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Swan and Dolphin: Your thoughts and opinions

KBLovesDisney

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hey guys!

A couple of years ago, DH and I hotel hopped to check out different places. We decided on a whim to look at the Swan and Dolphin hotels. (In my 32 years of existence and Disney World travels, this was a first time for me...sad, I know.) Our thoughts? They were gorgeous inside!

Now, we get back from that Disney trip and I decide to check out those hotel prices...yikes!

What are the pros and cons at staying at either of these resorts? Are they worth the price?
 

danlb_2000

Premium Member
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Hey guys!

A couple of years ago, DH and I hotel hopped to check out different places. We decided on a whim to look at the Swan and Dolphin hotels. (In my 32 years of existence and Disney World travels, this was a first time for me...sad, I know.) Our thoughts? They were gorgeous inside!

Now, we get back from that Disney trip and I decide to check out those hotel prices...yikes!

What are the pros and cons at staying at either of these resorts? Are they worth the price?
I personally love these hotels, I have stayed at both a number of times. The biggest plus is that you can often get rooms at a much lower price then other Epcot area hotels. You do need to figure in the resort fee they charge, and also be aware of what Disney perks are and aren't offered, since these are not Disney owned hotels.
 

Epcotfan21

Well-Known Member
The biggest pro is you can typically stay there for a much cheaper rate compared to Yacht, Beach and Boardwalk. And that’s including the parking and resort fees. We started staying at either the Dolphin or Swan every trip for the last 6 years or so. It’s our resort of choice due to the location. We love walking or boating to Epcot or Studios and being able to hangout at the boardwalk at night.

Also, the beds are the most comfortable on property!
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
These hotels can also be a good choice if you are part of the Marriot or Starwoods rewards programs.
Yep! I often can find them for about the same-ish (maybe a tiny bit more) as a moderate or so. Then I would earn free stays due to the programs. We collectively don't stay as often anymore since I added on to our DVC, but it was always our go to. I love the Swan a little more than the Dolphin but the Dolphin seemed to have better prices. Great prices compared to what I found at the other Epcot resorts.

The beds are to die for too!
 

Alice a

Well-Known Member
The restaurants, Westin heavenly beds, and hotels run like hotels put them far above other Disney resorts.

If you have a problem, there's usually a speedier resolution than when dealing with your typical castmembers. Everything feels more professional, and as an adult without children, it's kind of nice to be in the WDW bubble, but out of it.

Can't say enough about the food - even the little sandwich places - are better than any other WDW resort, except maybe Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the beds are so nice, we ended up buying the mattress set. Wonderfully comfy.

Add in the boardwalk, transportation perks, and the fireworks views many rooms have for either epcot or HS? Best deal on property, if you have flexible dates and can shop for the best rate.

I prefer the Swan, for the smaller size.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
We stayed at the Swan last December because the price was on par with POR, but the Epcot resort prices for that time frame were around twice that price. We chose Swan over Dolphin for the queen beds. We had a view of DHS/TOT, so that trumped any kind of in-room Disney themes that some people use as their justification to pass on these resorts. My parents and brother's fam were also there and they had views of AK and Epcot. My parents had a view of MK on a previous trip. We also had all of the convenience of an Epcot resort for half of the price...not to mention deluxe quality beds at mod prices. I no longer stress about 180+10 for dining, so that was no biggie and we could book FPs at the 60 day mark just like the Disney resorts. Bus service was the norm so no pros or cons there. Also not a fan of DDP or DME, so nothing lost with that either.

The only thing we missed was using magic bands to access our room and pay for dining/shopping. The dining/shopping part was actually an omen since it meant getting the Disney Visa discount for more of our meals and purchases.
 

LUVofDIS

Well-Known Member
The biggest pro is you can typically stay there for a much cheaper rate compared to Yacht, Beach and Boardwalk. And that’s including the parking and resort fees. We started staying at either the Dolphin or Swan every trip for the last 6 years or so. It’s our resort of choice due to the location. We love walking or boating to Epcot or Studios and being able to hangout at the boardwalk at night.
Don't forget the most comfy beds on property. The Contemporary club level comes close, but that cost it astronomical.

We mostly stay at the dolphin with a view of the EPCOT geosphere. This also allow us to see Illuminations if we get back to our room early enough. The view of the Boardwalk at night doesn't hurt either.
 

jody31

Member
I'd personally recommend the Swan hotel
I have been on several WDW vacations , we always stay at The swan
It's probably the cheapest Disney deluxe hotel , but that's mainly because it isn't a Disney run hotel
If you had the money, most people would go for a magic kingdom resort hotel but there's an awful lot to be said about Epcot resort area hotels : you can walk to DHS and Epcot and you have the Boardwalk facilities for shopping and dining
 

BASS

Active Member
We've stayed there on several occasions. For those that enjoy the "Disney bubble," you might not get that feel there. However, for us, its proximity to Epcot and transportation to the parks makes it a viable option.

As to the price, I've generally paid <$200/night. They routinely have special offers. If it lines up with your stay, go with it. (They also have a nice pool and slide.)
 

BoarderPhreak

Well-Known Member
The Swalphin is awesome. I tend to prefer the Swan, personally. It can be hard to get a room, let alone with a discount though. So look as early as possible in your planning. For the price of a Moderate, you're getting Deluxe accommodations, albeit with no theming. You get perks like Disney transportation (but not MDE) and no charging to your MagicBand. You're right on the backside of the Boardwalk for access to Epcot and area resorts/amenities.
 

bennyw01

Active Member
Staying there in Feb, arrive on Presidents Day! got a mega deal from the UK, two weeks at the Dolphin in a king bed room, direct flights from London to Orlando and two weeks car rental for three of us (two adults and one child) for just under £2,700 all in, about $3,400 which is a good deal from the UK and comparable to other LBV other hotels but with the benefit of being on property - I recommend looking in advance and taking the deal, looks like a nice resort and can't wait to check it out in detail.
 

MikeyK72

Well-Known Member
also be aware of what Disney perks are and aren't offered, since these are not Disney owned hotels.
Specifically some things off the top of my head...
- Disney Magical Express is not an option
- Magic Bands are not accepted for payment in the restaurants (bring a credit card or cash)
- Magic Bands will not unlock the door to your room
 

danlb_2000

Premium Member
Specifically some things off the top of my head...
- Disney Magical Express is not an option
- Magic Bands are not accepted for payment in the restaurants (bring a credit card or cash)
- Magic Bands will not unlock the door to your room
You also do not get complimentary Magic Bands.
 

JillC LI

Well-Known Member
So just to clarify, at the Swan and Dolphin (and I'm asking, not stating that this is correct):

1- You do get to attend EMH.
2- You do not get the Magical Express from the airport.
3- You pay for your own Magic Bands (or use old ones) for the parks. You buy your park tickets separate from your room.
4- You can book ADRs 180 days out, not 180+10.
5- You can book FP+s at the 60 day mark, not 60+10.
6- You cannot purchase a Disney dining plan as part of a package.

Is all that right? Do you get Disney bus transportation from the hotel to/from MK and AK? (I know the others are walkable or accessible by ferry.) Can you purchase the DDP independently? Do these hotels ever offer promotions on room rates?
 

danlb_2000

Premium Member
So just to clarify, at the Swan and Dolphin (and I'm asking, not stating that this is correct):

1- You do get to attend EMH.
2- You do not get the Magical Express from the airport.
3- You pay for your own Magic Bands (or use old ones) for the parks. You buy your park tickets separate from your room.
4- You can book ADRs 180 days out, not 180+10.
5- You can book FP+s at the 60 day mark, not 60+10.
6- You cannot purchase a Disney dining plan as part of a package.

Is all that right? Do you get Disney bus transportation from the hotel to/from MK and AK? (I know the others are walkable or accessible by ferry.) Can you purchase the DDP independently? Do these hotels ever offer promotions on room rates?
This is all correct. ADR's and FP work the same way as on site, but I am not sure about the +10 part.

Yes, you get Disney bus transportation same as any Disney hotel.

Yes, you will see promotional rates for these hotels, but a lot of time it's just a much lower price without any specific promotion. They also offer discounts for teachers and nurses. I am not sure what they are now, but they used to be quite substantial discounts.

No you cannot add on DDP.
 

yaksplat

Well-Known Member
I stayed at the Dolphin last august. I'd consider it the worst hotel experience on Disney property. We did a split stay. 3 nights at the Dolphin and then 5 at the Polynesian. Our rate with the educator's discount was 192/night. We're a family of 5 and they say that the Dolphin handles 5 in a room. Well they didn't mention that a roll away bed is $25/night until we checked in.

Parking was $25/night
Resort fee of $28/night
An $11 breakfast sandwich even had a $2 resort fee added to it
The beds might be comfortable, but they were doubles instead of queens.
The bathroom area in the room was so tiny. I've never experienced a bathroom that small before.
The hotel seemed very sterile. No personality at all.
The pool was nice, but there were some major cracks in the waterfall overhang rock work that concerned me a bit.
Bus service was sub par. A 45 minute wait for the bus was common.
I felt like the staff couldn't care much less than they did. They weren't helpful and generally didn't care. Scowls were more common than smiles.

So our nice cheap hotel ended up costing us $15 less per night than the remainder of our trip at the Polynesian after all of the fees and taxes. We couldn't wait to get out of there. I've thought more highly of any Hampton inn that I've stayed in over the dolphin. I'll never recommend the Swan/Dolphin to anyone. Even my kids didn't like it, which surprised me. They don't complain about anything, but after our trip one even said, "if we go back to disney, can we not stay at that hotel again?"

The only positive that i got out of it was the proximity to Epcot and the Boardwalk. But in the future, I'd just stay at the Boardwalk if i want the location.
 
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