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Old 08-08-2014, 12:02 PM   #31
Coconut8473
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If Magical Express or free dining isn't a factor, I'll almost always pick the Dolphin, even if it's a few dollars more. Can't beat the location (walking or boat distance to two parks) and it's definitely got the luxe feel. Rooms are big and comfortable, and I think the decor and atmosphere are whimsical enough to give you a magical experience, while being slightly more subdued/relaxing at the same time (this is nice when coming "home" late after a crazy day in the parks.) I love the spa there too! Also - it's the one on-property resort that is managed by a hotel chain, not Disney, so if you are a Starwood Preferred Guest member, you can earn and use loyalty points. (If you stay, it's worth signing up for SPG, even if you're not currently a member.)
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:13 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by 999DoomBuggies View Post
Alright, so I booked the dolphin and now I am having second thoughts. I have heard that since i have young children i need to be at POR. We have stayed at POR and it was good, just felt very spread out and the theming was alright.
Also, I should add, from the "little kid friendly" front, my 4-year-old absoultely LOVES the Dolphin! There's totally enough "magic" there to entertain and entrance kids, even if it's not as overt as some of the other Disney properties. If you go when it's pool weather, the pool and little playground area is awesome for little kids. And if any of your kids are still crib-age, they have actual cribs with comfortable mattresses, not just Pack N Plays. You can also request bed rails for the regular beds - my little guy loves the Sheraton Heavenly Beds (and so do I!)
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:07 PM   #33
DanInMN
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Originally Posted by 999DoomBuggies View Post
Alright, so I booked the dolphin and now I am having second thoughts. I have heard that since i have young children i need to be at POR. We have stayed at POR and it was good, just felt very spread out and the theming was alright. Is the dolphin seriously just a standard convention hotel with easy access to parks? Help what should we do? Again prices are identical after all fees, we do not need airport transportation, or to charge to our current magic bands.
The swan/dolphin are corporate convention hotels, not at all what we want on vacation. We stayed there once, never again. I'd rather stay offsite.

POR is a beautiful resort! The boat to DTD, free bus from the airport, and Yehaw Bob all add to the experience!
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:10 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by 999DoomBuggies View Post
personal question, do you have kiddos or have been to the dolphin as a kid? To be honest we visit parks from open to close every single day of our visit and we have yet to take an afternoon break. This will likely be the case for this trip.
I've never stayed at the Swalphin, but I've been visiting it since I was a kid.

I've been visiting WDW since I was 4. My first stay in a Disney hotel was at the age of 8. Though, we visited, ate, and shopped at the Disney hotels before that. Since then I've stayed at almost every Disney resort (GF, ASMo, ASSp, POP, AoA, CBR, and POR are the only holdouts). I've also continued staying offsite as well since then.

All that said, I've never felt like I was leaving property when I was going over to the Swalphin, which we like doing for a lot for Picabu (and dining in general). It's a great resort with an amazing pool, restaurants galore, easy access to the BW, and walking distance to two theme parks. I would pick it over POR in a heartbeat (which is a lovely resort too, but not on the same level).
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:30 PM   #35
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This is the saddest part, we are driving. We flew in January but budget and last minute trip planning makes flying almost double if we would have booked six weeks out.

13 hours in the car............................................... ............long time
Although you will be charged for parking at the Swan/Dolphin, that fee includes parking in all of WDW parking lots. We drove and stayed at the Swan for 2 nights knowing full well of the parking and resort fee. It was a fabulous stay.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:32 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by DanInMN View Post
The swan/dolphin are corporate convention hotels, not at all what we want on vacation. We stayed there once, never again. I'd rather stay offsite.

POR is a beautiful resort! The boat to DTD, free bus from the airport, and Yehaw Bob all add to the experience!
My wife would ditto the above pp. But I did not feel swan/dolphin has an off property feeling. It's funny how some see the Swan/Dolphin as not Disney feeling and how others feel disney there.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:49 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by 999DoomBuggies View Post
Alright, so I booked the dolphin and now I am having second thoughts. I have heard that since i have young children i need to be at POR. We have stayed at POR and it was good, just felt very spread out and the theming was alright.

Is the dolphin seriously just a standard convention hotel with easy access to parks? Help what should we do?

Again prices are identical after all fees, we do not need airport transportation, or to charge to our current magic bands.
I would hold on to those dolphin reservations for all the reasons other pp state. We have stayed at POR for our honeymoon, and Swan with a 6 year old. But, we are an afternoon swim break kind of family. Our son loved the room, pool, and that candy store in the dolphin. Also loved easy walk to Beaches and Cream at YC/BC. We drove that August from NY, and stayed a couple nights at Swan, then over at Poly CL 5 nights.

I don't see the swan/dolphin as just a convention hotel. I see it as a great Disney resort, but my wife sees it as a great resort that is not Disney.
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:20 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by 999DoomBuggies View Post
personal question, do you have kiddos or have been to the dolphin as a kid? To be honest we visit parks from open to close every single day of our visit and we have yet to take an afternoon break. This will likely be the case for this trip.
The S/D pools are stunning, DB. The kids will love them. Most of my stays are solo, but the past two years have been with my daughter and her two boys, now ages 7 and 5. They both loved the place. And they loved the extensive and elaborate pool areas. Truly a gem.

So many eating choices, from casual, 24 hour Picabu to the wonderful Fountain and its ice cream creations, to the 4 elegant signature restaurants, including the best steaks on property at Shula's.

So many plusses. All the while feeling like you are in the heart of Disney World.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:42 PM   #39
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The deluxe Dolphin or the moderate POR? Buses or boats/walk to Epcot and DHS? Large rooms with comfortable beds and interior corridors or a motel style resort with small rooms and soso beds? Almost unlimited dining options at Dolphin/surrounding hotels or food court and Boatrights at POR? Boat to DD at night or walk to the BW entertainment area? Good pool at either, but grotto at the Dlphin with kiddie area vs ole man swimming hole at POR?

Which would you choose?

I have stayed at both both with and without children. I would choose the Dolphin over the POR. It is definitely the better value, IMO.

My children grew up going to WQDW and have stayed in many WDW resorts. Their pick of the hotels always includes the Dolphin. Their favs (with children age 4 and 1) are still Poly, CR and Dolphin, BC.

I do split stays and the Dolphin is almost always part of the stay.

Which resort is "disney" to a person is so subjective. Walt's hotels were CR and Poly. Some people say that CR isn't 'Disney' themed. Some people think the value resorts are disney themed. I find them to be animated movie/cartoon themed. What is 'Disney' about the Pacific northwest? However, you rarely hear the the WL isn't 'Disney' themed.

The Dolphin is the better hotel and the better value even at
$50 - $100 more per night. However, if you like the style or appearance of POR more, than it is the better choice, perhaps, for you.

Both are nice hotels. We have always enjoyed our stay at either.

Good luck!
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:18 PM   #40
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I'll add my opinion here as well (and I'm a HUGE Disney fan who gets the "Magic").

First, many say the Swan and Dolphin are "Offsite" properties. I guess I don't really understand how you can call these hotels "Offsite" - not owned by Disney? sure, I get that - they aren't owned by Disney. But "Offsite"? They are very much onsite in my opinion - more onsite than some of the Disney owned resorts themselves. I guess that's just a term used to say they aren't owned by Disney. True, you can't get the dining plan, or magical express if you are staying at these resorts but unless that makes or breaks your trip, I wouldn't rule the hotel(s) out.

Both the Swan and Dolphin are far from generic resorts. I've stayed at plenty of Westin's and these are much more whimsical than most. We've had numerous stays at both the Swan and Dolphin and love both with Swan being slightly nicer and more quiet. True there's no hidden Mickey's in the room and lobby but look out the window or take a walk outside and you are in the heart of Disney World. Walking distance to Epcot is priceless (and DHS if you are up for it) and for the price you can't beat it. Walking back to your resort through the international gateway rather than the front of the park to wait for a bus after a long day in the park is quite a luxury.

Some people don't like that conventions sometimes occur at the resorts, but some of Disney's own hotels also host conventions - if seeing some business people in the lobby disrupts your vacation that might be a problem. It doesn't bother me - I'm there for Disney. I've stayed at the Contemporary and dealt with a loud and obnoxious party going on next to me which was much more annoying.

I wouldn't choose a moderate resort over the Swan or Dolphin - and even though were doing the YC this time, I still love both the Swan and Dolphin for a great location, BEST beds on property and generally a great bargain.

I think you'd be happy with Swan or Dolphin and kids would enjoy it just the same.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:23 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Babsy View Post
Which resort is "disney" to a person is so subjective. Walt's hotels were CR and Poly. Some people say that CR isn't 'Disney' themed. Some people think the value resorts are disney themed. I find them to be animated movie/cartoon themed. What is 'Disney' about the Pacific northwest? However, you rarely hear the the WL isn't 'Disney' themed.

Good luck!
I agree - some people say CR isn't Disney themed or lacks the Disney "Magic" - I mean, really? The monorail, one of the most iconic pieces of Disney World rolls right through it. I'm not a huge fan of CR myself, but not "Disney"?

I think that whole Disney feel thing has a lot to do with memories and sentimental value. We have lots of memories staying at the Swan and Dolphin and feel very at home in the Epcot resort area (have stayed at all of the resorts there except YC - which is coming up soon for us).
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