Pros/cons Swan & Dolphin

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We're (OH and me) saving for a 10 night stay in September 2022. In the past we’ve stayed at GF, Poly, WL and POFQ for our last trip in 2013.

We are pretty sure we won’t be able to afford a Deluxe again so our initial idea was to return to POFQ which we enjoyed. We’ve since realised The Swan & Dolphin are great prices for a higher standard hotel, the other factor is convenience to get to Epcot and HS.

I would like to know pros and cons for staying there, I’m aware they are not Disney hotels, how does this affect things? I’m also aware I’d not feel like I’m in the “disney bubble” 😢. Also...which one is best? I’m leaning towards the Dolphin. (P.S A balcony is a must for OH)
 

RobUK

Active Member
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I went here yearsssss ago, so others will no doubt be more informed than me, but:

- It felt very corporate at the time;
- However, as soon as you left the hotel you felt totally Disneyfied due to the wonderful boardwalk;
- It was clean and the room had fabulous views (we didn’t have a balcony);
- Having the Boardwalk and two parks in walking distance was wonderful;
- The Italian restaurant that was there at the time was fantastic

It did, however, feel good value for money and did what we wanted and could afford at the time.
 

Surferboy567

Well-Known Member
I’ve been staying there since I’ve been 6 months old. I can hopefully help:

PROS:

- Price
- Transportation to Epcot and HWS via Boat (more on the other parks later)
- Ability to walk to Epcot and HWS
- Skyliner
- Decent restaurants
- Normal Disney benefits (magic hours, etc)
- Boardwalk
- Pools (if you care about that kind of thing)
- Location
- Lightshows at Night (admittedly this is a small benefit but cool) it is done in the center where you will take the friendship boats from. Not sure if this is done year round but was there the past two times I was there.

CONS:

- The buses are super annoying some times. Getting to the parks isn’t the problem coming back from them is. Be prepared to wait since it always feels like their are 30 boardwalk buses for every one swan and dolphin bus. (I just took the boardwalk one as it is walking distance). Not sure if this was just bad bus luck when we are there. It’s worth noting though that this problem is only apparent when going to MK, HWS, and the Springs.

- It doesn’t “feel” like a Disney hotel. It’s nice but super bland. Like another poster here said it feels very corporate. Almost no Disney flairs or theming of any kind. Again, it’s very nice and I love the resort, so this may matter more to others.

CONCLUSION:

The pros really outshine the cons for me. Having easy to access transportation as well as walking to both Epcot and HWS is a godsend. As well as having the boardwalk. Sure, the resort maybe super “corporate” and not feature any Disney flairs of any kind but the location is amazing. It’s hard for me to explain it but when you are there you’ll understand. If you can get over the bland theming you’ll have a great time.

EDIT: Oh, and I prefer the Dolphin.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I went here yearsssss ago, so others will no doubt be more informed than me, but:

- It felt very corporate at the time;
- However, as soon as you left the hotel you felt totally Disneyfied due to the wonderful boardwalk;
- It was clean and the room had fabulous views (we didn’t have a balcony);
- Having the Boardwalk and two parks in walking distance was wonderful;
- The Italian restaurant that was there at the time was fantastic

It did, however, feel good value for money and did what we wanted and could afford at the time.
Thanks for your reply. I’ve heard they get a lot of convention groups, I don’t think this would bother me too much (?) after spending time in the parks surrounded by families and children it may be a nice change to see adults in suits! 😂. Value for money is going to be important for sure.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I’ve been staying there since I’ve been 6 months old. I can hopefully help:

PROS:

- Price
- Transportation to Epcot and HWS via Boat (more on the other parks later)
- Ability to walk to Epcot and HWS
- Skyliner
- Decent restaurants
- Normal Disney benefits (magic hours, etc)
- Boardwalk
- Pools (if you care about that kind of thing)
- Location
- Lightshows at Night (admittedly this is a small benefit but cool) it is done in the center where you will take the friendship boats from. Not sure if this is done year round but was there the past two times I was there.

CONS:

- The buses are super annoying some times. Getting to the parks isn’t the problem coming back from them is. Be prepared to wait since it always feels like their are 30 boardwalk buses for every one swan and dolphin bus. (I just took the boardwalk one as it is walking distance). Not sure if this was just bad bus luck when we are there. It’s worth noting though that this problem is only apparent when going to MK, HWS, and the Springs.

- It doesn’t “feel” like a Disney hotel. It’s nice but super bland. Like another poster here said it feels very corporate. Almost no Disney flairs or theming of any kind. Again, it’s very nice and I love the resort, so this may matter more to others.

CONCLUSION:

The pros really outshine the cons for me. Having easy to access transportation as well as walking to both Epcot and HWS is a godsend. As well as having the boardwalk. Sure, the resort maybe super “corporate” and not feature any Disney flairs of any kind but the location is amazing. It’s hard for me to explain it but when you are there you’ll understand. If you can get over the bland theming you’ll have a great time.

EDIT: Oh, and I prefer the Dolphin.
Thanks for your reply, really helpful.
I didn’t realise the Skyliner was an option. Where is that? Every resort we’ve stayed we’ve had bad wait times for buses at times so I kind of expect that anywhere, it is what it is! The convenience of walking to other parks is definitely a big Pro, after not being to WDW for 9 years (by 2022) I don't think we’d have the patience for too many buses! I can tell the resorts are bland but as cons go I think they could be worse. Are the TV’s Disney based, It may be a deal breaker if I can’t have ‘the must do’s’ on the tele! 😳
 

RememberWhen

Well-Known Member
Thanks for your reply, really helpful.
I didn’t realise the Skyliner was an option. Where is that? Every resort we’ve stayed we’ve had bad wait times for buses at times so I kind of expect that anywhere, it is what it is! The convenience of walking to other parks is definitely a big Pro, after not being to WDW for 9 years (by 2022) I don't think we’d have the patience for too many buses! I can tell the resorts are bland but as cons go I think they could be worse. Are the TV’s Disney based, It may be a deal breaker if I can’t have ‘the must do’s’ on the tele! 😳
You can hop on the skyliner at Epcot or DHS, but it doesn’t stop at the swan/dolphin.
Another possible downside is if you usually take Magical Express. I’m pretty sure that’s not available for the Swan/Dolphin.
 

Surferboy567

Well-Known Member
You can hop on the skyliner at Epcot or DHS, but it doesn’t stop at the swan/dolphin.
Another possible downside is if you usually take Magical Express. I’m pretty sure that’s not available for the Swan/Dolphin.

That is correct. No magical express.

Thanks for your reply, really helpful.
I didn’t realise the Skyliner was an option. Where is that? Every resort we’ve stayed we’ve had bad wait times for buses at times so I kind of expect that anywhere, it is what it is! The convenience of walking to other parks is definitely a big Pro, after not being to WDW for 9 years (by 2022) I don't think we’d have the patience for too many buses! I can tell the resorts are bland but as cons go I think they could be worse. Are the TV’s Disney based, It may be a deal breaker if I can’t have ‘the must do’s’ on the tele! 😳

Glad to help! Reason why I said skyliner is since you are so close to both parks you could park hop super easily and the walk back to the hotel isn’t too bad at all without the aid of the boats (which are slow).

Must Do Disney was on the TV’s when I was there in January! It’s a “must do” for us.

The location is super convenient, it really helps. Definitely would go with it, great hotel.
 
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Epcotfan21

Well-Known Member
So another 'Con' would be the daily resort fee, but that doesn't stop us from staying there.

We started staying at S&D for all of our Disney trips 10 years ago and haven't looked back. We absolutely love it.

As far as preference, we like Swan better. Typically we find it to be less busy and calmer, as Dolphin is more often used for the bigger conventions.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
You can hop on the skyliner at Epcot or DHS, but it doesn’t stop at the swan/dolphin.
Another possible downside is if you usually take Magical Express. I’m pretty sure that’s not available for the Swan/Dolphin.
Thanks. We have never bothered with the Magical Express so that isn’t a problem.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
That is correct. No magical express.



Glad to help! Reason why I said skyliner is since you are so close to both parks you could park hop super easily and the walk back to the hotel isn’t too bad at all without the aid of the boats (which are slow).

Must Do Disney was on the TV’s when I was there in January! It’s a “must do” for us.

The location is super convenient, it really helps. Definitely would go with it, great hotel.
I see what you mean about the skyliners, sounds like a plan. Thank god for the “must do’s” 😂 it really is a WDW trip without them!
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So another 'Con' would be the daily resort fee, but that doesn't stop us from staying there.

We started staying at S&D for all of our Disney trips 10 years ago and haven't looked back. We absolutely love it.

As far as preference, we like Swan better. Typically we find it to be less busy and calmer, as Dolphin is more often used for the bigger conventions.
I’ve heard about the resort fee, I thinks it’s $32 a day? I’ll have to do the math and see how much ‘cheaper’ it actually is. Thank you for your vote for Swan, working out which to stay in is also a problem! Quieter would be better, more research to do! 👏👏👏
 

DisneyNittany

Active Member
As Marriott people, the S&D are me and my wife's top choice.

You cannot really beat the location (I prefer Crescent Lake to Monorail Loop), as you're an easy walk to Epcot (can boat, but might take a little longer) and a quick boat ride to DHS (can walk as well, but it's a bit more of hike). As someone mentioned above, it does seem like return service from MK is a longer wait than other resorts, you can easily hop on a Boardwalk or Yacht & Beach bus.

I don't feel removed from the Disney bubble at all when staying here, unless not getting to ride the Magical Express and getting a new/paying with a MagicBand is an important part to your experience. Just use the money that you'll be saving by staying at S&D to purchase 5% off Disney Gift Cards and use your MyWallet gift card to pay for all of your WDW experiences instead (as opposed to your credit card with your MagicBand).

Otherwise, since you're neighboring the Boardwalk and have walking access to both Epcot and DHS, I'd say that I feel even more in the bubble than being at bus reliant resorts like Coronado Springs or Port Orleans French Quarter (two resorts that I love).

The pool area feels a little more "adult", which makes for more relaxing downtime, in my experience.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Also “The Cove” will become a factor soon. Don’t know much about it besides (I think) it’s focused on groups.
Just quickly googled “The Cove”! 😂 I hadn’t heard about this. The one article I’ve seen so far says completed Fall 2020, is this project behind due to Covid? If there is a building site next door I don’t think I’ll fancy it! 🤔. You’re full of information! Thanks for mentioning this!
 

Surferboy567

Well-Known Member
Just quickly googled “The Cove”! 😂 I hadn’t heard about this. The one article I’ve seen so far says completed Fall 2020, is this project behind due to Covid? If there is a building site next door I don’t think I’ll fancy it! 🤔. You’re full of information! Thanks for mentioning this!

Yeah, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s close to completion. It’s also far enough away from the Dolphin and Swan to not change much. Just stay at either the Dolphin or Swan.

Who knows? The cove could be great but I stick to Dolphin and Swan. Yes, their is a resort fee I think that 35-40 number sounds about right. It’s still so much better in terms of price though. Very worth it.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Yeah, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s close to completion. It’s also far enough away from the Dolphin and Swan to not change much. Just stay at either the Dolphin or Swan.

Who knows? The cove could be great but I stick to Dolphin and Swan. Yes, their is a resort fee I think that 35-40 number sounds about right. It’s still so much better in terms of price though. Very worth it.
I’ve since seen where The Cove is, it’ll be interesting to see how it develops. I think you’re right, even with the resort fee it’ll still be worth it. Another pro...2 bottles of water per day! 😂 it’s the small things that count!
 

danlb_2000

Well-Known Member
We're (OH and me) saving for a 10 night stay in September 2022. In the past we’ve stayed at GF, Poly, WL and POFQ for our last trip in 2013.

We are pretty sure we won’t be able to afford a Deluxe again so our initial idea was to return to POFQ which we enjoyed. We’ve since realised The Swan & Dolphin are great prices for a higher standard hotel, the other factor is convenience to get to Epcot and HS.

I would like to know pros and cons for staying there, I’m aware they are not Disney hotels, how does this affect things? I’m also aware I’d not feel like I’m in the “disney bubble” 😢. Also...which one is best? I’m leaning towards the Dolphin. (P.S A balcony is a must for OH)

I personally love the Swan and Dolphin but there are a few things to keep in mind that you don't get...

- No Magical Express
- No dining plan
- No free magic band, although Disney is supposed to be discontinuing that also.
- No charging to your room outside of the hotel

The big plus, as other have mentioned, is the price. The hotels have Deluxe level amenities, but you can often get them for not much more then the price of a Disney moderate. They are also great if you are part of the Starwoods loyalty program.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I personally love the Swan and Dolphin but there are a few things to keep in mind that you don't get...

- No Magical Express
- No dining plan
- No free magic band, although Disney is supposed to be discontinuing that also.
- No charging to your room outside of the hotel

The big plus, as other have mentioned, is the price. The hotels have Deluxe level amenities, but you can often get them for not much more then the price of a Disney moderate. They are also great if you are part of the Starwoods loyalty program.
Thanks for your input, so no magical express is not a problem, never used it. With the Dining Plan, I don’t know what’s it like in the US but in the U.K. Disney generally do a free dining plan, so if this is still the case in 2022 if we stay at the POFQ with the free counter service dining plan that will be a money saver, will need to do the math to see if S&D still works out cheaper. I guess we just purchase the magic band as official Disney resorts will have to from next year? I think the not charging to the room won’t put us off either.

As you say the big plus is the price, a deluxe resort for a much cheaper price, it’s got to be worth a few sacrifices!
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Another question my OH has thought of...Gift shop....I’m guessing there is one and if so is it official Disney merch? 🤞
 

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