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Is the Swan or Dolphin better?

Christi22222

Active Member
Original Poster
I'm reading lots of threads that lump the Swan and Dolphin together. I've picked up on a few differences, but to those of you who have stayed in both frequently - which is better? We are Marriott Platinum, so if that gets any perks at these hotels I'd love to know. Thanks!
 

LovePop

Well-Known Member
I've stayed at Dolphin only. It's beautiful with one drawback: the beds are small, only double. Swan has queen beds. Other than that, the hotels are basically 2 parts of one hotel: they share pools and everything. We swam at the Swan quiet pool at night. It was big and beautiful. The dolphin hotel looks stunning at night, across the lake, and walking alongside the hotel, with extremely tall palm trees, were the best feelings in the world. However, if you need queen beds, I recommend Swan. Otherwise, Dolphin is slightly cheaper.

Remember that Swan and Dolphin no longer has Disney buses, so their buses don't go directly to MK anymore. (I would think, however, that taking Beach/Yacht/Boardwalk buses should be a simple hack to the problem. :p).
 

Epcotfan21

Well-Known Member
If having to choose between the two, we tend to lean towards the Swan. Often feels less "congested" and that's mostly because the Dolphin tends to hold more conventions and conferences.

Dolphin is closer to the larger pool, while Swan is closer to the bridge that leads to Hollywood Studios, Epcot and the Boardwalk.

Dolphin also is typically less expensive than the Swan.
 

JusticeDisney

Premium Member
Used to stay at the Dolphin a lot. Loved every trip. Was a really nice hotel for a good price, and in a great location. Also, many great restaurants. However, then came the renovations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a beautiful hotel, but now it almost feels like a Vegas vibe. I like Vegas as much as the next guy, but not when I’m vacationing in WDW. Also, as mentioned by a poster above, there are no longer Disney buses servicing the Swan and Dolphin and the inconvenient access to MK is basically a deal breaker for the Dolphin as far as we are concerned.
 

jpinkc

Well-Known Member
When I was booking our (November) trip Swan and Dolphin told me they had there own service to MK and other parks. For Studios and Epcot it was walk or the water launch service. Is that not correct??
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
We have picked the Swan because it has queen beds. Honestly, when you consider room size and location, it's a heck of a deal. We spent a little over a week there right before Christmas Eve a few years ago. We had a view of HS/ToT as BWI and the rate was less than half of what we would have paid for any of the Disney owned resorts. No, the rooms don't have all of the Disney touches, but the view more than made up for it. I know they are no longer getting Disney buses, but we often had breakfast at other area resorts, so it was usually taking a bus from BC or YC after our meal.
 

monorail81

Well-Known Member
Just stayed at the Dolphin last week and got bupkis for upgrades. We booked a resort view and that’s what we got. We asked for late checkout and were told the “best” they could do was 12:00. The hotel was by no means full as it was the middle of the week with no conventions and it had a very empty parking lot. Unlike other times I have stayed there. Very disappointed with the lack of recognition for Platinum.
 
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Raxel7851

Active Member
When I was booking our (November) trip Swan and Dolphin told me they had there own service to MK and other parks. For Studios and Epcot it was walk or the water launch service. Is that not correct??
You could also walk to the Beach/Yacht Club or Boardwalk and use their buses. From what I’ve heard on here about that subject, the Swan and Dolphin buses only take you to the Ticket and Transportation Center. I’m not sure about how they go to Disney Springs.
 

KaliSplash

Well-Known Member
We were at the Dolphin in June. Beautiful hotel. The beds are just doubles. While they have many restaurants, they had odd operating hours. Some were closed a couple of days a week. Transportation was my biggest complaint. It is true the MK bus only goes to T&T, but that worked out fine because it allowed by grandchildren to ride the monorail for the first time. The big problem was service to the Studios. It is only boats or walk. It poured all afternoon both days we were there including lightning, so no boat. It was walk in a thunderstorm or go next door to Yacht Club. Unfortunately, Yacht club doesn't have regular buses to Studios either, so it took Mickey a while to get bus service started.
 

COProgressFan

Well-Known Member
You could also walk to the Beach/Yacht Club or Boardwalk and use their buses. From what I’ve heard on here about that subject, the Swan and Dolphin buses only take you to the Ticket and Transportation Center. I’m not sure about how they go to Disney Springs.
The Disney Springs bus drops off past the West Side area, behind Cirque du Soleil. So it can be quite a walk to the old marketplace area, and not nearly as centrally as the Disney resort busses.
 

"El Magnifico"

Premium Member
Easiest way to approach this is looking at the properties as they were marketed - while still a part of SPG. Swan is basically a Westin, while Dolphin is basically a Sheraton. Westin is a bit smaller and more intimate, has bigger beds (queens vs doubles) and higher quality dining (Shula's). Swan is also a bit closer to Boardwalk than is Dolphin (though not by much). Dolphin is very, very good as well.
 

JusticeDisney

Premium Member
Easiest way to approach this is looking at the properties as they were marketed - while still a part of SPG. Swan is basically a Westin, while Dolphin is basically a Sheraton. Westin is a bit smaller and more intimate, has bigger beds (queens vs doubles) and higher quality dining (Shula's). Swan is also a bit closer to Boardwalk than is Dolphin (though not by much). Dolphin is very, very good as well.
Just an FYI, Shula’s is in the Dolphin.
 

lewisc

Well-Known Member
A lot of the guests have Marriott status. Threads on various boards suggest perks given to status members such as late check out and room upgrades are not common. I think Bonvoy policies suggest some perks aren't applicable to properties classified as a resort.

It doesn't matter if the hotel is empty. Is your room category needed to be cleaned for an arriving guest. Is the hotel staffed to turn over rooms if late check outs are offered.

To answer OPs question Swan has the bigger beds. Dolphin is closer to the theme pool and more of the restaurants. I'd go with the Swan, unless the Dolphin is offering a reasonable savings WHICH IT FREQUENTLY DOES.
 

Joesixtoe

Well-Known Member
The Swan does have very comfortable beds too. I'd say on par with Boardwalks, Grand Floridans and Yacht Clubs IMO. Not sure how comfy the Dolphins beds are.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Dolphin has smaller, double-sized beds (a minus) and is a big bigger and more complicated to find one's way around (a minus), but is closer to the Grotto Pool (a plus). Those are all tiny differences, however (unless one is tall enough that a queen-sized bed is a must).

I would say "buyer beware" with respect to the Swan and Dolphin, though. Marriott doesn't do a great job of depicting the room categories on its website, and relies on its disclaimer that "room configurations may vary" to justify assigning you pretty much anything, regardless of whether it bears any resemblance to the room you booked. We booked a very specific room category (a premium studio suite) based on the amenities shown and listed for that room online, only to find when we arrived that our suite had an entirely different layout and size than the website had indicated, with major pieces of furniture and cabinetry missing from the room, no clothes closet, and a combined single bathroom with only one sink instead of the divided bath with 2 sinks that was advertised. I politely complained to Marriott, and they wouldn't even do me the courtesy of responding, let alone doing anything to assist us, so as much as we enjoyed the Dolphin otherwise, they've lost my business going forward. YMMV.
 
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Epcotfan21

Well-Known Member
Dolphin has smaller, double-sized beds (a minus) and is a big bigger and more complicated to find one's way around (a minus), but is closer to the Grotto Pool (a plus). Those are all tiny differences, however (unless one is tall enough that a queen-sized bed is a must).

I would say "buyer beware" with respect to the Swan and Dolphin, though. Marriott doesn't do a great job of depicting the room categories on its website, and the relies on its disclaimer that "room configurations may vary" to justify assigning you pretty much anything, regardless of whether it bears any resemblance to the room you booked. We booked a very specific room category (a premium studio suite) based on the amenities shown and listed for that room online, only to find when we arrived that our suite had an entirely different layout and size than the website had indicated, with major pieces of furniture and cabinetry missing from the room, no clothes closet, and a combined single bathroom with only one sink instead of the divided bath with 2 sinks that was advertised. I politely complained to Marriott, and they wouldn't even do me the courtesy of responding, let alone doing anything to assist us, so as much as we enjoyed the Dolphin otherwise, they've lost my business going forward. YMMV.
I'll be the first to tell you that since Marriott took over for SPG, the level of customer service has gone down. Not necessarily at Swan and Dolphin, just in general.

It's a big part of why I switched from SPG/Marriott to Hilton. That and Hilton has by far and away the better reward points program. That honor used to belong to SPG.
 

Richie248

Active Member
Staying here for the first time in November. Have a room at the Dolphin, only ~$250/night (includes resort fee). I figure you can't beat the location for the price. I'm not in the room very much. Wondering if I should move over to the Swan....
 

lewisc

Well-Known Member
Staying here for the first time in November. Have a room at the Dolphin, only ~$250/night (includes resort fee). I figure you can't beat the location for the price. I'm not in the room very much. Wondering if I should move over to the Swan....
Swan rooms have queen beds. Dolphin double. Otherwise the hotels are very similar
 

jpinkc

Well-Known Member
Doing the same here, after looking them over the biggest difference I could see was the Lobby of the Dolphin is much larger and the main pool is closer to the Dolphin. The queen beds was the only room difference on standard rooms I noticed.
 

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