Last week, we brought you our thoughts and first impressions of the newly-opened Gran Destino Tower. Our experience was unique in that we opted to plus our stay with Club Level access, and Gran Destino is unique in that it is the first and only Moderate resort on property to offer Club Level amenities.
If you’ve never stayed Club Level before, you essentially pay a premium (this amount varies depending on current rates, room occupancy, and other factors) to access the resort’s very own private lounge, which boasts a variety of complimentary food and beverage offerings curated daily.
Club Level stays also include Disney Signature Services, which is a separate, dedicated team of Cast Members available to assist (pre-trip, as well as during your stay) with FastPass+, dining reservations, and any other special requests you may have. Club Level really gives any Disney resort stay a cruise-like, “all-inclusive” feel, and ironically, I’ve found that both families and business travelers alike tend to gravitate towards it for both convenience and ease. We got to enjoy three full days of all the club had to offer, so let’s head in and explore.
Gran Destino Tower
Driving up to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort with the gilded new Gran Destino Tower shining in the morning sun is a real sight to see.
All guests now check in at the Tower.
The large two-story lobby is quite a sight to behold.
But if all goes according to plan, you should be welcomed at the entrance by a Cast Member with an iPad, who will then whisk you up the modern, new elevators and over to the Chronos Club, the resort’s very own private Club Level lounge.
Gran Destino Tower – Chronos Club (Club Level Lounge)
Chronos Club – Seating, Ambiance, Decor
You’re led right to a set of glass doors, where you can tap your MagicBand for access. The lounge is open from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM daily for guests to enjoy.
Proper check-in takes place at this desk, where you receive your MagicBands (in case you don’t have them yet) as well as a welcome packet with a resort map and a list of daily lounge hours and offerings.
The design elements found throughout the lobby are also present at the Chronos Club, with Barcelona tile lining the floors and accent walls. Hidden Mickeys also abound throughout the space. You’ll also notice that while other parts of the resort follow a color scheme of bright reds, oranges, and yellows, the lounge offers tones of calming turquoise and blue. We spent most of our time working from the lounge (when we weren’t gathering content throughout the Tower), and it really felt like a tranquil respite compared to busier parts of the resort (both in terms of design and occupancy.)
A small plaque by the wall pays homage to the short film, Destino, which “inspired” the resort at large. The lounge itself is named after one of the film’s protagonists, Chronos, the immortal personification of time.
And as you’re going to see, you’re going to want to spend lots of time here.
There are a variety of seating arrangements available, from traditional restaurant-style tables and booths, to casual sofas, to large armchairs where you can sit with some snacks and browse the internet or get some work done.
They had CNBC playing the entire time we were there… and as fascinating as it was to learn that Frito-Lay was outperforming this quarter, it would’ve been nice to have something else playing on here. But again, I’m just a Disney blogger, and not an investor.
We found some of the most inspired hidden Mickeys in the lounge, like this silhouette of Mickey’s side profile, as well as a more discernible hidden Mickey (below).
Upon arrival, you’re welcome to sit down and take in the surroundings, as well as all the reading material. Guests are offered mimosas upon entering, and they’re available throughout their stay upon request. (Grapefruit versions, as well as straight Cava, are also available.)
Welcome letters are customized, which is a nice touch. It’s worth noting that guests are expected to take phone calls outside the lounge to maintain the proper ambiance. Serving times for each of the food and beverage offerings are also listed, as well as handy numbers to call (or text) while at the resort for concierge assistance.
Throughout the lounge are various board games, large coffee table books displaying Salvador Dali art (there’s even a wacky Dali cookbook), and print material (magazines, newspapers) to read.
A variety of packaged candies, fruits, and Ghirardelli chocolates (milk, dark, and caramel sea salt) are available for guests on the go. As opposed to time-consuming build-your-own snack mixes I’ve seen at other resort Club Level lounges, these were straightforward, convenient options to have.
Quite possibly one of our favorite spaces in the entire lounge was this nook, which featured a stunning Mickey mural. They’re still working on transforming this space into something more interactive (like a computer or smart TV station), but I was content with getting to see the mural in all its glory.
This is actually meant to be a kid’s corner, and it while it seemed too contrived to work at first, it did turn out to be a hit with all the kids at the club.
Mainly because that fancy-looking chest was actually filled with even more board games, as well as fun Elena of Avalon and Coco toys.
Again, the space is absolutely gorgeous, with floor-to-ceiling windows lining the walls and Moroccan lighting fixtures gracing the tables and ceilings.
Said windows offer stunning views of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with Spaceship Earth, the Guardians of the Galaxy building, and Swan and Dolphin in plain sight.
Also in plain sight is the Tower of Terror. This is my all-time favorite attraction, so being able to admire it from this vantage point was a real treat.
It’s worth noting that the Chronos Club has its own set of gorgeous bathrooms, which come in handy if you don’t want to run back to your room. Given all the eating and drinking you’re going to be doing here, these are especially welcome.
The men’s bathroom has this cute artwork of Mickey.
The women’s bathroom has artwork of Minnie. No gender-neutral or family/companion restrooms are available.
At night, the lounge really lights up. However, don’t expect to watch the fireworks from here. The lights aren’t dimmed and music isn’t piped in, but depending on your room view, we recommend watching them from there anyway.
Chronos Club – Daily Food Offerings
As part of food and beverage offerings, a continental breakfast is served every day from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM. (Beverages and coffee open up at 6:30 AM for the early birds.) I appreciated the fact that breakfast is still available for late risers or folks who decide on sleeping in. Most Club Level lounges (or resort food courts, for that matter) don’t offer breakfast past 10:30 AM usually.
A variety of breads and pastries are available each morning. These were all incredibly fresh, if not baked on site. The lemon blueberry scones (below) over in the lower right-hand corner were specially made for the lounge and were only available on opening day, sadly. The banana bread loaves quickly became a breakfast staple in our group.
A variety of spreads were available for the breads, along with a toaster. It’s great that they had so many options, like vegan cream cheese and butter, as well as sunflower seed butter (SunButter) as a nut allergy-friendly option. Sealed packets of peanut butter were also available. They also had a whole chunk of local Florida honeycomb.
Our favorite, of course, had to be these pats of Mickey butter. I’d previously only seen these at the Grand Floridian and at the Yacht Club before, so this was a very high-end touch.
A variety of deli meats and cheeses were also available every morning. (If you like jamón serrano, you’ve come to the right place.)
Breakfast would typically stop there at most resort Club Level lounges, but Chronos Club is particularly extra. There’s a whole other island with more refrigerated items, like smoked salmon, sliced tomato, and halved hard-boiled eggs.
On the other side is a warmer, with Le Creuset pots filled with hot breakfast items.
Yes, they had vegan scrambled eggs. (Between vegan seafood at Toledo and now this, Gran Destino Tower is a vegan haven.) They also had scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, and steel cut oatmeal with dried fruits and nuts to top it with.
The availability of scrambled eggs and bacon really drives the value of the breakfast option here. Most resort Club Level lounges include only hard-boiled eggs, maybe some deli meat, but that’s where the proteins end. If you like traditional, hearty breakfasts, you can really fill up here and be good to go for the rest of the morning and afternoon. The bacon was particularly good on our last day, for some reason, and the eggs weren’t powdered and rehydrated eggs you get virtually everywhere else on property––they were actually some of the creamiest, silkiest scrambled eggs I’ve ever had. (The vegan eggs weren’t bad either, but they had a strong mung bean after taste as they’re made with Just Egg substitute.)
Over on the other side of the buffet, they had a lower table set up with kids’ offerings, namely cereal, fresh fruit, and the same pots with scrambled eggs and bacon. I thought this was a really cute touch.
Chronos Club’s beverage game is on point. They have an innovative, touch-screen espresso machine that doesn’t require fiddling around with pods, a selection of coffee bar syrups, and large urns full of fresh, hot coffee.
The coffee was strong, and there are even Mickey sugar cubes to sweeten it with.
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There’s a box with Twinings teas, including some cold-brew tea options, as well as apple, orange, and cranberry juice. Grapefruit juice was available upon request.
The fridge included a selection of soft drinks, Dasani water, smartwater, boxed apple juice, and yogurts.
I told you we were obsessed with these banana bread loaves. They come in these adorable wooden boxes from France.
A good start to a fun day hunched over a laptop in the lounge.
Breakfast gets removed around 11:00 AM each morning. (They weren’t strict with times in our experience, so if you still wanted to run up for one last pastry or scoop of eggs, if they were still out, you were more than welcome to help yourself to second breakfast.)
Right around noon, the afternoon snacks came out. These are essentially fun things to munch on, and are by no means a full meal in and of themselves, but we were still full from breakfast at this time anyway.
This big box of cookies was stocked promptly at noon, with oatmeal, chocolate chip, and sugar cookies available. Vegan cookies are also available upon request. If you see something you like, don’t hesitate to get it. Those gooey-looking chocolate chip cookies eventually ran out due to how popular they became, and were eventually replaced with the same old ashy cookies you get elsewhere on property. We learned from the Great Scone Shortage.
Over by where this morning’s hot items would be are bowls of trail mix and Goldfish crackers. Cast Members said they’re working with Pepperidge Farm to purchase the Mickey Goldfish crackers in bulk for the lounge, but no go on the deal yet, hence why the signage doesn’t match the contents of the bowl.
These SunButter and banana toasts were quite popular, and a creative, healthy snack, to boot.
Assorted crudité and dips made up the other half of the table. Unlabeled on the left is a bowl of tasty bulgur wheat salad, like a tabbouleh.
House-made potato chips and assorted olives rounded out the food offerings. A plate of chips, olives, a scoop of bulgur wheat salad, and a dollop of hummus was my go-to. (I may or may not have gotten a second round of just chips.) The chips and olives in particular are a taste of the restaurants upstairs, and they were both fresh and of good quality.
On the beverage side of things, the coffees and such remained throughout snack time, but the juices were replaced with a variety of Spanish wines, each housed in compact wine fridges to the appropriate temperatures for optimal drinking. None of us in the group were big wine drinkers, but the way this was set up made it tempting to pour out a few to try.
Gran Destino Tower employs food and drink as a vehicle for storytelling, and it’s once we start getting into the wine selection that you can see how clearly they’re driving the Spanish theme home. If you aren’t into Spanish wines, or, as you’ll come to see, Spanish flavors and cuisine, you might not get your money’s worth out of the food and beverage offerings here.
Me, I was perfectly content with this Lady of Spain Cava. It retails for about $13.00, so it’s not like this was a rare or expensive sparkling wine, but you definitely have to give them props for presentation.
One thing I noticed with this club, as compared to others, is how readily available alcoholic beverages are available. Most other Club Level lounges will keep bottles backstage, requiring you to go up and ask for a beverage each time, which is kind of a hassle given how much guests are paying for these offerings. Here, all the wines, beers, and ciders are proudly on display, with enough Cast Members out at all times to monitor for any potential issues.
I’ll never forget the defeated look on my dad’s face when he realized the only beers available at Wilderness Lodge’s Old Faithful Club were obscure craft beers from the Northwest. Here at Chronos Club, he’d have no such issue, for they have the perfect blend of craft beers and more colloquial options, like Stella Artois or Michelob Ultra.
The beers take over the yogurts on the top rack of the fridge.
As we mentioned earlier, granola bars also make an appearance on snack row.
A selection of KIND bars were out every day. We usually took one back to the room for something to munch on in between lounge sessions.
Evening Hors d’oeuvres
I’d liken evening hors d’oeuvres to a selection of appetizers––or in this case, tapas––available each night. If you’re looking to get a taste of Three Bridges Bar and Grill, Toledo, or even Dahlia Lounge, you can sample many of their dishes, albeit in smaller versions and different iterations, right here at the Chronos Club. I’d go as far as to recommend you take the first full day of club access to relax and enjoy all of the offerings. If anything then really speaks to you, find out which restaurant it’s from and book accordingly.
The spread always includes a selection of rustic breads, breadsticks, and flatbreads. (Pressed breads? Elongated crackers?)
Spicy mustard and a fig compote join the actual spread spread.
Over on the sliced meats and cheeses side, there’s a clay bowl with (what started out as) a wheel of brie, as well as chunks of Manchego and blue cheese alongside dried apricots and fresh grapes. Even more sliced serrano ham and some saucisson are available as well.
A tray of roasted onions, tiny bell peppers, and asparagus are also available to round out your dish.
We’ll span through three days’ worth of appetizers here, but usually, this side will feature pan con tomate (toasted, sliced bread, brushed with olive oil and served with diced tomato in some more olive oil), two different tarts or bite-sized savory items, and a fresh option, like vegan ceviche or couscous.
Over on the other table, the assorted crudité, olives, and chips from lunch remain throughout “dinner”.
Two hot hors d’oeuvre options are served each night, with one always being a plant-based option. Again, the flavors here reflect that of Gran Destino’s food landscape. You’ll have a lot of paellas, seafood, and dishes with even more olives worked into them.
These plant-based meatballs were okay, but they were no match for these epic lamb chops:
If you tuned in to our live discussion review of Gran Destino Tower on WDW News Tonight, you already know the backstory on these. Long story short, these were in huge demand at the club, causing lines to form, tensions to rise, and ultimately a full-on lamb chop shortage. They were eventually replaced with a pot of plant-based meatballs, much to the chagrin of all the guests.
You can hear the full tale of the lamb chop saga in the video below, starting at minute 34:00. (The full Chronos Club review starts at minute 31:00, if you’re interested.)
Needless to say, I now know I have to go back to Three Bridges Bar and Grill for these lamb chops.
Another Mickey butter, just because.
Our third day there, we got to sample this amazing shrimp paella. I think this combined the lessons learned from the lamb chops, as I felt this was still a luxurious dish, packed with huge (like, colossal) shrimp and comforting rice, that could still feed a multitude of people. (If it looks familiar, it’s because that’s the same paella rice featured in the chicken dish upstairs at Toledo.)
Also from Toledo are these tiny plant-based “crab” cakes made with artichokes. I actually liked these mini versions more than the large one served with the vegan seafood as these were far more nicely browned.
Over by the kid’s station, you have more fresh fruit, plus a rotating selection of kid-friendly items. These were also good for adults not wanting to venture too far beyond their usual tastes. (I can’t blame them for not wanting to try the jackfruit tacos, honestly.)
On one night, we had burger sliders.
Another night, there were lion fish nuggets. (Yes, these are those weird poisonous fish. No, you will not be poisoned. They’re an extremely invasive species, so this is a “sustainable” option. Thank you for visiting The Living Seas.)
While these were good, these were out the same night as the shrimp paella and plant-based “crab” cakes. Again, if you’re averse to seafood, Chronos Club may not be for you, as it’s very heavy on fish and seafood-based dishes. That being said, if you find yourself there for the night and nothing fits your dietary preferences or needs, feel free to ask and see if they can accommodate you.
Desserts and Cordials
Hors d’oeuvres are quickly followed by desserts and cordials. Jars of candies are brought out, along with macarons, Mickey tarts, and artistic-looking truffles.
Strawberry, chocolate, lemon, pistachio, vanilla, caramel, and pumpkin spice are the flavors of these fanciful treats.
They’re just your average dessert party macarons, but they’re still quite good.
The truffles have a hand-painted look to them and come in a wide variety of flavors.
These tarts weren’t anything extraordinary, just chocolate shells with strawberry or chocolate mousse, but they definitely hit the spot.
An assortment of liqueurs and cordials are also brought out, in addition to the wines and beers. Here, it’s just fun to sample these as it’s rare to have such a wide variety of brandies and cremes at your disposal.
A fine dessert plate. While none of the desserts were really anything to write home about, they were a perfect sweet finish to a long day of eating. Guests are allowed to linger if already inside after the lounge closes at 10:00 PM, but if you’re trying to pass by for a quick snack or bottle of water, no guests are allowed in after closing.
Chronos Club – The Club Level Difference
Nightly Turn-Down Service
Guests staying Club Level get nightly turn-down service. That means your room gets tidied up and readied for you to come back and climb into bed. Chocolates are left by the pillows, as well as a printed itinerary with the following day’s park times, and the TV remote. The room service menu was also left on the bed, but interestingly enough, no late-night dining menus are listed on it.
Coming back to your room and realizing it’s been prepped for the sole sake of you sleeping and relaxing is a very thoughtful, if not extravagant touch, and it never fails to surprise while staying Club Level.
Guests staying Club Level also receive a set of crisp robes for in-room lounging. If you need more, they can be requested.
Chronos Club – Overall
We’ll kick off our overall thoughts with a quick video tour of the Chronos Club:
If you read our review on Gran Destino Tower as a whole, you’ll know how conflicted I am about the general feel and theme of the newest addition to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. However, if I could point out the one highlight of the entire stay, it was definitely the Chronos Club. I’m at the point where I probably wouldn’t stay in the Tower unless I was able to score a Standard View room with Club Level access (with a Florida Resident or Passholder discount, of course.) Otherwise, I’d happily stay elsewhere in Coronado (like in Casitas, for example) for half the price. We included a breakdown of room pricing (Tower vs. non-Tower vs. Club Level) in our room review, but Chronos Club, bite for bite and dollar for dollar, is one of the best Club Level values I’ve ever had the blessing of experiencing.
That being said, I believe the one place Gran Destino Tower is successfully expressing its underlying theme is through food, and if you aren’t into Spanish cuisine, you aren’t going to get the most bang for your buck here. That goes for most Club Level lounges, though. If you don’t like chowder and brisket, you’ll probably hate the Old Faithful Club at Wilderness Lodge. If you aren’t into the menus at Kona or ‘Ohana, you probably won’t like the King Kamehameha Club at the Polynesian, either.
Food aside, the general tranquility of the Chronos Club is ideal for people who might have to work while there, as well as families looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the parks. At times, the lounge felt a bit too isolated from the rest of the resort, as most Club Level lounges often overlook iconic lobbies (Grand Floridian) or offer balconies (Contemporary), but trust me, after a bit of walking around the resort, there was nothing I yearned for more than a Chronos couch and some Cava. The space was quiet, outside from peak dining times, and the views are some of the best from around the Tower itself.
A current search on Disney’s resorts page will, of course, yield no results for the highly-coveted Standard View room with Club Level access. We were able to snag the room for an average of $300 to $350 a night, making it one of the most affordable, if not the most affordable Club Levels on property, given current room rates. It isn’t hard to see why these rooms are now in high demand. The good news is, Cast Members at the Chronos Club assured us that guests staying at the Tower can request access to the lounge, for an additional fee per person, per night, upon checking in. Depending on occupancy and demand, you’ll be able to tack it on to your existing room reservation and have your MagicBands activated to access the lounge. We haven’t personally tried this yet, but it’s something they do at many Club Level resorts.
Overall, a Club Level stay at any Disney Resort is always something to look forward to, and at Gran Destino Tower’s Chronos Club, you’re getting the best of both worlds in terms of value and class. Are you looking forward to experiencing it for yourself?