When something new comes to Disney property, the drive to schedule a FastPass or reservation is fierce. Why would anyone expect it to be different when trying to book a table at a brand new Toledo restaurant? Toledo is the signature rooftop venue in the newly completed Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Trust me when I say I wanted desperately to get in there and experience ALL it had to offer. So, I patiently waited for the announcement to come and the opportunity to score a reservation for two at Toledo: Tapas, Steak & Seafood.
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The Gran Destino Tower
When we first moved into the area in late 2017, Imagineers were already hard at work building the Gran Destino Tower on Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort property. It seemed like it was taking forever to complete. However, here we are ~ now gazing at this beautiful structure as we drive down Buena Vista Blvd. The Gran Destino Tower is a the latest addition to the Disney collection of resorts on property. It’s draw has multiple layers – from the views and the decor to the high tech elevators and story behind it. It is geared to serve a high population of convention attendees, but Guests of all kinds are flocking south to score a stay at this venue.
As I noted above, I was on it when it came to trying to score a reservation at the featured rooftop restaurant. While our complicated schedule didn’t seem to allow us to finalize a date until it had been opened for just under two weeks, I was still happy to find a spot for us months in advance and early enough to enjoy the restaurant’s newness.
The Resort Itself On the Inside
As is typical, we arrived early to scout things out the evening of our date. Needless to say, upon walking in, it was spectacularly gorgeous inside. The design, textiles and color speak heavily of its celebration of Spanish, Mexican and South American cultures and the photographs scattered throughout bring Guests back to a time when Walt Disney and Salvatore Dali were collaborating on a unique project.
Back in the 1940s, Disney and Dali were working on a 7-minute animated movie project entitled, “Destino.” The film was a unique production that followed the story of Chronos and his ill-fated love for a mortal named Dahlia. In this no-dialogue short, the woman dances through a surreal transformation that has her seeing melted clocks, tortoises with faces on their backs and eyeballs reaching out to her. While the project was shelved for decades, it was unearthed by Walt’s nephew near the turn of the century and was seen through to completion in 2003.
Now back to the original purpose of this post (ahem)….
The Resort’s elegant design speaks of the rich heritage in his columns, light fixtures and artwork. The thick red accents in just the right places definitely give it a lean more towards its Spanish influence and a nod to Dali.
We found the space to be very open, very accommodating and bright with comfortable lounge areas for socializing and relaxing.
Our Date Night Arrival
As soon as we were ready to head upstairs, a Cast Member personally directed us toward the elevators. He then showed us how to use the new system to get to the 16th floor, where Toledo is located. Honestly, we took a few moments to simply gaze upon the high tech design on the wall. Instead of a button to push “up or down,” there is a touch pad located on the wall between the elevators where you simply touch the number of the floor to which you are going and it directs you to the exact elevator that will take you there next. No more having to wonder and guess which elevator is going to open up first. It also decreases the number of people inside that elevator car because it has a specific destination to reach.
Inside the elevator, you can see even more high tech design. Every floor where that particular car is going to stop is listed on a vertical bar. As you approach, the floor is announced, the door opens and that number comes off the list. Voila!
I’m not going to lie – it was pretty neat!!!
Checking in at Toledo
We arrived to the top floor and were once again greeted by beautiful decor and smiling faces. We were definitely early for our reservation, but we checked in and were asked to provide a number so they could text us when our table was ready. From there, the Cast Members encouraged us to enjoy the Dahlia Lounge and the view from the deck outside.
The Dahlia Lounge and The View
I’m not going to miss an opportunity to catch a fantastic view, so we moved ourselves over to the Dahlia Lounge, which is literally across the hall from Toledo. The lounge is named after the main character in the “Destino” movie I detailed a little about above.
While the lounge is dressed in comfort and style, the place to be was outside. On that deck, Guests have the opportunity to view miles and miles of gorgeous Florida landscape, namely that of a tremendous portion of the Walt Disney World Resort property.
Now ~ this is where Hubby and I differ. He’s not the greatest fan of heights (despite having been Airborne in the military), but I am okay if I know the structure is secure. So, while he hugged the wall a little more (no worries ~ we all have our “things”), I cautiously scanned the perimeter and took some video footage of what we were able to view from that height.
It’s true ~ you can actually see many iconic structures from that location. Whether it’s the top of Summit Plummit at Blizzard Beach, the back of Expedition Everest or the pretty much all of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge), a great zoom lens would provide some tremendous captures!!
From where we were standing, however, it was definitely difficult to see Epcot, though not impossible (as I will explain later). Magic Kingdom was also out of sight from that angle. Nonetheless, it was still breathtaking to take in everything you CAN see from that spot.
Texted For Dinner
It didn’t take too long before we were called to our table via text. Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly at the front desk and escorted down a magnificent aisle where we simply just gazed upon the rich reds, the life-like olive trees and the elegance strung throughout the venue.
Honestly, this is where the “Destino” movie influence pops.
The Restaurant Decor
So, let’s talk about the restaurant for a moment. It’s inspiration comes from surrealist art and the 1930s avant-garde. It’s vaulted ceilings are exquisite and I absolutely fell in love with the indoor landscape of olive trees and wrought iron lighting fixtures (I am a HUGE fan of wrought iron).
Seating around the restaurant includes a combination of both U-shaped booths and tables with chairs. So, whether you are looking for comfort or elegance, they have a seat option for you.
Of note, the venue does have private dining options and board rooms, which actually house smart TVs for presentations. Umm ~ yeah. That’s pretty awesome!
Now, while I had personally hoped for a window view, we were seated directly in front of the on-stage tapas bar. I debated in my head whether to say something and ask for a move, but this worked out. It ended up being a sweet spot for something I’ll share in a few.
Within minutes, we were greeted by our server, Corey (I just absolutely adore that name), who proceeded to explain a little more about the restaurant, as well as the three-part menu sitting in front of us.
- The Tapas menu is their list of Spanish-inspired small bites and appetizers. Included here are three sections, including pinxtos, cazuelas and house boards.
- The Beverage menu has a list of their specialty drinks, from sangria to tequila.
- Their Food menu, the largest of the three, details their list of larger appetizers and entree selections ~ which honestly had our mouths watering as we scrolled the list. From a 32 ounce bone-in rib-eye to sustainable seafood options, there is literally something for everyone.
So, what did we order…
Walt ordered the Tequila Daisy (Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Torres Magdala Naranjas del Mediterráneo, Grapefruit, Lime, Hibiscus, Soda Water) and I chose the Espumoso Punch (Fonseca Bin 27 Port, Combier Crème de Mûre, Lime, Orange, Freixinet Blanc de Blanc Cava Brut, Fresh Fruit).
We both enjoyed our drinks, but neither left a tremendous impression. I’d still probably get the same drink next time, while Hubby may very well try something new.
Tapas and Appetizers
Since Toledo highlights their tapas menu, we knew we had to try something off of it. So, we chose one of the pinxtos to share – yes, a very small bite-sized piece of toasted bread that packed a significant punch! We chose the extremely flavorful Valdèon Blue Cheese with fig and honeybcomb. Honestly ~ this was extremely delicious, but packed so much flavor that the bite size was just enough. We could have perhaps enjoyed our own bite, but we did share and it was fine.
We also ordered an appetizer to share, the “Pan con Tomate” tomato bread (grilled bread, crushed tomato, olive oil and garlic). This was fantastic. Both the bread and tomato spread were fresh and tasted absolutely perfect together.
For the entree, Hubby’s interest was dramatically piqued and his eyes and ears engaged when Corey talked to us about the Chuletón 28 oz. Bone-In Rib-Eye for Two. This is an $89 dish that comes with two house sides ~ and the house sides were portioned well. Yes, it’s expensive…but Hubby could NOT get this out of his head and it made sense for what we were craving that evening. It is definitely a splurge….but well worth it.
What is unique about this particular dish is that is comes with a candle filled with tallow, which is the hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat (I know, it sounds gross, but it has sooo much flavor). Just before the entree is served, the candle is brought to the table and the tallow begins to slowly melt.
Once our entree was delivered, we were instructed by Corey to cut our bite of meat and then carefully drip some of the melted tallow onto the bite for more flavor.
He wasn’t kidding ~ it was ah-mazing!
Quick note on service: We ordered our meat medium rare. Interestingly, we both like our red meats cooked the same way – which makes for a better dining experience when we’re sharing. Unfortunately, the cut came to us a little too rare, almost to the point where I think I heard it “moo-ing.” Corey was willing to take it back and have it cooked some more. In the meantime, the manager, whom I recognized from our visit to The Wave a few months back (congrats on the transfer!), checked in on us and made sure everything else was to our satisfaction throughout the night.
When the meat returned, it was perfect. While we knew it was the same cut of meat, it did not have that feel or taste of being “reheated.”
Oh, I need to share the sides we picked!!! The two sides we chose were the Olive Oil-Potato Puree and the Roasted Cauliflower. I kid you not ~ if cauliflower could be made this way – all – the – time….I’d eat more of it. The potatoes were soooooo good, too. I am a HUGE potato fan, which is likely the reason I am not losing any weight around here.
So, our overall review of the food was positive. Everything was packed with flavor, cooked to perfection (eventually) and delivered with elegance.
But what about dessert?
As full as our tummies were, it was next to impossible to say no to dessert. Toledo has a signature treat, which is the “Toledo Tapas Bar” ~ a progressive dessert tasting with the flavors of Spanish coffee, crunchy chocolate, raspberry mousse and lemon curd.
Yeah – I wasn’t feeling it, though.
So, Hubby knows how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE creme brulee. So, he was willing to give in and shared the Classic Crema Catalana, which has a Valencia orange flavor and a chocolate tuile on top.
While I love that dessert in general, this one was merely okay. Sure, I loved the orange flavor, but I think I am still attached to the maple one from our date night at Le Cellier.
Ending the evening with Fireworks
Once our meal was completed and I had enough video and photos to satisfy my creative side, we decided to walk back over to the Dahlia Lounge to see if we had the patience to wait out the fireworks. Hubby, at first, wasn’t as excited as I was, but he cozied up to the idea once he started to see some of the display over at Epcot around 9 PM. The crowds had filed in fairly quickly and it was difficult to see at times, but it truly was a gorgeous, clear night to watch.
The display at Disney’s Hollywood Studios didn’t start until 9:30 PM and we just didn’t feel up to staying that high up for that one. However, I do highly recommend doing so if you aren’t local and have the opportunity. Magic Kingdom’s fireworks are a little bit more difficult to see and need to be viewed from the other side of the hotel.
Now…before we left the premises…
We decided to tour the hotel just a little bit more before leaving for home. Inside, we roamed the lobby and the lounge on the bottom floor for bit. We then headed out onto the grounds, where we walked around a portion of the lake behind the resort. It is such a beautiful venue to explore and I hope to do it during the daylight hours some day.
Here’s a little pixie dust to share….
While we were touring the inside and playing around with the high tech touch screens, we were casually stopped by a couple in the lobby. They mentioned to us that they were there celebrating their wedding anniversary and that Disney had gifted them with a bottle of wine and two beautiful glasses in their room. However, they do not drink, so they wanted to find a couple that could enjoy it.
We were humbled. That was sweet and a nice way to end the night ~ with a little extra romantic pixie dust.
Closing out the evening…
Now, I obviously could not cover everything the restaurant and hotel have to offer in this one post. However, the point I hope to have made is that Toledo is a gorgeous signature dining option. We would highly recommend reserving a spot there for a romantic evening or to celebrate something special. While we saw all types of attire represented, it definitely has a “special occasion” kind of feel to it. We encountered great service, spectacular flavor and a magical ambiance. I know, we experience a lot of that over at Walt Disney World. At least you can see the reason why we wanted to move down here. This place just has a draw to it that keeps us coming back.
Have you dined at Toledo yet? Have you had the chance to explore The Gran Destino Tower? Do you even know the story behind the Salvatore Dali connection and the movie “Destino”? Share your thoughts and experiences below and let’s keep the conversation going!
CHECK THIS OUT!!!
While waiting for our food to come, I had the chance to witness something I had NEVER seen before. Tell me ~ is this something YOU would try?
Other Fun Facts about the Restaurant:
- Location: 16th floor of the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Type: Signature
- No Tables in Wonderland (Updated 1/15/2020 – I’ve been informed and have confirmed that they now DO accept Tables in Wonderland – Yay!!!)
- Dining Plan: Disney Dining and Disney Deluxe Dining only (both 1 credit)
- Price range (average per person): $35-$59.99
- Can be reserved for business meetings, special occasions, larger parties and private dining
- Inspiration: Primarily Spanish cuisine and influence
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