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Dolphin or Pop!

PMC0849

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So we are planning to make our triumphant Disney World return in September of this year. Cautiously optimistic things will be much better by then. We are debating between staying at the Dolphin or Pop Century, currently for the length of our stay Pop is $500 less then Dolphin. We are a family of 3 our daughter will turn 4 during this visit. Is S&D worth the extra $500? Which would you pick and why?
 

ilovelabs2021

Active Member
So we are planning to make our triumphant Disney World return in September of this year. Cautiously optimistic things will be much better by then. We are debating between staying at the Dolphin or Pop Century, currently for the length of our stay Pop is $500 less then Dolphin. We are a family of 3 our daughter will turn 4 during this visit. Is S&D worth the extra $500? Which would you pick and why?
I personally love the Epcot resort area. I cannot speak to the Dolphin as we have never stayed there (we usually stay at Beach Club), but being walking distance to two parks and having boat and Skyliner transportation are great perks. We have stayed at Pop for one night, and while the room was redone and very nice, it was really small and I couldn't imagine spending a week there. The resort was large and spread out as well and was quite hectic and busy, although we did really like the dinners we had at the food court. We are not open to close park people, plus we like to take advantage of the resort amenities, so we always stay moderate or deluxe and spending more is worth it to us.

There is no Magical Express for the Dolphin, and I believe they have started using different buses for transport to the parks, but you could always walk over the to bus stop at Yacht Club.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
While I've only stayed at the Swan, my parents and brother's family regularly stay at both the Swan and the Dolphin. I personally would pick Dolphin for location, but your daughter may enjoy Pop a bit more. The larger than life decorations around the resort are usually big hits with kids and while I do like the boat service in the Epcot/DHS resort area, the kids seem to think the Skyliner is more fun. I think you get a better pool with staying at the Dolphin, but not sure how much pool time you're planning.
 

homerdance

Premium Member
We have done both, make sure that $500 is inclusive of all the fess they like to hide at the Dolphin. I know sometimes when we have looked there before, it looks like a good deal until we get to the "pay now" page, and it ends up being the same or more than some of Disney's Deluxe resorts. From our perspective, the last trip to either resort was pre-pandemic, and our daughter was 8, they both have pros and cons.

The quick Service at Pop is better, more options, fresher, and easier to get.
Transportation (for us) was better at pop, dedicated buses was a huge thing. and now with the Skyliner, takes away some of the benefits of Swolphin.
Pop is an actual Disney resort, so it just is a little better integrated, you can still use Magical Express until the end of this year for free.
Pop has lots of pools with a main "fun" pool, but you have to pay extra to be close-ish to the main areas.


Dolphin is nicer, the lobby, the beds (even though not as nice as most high end Marriott hotels).
It isn't Disney, so you get more of a feeling of a traditional hotel.
There was a while before it closed that the Swolphin wasn't served by Disney buses, and when you went to MK you got dropped off at the TTC vs in front of the MK. While riding the mono-rail is fun, and isn't that huge of deal, it adds time to your day.
Most of the time if you are a marriot card holder you get free upgrades.


Both have small beds, which suck.
Both are not the friendliest design, POP is spread out, the Dolphin has different towers and walking in and out of the hotel to get to the parks isn't exactly easy.
Both now charge for parking, POP is cheaper.
Both are served by Skyliner.

For us, when we went with a kid that young, we always preferred to rent a 1 bedroom DVC unit, or at Bonnett Creek's wyndham timeshare. Once the napping stopped we started to stay at the "normal" hotels.
 

tpoly88

Member
So we are planning to make our triumphant Disney World return in September of this year. Cautiously optimistic things will be much better by then. We are debating between staying at the Dolphin or Pop Century, currently for the length of our stay Pop is $500 less then Dolphin. We are a family of 3 our daughter will turn 4 during this visit. Is S&D worth the extra $500? Which would you pick and why?
Thats a tough one, as ive not stayed at the pop but stayed multiple times at swan/dolphin. for a young kid the Pop might be better and more fun for her. the swan and dolphin are very corporate and now run by marriott (a plus if your a member), my wife and i like the swan better but the new reno on the dolphin is good too. i like the swan as it has the separate water closet/shower with another sink so its easy for us to get ready and after the park we go to Il mulino. the dolphin has Shulas, blue zoo and a quick service area for breakfast, plus i like to walk around the boardwalk in the morning. im biased to the S/D but with the little one the Pop will be more fun.
 

PMC0849

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Oh man this is going to be tough, done great points about both raised above. I do not like that S&D are no longer on Disney Transportation.

Traditionally we have stayed in deluxes in the past, but now we have to pay for a third ticket and the deluxe rates have really skyrocketed in the last few years.
 

CaptainAmerica

Well-Known Member
So we are planning to make our triumphant Disney World return in September of this year. Cautiously optimistic things will be much better by then. We are debating between staying at the Dolphin or Pop Century, currently for the length of our stay Pop is $500 less then Dolphin. We are a family of 3 our daughter will turn 4 during this visit. Is S&D worth the extra $500? Which would you pick and why?
I haaaaate the Dolphin. It feels like a fancy hospital.

Is there a sweet spot in the budget for Caribbean Beach? With the Skyliner open, it's at the top of the list of Moderates for us.
 

PMC0849

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I haaaaate the Dolphin. It feels like a fancy hospital.

Is there a sweet spot in the budget for Caribbean Beach? With the Skyliner open, it's at the top of the list of Moderates for us.
I think we could make Caribbean Beach work. To be honest I don't know much about it, and don't know anyone who's stayed there. What's it like compared to like PO:RS, which is the moderate we have been to.
 

CaptainAmerica

Well-Known Member
I think we could make Caribbean Beach work. To be honest I don't know much about it, and don't know anyone who's stayed there. What's it like compared to like PO:RS, which is the moderate we have been to.
Similar layout to the Alligator Bayou of PORS, in the sense that it's many small buildings arranged over a large footprint. It's coming off a major refurbishment so everything has been recently redone except, I believe, for the pirate rooms, which I don't recommend anyways.
 

daisyduckie

Well-Known Member
I think we could make Caribbean Beach work. To be honest I don't know much about it, and don't know anyone who's stayed there. What's it like compared to like PO:RS, which is the moderate we have been to.

It was a one and done for me. Too large, and to me the theme was meh.

I love the Dolphin. I too am not thrilled that they no longer use Disney buses, but they still use the boats to get to Epcot and the Disney Studios. Plus you can easily walk to the Yacht Club and hop on that bus to MK and the Animal Kingdom.

The Dolphin has a beautiful pool area with a nice slide, and lots of fun games to play nearby. I think your daughter would really like it.
 

PMC0849

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Coming out of left field does anyone have any experience with DVC point rental? If the cost calculator is to be believed it seems like an amazing deal
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
Coming out of left field does anyone have any experience with DVC point rental? If the cost calculator is to be believed it seems like an amazing deal
I've rented points twice. Both times it was through a broker and very easy, but at that time it was non-refundable. We did stay at DVC resorts in studio rooms for about the same price as a moderate.

If you're looking for September, your options are probably limited. My understanding is that fall is a popular time for DVC owners, and there is a glut of points to be used by owners due to covid and closures. DVC owners can reserve rooms at their home resorts 11 months in advance of their stay. I would guess, depending on room type, Saratoga Springs would be the resort most available with partial availability at other resorts. DVC rental store has an availability calendar. https://dvcrentalstore.com/guests/availability/
 

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