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View Full Version : How "Disney" is the Walt Disney World Swan/Donlphin?


mintywinty127
06-08-2008, 09:33 PM
Hi there, I am considering staying at either the swan or dolphin for my trip in november but I am worried that they won't be "disney" enough for me. What do the other resorts have that the swan/dolphin don't? Does it still feel like I'm on the Walt Disney World Resort with mickeys watching my every step and magical visions of castles and fireworks in my mind? Because that's what I want. I want Disney.

So is the swan/dolphin going to give me that?

disneysuncat
06-08-2008, 09:41 PM
One thing that the other resorts offer that the Swan/Dophin don't is the Disney dining plan, if you're interested in that.

Both the Swan and Dolphin are gorgeous hotels, but they aren't "Disney themed". No hidden Mickeys, nothing that screams Disney. However, they do feel very "vacation-y". Depending on your room location, you might get a view of Epcot, which would make it feel more Disney. They have a boat launch to the International gateway at Epcot, and to the Disney Hollywood Studios. They're very close to the Boardwalk and Yacht/Beach club, so that makes you feel just as much a part of things.

It's been a long time since I've stayed at either, but I seem to remember extra charges (like parking, or a resort fee?) that the Disney resort hotels didn't have. While they are great hotels, if you're wanting to be totally immersed in Disney, I'd pick a different hotel.

Redbudlover
06-08-2008, 11:42 PM
I have been considering staying there as well. I have stayed at several of the deluxes and have been wondering if they are as "deluxe" as Swan/Dolphin. I would prefer better beds and bedding to Mickey mouse carpeting, I think. Though I have used the dining plan in the past and thus stayed at Disney hotels I am thinking of not using it and in that case think I will try the Swan...

mintywinty127
06-09-2008, 12:39 AM
Oh, and my apologies for spelling dolphin wrong on the title.
:confused3

WDW~Lover
06-09-2008, 05:39 AM
The above said is true, BUT how much MORE DISNEY feel can you have when your right next door to the TOT and can see the fireworks and the MGM Disney show fireworks? I swear it is so close you can reach out and touch it!! not to mention you are in "THE LOOP" of the boat and on the sidewalk to walk to Epcot! If this resorts was where the AKL was, then I probaly would not stay there. But the Location, cannot be beat!!!
I have stayed there once for 13 nights and I am now trying the Dolphin in Aug.
(unless I get a better AP rate somewhere else)

lucysdad
06-09-2008, 05:54 AM
You don't get the Mickey shaped soaps or the Stitch wake up call, other than that you're in a great location, you have great views and you have Heavenly beds. You also get Stacey on your TV, what's more Disney than that?

Disneyfan1977
06-09-2008, 06:10 AM
While on the topic....are these hotels owned by Disney. I remember when they were first built being told they were owned by Sheraton??? Is or was that true??

kapoof
06-09-2008, 06:11 AM
its not very disney but it is nice. i did miss the disney feel, but the beds and coffee really a very nice treat. if you can get a good rate, you might want to try it, but if i comes down to about the same price as one of the epcot resorts, go with the disney resorts. we stayed at the dolphin this march for 179.00 a nite a pretty good rate, but when we walked over to the bc i really really missed the disney feel, but i kept reminding myself that we got a good rate and were staying at the epcot area for cheap.

bicker
06-09-2008, 06:59 AM
I've stayed at the Swolphin a few times on business. They're very good business traveler hotels.

When are you visiting?

LadyTrampScamp&Angel
06-09-2008, 08:01 AM
The only thing Disney about the Swan and Dolphin are where they sit. You could pick them up and sit them down in any other beach/Florida/CA vacation destination and they would fit right in - they are generic. The one thing they have that say the Boardwalk doesn't, are those heavenly beds.

They are very nice hotels, the beds are awesome, and the location is wonderful, but you will not be immersed in Disney themeing. Some people don't mind that, in fact, some will love that. It's just your preference. Since you say you want all the Disney magic, you might be better off somewhere else.

LadyTrampScamp&Angel
06-09-2008, 08:02 AM
No, they are not owned by Disney. They are Starwood hotels.

WDW~Lover
06-09-2008, 08:21 AM
No, they are not owned by Disney. They are Starwood hotels.

actually the Dolphin is Starwoods and the Swan is a Westin

bicker
06-09-2008, 08:25 AM
I think LadyTrampScamp&Angel was indicating that they're both eventually owned by Starwoods. (Westin is owned by Starwoods.)

I think, technically, the Dolphin was a Sheraton. I think, now, technically, neither hotel bears either the Sheraton or Westin brand, but rather bear the boutique brand "The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin".

LadyTrampScamp&Angel
06-09-2008, 08:27 AM
actually the Dolphin is Starwoods and the Swan is a Westin

I do think that used to be. One was a Sheraton and one was a Westin. Now though, if you go to Starwood.com and look at Orlando hotels - they both come up, so I would assume they both fall under the Starwood name at this time. I could be wrong though :confused3 but that's the way it looks.

LadyTrampScamp&Angel
06-09-2008, 08:29 AM
bicker, I think that you are correct. We all just know too much history here!

minnie61650
06-09-2008, 08:35 AM
The Swan/Dolphin hotels have a theme even though most guests do not understand the whimical building s that were designed by Micael Graves.

Here is the story behind the Swan& Dolphin that was told by Michael Graves the designer to Wade Sampson staff writer for Mouse planet:


The "black box" area on the Walt Disney Dolphin that many Disney fans mistakenly believe was meant to be an entrance for the monorail similar to the Contemporary resort is actually the heart of a mountain. The Walt Disney Dolphin is a mountain that has struggled to thrust its way out of the tropical rain forest. That is the reason for the banana leaves painted along the side of the building.

The struggle caused the heart to explode, and the water cascades nine stories down the side of the hotel, passing through five clamshell basins to a fountain and eventually splashing into Crescent Lake. Notice that the walkway from the Walt Disney Dolphin to the Walt Disney Swan has railings and landscaping that mimic waves. The water splashes up onto the Walt Disney Swan and that accounts for the waves painted on the side of that hotel.

Two birds were so awed by this spectacle that they alighted on the top of the waves to get a better look and were magically transformed into swans. Graves deliberately selected two creatures that "were not part of the existing Disney mythology" but had hopes that they would then be developed further as Disney icons once he had selected them.

The dolphin image was inspired by the work of Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. An example of Bernini's dolphins can be seen in the King Neptune fountain in the Italian pavilion at Epcot. However, there is a major difference that Graves pointed out to us. Bernini's dolphins had mouths that curved downward, and Eisner insisted that wasn't going to happen on Walt Disney World property—so Graves' dolphins have their mouths curved upwards as if smiling.

Designed by Graves, the swan statues (like the dolphin statues) are created from steel, wood, and fiberglass, and were believed to be the largest structures of their kind in the world at the time. Since there were no existing samples to work from, Disney artist Gary Graham following Graves' design, sculpted the swan models out of Styrofoam and these were then computer photographed (photogrammetry) in a process that turns the shapes into a digitized database.

The photogrammetric information was then sent on to a shipbuilding company in Wisconsin. There it was put into a computer that automatically cut the wooden ribs to exact specifications and imprinted the ribs with numbers and location directions. The ribs were then delivered to the statue site, where they were fitted to a steel frame. Once assembled, a fiberglass covering was carefully brushed on and then covered with five layers of laminate. The swan statues were then sanded, painted and ultimately lifted into place on May 1989.

Completed, the swan statues, referred to as "heroic" statues, are 47 feet high. And at a combined weight of 56,000 pounds, they required a multi-ton 70-foot crane to lift them up atop the hotel. They were placed on specially constructed pedestals at either end of the hotel's roof, which support and display them.

The dolphin statues are 63 feet high and some Disneyphiles referred to them as "Flipper's Tomb" when they first appeared. All the roof sculptures are hollow inside, except for the structural beaming, and they have internal staircases and trapdoors for maintenance purposes.

At the Walt Disney Dolphin, the sculptures are three-dimensional where guests can't touch them and two-dimensional, like in the indoor fountain, where they can be touched. At the Walt Disney Swan, it is reversed and the sculptures are generally three-dimensional where they can be touched by guests (like the interior fountain), but two-dimensional (like the monkeys and parrots) where they can't be touched.

Where is the entrance to the Walt Disney Dolphin? No, it is not at the porte cochere (where cars drop off their passengers). It is facing the Walt Disney Swan.

The dolphins in the fountain facing the Walt Disney Swan were supposed to be three-dimensional, but Graves was told to space them out wider because they obstructed the view. Instead, Graves simply sliced the dolphins, making what he called "dolphin filets," and keeping them exactly where they were but opening up the space. He also made the fountain smaller since the dolphins are now two-dimensional and needed to be able to be touched.

When you enter a hotel, the check-in desk is usually on the right-hand side because most guests are right-handed. In the Walt Disney Dolphin it is on the left-hand side. The tent-covered rotunda is also disorienting without landmarks or icons for guests to determine which direction they need to go to get to their room. These were deliberate choices to create a sense of disorientation by Graves.

"It was to be a hotel for conventions and when you attend a convention, what do you want the participants to do? You want them to think differently, to see things from a different perspective. So the design is encouraging that," said Graves.

The Walt Disney Swan is completely different. The entrance is where the porte cochere is. The check-in desk is on the right hand side. The hallways are designed in an angular fashion so that is it easier to locate where you are and where you might want to go. Graves partnered with interior design firm of Wilson and Associates to create rich beach-themed color schemes, hand-painted murals, lily pond carpets, room doors painted to look like striped cabanas, sea shell light fixtures and more to capture the spirit of a playful tropical beach.

"Both inside and out, the hotel was designed to echo the tropical Florida landscape, as well as the fun and whimsy of the nearby Disney attractions and an aura of fantasy that appeals to guests of all ages," said Graves.

WDW~Lover
06-09-2008, 08:45 AM
I do think that used to be. One was a Sheraton and one was a Westin. Now though, if you go to Starwood.com and look at Orlando hotels - they both come up, so I would assume they both fall under the Starwood name at this time. I could be wrong though :confused3 but that's the way it looks.

ell, I just went to look on-line to get a rate for the Swan and westin popped up. so I was just going by that. And I have ressies at the Dolphin and they just sent me a starwoods card. so again I am just going by what it has been saying.

JRDMAN
06-09-2008, 08:47 AM
Sheraton, Westin, Four Points are ALL owned by the Starwood corp., making Swan and Dolphin Starwood properties

LadyTrampScamp&Angel
06-09-2008, 08:57 AM
I just went to look on-line to get a rate for the Swan and westin popped up. so I was just going by that. And I have ressies at the Dolphin and they just sent me a starwoods card. so again I am just going by what it has been saying.

I can see how it all can get confusing :)

minnie61650 - thanks for the history. They ought to print an explanation out of the theme and give it to you when you check in 'cause I couldn't figure out what the monkeys and some other birds & animals had to do with the Swan theme, or Disney. There's like a million theories on the "street" about that black box. I just don't think it's obvious to most guests - while still being a nice hotel.

goofy4tink
06-09-2008, 09:05 AM
Love the Dolphin, ambivalent about Swan. I had a few great stays at the Dolphin but a really disappointing stay at the Swan. No power, so couldn't get room keys when we checked in, had to wait for the next day which made it hard to head out to grab something to eat over at Picabu at the Dolphin. Then, the next day dh returned to the room at 9:40 pm to find the room untouched..unmade beds, wet towels still in the tub. And when he called down to housekeeping he was told someone would be right up to make the beds....ah, right, so he could go to sleep in one as soon as the housekeeper left. No, just bring fresh towels.

You can't use the DDP or DME but that's about it. Oh, you can't charge back to your room, unless it's within the hotel itself. But, the toiletries are topnotch. And the beds are so comfy. I wouldn't hesitate to stay at the Dolphin again with a good rate. I get plenty of Mickey elsewhere.

shellybaxter
06-09-2008, 09:09 AM
I've stayed at the Swolphin a few times on business. They're very good business traveler hotels.

When are you visiting?

That is why we don't stay there when we visit. They are very nice business traveler hotels and remind us of all of the other business hotel we stay at for work; that is the "not disney" part for us and it is a deal breaker

PamNC
06-09-2008, 09:24 AM
We LOVE, repeat LOVE the Disney owned resorts. Our faves are YC/BC and the Poly. However, with the great rates at the Swan and Dolphin, you can't beat it! This will be our third time...we leave Wednesday.

It feels PLENTY Disney to me. We don't do the dining plan or charge to our room key so that doesn't factor in. You don't get Mickey soaps or shampoo, or hidden Mickey's on the bedspread. But, the hotels are truly a 4 star experience. The location alone, and the great staff, make is DISNEY-ISH to me.

Think about this, you're right there - right beside the YC/BC and the Boardwalk. You are immersed all day long in Disney. They have the Disney in-room TV...stacey's must see's. All you miss is the soap, shampoo, "Disney" bedspreads, THAT'S IT.

PamNC

minnie61650
06-09-2008, 09:36 AM
We LOVE, repeat LOVE the Disney owned resorts. Our faves are YC/BC and the Poly. However, with the great rates at the Swan and Dolphin, you can't beat it! This will be our third time...we leave Wednesday.

It feels PLENTY Disney to me. We don't do the dining plan or charge to our room key so that doesn't factor in. You don't get Mickey soaps or shampoo, or hidden Mickey's on the bedspread. But, the hotels are truly a 4 star experience. The location alone, and the great staff, make is DISNEY-ISH to me.

Think about this, you're right there - right beside the YC/BC and the Boardwalk. You are immersed all day long in Disney. They have the Disney in-room TV...stacey's must see's. All you miss is the soap, shampoo, "Disney" bedspreads, THAT'S IT.

PamNC

I agree.

I will gladly give up the soap, shampoo, & "Disney" bedspreads for those "heavenly beds"!

-------------------------------------------------------------
I love the Swan & Dolpin resorts.

The Swan/Dolphin offen has great rates that cost about as much as a Disney Moderate.

They are real 4 star hotels with stellar service.

They are Deluxe but not as expensive as Disney's Deluxe resorts.



The heavenly beds are ...well heavenly.

The Grotto pool and hot tubs are fun and relaxing.

Plus Epcot and MGM are just a short boat ride or walk away!

From Epcot hop on the monorail and head on over to the MK!


http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a175/minnie61650/swan100.jpg

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a175/minnie61650/dolp2.jpg

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a175/minnie61650/dolp43.jpg

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a175/minnie61650/dolp5.jpg

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a175/minnie61650/dolph21.jpg

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a175/minnie61650/swan25.jpg

*note photos are from allearsnet

Have fun at Disney wherever you choose to stay!:wizard:

airhead
06-09-2008, 11:18 AM
...to feel "Disneyish"????? Its the location! Have a great vacation!!:goofy:

NancyIL
06-09-2008, 02:09 PM
The Dolphin is still a Sheraton and the Swan is still a Westin. And as mentioned above - Sheraton and Westin are part of the Starwood group.

I love the Swan (my preference) and the Dolphin. I've stayed at the Swan 3 times this year, and will be at the Dolphin at the end of the month. I'm glad they aren't over-the-top Disney hotels, because then they'd be crawling with kids! :teeth:

To the OP - if you want "Disneyness" out the wazoo - choose a different resort.

biz410
06-09-2008, 02:28 PM
The main drawback for me in not being able to use Magical Express, which is just awesome.

mintywinty127
06-09-2008, 05:30 PM
Thanks everybody for your wonderful insight. I don't believe I am going to choose the swan or dolphin. I've never been to disney world, and I don't want to run the risk of my resort not being disney enough.
Mickey soaps mean more to me than you could ever imagine.

Thanks again!

MickeyNicki
06-09-2008, 05:56 PM
To us it is no different than the CR....the only thing Disney about that place was the monorail (to us anyways). We love the Swolphin because of the location

steffali
06-10-2008, 11:51 AM
Can someone tell me if there is Concierge level rooms at the Swan/Dolphin? also can we have our packages sent to the rooms from the parks??

How are the pools do either of them have a zero entry? Do they use the same transportation as the WDW resorts do????

Redbudlover
06-10-2008, 12:14 PM
I would like to know about the pool and packages questions, too. Does anyone know? I do know they use Disney transportation and can utilize EMH hours...

goofy4tink
06-10-2008, 12:17 PM
Yes, you can have your park purchased packages sent back to the S/D. As for the pool, I don't think it is zero entry. But, I could be wrong. But it is a great pool complex. I 'believe' the only zero entry pools at WDW are at AKL, SAB at the YC/BC and the Polynesian.

BadgerBruce
06-10-2008, 03:17 PM
We felt guest services, room amenities, & housekeeping was equal to, or better than, any the other Epcot resorts we stayed at. The location puts you within easy walking distance of Epcot, DHS & all the evening fun of the Boardwalk. Seems pretty magical to us!! If we could get a good rate, and if I could pull DW away from our wonderful CSR, we would gladly return to the S/D.

Lureen
06-10-2008, 03:50 PM
They don't have the theming that the Disney resorts, but IMO they make up for that with their fabulous amenitities. Depending on the time of year you go and what discounts you qualify for, you may pay less to stay there than in the moderates.

The food court type place, Picabu's, is open 24/7. Best of all, it serves Starbucks for your refillable mug. :cloud9: Starbucks is also available in your room.

There are those Heavenly beds. And their toiletries are great! B&BW Coconut Lime Verbena shampoo and lotion, Warm Vanilla Sugar bath soap.

redzinner
06-10-2008, 07:31 PM
Sheraton, Westin, Four Points are ALL owned by the Starwood corp., making Swan and Dolphin Starwood properties

Starwood manages the hotels but Tishman Hotel Corp (http://www.tishmanhotels.com/portfolio.html)owns them. Disney owns the land, Tishman owns the buildings, Starwood manages the hotels.
The two hotels have some of the best restaurants and adult lounges on Disney property...for our enjoyment anyway.;)