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Old 04-14-2013, 10:29 PM   #1
3littlecuties
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Can someone fill me in on Swan/Dolphin hotels???

We are looking online and these look like deluxe resorts (are they deluxe?) but the rates are much cheaper than the other deluxe hotels. Are we missing something? DH and I are considering a weekend stay for just us (leaving our 3 kids with a sitter) and these look pretty good. I'm not sure if we would be going into the parks or not. Maybe just hanging at the resort and doing DTD.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:42 PM   #2
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They are not official Disney resorts, but they do get some of the Disney resort perks. You do not have access to Magical Express there and they have a separate resort/parking fee per day in addition to their rate. (I think it is now $18/day)

They do have a great location. You are right by the Boardwalk and can walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. You can even catch the higher fireworks from Illuminations there.
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:46 PM   #3
3littlecuties
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If we flew in, we wouldn't need to park anyway. But it sounds like we would have to pay for a cab from the airport. We are looking for a nice hotel with plenty of amenities and nice pool to hang out during the day. Evenings would be going to DTD or possibly Epcot. It sounds like this may be a possibility for us. It just seems very nice for the price (compared to their other deluxes). We stayed at Polynesian with our kids in October. Would we be disappointed at the Swan or Dolphin?
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:54 PM   #4
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My experience with the Swan is old - last time there was in '01 - but it is a beautifully themed and appointed hotel. The room we stayed in was a very nice room, but it was a general hotel room with two beds and a bath. As I recall, we didn't even have an in-room fridge, so we had to lug the ice chest up to our room to keep the milk we brought along (for in-room breakfasts) cold.

Swan/Dolphin are *terrifically* located in that west-end "lagoon" area that affords boat transport to Epcot and DHS. Its buses to MK. We were able to take advantage of EMH (although they called it "Early Entry" back then). You could not charge to the room, but they did deliver park purchase to the room, which I can't even get at SSR. Don't know if that's still all the same.

Back then, they didn't charge a resort fee. We got in for what I think was the very first year they did a "teacher" rate for $99/night. We were there for six nights and had a great time.

Overall, we liked the Swan and suspect it is largely similar save for interim updates and such. In fact, the only reason we didn't go back there was they really didn't accommodate five guests the way we needed in our subsequent return trips (which isn't exactly easy to do even at Disney hotels), which is why we've ended up at SSR every visit since.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:06 PM   #5
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Yeah, to repeat... No Magical Express + daily resort fee. Add it all up and see what your savings is then, vs perhaps Port Orleans, where you'd still have great access to DTD and then Epcot if you wanted.

I've stayed at Swolphin before. It's nice, restaurants are fantastic, pool area very nice, on Boardwalk, etc... But if your plans are mainly DTD, stay at Port Orleans for same price as S/D?
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:39 AM   #6
3littlecuties
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How much is the resort fee? I'm seeing rates of $179/night at Swan and $220/night at POR.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 3littlecuties View Post
How much is the resort fee? I'm seeing rates of $179/night at Swan and $220/night at POR.
Pretty sure the resort fee just got bumped up to about $19.99/night. Plus you have to pay for daily parking there, which I think is about $12-$15/day
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 3littlecuties View Post
If we flew in, we wouldn't need to park anyway. But it sounds like we would have to pay for a cab from the airport. We are looking for a nice hotel with plenty of amenities and nice pool to hang out during the day. Evenings would be going to DTD or possibly Epcot. It sounds like this may be a possibility for us. It just seems very nice for the price (compared to their other deluxes). We stayed at Polynesian with our kids in October. Would we be disappointed at the Swan or Dolphin?
Or you could take the Mears Shuttle for $34 rt pp.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:33 AM   #9
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We are big fans of Swan/Dolphin. On the negative side, I believe the new resort fee is 18/night (up from 17), which does also include 2 bottles of water per day, so as long as you remember to "collect" those, really closer to 10/day. As others mentioned, you also have to pay for your own airport transportation (as well as parking, if you rent a car.) You also cannot participate in Dining Plan, but that is MUCH less of a bargain than it used to be (and Swan/Dolphin restaurants are not on Disneydining plan). On the plus side, Dolphin is probably the objectively nicest "hotel" on all of Disney property (with possible exception of Grand Floridian main building), with Swan a close second (others may flip them, but we prefer D). With the changes to Grand Floridian "quiet" pool, it is now really the only hotel with a second pool where you can do real lap swimming (and really the only Deluxe), and the Dolphin "big" pool also has a slide (just like the Disney hotels). They have a very nice playground (Yacht/Beach closed theirs a few years ago to expand sand-bottom play area for kids). The gym is arguably the nicest on property (and in fact there are two-one in Swan and one in Dolphin), the beds feel like a luxury hotel (not a motel), and the Dolphin's counter service is open 24 hours (or very nearly so)- I have gone well past midnight and VERY early a.m. when still dark outside. They also have a nice assortment of gourmet restaurants and their character dinners probably have the nicest food of any character meal at Disney (although a more limited selection of characters.) At least during our prior stays, Swan and Dolphin also had MUCH better wifi service than other sections of Disney parks or resorts, although I understand Disney hotels are peridoically improving (we are staying Beach Club in three weeks, so I hope so). They are maybe 100-150 yards further walking to Epcot than Boardwalk, and actually closest walk to both DHS and Fantasia mini-golf. As just noted, we are staying Beach Club next trip, so clearly we place some value on the "Disney magic", at least sometimes, but it was also because with the spring discounts, Beach Club and Dolphin were comparable and wanted to try something new. If comparing to a moderate, my wife literally would not let me choose a moderate over Dolphin. (And I would also be afraid to risk the decreased wifi reception - at least at Beach, I can go over to convention area at Yacht Club, which has very strong wifi.)
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by 3littlecuties View Post
We are looking online and these look like deluxe resorts (are they deluxe?) but the rates are much cheaper than the other deluxe hotels. Are we missing something? DH and I are considering a weekend stay for just us (leaving our 3 kids with a sitter) and these look pretty good. I'm not sure if we would be going into the parks or not. Maybe just hanging at the resort and doing DTD.

Thoughts?
The Dolphin/Swan was originally constructed as a convention hotel, but the majority of people staying there are not convention people. As said before, It's one of the few resorts on property that's not owned by Disney. Also as said before, you can't use the Magical Express, but the Disney bus system does run to the hotel and you can participate in Extra Magic Hours. It's a pretty long walk to both EPCOT and MGM, though you can take a boat which by far is the best way. The Dolphin/Swan share a pool which is really nice. It also has one of the best steak restaurants on property - Shula's.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:08 AM   #11
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The resort fee just increased to $17 per day plus tax. You can look it up on the Swan/Dolphin website. It was $14 per day until April 1st.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:55 PM   #12
graceesmom
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With the Summer Discount, the rooms at Port Orleans Riverside are $164.80/night for standard room.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:22 PM   #13
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We stayed at the Dolphin this past December and I will now NEVER stay at a moderate over Swan/Dolphin again! We got a fantastic rate, used the same bus and boat service to the parks as the Disney hotels and got to eat at some of the best restaurants in the area (bluezoo was fabulous!). The staff was wonderful, rooms big and comfortable. It was also fun to just walk around the Boardwalk and walk to the Fantasia mini-golf course - all this for the price of a mod! That's with shuttle and resort fee included.

I HIGHLY recommend either the Swan or Dolphin. If you decide to stay there, sign up for Starwood's Preferred Guest Program (SPG) and you will get a free one-category room upgrade. We did this and ended up in a room with a view of the Fantasmic AND Illuminations fireworks - awesome!

Another recommendation, if you aren't doing a lot of parks, you might want to check out the Waldorf. Rates may be a little higher than Swan/Dolphin, but still lower than a Disney Deluxe and it is FABULOUS! It's in Bonnet Creek so right off-property with shuttles to the parks. Great adults-only trip resort!
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:35 PM   #14
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I HIGHLY recommend either the Swan or Dolphin. If you decide to stay there, sign up for Starwood's Preferred Guest Program (SPG) and you will get a free one-category room upgrade. We did this and ended up in a room with a view of the Fantasmic AND Illuminations fireworks - t!
When is the option to sign up? And what is the SPG? We are staying at the dolphin for the first time, it sounds wonderful......
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:59 PM   #15
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When is the option to sign up? And what is the SPG? We are staying at the dolphin for the first time, it sounds wonderful......
You can sign up here: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/index.html

It's Starwood's loyalty program. Once you get your SPG number, just make sure you call and put the SPG number on your reservation.
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