View Full Version : All Star Sport vs Dolphin
06-19-2002, 07:42 AM
Here is my wonderful problem. $77 for ASsp or $129 for Dolphin (Gov rate) With the help of some really special people in chat last night I have been swayed towards the Dolphin. (BTW - Newbies, you can learn a lot in the chat rooms!) Now the math!
$385 for 5 nights at ASsp or $645 at the Dolphin (plus any other possible charges One bed to two, etc..)
That comes out to $260 we could save, and letting our two sons use for buying souveniers.
The Dolphin really sounds nice, so here is my question:
Anyone want to give the All Star Sports a praise as a choice?
I was facing a similar decision and I opted for All-Stars. No matter how you look at it a buck saved is a buck saved. If money was no object, I suppose staying at the nicer resorts would be ok. I can't justify it. We've gone over a dozen times across 20 years and at the beginning we stayed at the higher priced places. I don't think you get enough in return for the price difference. I rather save the money towards another trip or better meals at the parks or souveniors. The only time I would make an exception to the rule would be a special celebration like an anniversary or honeymoon. Then, I would say shoot the works.
The Swan and Dolphin is close to Epcot and that makes it very convenient for that park. I've heard recently that this resort has been slipping in customer satisfaction but I don't want to start a debate here. You do get a bigger room. Remember though, you don't have the Disney theming there, nor the Mickey wake-up call or the special Mickey soap, etc.
Okay, the All-Stars has a smaller room and you are further from the parks. You do have the football field which all the kids love and the swimming pool is good. I feel for what you pay you are getting the best deal at Disney. You get the perks of Disney theming, etc. without the higher price tags. Also, McDonald's is very close. You have the food courts which are reasonably priced. You still can get the refillable mugs there for the beverages. Parking is easy enough and that's a plus, too.
If you are never going again I may make the exception to the above and go for a higher priced resort. But even so, it would not be the Swan and Dolphin. Good luck.
06-19-2002, 09:07 AM
We have stayed at both. We love the Dolphin, have stayed there three times. (three long weekend trips). We had never considered staying at a value resort...but then we did...we stayed one night at the All Star Sports...thought it was fine...since then we have stayed 4 times, and will be there again next weekend (long weekend trips all 4 times).
Sure the rooms are smaller, but the resort has to be the best laid out/planned on disney property. There is plenty of parking near all rooms. Even if you are in the furthest building back...which we usually are because we get the annual passholder rate...you are still only a couple minute walk...at most...from the main building, food court, pool, laundry room, bus stop. The food at the food court is excellent...not your mall food court food. They have made to order pasta...totally delicious. They have excellent breakfast choices, lunch and dinner menus and some of the same things and some things change. The pizza is pretty good as well.
If you like to have a drink after a long day in the parks...the bar at the pool is also great. Yes, there is a refillable beer glass (yard or something)...works just like the refillable pop/coffee mugs.
It all depends on what you are going to do while at disney...but I enjoy saving money on the room and spending it on a great meal or extra souveniers.
06-19-2002, 09:32 AM
Welcome to the DIS, Troyfus! Doing the math with tax included - 5 nights at All-Star Sports @$77 plus 12% tax = $431.20. Five nights at the Dolphin @ $129 plus 11% tax (the hotels are in different counties - thus different tax rates) = $715.95...a difference of $284.75. If you are unable to waive the $8/night resort fee at the Dolphin, that will add another $40 to your bill - making the price difference $324.75. Only you can decide if it's worth spending that much more for the Dolphin. I was happy both times I stayed at ASMovies, and I also loved the Swan and Dolphin. Good luck with your decision!
06-19-2002, 12:37 PM
Why not do like many here do. Split your trip between the 2. Maybe do 2 nights at the Dolphin and 3 nights at the Sports. That way your total hotel will be $545.10 (including tax but not including the $8 a night fee for the Dolphin that nancyIL mentioned in her post). As compared to the sports for 5 nights $431.20(including tax) or the Dolphin for 5 night $715.95(including tax but not the resort fee).
I noticed in another post you are going June of next year. So make sure you keep an eye out for the discounts in the future. That will help cut the cost of maybe the all stat making it easier to stay at both resorts.
06-19-2002, 12:51 PM
The Dolphin is a beautiful hotel and the grotto pool area is fantastic. If it were up to me I'd probably pick the Dolphin just because of the location and bigger rooms.
However, if you ask the other 3 members of my family, the All Star Sports would win hands down, even at the same cost. Our kids didn't notice how small the room was, but loved the pools, the Mickey wake up calls, and the multiple Disney information channels with the "Tip for Today".
My wife loves the Disney store and because of this the All Stars won her over. Instead of the typical gift shop hats, glasses, etc., the gift shop at the All Stars is big and is a lot like our Disney Store at home as far as items and selection. For her, it was great because she could walk to the All Stars "Disney Store" whenever she wanted.
The Dolphin (and Swan) are beautiful, the location is fantastic, and the service for us was excellent. However, for our family, the All Stars was just more "fun", it was more than just a place to sleep. For a cost savings of $50+ per night, the All Stars would be an easy choice for us.
06-19-2002, 03:06 PM
I would spend the extra money and stay at the Dolphin. Having fought the crowd to get on a bus (not really fighting, just waiting..) after Illuminations and Fantasmic, imagine how nice it will be to casually stroll along the BW on your way to your room. You're almost in your room on the way back from MGM, again without fighting the crowds. Just that little aggravation savings is a big plus to both me and my DH.
On the other side of the coin, we stayed at the AS Sp on our last vacation and absolutely hated it. I likened it to an EconoLodge with Disney theming while we were there. I felt like we were so far removed from everything, too. That's my opinion.. not meant to offend anyone who likes the AS's.
06-19-2002, 03:26 PM
We have stayed at both. We stayed at the Dolphin a 2nd time, just last week. I can't stress location enough!!! The Dolphin is right smack dab in the middle of Disney within easy walking distance of both Epoct and MGM!
If you don't want to walk, the boats are awesome! The captains always have cute tidbits to share on Disney.
If you really need to save on money, go with the All Stars.....if you want to save on valuable Disney time, go with the Dolphin!!!:cool:
06-19-2002, 07:27 PM
We have also stayed at both. When we stayed at ASSp we paid $49/night. It was well worth that price. My DS loved the hotel. I had become use to the moderates and although I enjoyed my DS's enthusiasm for the hotel I prefered the moderates. This last trip we stayed at the Dolphin for $129/night and we were all very happy. I thought the Dolphin was well worth the extra money. I loved walking to Epcot, taking the boat to MGM, all the restaurant choices, the pool, covered walkways, and being close to the boardwalk. I would definetely stay there again for $129/night.
06-19-2002, 08:54 PM
Well, I made some calls today and I got some new numbers.
For $603.00 at ASsp, we'll get 5 nights including tax, airport trans, and travel ins.
For $916.00 at S/D, we'll get 5 nights including tax and resort fee. Airport trans and travel ins not included.
4 Delta roundtrips from Dallas to Orlando = $1050
4 5-day park Hoppers plus $ 888
5 Nights at ASsp (plugging in cheapest) $ 603
For a basic total of $2511
Amex White Glove Package to ASsp = just under $2700
This includes all of the above with Ultimate Hopper instead, plus the following:
4 trading pins and lanyards, Storytelling session or Animal Stories Live at AK (good?)
One Flex feature each person
Misc...discounts for other purchases
For $200 are these extras worth it? Anyone familiar with the Storytelling or Animal Stories features?
06-19-2002, 10:45 PM
All-Star Sports went from $431.20 to $603...that's an extra ~$170 for Mears transfers and insurance. You can get a limo for the family for about $85 round-trip, and you really don't need trip insurance just for the hotel room. If you have to cancel within 5 days (or whatever the time period) - you're out only $77 plus tax.
How did the Dolphin go from being $755.95 (includes $40 resort fee) to $916 with nothing else included?
You are still going in early January, right? Since you have only 5 days in the parks - I doubt you'll want to spend time at the one water park that is open - though you might want to go to Disney Quest once.
06-19-2002, 11:56 PM
I think the Swan/Dolphin went up because of the beds. When I looked myself, the One King size was $129. For two double beds (2 boys & spouse + I) it was a little higher. $154 or so if I remember correctly.
I haven't decided on the ASsp or Amex package. I was just sharing what I was choosing between. So if I compare apples to apples: no mears or insurance then I'd have a difference close to $450 or $90/night
The downside to the package is that a six day Ultimate is more than what we need. Like you said, water parks in January! Maybe if there is a heat wave....odds too high. Plus UPHs expire and are for length of stay. That would be a six day vs five that we would probably get otherwise. My idea is that the savings from buying reg Hoppers could be rolled into the cost of staying at the Dolphin.
What are the prices exactly for 6-day UPHs anyway? Adult and child.
06-20-2002, 01:26 AM
Welcome to the DIS Troyfus! :D I prefer the DOLPHIN...for most of the same reasons all the other DISers pointed out. Sometimes, your time is more valuable than the extra $$$. It all depends on your personal situations and perspective. Hey, some folks love "roughing it" in tents in Ft. Wilderness. So, to each~his own!
You still have a LOT of time to Save some extra pennies, and perhaps even split the trip as others suggested. I think you are being "taken" (by the quotes you posted) for the transportation & ins.
Nancy is correct...question the necessity of the MEARS shuttle & insurance. These are both unecessary, and the LIMO she suggested is more than reasonable (even makes a Stop at the store for little snack items, soda, etc.!). There is probably NO way you will have the time or desire for a water park in your itinerary. I would NIX the White Glove Pkg., unless they offered you something spectacular, like $250 in Disney Dollars upon arrival (which they DID once for moi!). ;)
Enjoy your planning. Either way, you're still in WDW~enjoying the MAGIC!:D
06-20-2002, 07:27 AM
Just returned from the Swan and we got the $129 rate for 2 queen beds. The resort fee was waved very easily. We LOVED it (better than the Beach Club!) The service, pool, and LOCATION made it an incredible deal. It was so nice to have transportation options (if the boat was late, we just walked.) Good luck and let us know what you decide.
06-20-2002, 07:28 AM
Their online reservation showed an increase for doubles, and when I called that was the lowest they had as well. Maybe the $129 double rooms were full?
06-20-2002, 07:30 AM
Forgot to mention that for our "standard view" price, we could see Illuminations from our window! Also could see MGM, the lagoon, and the Boardwalk swimming pool. At BC for our standard room we looked out over the roof : )
06-20-2002, 08:26 AM
Troyfus, the $154 rate is for the lake view. It could very well be that they are sold out of the standard view rooms. In that case - you have more of a reason to stay at ASsp. However - I still wouldn't go with the package. Disney Club and AAA discounts haven't been announced yet for January, and when they are - you might be able to save an extra 10-15% off the room rate.
06-20-2002, 08:47 AM
I just checked rates at the Swan and Dolphin online for arrival Dec. 31 for 6 nights (as you mentioned you would fly in on NYE). BOTH show availability @ $129 for 2 beds!!!! Grab it now...you can always cancel later!!! :bounce:
06-20-2002, 09:19 PM
Thanks everyone for your help. What threw me off at the Dolphin reservation site was that I had chosen a non-smoking pref. That gave no $129 doubles. No pref showed availabilities. So I called the main reservation line for Weston Hotels and the lady who took my call confirmed that non-smoking $129 doubles showed no availability. Not giving up, I called the Dolphin Hotel itself. Awesome choice. She confirmed us for a non-smoking pref double at the $129 rate. She also said that the resort fee could be waived if we ask at check-in. So main reservations have been made.
Delta Air RT for 4 = $1020
WD Dolphin for 6 nights = $ 860
TTC w/Passport coupon = $ 72
All we have to do now is buy our Park Hoppers with DC discount
I believe that would be = $ 784 for 5 day hoppers
For a grand total on essentials of = $2737
Misc parking fee & tips take it to $2800
That's for 6 nights at the Dolphin!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
06-20-2002, 09:58 PM
Congratulations, Troyfus! :bounce: I think availability truly did change from the first time you phoned, because I also saw no double/double rooms at a $129 rate when I first checked online this morning. However, your persistence paid off! :D I think you will have a great time at the Dolphin, and it will really "blow your family's socks off"!
06-20-2002, 10:24 PM
Saving about $300 by staying at the All Star would have been nice for souveniers, etc... BUT I got to thinking about the early closing times and the chance for really cold weather and wondered what my kids would do. 4 Heated pools, miniature golf, and the Camp Dolphin answered that question. Then there is my wife. She DESERVES the upgrade in celebration of our 10th. Anyone who has put up with me for that long DESERVES to have something special to remember. Do you have any special places at the Dolphin or elsewhere that creates a special magic moment that we might check out. Something not often posted or written about?
06-20-2002, 10:43 PM
Troyfus - be sure to let the Dolphin staff know you will be celebrating your 10th anniversary. If you want to be closest to the pools, Tubbi's Buffeteria, and the laundry/game room/bus stop - ask for a room in the west wing.
There are a number of restaurants within the Swan and Dolphin, plus the ones at the Boardwalk and Yacht/Beach Club to choose from. For nighttime entertainment when the kids are at Camp Dolphin- Jellyrolls on the Boardwalk is a fun (but smoky) piano bar. If you like karaoke - Kimono's at the Swan has it nightly. If you feel like dancing - there's Atlantic Dance - also on the Boardwalk!
06-21-2002, 12:04 AM
We Stayed at All Stars music, and I am pretty sure it is the same layout with the exception of theming. We had the advantage of staying on site at a reduced price- more money for souveniers. We spent so much time in the parks that it would have been a huge waste of money to stay at a more expensive hotel such as the Dolphin. The themed pools at All Stars was very satisfying for my children. If you want to spend most of your time at the parks- stay at All Stars. If you want to relax more and enjoy your resort amenities then stay at the Dolphin.:D
06-21-2002, 03:22 AM
I had the same chose as you and boy did we ever choose Wrong! When we went for the All Star Music - Jazz. We had a Nightmare of a room,soaking wet carpet,broken stuff,lousy maid service,we couldn't get a bar of soap in that room for 4 days!! There isn't any themeing of anything Disney in the rooms.I couldn't beleive that..... And the WDW Vacation breaker for ME at Jazz was that there are MEN ALL over the wallpaper that stare at you when you are in the bathroom,very creepy,one even has a pop eye,and he is everywhere,even in the shower!!
Believe your wife will thank you for chosing the Dolphin over All Stars!!
06-21-2002, 11:31 AM
Ok. You sold me and I bought. Now I need help. We haven't really vacationed for years. What do I tip for these types of services?
Tiffany Town Car?
Dolphin luggage service?
It will be New Years too, do you tip more?
Any others we should be prepared for?
I want to tip reasonably within our budget, but have no idea of where to start.
06-21-2002, 11:45 AM
I haven't used a towncar service - so you might want to post that question on the Transportation board. I'm guessing you would tip 10-15% of the total (before coupon), and split that in half, as you may have different drivers each way.
For housekeeping, we tipped $1 per person per day. So, $4-$5 each day is sufficient. We encountered two different people handling our luggage the last time we checked in at the Dolphin - one who unloaded our car as we drove up, and one who showed us to our room. I think $1 per bag is the usual, but split that in half if you have two people helping you.
I don't think you need to tip extra at New Year's unless you get extra special service.
Now that you have the BIG decisions taken care of, you can enjoy the next 6 months of planning the minor details of your trip! :D
**I wanted to add that all the Christmas decorations will still be up when you arrive. Be SURE to see the Osborne Lights at MGM!
06-21-2002, 11:48 AM
OK, I'll bite on your questions to Nancy.
Towncar = $10 each way.
Luggage Service = $1-2 per bag.
Housekeeping = $1 pp per day.
Since it is the holiday time and you are on vacation and they are stuck working, I would probably tip a little better than usual. Remember your waiters and waitresses, too, for good service, with a higher tip.
Don't tip anymore than you can afford, though. WDW is expensive enough without having to work overtime just because you were a generous tipper. ;)
06-21-2002, 03:03 PM
You will be so glad you went with the Dolphin!!!
Don't forget to buy a couple of Refillable Mugs.....that should certainly save you a few $$!:)
You will also get 20% off of all food items at both Tubbis and the Dolphin Fountain by using your DC card. For us, that was a BIG help!!:D
06-21-2002, 05:21 PM
Originally posted by Troyfus
also said that the resort fee could be waived if we ask at check-in. So main reservations have been made.
Delta Air RT for 4 = $1020
Congratulations on getting your trip booked. Now the wait begins. EEK :) We are going the second week in December and now that im all booked I don't know what to do with myself :) Could someone please speed up time!!!
One suggestion on the air fare. You might want to see if Delta has a similar policy as American on air fare. As I understand if you book a flight on American and you see the fare go down before the date of travel you can call and get a Rollover. From what I have been told they will give you the lower rate then issue credit vouchers for the difference. I'm not sure if Delta does the same. Delta does come up with pretty good deals from time to time. Last year they had $100 including taxes (of course I was booked on American already :( ) and for our trip in December we got $155 including taxes. This was from DFW to Orlando.
06-21-2002, 05:23 PM
Originally posted by Troyfus
TTC w/Passport coupon = $ 72
Are you talking about Tiffany Town Car? Where did you find this coupon? I sure would like to get my hands on one too. The coupon I have is for $5.00. Sure would rather $72 then $85.
06-21-2002, 08:29 PM
we have now stayed twice at the ALL STARS and we will not be doing it again no matter how much we save!
Been there done that NOT going back....
We stayed at the Swan last May and Loved it.
you made a good choice in picking the dolphin.
06-21-2002, 09:21 PM
I believe the rates for Tiffany Town Car are $85 for the Magic Kingdom Resorts and $80 for all other Disney Resorts. Wouldn't the Dolphin rate be $80 then?
The coupon is for $8 off and it is in the back of the current edition of Passporter. Wow this book is fabulous! I'm really getting into this, now.
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