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Old 06-11-2012, 08:46 AM   #601
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Originally Posted by mayaflysmama View Post
A couple of questions.

We are staying at the Dolphin in December. Are there safes in the room? Are they big enough to hold an IPad?

If you decide not to have your room cleaned each day (we carry a lot of medical supplies and equipment/IV medication so this works out better/safer for us) can you go to the desk and just get your two bottles of water and coffee? How about towels? Won't need new towels every day, but we will be there 10 days.

Last year we stayed at POP and were able to just bring out own trash out and drop it in the housekeeper cleaning carts. Is there somewhere we can take out trash (we always have a lot of trash with my daughters medical care.)


Also, for those of you who have used town car service, how long before your trip did you book this? We were going to do a van and not a town car due to the volume of stuff we have, but not sure if that would make a difference.

Thanks in advance. Sorry for so many questions.
Goodness, don't worry about the questions. If no questions, this site would not exist, LOL.

I do not have a tablet, but do use the safe. I think it would accommodate a tablet. You can usually find housekeeping in the hallways after about 8 AM. They can give you coffee and towels. Water is brought to the room by another person who does just that.


I do not know about limo, I rent a car.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:58 AM   #602
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Also, for those of you who have used town car service, how long before your trip did you book this? We were going to do a van and not a town car due to the volume of stuff we have, but not sure if that would make a difference.

I usually book on-line with Tiffany Town Car about 2 weeks prior to pick up date. I then call 2 days in advance to confirm and give credit card information. I think you can book any time you want, but they do ask if it is less than 24 hours to call rather than book on-line. I don't know about volume, but their town cars are usually 1-4 people with up to 4 pieces of luggage or something like that. If you have concerns about volume I would call them directly to book.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:22 AM   #603
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayaflysmama View Post
A couple of questions.

We are staying at the Dolphin in December. Are there safes in the room? Are they big enough to hold an IPad?

If you decide not to have your room cleaned each day (we carry a lot of medical supplies and equipment/IV medication so this works out better/safer for us) can you go to the desk and just get your two bottles of water and coffee? How about towels? Won't need new towels every day, but we will be there 10 days.

Last year we stayed at POP and were able to just bring out own trash out and drop it in the housekeeper cleaning carts. Is there somewhere we can take out trash (we always have a lot of trash with my daughters medical care.)

Also, for those of you who have used town car service, how long before your trip did you book this? We were going to do a van and not a town car due to the volume of stuff we have, but not sure if that would make a difference.

Thanks in advance. Sorry for so many questions.
Book sooner than later if you need something other than a regular town car. My sister had some trouble arranging for a van that was wheelchair accessible for her daughter this past May. Better safe than sorry. Book it and then follow up before your trip.

If you need any supplies - new towels, etc, all you have to do is call Housekeeping. There is a special button with a direct line right on the phone. They are wonderful about following up with towels, shampoo, water, etc! Excellent service!
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:19 PM   #604
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayaflysmama View Post
A couple of questions.

We are staying at the Dolphin in December. Are there safes in the room? Are they big enough to hold an IPad?

If you decide not to have your room cleaned each day (we carry a lot of medical supplies and equipment/IV medication so this works out better/safer for us) can you go to the desk and just get your two bottles of water and coffee? How about towels? Won't need new towels every day, but we will be there 10 days.

Last year we stayed at POP and were able to just bring out own trash out and drop it in the housekeeper cleaning carts. Is there somewhere we can take out trash (we always have a lot of trash with my daughters medical care.)

Also, for those of you who have used town car service, how long before your trip did you book this? We were going to do a van and not a town car due to the volume of stuff we have, but not sure if that would make a difference.

Thanks in advance. Sorry for so many questions.
No apologies for the questions!
I can tell you what we experienced and hopefully it will help.
1) There are safes in the room. During our Swan, visit I fit a Mac laptop in the safe, so you should be fine with an iPad + more.
2) I think the water delivery is separate from mousekeeping (someone correct me if I am wrong). Since the water is part of your resort fee, you get it no matter what. It seemed like water delivery took place in the morning and mousekeeping in the afternoon. A lot of time we opted out of mousekeeping for the SPG points, but when we did get it, they would replenish coffee, make beds, swap out towels. We did call the desk for coffee and cup refills the days we opted out. I am sure they would be more than willing to hold your water at the front desk if you explained your situation and that you were not interested in having someone enter your room. On a side note, our mousekeeper noted that she was not allowed to make the bed if any of our personal belongings were on it. We had to clear off pillows brought from home and my kids' army of stuffed animals so that the beds could be made.
3) As far as your trash, I am sure they would be more than willing to accommodate a pick-up and perhaps would even have a special service for need such as yours. Just ask, they were very kind during our stay! There are usually carts in the halls too.
4) Have fun in December! Thinking about the decorations and music put a smile on my face. It is even MORE magical during the holidays.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:52 PM   #605
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Help...

I am planning a trip for August 2013 which seems so far away but I know it isn't at this point.

We are a family of 5 & are planning on staying at the Poly but I am trying to convince my husband to do a split stay.

I would like to stay at the BC again just because I stayed there when it first opened & I was around 19 & I remember the pool (and the cute life guard on top of the slide..needless to say I am not 19 anymore...).

But I am also thinking of staying at the Dolphin.

My main goal of the split stay is to save some money. The BC is slightly cheaper then the Poly so that is why that is one choice & the Dolphin is another choice because I am a RN & I can get a discount.

But I am not sure what a great nurse rate is? Right now it is around $240??/night which compaired to the Poly that is a bargain. But are the official rates for 2013 not out yet? I did put in for August 2013.

Another reason I am thinking of the Dolphin is the pool. My sister stayed there years ago for a convention & this was pre internet & we were staying at the BC & we pool hopped on our last day so we could shower in her room. Yep, guilty...

So I remember the pool was pretty big & pretty nice. But I was 19 & that was 20+ years ago.

So if you have stayed at both the BC & the dolphin/swan which pool do you prefer & why. I do recall the sand bottom SAB pool but I do remember the dolphin/swan pool was huge & I loved swimming in it.

I am trying to go for 10 days as well but I would only do about 2 or 3 nights at one of these hotels but I might not since my dh does not want to spend time packing/unpacking.

Help me with these decisions.

I also wanted to go to a water park. My kids will be 12, almost 10 & 7 when we go. They all swim now, although the 6 yo is still a beginner swimmer & won't go in the deep end of the pool with out a noodle/tube but pool season is just starting here in CT & I am sure by the end of the summer she will be doing that.

So my choice in staying at one of these 2 places is based on their pool. I know it is no water park but I am thinking of skipping the water park for one of those pools. Again to save some money. My dh isn't big on swimming but he would go down the slides (I think). My older 2 would do the slides & I am pretty sure my youngest will as well.

Decisons, decisions, decisions....

So help me please.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:34 PM   #606
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monorailsilver View Post
Help...

I am planning a trip for August 2013 which seems so far away but I know it isn't at this point.

We are a family of 5 & are planning on staying at the Poly but I am trying to convince my husband to do a split stay.

I would like to stay at the BC again just because I stayed there when it first opened & I was around 19 & I remember the pool (and the cute life guard on top of the slide..needless to say I am not 19 anymore...).

But I am also thinking of staying at the Dolphin.

My main goal of the split stay is to save some money. The BC is slightly cheaper then the Poly so that is why that is one choice & the Dolphin is another choice because I am a RN & I can get a discount.

But I am not sure what a great nurse rate is? Right now it is around $240??/night which compaired to the Poly that is a bargain. But are the official rates for 2013 not out yet? I did put in for August 2013.

Another reason I am thinking of the Dolphin is the pool. My sister stayed there years ago for a convention & this was pre internet & we were staying at the BC & we pool hopped on our last day so we could shower in her room. Yep, guilty...

So I remember the pool was pretty big & pretty nice. But I was 19 & that was 20+ years ago.

So if you have stayed at both the BC & the dolphin/swan which pool do you prefer & why. I do recall the sand bottom SAB pool but I do remember the dolphin/swan pool was huge & I loved swimming in it.

I am trying to go for 10 days as well but I would only do about 2 or 3 nights at one of these hotels but I might not since my dh does not want to spend time packing/unpacking.

Help me with these decisions.

I also wanted to go to a water park. My kids will be 12, almost 10 & 7 when we go. They all swim now, although the 6 yo is still a beginner swimmer & won't go in the deep end of the pool with out a noodle/tube but pool season is just starting here in CT & I am sure by the end of the summer she will be doing that.

So my choice in staying at one of these 2 places is based on their pool. I know it is no water park but I am thinking of skipping the water park for one of those pools. Again to save some money. My dh isn't big on swimming but he would go down the slides (I think). My older 2 would do the slides & I am pretty sure my youngest will as well.

Decisons, decisions, decisions....

So help me please.
First off, YC/BC has the hands down best pool on property. However, the Grotto Pool at the Swan & Dolphin is the clear number two in WDW.

That said, the cost difference should be huge, particularly if you book the Swan or Dolphin sooner rather than later. Unlike Disney resorts, which haven't even loaded 2013 rates yet, you can usually get really great discounts if you book far out. Starwood resorts can load their rates as far as 18 months out.

I believe the RN rate mirrors the Teacher rate. Assuming that, the RN rate you were quoted is really high. I have seen it go as low as $129 (I wouldn't count on finding it that good), but that varies widely based on season and the occupany projections. August is one of the months that has the most variable rates, as the end of the month is usually much less busy.

I think you should be less concerned about using the RN discount and instead find a rate you would be comfortable booking. The sweet thing about the Swan and Dolphin is that they make so many discounts available, you can almost always find something.

I just put in a few random dates in August, 2013 through SPG.com and the current preferred (refundable) rates varied anywhere from $169 to $209; if you have AAA, that rate varied from $161 to $188 per night. You very likely could do better than this if you looked hard enough. Even with the resort fee, I still bet the Swan and Dolphin will be well over $100 per night less than YC/BC, which may or may not release discounts the Spring of next year.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:26 PM   #607
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Staying at the Swan: To Rent a car...or not...

I will be staying at the Swan in 6 days and wasn't planning on renting a car. We've always rented a car on previous stays but this time it's only 3 of us and didn't want the added expense. I just saw I could rent a car through Dollar for $146 total for the week. It would cost us an extra hundred to park at the Swan for the week. I've never used the Disney buses before, except one time to the Magic Kingdom.

What are your thoughts on the bus system? Is it worth it to rent a car? It will be me and DD13 and DD16, they don't mind taking the bus.

Thanks for your advice.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:30 PM   #608
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Originally Posted by wood145 View Post
I will be staying at the Swan in 6 days and wasn't planning on renting a car. We've always rented a car on previous stays but this time it's only 3 of us and didn't want the added expense. I just saw I could rent a car through Dollar for $146 total for the week. It would cost us an extra hundred to park at the Swan for the week. I've never used the Disney buses before, except one time to the Magic Kingdom.

What are your thoughts on the bus system? Is it worth it to rent a car? It will be me and DD13 and DD16, they don't mind taking the bus.

Thanks for your advice.
Out of curiosity... How are you getting to the Swan?
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:24 AM   #609
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Out of curiosity... How are you getting to the Swan?
Tiffany Town Car

That's why I figured it would cost an extra hundred to rent a car, because I have to pay for the town car and tips.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:35 PM   #610
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I have a points-related question.

We are already booked at the Swan, in a BW view room. My parents are booked in a resort view. We have a pretty good rate for now about 240/nt with all in (this is for January, and I am guessing better rates will come out down the line since we paid far less for a spring trip last year), but are thinking of switching our stay to points. We have never stayed on points before, but the thought of basically treating our S/D stay as a "free" one is pretty exciting. We may also move to the Dolphin. I'm still sad about not securing the Epcot fireworks view that we loved so much on our prior Dolphin stay, and they just don't have that room category at the Swan.

So onto my questions - we would prefer to stay near my parents, or at least in the same hotel. Starwood can't move their reservation from Swan to Dolphin and extend the same promotion we had initially booked under, so their rate would increase by quite a bit.

1. Is there any advantage when booking with points to booking earlier, or should we just wait and watch the January rates? It seems like the points "rate" is always the same regardless, at 10K per night with 5th night free on points, unless cash and points becomes available, which could be a better deal. We would upgrade via points to get an Epcot fireworks view room, assuming this is allowed. (I understand you can upgrade for 1000-1500 points per night.)

2. If we switch our room to the Dolphin now, and wait until better rates come out down the line to switch my parents to the Dolphin, as well, will this have any effect on a request for the rooms to be near each other? Are they able to accommodate this kind of request anyway? Just wondering, since the Dolphin is huge and it is nearly possible for the rooms to be not much farther apart even when staying in different hotels...

Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:38 PM   #611
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A few Dolphin Questions

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for this thread - I have learned so much to prepare for our trip in October.

We booked a Teach rate in March for October 6-12 at the Dolphin (I'm going for a conference Wed - Fri, but it also happens to be Fall Break for the kids). We're driving to the hotel, so we'll be paying the $15/day parking fee and I'm trying to decide how we'll visit the parks.

In the past, we stayed at the Contemporary, walked to Magic Kingdom, walked to the monorail and rode to Epcot, and drove our car to HS.

I know we'll walk to Epcot and HS this time, but is it possible to walk to the monorail station at Epcot and take that to MK? I can't remember if you have to go INSIDE Epcot to catch the monorail (thus needed a park hopper ticket which we won't have) or if you can get it outside? I imagine it's probably a bit of a walk, but the kids are really looking forward to riding the monorail again.

We're SPG members and I'm going to have my AAA membership linked thanks to this thread. I see that I can make certain requests on my reservation - is it worth it to request a room on a high floor? I guess if we're in just a limited room view (what we've booked) it won't matter much Any other requests you think are worth making?

Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:00 PM   #612
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olive View Post
I have a points-related question.

We are already booked at the Swan, in a BW view room. My parents are booked in a resort view. We have a pretty good rate for now about 240/nt with all in (this is for January, and I am guessing better rates will come out down the line since we paid far less for a spring trip last year), but are thinking of switching our stay to points. We have never stayed on points before, but the thought of basically treating our S/D stay as a "free" one is pretty exciting. We may also move to the Dolphin. I'm still sad about not securing the Epcot fireworks view that we loved so much on our prior Dolphin stay, and they just don't have that room category at the Swan.

So onto my questions - we would prefer to stay near my parents, or at least in the same hotel. Starwood can't move their reservation from Swan to Dolphin and extend the same promotion we had initially booked under, so their rate would increase by quite a bit.

1. Is there any advantage when booking with points to booking earlier, or should we just wait and watch the January rates? It seems like the points "rate" is always the same regardless, at 10K per night with 5th night free on points, unless cash and points becomes available, which could be a better deal. We would upgrade via points to get an Epcot fireworks view room, assuming this is allowed. (I understand you can upgrade for 1000-1500 points per night.)

2. If we switch our room to the Dolphin now, and wait until better rates come out down the line to switch my parents to the Dolphin, as well, will this have any effect on a request for the rooms to be near each other? Are they able to accommodate this kind of request anyway? Just wondering, since the Dolphin is huge and it is nearly possible for the rooms to be not much farther apart even when staying in different hotels...

Thanks!
1. Yes, I would absolutely book your points stay now. If even one night sells out, you won't be able to book the entire stay (and lose your fifth night free). You can always change/cancel later if something better comes along. Being a convention hotel, seemingly random nights are often taken out of inventory way out to accomodate a group's needs. So it's better to lock in what you want sooner rather than later.

And I would book the room you want, EPCOT fireworks view, at the time you are making the reservation. Keep in mind upgraded rooms are capacity controlled with SPG. Only standard rooms are always available via points if they are available for cash. As you mentioned, it only requires 1,000-1,500 more points per night, so not a bad deal.

2. When you make your reservation should have little to do with the Dolphin's ability to fulfill this request. Just have that be the top/only request made when making the reservation (for both you and your parents). I can't guarantee your request will be honored, but I find Starwood hotels are pretty good with them when reasonable.

By the way, I wouldn't necessarily bank on better rates as your dates get closer. I often find the better deals many months out. Just MHO, $240/nt seems a bit high, unless you are visiting near the beginning of January. There are always so many discounts at these properties, I usually find something less than $200/nt all-in.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:38 PM   #613
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1. Yes, I would absolutely book your points stay now. If even one night sells out, you won't be able to book the entire stay (and lose your fifth night free). You can always change/cancel later if something better comes along. Being a convention hotel, seemingly random nights are often taken out of inventory way out to accomodate a group's needs. So it's better to lock in what you want sooner rather than later.

And I would book the room you want, EPCOT fireworks view, at the time you are making the reservation. Keep in mind upgraded rooms are capacity controlled with SPG. Only standard rooms are always available via points if they are available for cash. As you mentioned, it only requires 1,000-1,500 more points per night, so not a bad deal.

2. When you make your reservation should have little to do with the Dolphin's ability to fulfill this request. Just have that be the top/only request made when making the reservation (for both you and your parents). I can't guarantee your request will be honored, but I find Starwood hotels are pretty good with them when reasonable.

By the way, I wouldn't necessarily bank on better rates as your dates get closer. I often find the better deals many months out. Just MHO, $240/nt seems a bit high, unless you are visiting near the beginning of January. There are always so many discounts at these properties, I usually find something less than $200/nt all-in.
Thanks - this is super helpful. I'll call to book the points stay.

We thought the 240/night for BW view was okay, but not wonderful. For Epcot Fireworks last spring - including over Memorial Day weekend - our rate was around $180 per night at the Dolphin. That was a fantastic rate, and we were happy to get it. Our January dates are from the second week, so not the beginning of the month. I think they just don't tend to have the better discounts out this far out. Last time we booked, and then kept calling to reduce the rate. BTW, the 240 rate is with the Superbowl promo, so adjusted rate down to include 1 free night for each 2 paid. The regular rate (not rack) was 299/night PLUS taxes/fees. Between teacher, AAA, stay connected and other promotions, we're hoping to beat it.

Thanks again!
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:26 PM   #614
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Tiffany Town Car

That's why I figured it would cost an extra hundred to rent a car, because I have to pay for the town car and tips.
I would use the buses! Spend the money on something fun instead.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:50 PM   #615
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Thanks - this is super helpful. I'll call to book the points stay.

We thought the 240/night for BW view was okay, but not wonderful. For Epcot Fireworks last spring - including over Memorial Day weekend - our rate was around $180 per night at the Dolphin. That was a fantastic rate, and we were happy to get it. Our January dates are from the second week, so not the beginning of the month. I think they just don't tend to have the better discounts out this far out. Last time we booked, and then kept calling to reduce the rate. BTW, the 240 rate is with the Superbowl promo, so adjusted rate down to include 1 free night for each 2 paid. The regular rate (not rack) was 299/night PLUS taxes/fees. Between teacher, AAA, stay connected and other promotions, we're hoping to beat it.

Thanks again!
Most of my advice still stands, but I did have a tiny brain fart. I always book the lowest rate for the lowest room category; I forgot you were booking a higher room category which also comes with the higher cost. Given that, a $240 rate isn't half bad.

But I don't necessarily agree that the best discounts wouldn't be available this far out. Case in point is my upcoming July stay. I booked back in October and my total cost per night is under $200/nt all-in (and I'm including taxes, resort and parking fees). It's a good thing I didn't wait too. Around the first of the year, two days during my stay became unavailable for any new bookings and it's still that way now.

The Swan and the Dolphin are not like Disney resorts which sell their rooms at rack rate far out only to discount them a few months out. Most of my best deals with Starwood Hotels (not just the Swan and Dolphin) have been when I've been able to book six or more months out.
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