into the pool.
There is an entrance on both sides for guests to access the large recreation area. This pool even makes it within the top rankings for our best pools at Disney World list.
The other thing I wanted to mention about Gran Destino Tower is the access to El Centro which is the main lobby for the rest of the property.
There is a long hallway that actually connects Gran Destino Tower to El Centro. It’s good to know this because if it’s raining, you can easily walk over and access the other amenities available without having to venture outside.
The only real downside to Disney’s Coronado Springs is there’s only one form of transportation. The good thing is Gran Destino shares the main bus stop with El Centro. You walk out the front door, and it’s down a few steps on the right.
The bus system from Coronado Springs will take you to and from the following locations:
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Animal Kingdom
- Disney Springs
- Disney Water Parks
As you can see in the picture above, the El Centro bus stop was moved to the tower side. It’s centrally located between El Centro (the resort’s main lobby) and Gran Destino.
One of the perks of staying here is that the bus stop is literally a few steps outside the hotel. If you have stayed at Coronado Springs in the past, your room assignment might have been further from the bust stop than you would have preferred. This won’t be an issue at the tower.
Is a stay at Gran Destino Tower a good fit for you?
Does Gran Destino offer Disney magic? Maybe, a little. But overall, when you are staying here, I don’t think you will feel like you are actually staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.
However, I also don’t think you’ll get that feeling if you are staying at another moderate resort like Disney’s Caribbean Beach or maybe one of the Port Orleans Resorts.
For me, Gran Destino Tower comes in fairly high when it comes to value received for the price. I feel like Gran Destino is a moderate resort that feels similar to a deluxe Disney Resort.
There is a lot to take in across the entire property. The tower has its own exercise facility. And the interior hotel room access is something you don’t typically see at a moderate.
If I were interested in staying at a deluxe with a moderate budget, I would start with Animal Kingdom Lodge. The prices here are typically higher but are still within reason. I have a full Animal Kingdom Lodge review. It also makes the top of our list of best Disney World Resorts.
Related: Best Disney World Resort Hotels
And there’s a separate write-up that goes over the savanna view rooms. Those rooms would be an upgrade, but a standard view is part of the trade-off with a budget in mind.
The only resort I would choose over any of these is Disney’s Beach Club, but that’s a whole other price range with an extremely long list of amenities. I have a full Disney’s Beach Club review if you want to know why it’s my favorite overall.
If price were an issue and I had to stay at a value resort, I would pick Pop Century Resort (review). And if those rates are still to high, check out the Flamingo Crossings hotel in our best Marriott Hotels near Disney World review. You will need transportation when staying at an off property resort, though. Make sure to factor that in to expenses.
Final Thoughts on our Gran Destino Review
Gran Destino Tower may seem over the top in design to someone like me. But it all really works together for the greater good of the resort. Disney does a great job of providing so many different types of environments to choose from on property.
If you are looking for the amenity of staying in an interior access hotel without the deluxe pricing, Gran Destino is probably the right choice for you.
Here is one last look at the evening water view from my room. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend an upgrade to a water view, but I found myself quite pleased with this one. The sunset for me is always calming, and it reminds me of those that I love. I always enjoy the opportunity to spend time with my loved ones at the day ends. I hope you will as well.
P.S.–A little proofreading made me realize I forgot to show you those bright hallways. Here ya go!
For more Disney resorts reviews not mentioned in this article you might enjoy Disney’s Yacht Club review or the review of Disney’s Boardwalk Villas with a deluxe studio. There is a full guide to Disney’s Boardwalk Inn here as well.
Over in the Magic Kingdom Resorts area you might enjoy staying at Disney’s Contemporary or try our review of Bay Lake Tower. I have a sweet spot for staying at the Grand Floridian Villas in their deluxe studio too!
Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts on Disney’s Gran Destino Tower. Have you stayed here yet or visited the resort for dining?