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The Swan and Dolphin versus Disney Properties

doc_holiday3500

Active Member
Original Poster
Hi everyone,

I'm just doing some research and was curious to hear anyone's thoughts or experiences at the Swan and Dolphin compared to stays at Disney properties. The reason I'm asking is that our next trip to WDW will allow me to use the Teacher's discount they offer if we so choose. We have however only stayed at deluxe and moderate Disney owned resorts and since we have always loved them so much are hesitant to risk a change.

Thanks for any of the communities "sage-like" wisdom you guys and gals can help provide.
 

ParentsOf4

Well-Known Member
On the plus side, the Swan and Dolphin are Deluxe Resorts in an excellent location. The Boardwalk, DHS, and Epcot are all close by. They share a very nice pool facility and have some excellent restaurants. Rates usually are very reasonable, often less than Disney Moderate Resorts. Disney's buses & boats service the resorts, and S&D guests receive Extra Magic Hours.

On the negative side, the lobbies and rooms feel corporate and lack that "Disney magic". Between Resort Fee and daily parking, add at least $25/night to the resort rate. I don't believe they offer Disney's Magic Express.

If you are like me and love the Crescent Lake, then S&D are viable options because they are a lot less expensive than BWI or Y&BC.
 

Disneyhead'71

Well-Known Member
Rule Of Thumb: Any 3-4 Star NON-Disney accommodation will be far, Far, FAR superior to even the best WDW motel.

And with the Swaphin you don't even have to leave "The Bubble".
 

ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
I've often thought about staying here and using the teacher discount too but it seems as if the resort fee and the cost of renting a car (no Magical Express) might make it more or the same price as a Disney owned resort.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
My son stayed for a week at the Swan during a business convention. He liked the accommodations and the short walking distance to Epcot, Boardwalk and miniature golf course was a plus. I was staying at POFQ and we arranged to meet in the parks after his meetings ended. This had been the first time he had not stayed in a "Disney themed" resort. He enjoyed his stay but did miss the real feel of the Disney surroundings.
 

doc_holiday3500

Active Member
Original Poster
Thanks for all of the input! I think we will probably go with our gut and stick with the Disney properties - as I think ajrwdwgirl and JIMINYCR have made great points.
 

DizneyPryncess

Well-Known Member
On the plus side, the Swan and Dolphin are Deluxe Resorts in an excellent location. The Boardwalk, DHS, and Epcot are all close by. They share a very nice pool facility and have some excellent restaurants. Rates usually are very reasonable, often for less than Disney Moderate Resorts. Disney's buses and boats service the resorts, as well as Extra Magic Hours.

On the negative side, the lobbies and rooms feel corporate and lack that "Disney magic". Between Resort Fee and daily parking, add at least $25/night to the resort rate. I don't believe they offer Disney's Magic Express.

If you are like me and love the Crescent Lake, then S&D are viable options because they are a lot less expensive than BWI or Y&BC.

We stayed at the Dolphin in May for part of our trip, and this was pretty much my exact feeling too.

We loved the pool, the location & the cost. I did think it felt more corporate, and I missed the feeling of "Disney 24/7" that I get at the Disney resorts. Although that might just be a personal thing. I'd definitely stay there again though!
 

BoarderPhreak

Well-Known Member
Loooove the Swalphin. Given the choice, I'll stay there any day - especially since Epcot is our favorite.

If you're looking for Disney theming and total immersion though, it's not the place for you.
 

MickeyPeace

Well-Known Member
I LOVE the Dolphin.
To me it is very Disney. The smell of the lobby (that Disney water smell), the magical shooting stars on the ceiling, the sandy beach and Swan boats, I could go on but you get the idea.
The rooms are pleasant and the beds are the most comfortable on property. Views are amazing. Especially if you get a room with a balcony.
Food options are top notch. And Picabu is 24 hours. There is a gym on property. Two gorgeous pools. Location is prime.
Yes there is a resort fee, currently $17 a night. It's for internet, phone usage, gym, two bottles of water a day and Starbucks coffee/Tazo Tea. They should just include it in the rate. Then people wouldn't get angry. And its still less expensive than a Disney Deluxe.
I will be staying there for the sixth time the last week of Sept and I can not wait!
Here are two of the rooms I've stayed in previously. Hope this helps.
 

Minthorne

Well-Known Member
WdwPrince has it right. I love the Dolphin and Swan and I don't ever feel any lack of Disney Magic there. I've stayed many times and it is always as good as deluxe at the moderate price. You can't beat the location. You might have more "Disney at the moderate" but you can't really have more magic and Disney than the ability to walk to 2 parks.
 

doc_holiday3500

Active Member
Original Poster
I LOVE the Dolphin.
To me it is very Disney. The smell of the lobby (that Disney water smell), the magical shooting stars on the ceiling, the sandy beach and Swan boats, I could go on but you get the idea.
The rooms are pleasant and the beds are the most comfortable on property. Views are amazing. Especially if you get a room with a balcony.
Food options are top notch. And Picabu is 24 hours. There is a gym on property. Two gorgeous pools. Location is prime.
Yes there is a resort fee, currently $17 a night. It's for internet, phone usage, gym, two bottles of water a day and Starbucks coffee/Tazo Tea. They should just include it in the rate. Then people wouldn't get angry. And its still less expensive than a Disney Deluxe.
I will be staying there for the sixth time the last week of Sept and I can not wait!
Here are two of the rooms I've stayed in previously. Hope this helps.


Thanks for these great videos!
 

dannyboyindc

Well-Known Member
Not sure what the discount is but if there's a free dining offer and it's better than the teachers discount, just know that the FD promotion does not apply to the Swan or Dolphin.
 

LizC

Well-Known Member
I too feel like the Swan & Dolphin are great hotels at a prime location and at a much cheaper price. My husband and I have been staying here for years, and we love it. I do not see a lack of "Disney Magic", but we have never stayed there with children. If I were you I would take the risk and try the less expensive. amazingly located hotel. I did and I am thrilled that I did. :)

Have a wonderful trip!
 

Genie of the Lamp

Well-Known Member
On the plus side, the Swan and Dolphin are Deluxe Resorts in an excellent location. The Boardwalk, DHS, and Epcot are all close by. They share a very nice pool facility and have some excellent restaurants. Rates usually are very reasonable, often less than Disney Moderate Resorts. Disney's buses & boats service the resorts, and S&D guests receive Extra Magic Hours.

On the negative side, the lobbies and rooms feel corporate and lack that "Disney magic". Between Resort Fee and daily parking, add at least $25/night to the resort rate. I don't believe they offer Disney's Magic Express.

If you are like me and love the Crescent Lake, then S&D are viable options because they are a lot less expensive than BWI or Y&BC.

I consider the EPCOT Resorts area to be in the heart of the WDW Resort. Beautiful, short, quick, and easy walks to the Boardwalk and EPCOT. DHS albeit further but manageable. Very nice pool facility indeed with the beach volleyball area and nice rockwork waterfall feature in that pool. The restaurants in those hotels are excellent (well at least the sit down ones). Rates for those hotels fall within the Moderate pricings to the Deluxe Pricings depending on when you book your stay. Only have to get bus to MK, AK, DTD soon to be DS, and Water Parks although while it may seem conveinent, that's not encouraging considering the current state of WDW transportation. As of now, yes you can recieve EMH's, but I guess that'll go away soon. I still wonder what those places and the Hilton will fair in the NGE.

Yes, the lobbies and rooms feel corporate and don't have Disney everywhere you turn, but I can't seem to grasp why this is a negative. They are beautiful as is and don't need to be Disneyfied considering there main customers/guests are convention goers. They don't offer DME since it ain't a WDW owned hotel/resort (Starwood hotel group owns em). We did that Orlando Priceless transporation which was a great roundtrip service.

Ahh yes, Crescent Lake and the boardwalk at night (sunny clear one). I can picture it now. It really is great to walk around there at night and the boardwalk has plenty of good-great dining and entertainment options (something DTD used to have). Yes, they are definitely w/o a doubt less expensive then the Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yatch Club. My favorite resort is the Beach Club and it kills me when I can't stay at that place to the absurd pricetag (as of now $548.75/night for a Garden view 7 day/6 night stay for my family of four) they expect me to fork over for the week (perferably the first week of December). O well, still visit it and will gladly except the Swan (personal preference).
 

mickeysbrother

Well-Known Member
I am really thinking about a visit. I think they have magic express.

From what i saw last they do not have magical express. These hotels are usually used most for corporate events and conferences. Been there numerous times during the conferences and its a great hotel to stay at when your company is paying lol. But location like a lot of you have said is wonderful for a cheaper price but it does lack some amenities that other Disney resorts offer. Amenities such as magical express Disney feel inside the resorts. but all in all a wonderful hotel to stay at.
 

luv

Well-Known Member
They do charge a parking and daily resort fee, so take that into account when pricing rooms.

Location can't be beat. Epcot resorts are kind of right in the middle of everything. If you wanted to, you could walk to Epcot or DHS. :) The Dolphin is a cute hotel. The staff is pleasant. You get some free water bottles...they aren't really free, of course, but Disney doesn't give you any, so a wee little bonus there.

Rooms are a good size and, as the dolphin says, the whole place is "whimsical." But there is nothing garish. Nerves aren't on edge or anything. Just kind of cute, for a hotel. A little extra space is always nice. The lobby is cute, but was confusing for me the first time I had to go find my room. After that, it was fine.

I only ate in the big, full restaurant once because the cheaper places were what I wanted more, but the time I ate there the food was good and the service was great. The Dolphin Fountain had the best tuna fish sandwich I've had at WDW. Picabu is the best kept secret at WDW. The eating area is adorable and comfortable! The food is way above average for cafeteria-style food. The prices aren't bad, either. Seriously the best fast-food in any hotel on the Disney property and I've been to all of them many times. :)

The gift shop is fine, but there are much better hotel gift shops out there. No matter. There are plenty of places to shop in WDW, that's for sure.

The pools are far and away the best pools in all of WDW. And the chairs are more comfy than the Disney chairs. It's just all better at the Dolphin pool.

I was really happy with my stays at the dolphin and (except for that "resort fee" business) recommend the place.
 

Sparkle81

Well-Known Member
DH and I stayed at the Dolphin on our last trip and we enjoyed it. At that time, it was before we had our son so it was perfect for just a couple- comfortable, modern and not crammed full of kids ;) The location is awesome and for the price paid, couldn't be beat. Wouldn't hesitate to stay there again :)
 

tare

Well-Known Member
No magical express and I don't think you can add the dining to your stay. Very nice hotels, they just don't have that disney magic to them.
 

Bugz

Well-Known Member
We are going this Sept 2021 , if no magic express how do you get from Orlando airport to Dolphin???
 

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