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Old 10-15-2012, 11:45 AM   #1366
Dan Murphy
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Originally Posted by Rich_NY View Post
Thanks Dan......is it better to be lets say at a monorail hotel? if I got a deal with meal plan included for us, will that saving be enough to make it worth it to try Disney hotel? Im just trying to weigh all my options. Thanks.
Well, monorail gives you nice access to MK and Epcot, S/D and the boats there give you nice access to Epcot and the Studios. I am not one for the meal plans. If speaking of 'free' dining, you do have to pay rack rates for the hotel, which are stunningly high, at least to me they are.

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Originally Posted by SideshowBob View Post
Friday night SwanDolphin Food & Wine Classic photo ... a very nice night!
Great picture, SSB. Wish I was there.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:06 PM   #1367
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Originally Posted by Flews View Post
Right where the old one was, between the Swan and the grotto pool. It's much larger, has some great slides and climbing features, and the ground is made of that soft, bouncy rubber stuff. So very safe for kids of all ages.

Cheers,
Thanks, Flews! Our son will love it, I'm sure. He had a ball with the old one.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:07 AM   #1368
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I usually go to WDW solo, so I take Mears @ $34 roundtrip. However, in July I stayed at the Swan with 2 of my kids, so we used Tiffany Towncar for the first time (http://tiffanytowncar.com/). The price for a RT towncar ($109 minus $5 coupon) was only a few dollars more than if the 3 of us had taken Mears. The one-way price is $60 - which is still a great rate for the 3 arriving within a few hours of each other. However, I wouldn't want to be the one arriving first - who has to wait for the others!
This is perfect information!!! Thanks to everyone for answering my questions. The more I think about it, the less I really want to drive back and forth to the airport.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:19 AM   #1369
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Friday night SwanDolphin Food & Wine Classic photo ... a very nice night!
Such a beautiful photo for the evening. Were those wine kiosks on the lawn on the left and right and down the center walkway? I wish that I was there, too. But I can't wait to be there in November/December for my first time at the beautiful Swan Resort.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:46 PM   #1370
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I'll be checking into the Swan for six nights in just under two weeks, and I have a couple of questions - if anyone could help I'd very much appreciate it!

1) Approximately how long is the travel time to MK and AK once you're actually on the bus? I can't find this info anywhere, and I could really use it to help plan out my days.

2) I've decided to rent a car for my first 24 hours in Orlando as the price was comparable to a cab, and it will let me stop by Downtown Disney to collect my AP the night I arrive, and of course a Walmart or Publix to stock up on the essentials at non-Disney prices! I went with Alamo as there is an office at the Dolphin - but I have no idea how to go about returning a car there! If I just drive up towards the Dolphin entrance will it be obvious where to go, or will I need directions?

Any advice or opinion would be great!
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:56 PM   #1371
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I'll be checking into the Swan for six nights in just under two weeks, and I have a couple of questions - if anyone could help I'd very much appreciate it!

1) Approximately how long is the travel time to MK and AK once you're actually on the bus? I can't find this info anywhere, and I could really use it to help plan out my days.

2) I've decided to rent a car for my first 24 hours in Orlando as the price was comparable to a cab, and it will let me stop by Downtown Disney to collect my AP the night I arrive, and of course a Walmart or Publix to stock up on the essentials at non-Disney prices! I went with Alamo as there is an office at the Dolphin - but I have no idea how to go about returning a car there! If I just drive up towards the Dolphin entrance will it be obvious where to go, or will I need directions?

Any advice or opinion would be great!

1) Depending on whether the bus stops at the Yacht and Beach Club after picking up at the Dolphin (after the Swan) - you should be at AK or MK within ~ 20 minutes. In my experience, the Swan and Dolphin usually share only with the Boardwalk when going to the MK and AK. All 5 resorts share a bus going to Downtown Disney.

2) Returning a rental car to the Dolphin is very easy. First - fill the gas tank at the Hess station that's right off Buena Vista Drive - near the entrance to the Boardwalk. Then drive to the entrance of the Dolphin - where a valet will write down the mileage and fuel level, give you a piece of paper showing when you returned the car, and drive your car to the lot. You'll probably be e-mailed a final receipt, as the valet doesn't have that information.
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:34 PM   #1372
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Not to get too far OT, but....how do you check rates for Alamo, picking up at MCO and dropping off at the Dolphin? That might be perfect for our next split IOA/WDW trip!!
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:40 PM   #1373
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Thanks for the quick reply NancyIL - seems like a great system they have for returning the rentals! As for the busses, am I right in assuming they come by approx every twenty mins? If so I think I'll allow around 40 mins door to door.

Cgattis, I just searched via Alamo's website - selected MCO as the pickup point, chose to return to another location, then selected the Dolphin. I wouldn't have bothered with a rental, but being able to return at the Dolphin is just so convenient!
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:52 PM   #1374
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Thanks for the quick reply NancyIL - seems like a great system they have for returning the rentals! As for the busses, am I right in assuming they come by approx every twenty mins? If so I think I'll allow around 40 mins door to door.
Yes, the buses should come about every 20 minutes, so 40 minutes is a good estimate.
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:59 PM   #1375
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Is there somewhere at the S/D where you can just grab a bagel, a box of cereal or just some fruit in the AM? Just something really quick like that.
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Old 10-16-2012, 03:23 PM   #1376
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It's too bad you had room issues at the Swan. Did you mention the problems with the AC vent and the bathroom ceiling while you were there? If you didn't - then not saying anything to the hotel but reporting your dissatisfaction on a discussion forum isn't really fair to the hotel. I understand that it was a free stay, but the issues you had should've been mentioned so you could've been moved to a more acceptable room.

I was there for the opening days of the Food & Wine Festival. Weekend nights are the most crowded, and lots of people drinking = a larger number of drunks. I prefer to "graze" at the food booths on week days.
We did report it, and they were very apologetic and offered to switch our room, as you might expect. We unfortunately didn't notice the little pile building up on our suitcase until the 2nd day [I unpack all of the clothes when we arrive so no need to go back to the suitcase on a regular basis]. Honestly if I didn't have to iron [I know, I'm crazy right??] and lean over the suitcase to plug it in, I probably would never have noticed! We are commando park goers - even with our 9 and 7 year olds in tow - and honestly since we were only there 3 nights [one already down and one about to begin] we didn't want to waste the time. NOT to say I wasn't concerned, but I thought it would be "ok" for our short duration . I really just posted it so others can "look" for this when they arrive and before they "settle" in to make the room switch much easier

We did have a wonderful time at EPCOT and the festival the first time we went, which wasn't on the weekend, so you're probably right about steering clear on weekend nights!
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:08 PM   #1377
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Picabu is open 24 hours and has all sorts of grab-and-go stuff--both fresh and off-the-shelf items. It's sort of at the end of the buffet line, by the registers. They also have their own refillable mug, which I meant to ask about but forgot.
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:15 PM   #1378
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Picabu is open 24 hours and has all sorts of grab-and-go stuff--both fresh and off-the-shelf items. It's sort of at the end of the buffet line, by the registers. They also have their own refillable mug, which I meant to ask about but forgot.
Keep in mind there is a 20% AAA discount, but also, a 13% service charge at Picabu, apparently even on carry out items.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:39 PM   #1379
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Originally Posted by JustLikeMe View Post
I'll be checking into the Swan for six nights in just under two weeks, and I have a couple of questions - if anyone could help I'd very much appreciate it!

1) Approximately how long is the travel time to MK and AK once you're actually on the bus? I can't find this info anywhere, and I could really use it to help plan out my days.

2) I've decided to rent a car for my first 24 hours in Orlando as the price was comparable to a cab, and it will let me stop by Downtown Disney to collect my AP the night I arrive, and of course a Walmart or Publix to stock up on the essentials at non-Disney prices! I went with Alamo as there is an office at the Dolphin - but I have no idea how to go about returning a car there! If I just drive up towards the Dolphin entrance will it be obvious where to go, or will I need directions?

Any advice or opinion would be great!

In addition to NancyIL's reply....

Keep in mind that many times the Dolphin is the last pick up on the way to MK. If you're going at a busy time of year it's likely that the bus will already be very full by the time it gets to the Dolphin. This past June we waited an hour to go to MK because we got there right as a bus was leaving, waited 20 minutes for the next one, it came and had no room, waited another 20 minutes for the next one, it came and it was full (at this point people were getting pretty heated ) The next one came and had room for half the people waiting (which caused mayhem* because some people don't realize "first come, first served.") All this in addition to the 20 minute ride there. Granted, this isn't an all the time thing, but if you have ressies or something important, be cautious that it might take longer

*Most of the problem we had with people waiting is that a huge dance group came up behind those of us who'd been waiting 40 minutes and flipped out that they should get on before us because they had a dinner reservation and there were 15 of them that all needed to ride together.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:59 PM   #1380
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Just changed my reservation for New Years Eve from POR to the Dolphin! Planning on spending the night at Epcot and partying till the wee hours! So happy we will be able to walk to Epcot and not face the hoards of people in the parking lot or bus line!
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