Coronado Springs Tower or Dolphin Hotel?

We are heading to WDW in late August, and are really torn between keeping a seemingly great rate at Coronado Springs or switching to The Dolphin Hotel.

We are staying for seven nights and are going to try to break up our days by making frequent use of the pool. Based on current projections, if we start touring at park open, we will do everything we want to by lunch time. In theory we will go back to the hotel, eat, swim, shower, and hop to Epcot most days. The point here is: access and pool are key factors.

Two rooms at Dolphin will cost about $100 more/night than CSR, all-in including taxes. If I said we (a party of six) would be spending $50-60/day on Uber if we keep our CSR reservation I don’t think I’d be too far off.

With three teenagers and a 7yo, we are most interested in AK and HS rides, but we are going to open at MK at least once. May fit in one Boo Bash. No plans to open at Epcot but we will definitely hop there several evenings. We also plan to visit Disney Springs, which we’ve never had time to fit in.

We generally only stay at Marriott properties in the real world, but have never stayed anywhere but Beach Club at WDW.

I think we will get more use out of our hopper tickets if we can walk to Epcot; bussing will just take too much time. The alternative is Uber, but that is somewhat tricky with a party of our size.

What are folks experiences taking a mid-day break from CSR? Am I wrong to assume doing that will require Uber at least to/from the midday break?

How do the pools compare? I’ve watched videos on both and they seem pretty comparable to me.

I read the Marriott hotels will nickel and dime us on food etc. even compared to WDW prices. Hard to tell what will be open at CSR by the time August rolls by, but my kids are picky eaters and we are planning on having some basic groceries delivered for breakfasts and lunches.

And of course no MDE which we would otherwise take advantage of.

Wow that’s tough. I loved Coronado Springs and hotel wise would choose that over the Dolphin but I love being in an Epcot resort as well (we rented points at BWV for our trip in 13 days) and very much looking forward to our many dinners out (five nights of Epcot dinners plus using the skyliner to try topolinos one night). But I loved Three Bridges Bar and Grill at CSR. I will say this. If this is a long stay as it sounds the Dolphin might be better for more varied food choices since you can walk so many places. So if you plan to eat out dinner a lot I would choose Dolphin and I just thought for the teens walking distance to HS will be nice for a later ride on ToT. My teens are planning on spending a third day in DHS while DH and I do more Epcot food grazing. But the bus system was great at CSR when I went in Jan and I honestly didn’t know what people were complaining about but I was the first stop. (Bus stop 2) so if you’re staying in the tower I’d hike to bus stop 2 if you’re trying to catch the bus at peak times like rope drop.

Did you include the resort fee for the Dolphin? For 2 rooms that adds almost $80 a night to your total. I think you’d benefit most from staying there though. I love CSR and it has a lot to offer for dining, but if you know HS and Epcot at night are priorities, I would stay within walking/boating distance. There’s also been frequent reports of waits to get to the main pool at CSR. Thr Dolphin main pool has also been reported to be crowded and hard to find chairs together as I don’t think it’s being managed as well as WDW pools are.

Another thought if you’re sharing beds. I think the Dolphins beds might just be full sized while CSR are queens. I’d have to say that would 100% put me at CSR as my DH is 6’5” and it’s literally a seriously uncomfortable night for us when we have to sleep in a full. I’m literally on the edge and almost fall off.

Re: bus - last month Tower had it own buses in morning for departure to parks. I found bus service at CSR to be great actually.

Hate to say I agree with everything else because I fell so in love with the tower and the resort last month. But for OPs purposes, proximity will matter and for this trip for them Dolphin would be the better option.


It does state double but I saw it confirmed the other day once again- same size as a Disney resort Queen.


Yes, the resort fee is included (as are taxes) in the comparison. Currently the resort fee is $35/room/night.

The “package” they are offering is 25% off a second room - for my comparison I am assuming the resort fee is exempt from the discount (but I did discount taxes).

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I have stayed at both, I would never go back to the Dolphin but I cannot wait to stay again at Gran Destino Tower.

One is a 30 year standard hotel, the other is a new modern WDW resort.


Thank you - we were talking about beds last night. As much as I might prefer to have king sized bed, we will opt for more smaller beds. Most likely I share a bed with my DS7 and my DD14 will share with DW, so that my twin DS15 can each have their own bed. But we will see.

That said - none of us are particularly tall, and we will be fine even in full sized beds.

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This may be what is making it so hard. I suppose what I’m really hoping for is a better deal at a WDW-managed Epcot resort. Not that they are a good deal, but my kids will miss the resort cups, too.

That said - we do virtually nothing in our rooms. I having stayed at BC twice it’s not like the rooms are anything to write home about.

I guess it’s going to come down to whether or not we are okay being car/bus dependent the entire trip.

We paid full price for CSR and paid for the Dolphin using Marriott Rewards points. The only costs were parking fees, resort fees, and taxes. We were even upgraded to a Junior Suite at the Dolphin.

I feel we got a better value staying at CSR.

Staying at the Gran Destino at the CSR was a relaxed enjoyable luxurious experience that added to the WDW experience.

Staying at the Dolphin was staying at a tired old hotel that did not have that special Disney atmosphere.


The Tower is my new go-to for cash stays. Deluxe experience at moderate pricing

We just got back from a stay at the Swan. The hotel was very clean, the staff was great, and the location was wonderful.

The QS food was expensive. Like eye-wateringly so.

Also the resort is a convenient location, but it’s a LOT of walking. We put in 25k+ steps per day 3 days in a row. There was one point yesterday where I considered renting a scooter to get back to the hotel because I could not contemplate the 15-20 minute walk back to the hotel from Epcot. We ended up boating there which saved my feet but is not quick.

You’re all giving me a lot to think about! I was hoping this would be a no-brainer!!

I’d be more comfortable keeping our CSR if I thought we could count on the bus system more – our last trip in October 2019 at BC, the busses were surprisingly scarce and it was not unusual for us to have to wait for a second bus. I don’t want to spend 4 hours/day on/waiting for busses (1 hour per trip, which was pretty normal from BC our last trip). Our trip before that, I believe March 2013, the bus system was great – we rarely waited more than 15 minutes and the trips were comparatively quick.

Conversely, I’m really hesitant to give up the WDW-resort “feeling”. I trust I know what we’ll get from the Dolphin since it’s managed by Marriott and we stay with them so often, but that will make the trip feel less special. If we stay at CSR, we can plan to give the bus a try and if it’s bad just call an Uber, which looks like it will be $15-$20 for most of our trips (UberXL) – the main downside is that the teens will be locked to the resort.

One lingering question, which is influenced by our experience taking an Uber from BC to MK in 2019… We were surprised that after taking the Uber to MK, we had to take the ferry to the park – so we didn’t really end up saving much/any time in that transaction (vs waiting for a second bus). If we are taking an Uber from CSR and just want to “get close” – it occurred to me to get dropped off at the Dolphin hotel and walk from there to Epcot or HS. Are there any good drop-off points in that area that minimize the amount of time spent in a car? I assume the Uber situation above is unique to MK and not really applicable to the other parks, is that correct?

This is unique to MK because of TTC. Not an issue elsewhere. But dropoff at an Epcot area resort would be good for EP or HS if they let you through.

During our stay at CSR, we never had to wait too long for a bus.

The bus information available on the in-room TV was very accurate and we were able to keep an eye on it and time it so we got to the bus stop with minimal waiting.

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But the bus rides back often involved, for me, a lengthy wait at the park bus depot which was a bit annoying.

Still, not near enough for me to not stay there again.

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Can you say more about getting the bus times on your TV? I vaguely remember something like that at BC, but I don’t remember it being a factor for us at all.

Also - is the bus stop for the Tower near Panchitos? I don’t see the fourth bus stop labeled on Google Maps anywhere.

The bus stop for the Tower is at the bottom of the stairs right at the tower.

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