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We're staying at the Dolphin

zurgandfriend

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We are Staying at the Dolphin and I’m okay with it, that is unless you change my mind.
We have been deluxe resort snobs for years. The Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Yacht Club. We have stayed in them all. For years my DW and DS would only stay on the monorail. For our last trip my DW and I stayed at the Yacht Club and we loved the Crescent Lake Area.
For our next secret get away, it’s a secret because we can’t tell our son in college or we would never hear the end of it, but I digress, we both agreed the Yacht Club was too pricey. We thought long and hard about one of the French Quarter moderate resorts and then my DW informed me she booked the Dolphin. I’m okay with it, I think. I believe the DME does not go to the Dolphin or Swan, other than that what else is not available to us.
Please tell me the pros and cons. Do we need to rethink this decision, or will we be happy with our choice?
 

Hula Baloo

Member
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You are correct that the Magical Express does not take you to the Swan or Dolphin. It's a great location because you can walk to EPCOT and HS. You also have Boardwalk, Yacht Club and Beach Club within walking distance for additional food options and activities.

I stayed at the Dolphin during Memorial Day weekend this year and had a bad experience with the check-in only. The two personnel behind the counter couldn't keep up with the amount of people trying to check-in that weekend. We arrived Friday night/Saturday morning at 12:30am and the line to check-in extended beyond the queue. It took 40 minutes to check-in. Additionally, we told the hotel when we originally booked that we had five people and would need a cot. Of course it wasn't in the room when we went inside. We had to call and ask them to bring the cot and were told it would take 30 minutes before they could. Ended up getting the cot at 2:00am.

*The lady in front of us in line did tell us that she stays at the Dolphin all the time and had never seen it that busy before.
 

nickys

Premium Member
We are Staying at the Dolphin and I’m okay with it, that is unless you change my mind.
We have been deluxe resort snobs for years. The Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Yacht Club. We have stayed in them all. For years my DW and DS would only stay on the monorail. For our last trip my DW and I stayed at the Yacht Club and we loved the Crescent Lake Area.
For our next secret get away, it’s a secret because we can’t tell our son in college or we would never hear the end of it, but I digress, we both agreed the Yacht Club was too pricey. We thought long and hard about one of the French Quarter moderate resorts and then my DW informed me she booked the Dolphin. I’m okay with it, I think. I believe the DME does not go to the Dolphin or Swan, other than that what else is not available to us.
Please tell me the pros and cons. Do we need to rethink this decision, or will we be happy with our choice?
You can’t get the dining plan and I don’t think you can charge back to your resort room. And you don’t get free magic bands.
 

BoarderPhreak

Well-Known Member
I certainly won't talk you out of it. We're staying there over the holidays, though we're typically Swan residents. The location is fantastic and the rates are extremely competitive against similar Disney offerings; basically Deluxe accommodations for the price of Moderate. We love the rooms and have had pretty decent ones with resort/firework views and balconies. Can't beat the beds/pillows!

That said, the perks are almost a mirror of Disney's except in two key areas; there's no DME (but they do have complimentary airport transportation) and you can't tie your Magicband™ to a credit card, since it relies on a Disney resort room/stay (nor do you get them when booking). There's also the $30/day "resort fee." Just consider that part of the nightly rate (especially when comparing).

The view from our last room:



And the views before that:



 
I have never had a problem with Swan/Dolphin. I've stayed there multiple times, but admittedly, not since the pre-Magic Band days. But, the accommodations have always been spacious, the location is *incredible*, and customer service has always been excellent. There may still be a sushi restaurant there where I sang Carly Simon karaoke when I was in 8th grade. There are minor setbacks, which previous posters have mentioned, but the value outweighs the drawbacks.
 

Zé_Carioca

Active Member
This probably goes without saying but since you loved the crescent lake area you will probably love the convenience of the Dolphin, it is right next to the boardwalk and it also has the friendship boat stop for Epcot and DHS (with both parks also being walkable). The rooms are very modern and nice and I believe the lobby has recently been renovated (past 2 years). Plus, I haven't eaten at the restaurants there but hears amazing things.

It has been a couple years since I stayed there but from what I remember the only downside was that the busses to the parks felt like they were more sparse than at Disney resorts, I felt like the wait was longer. But idk if that still holds true or if others hold this experience.

As for the Disney perks, the other comments nailed it. You get 60+ FP windows, transportation to parks and EMH but no Magic Bands or Dining Plan packages.
 

yaksplat

Well-Known Member
Location is good..

Fees are horrible. I despised paying a resort fee on a breakfast sandwich.
Our room also had the tiniest bathroom imaginable. You couldn't close the bathroom door without standing in the tub.
 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
So, some background on the Swan and Dolphin: The Swolphin both is and isn't a Disney hotel. Basically, Disney is letting an outside hotel chain run a Disney resort rather than run it themselves. They did this to attract conventioneers who were used to hotel chains and had points with them (originally Westin and Sheraton, both bought out by Starwood, which is now bought out by Marriott).
It is a Disney resort:
  • Disney advertises the Swolphin as a Disney resort on their site and it shows up in resort searches.
  • Disney has a say in how they operate.
  • Disney characters show up for their character meals.
  • Disney gets a share of their earnings.
  • Disney provides free transportation within 'the bubble' (buses and ferries, but not Magical Express to/from the airport).
  • Disney staffs their Disney ticket center.
  • If you stay at the Swolphin, parking is free at the parks (but not at the Swolphin itself).
  • They charge for parking at the Swolphin, like other Disney Resorts now
  • You get Extended Magic Hours
  • You get the 60 day window for FastPasses.
  • Park purchases can be sent to the Swolphin for pick-up later.
  • You get all the golfing perks of staying at a Disney Resort
It is not fully Disney:
  • You can use Starwood/Marriott points there, which you can't at other Disney resorts.
  • The accounting system is separate which means you can't charge to room at the parks.
  • They don't do MagicBands (no free ones, no MB door unlocking, but, you can buy your own or use old ones from other visits).
  • They have a mandatory resort fee. (With some packages, such as from Costco, the resort fee is already included in the package price, but it won't be on hotel booking sites or on the Swolphin's own site until ready to book.)
  • You don't have Magic Express to/from the airport (but you do have free bus and ferry within the Disney bubble).
As a convention resort, the clientele is more adults and less children. Occasionally, the lobby will be full of conventioneers moving to their next event. And it's cheaper than the other resorts on Crescent Lake (the lake between Epcot and Hollywood Studios). Often $200 a night or more cheaper.
It is very much a Deluxe resort. It has high class restaurants and shops. Excellent pools. A spa. Character dining. A gym. Children's activity center. Full room service. Full business class services. People argue over whether it's appropriately themed enough to be a Deluxe. While you're not going to get a bed shaped like a pirate ship, it's as nice as the Contemporary or Yacht, Beach, Boardwalk, or Floridian whose theming is nothing more than fine architecture and art. And the Swolphin has that, though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, you can walk to two parks. I love that. And you can walk to any of the fine restaurants/bars of the other resorts on the lake including the BoardWalk.

If I had to choose between the two, I'd choose the Dolphin over the Swan. Mostly because most of the amenities (completely shared by the two... same owner) are in the Dolphin: gym, laundromat, all-night cafeteria, ice cream shop. The Swan is just slightly more luxe than the Dolphin, but, I'd rather not carry laundry to another building.
 
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Familyof5

New Member
Always check if there are conferences running at Dolphin and Swan when you are planning on going. Can make things a little busy.
Also check the referb schedule....in case the pool or gym is out of commission.
Be aware of extra fees; you will also pay for Airport Transport...but, Uber isn't expensive.

Having said that, I much prefer the Swan - able to get 2 Queen beds. Last I went, Dolphin was two Double beds.

You can also "rent" DVC points to stay at the Yacht and Beach (I like these resorts more).

Whatever you choose....make your dining reservations early! You can cancel in 24 hours prior but choices become limited.

Enjoy!
 

BoarderPhreak

Well-Known Member
...Our room also had the tiniest bathroom imaginable. You couldn't close the bathroom door without standing in the tub.
That's a bit misleading. The "bathroom" is actually two rooms/areas. One half has a sink on one side and the closet behind (with the safe, etc.). The other room which has a door - has another sink (even bigger than the first) along with the toilet and bathtub/shower. Yes, closing the door while you're on the can is tight, but aside from that, neither space is small. Overall, it's slightly smaller or pretty close to Disney's offerings.
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
I have not read all the replies, but I have to say you made an excellent choice. If not staying DVC, the Swan/Dolphin is the only resort I'd want to stay in. I think it's better quality as a whole than most (if not all) the deluxe resorts. The bedding feels more luxurious and the location is perfect. I personally would say you won't regret it. we never use ME anyway anymore so that part doesn't factor in for us.
 

yaksplat

Well-Known Member
The other room which has a door - has another sink (even bigger than the first) along with the toilet and bathtub/shower. Yes, closing the door while you're on the can is tight, but aside from that, neither space is small.
No, ours was only a toilet/tub in the "other room". No sink. I'm 6'1" and felt like an absolute giant in there. There was no closing the door while on the can. I tried while one of the kids (age 7) was in there with the door open. Impossible. The door would also hit the tub. So there is some variation in the size of the rooms. Our beds were also doubles and there was barely room for a cot, which was an additional $25/night.
 

BoarderPhreak

Well-Known Member
No, ours was only a toilet/tub in the "other room". No sink. I'm 6'1" and felt like an absolute giant in there. There was no closing the door while on the can. I tried while one of the kids (age 7) was in there with the door open. Impossible. The door would also hit the tub. So there is some variation in the size of the rooms. Our beds were also doubles and there was barely room for a cot, which was an additional $25/night.
Ahh, okay. Depends on the room type, apparently... We usually had double queen rooms in the Swan, but this year we're going with double doubles at the Dolphin. The doors do stop at/on the tub though, yes.
 

yaksplat

Well-Known Member
Ahh, okay. Depends on the room type, apparently... We usually had double queen rooms in the Swan, but this year we're going with double doubles at the Dolphin. The doors do stop at/on the tub though, yes.
Things are making more sense now. The Dolphin can handle 5 since the beds are only doubles then there's room for a cot... barely. Make sure kids close the bathroom door or you all have to suffer :)
 

BoarderPhreak

Well-Known Member
Things are making more sense now. The Dolphin can handle 5 since the beds are only doubles then there's room for a cot... barely. Make sure kids close the bathroom door or you all have to suffer :)
I'm thinking I might upgrade the room to a single king and stick the kiddling on the couch/cot. But who am I kidding - we'll all end up in the single bed. 🙄
 

TJ Vazquez

Well-Known Member
I love the Swan and Dolphin and for me it mainly comes down to the fact that you can often get the S&D cheaper (even when figuring all the fees) then any other hotel in the Boardwalk area.
If its cheaper than any of the other Epcot area resorts the S&D are no brainers as far as I am concerned but the recently up tick in conferences in the area including the Yacht club has really driven prices up. If you look at early February 2020 the rates are in the $500's for both the Swan and Dolphin, and the Yacht club as well.
 
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