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Old 04-20-2013, 09:48 PM   #1
jenidot
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Dolphin Vs. Art of Animation - Nemo

We are going to Disney for our first time in November and have been trying to decide between two hotels, the Dolphin or Art of Animation-Nemo. It will be three adults and one 5 year old boy. We would either get two rooms at the Dolphin or one suite at the AOA. We like the Dolphin because everyone gets their own regular bed (no sofa bed/murphy bed to deal with) and the location seems to be great for Epcot and HS. AOA I think would be more exciting for my son, but the bed situation is not ideal, but the price would potentially be better, hoping there is a discount code closer to time. Could you please assist me in choosing...since we have never been, we don't know what to do!!!
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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kids are happy regardless.

so would go with either Dolphin - or get 2 rooms at a value - now they are double beds not queen.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:26 PM   #3
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I would say AoA but ilove disney themed rooms and for kids that age it just adds to the magic. If you are looking for a discount check out the post by blessed with triplets on this thread http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2964896 i think its on the second last page. You can pm her about more details
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:34 PM   #4
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Welcome to the DIS boards.

Are you using transportation from the airport? If so, staying at a Disney resort will save you transportation costs.

Will you be parking a car at the Dolphin. don't forget that it adds a nightly fee plus the Dolphin also adds on some recreation fee.

That being said, the Boardwalk location can't be beat for adults.

You could also consider two rooms in the Little Mermaid section at AoA. The whole resort is pretty amazing and really steeped in the Disney magic.

Tough decision, but I'm sure you'll make the one that works best for your travel party.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:23 AM   #5
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With three adults I would probably go with the dolphin. We loved that we were able to walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios from the hotel. After fireworks at Epcot it's awesome to be able to walk to your room. You can't go wrong with either though as we stayed in a cars suite last fall and loved the theming.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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With 3 adults and a 5-year old boy, my choice, hands down, would be the Dolphin. There is so much to do in the area - tons of restaurants, walking distance to EP, boat to DHS, short walk to the Boardwalk for games and entertainment, fabulous pool and playground (better than AoA) and walk right over the Fantasia Gardens mini-golf. The little boy could also do the Pirate Cruise out of YC/BC and even go to the Dolphin's kids club which is fantastic! This is all within walking distance! There is NOTHING for adults to do at AoA and very limited entertainment and food options.

If you choose Dolphin, I suggest you join SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest). It's Starwood's loyalty program, it's free to join and you automatically get a free room category upgrade when you check-in. Also, with a AAA or even a Starpicks discount (released Tuesday each week), you could quite possibly get two rooms at Dolphin for less than the AoA suite.

I have stayed at both - AoA last year when my son was 4 and Dolphin in December when my son was 5 and, while he liked both, the Dolphin just had so much more to offer for both of us to enjoy the stay!

BTW - I don't think the discount referred to in blessedbytriplets post will work for you. I know what agency she is referring to and they were not given any AoA rooms in their group discounts this year.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:15 AM   #7
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Just to be clear:
Dolphin - no complimentary transportation from airport - you will need to rent a car, or pay for transportation to from hotel. About $55-$70each way

You also pay about $24 daily in extra resort and parking fees (if you rent a car; the resort fee is a required fee).

You will, though, have access to Disney bus transportation to all parks, and you will, like other Disney resort guests, have extra magic hours at parks. You will not be able to charge items at parks to your KTTW card.

Disney resort -
Complimentary transport to/from airport
Free self-parking at resort
Extra magic hours
Disney transportation (open to all)
Charge privileges using your KTTW card (room key)
No additional resort fee

I can't remember And I'm sure someone will correct me, but keep in mind that unless you're staying at a Disney resort, parking at the parks is $14.00 a day. I don't know if Swan/Dolphin guests are exempt --as every time I've stayed there, I had an annual park pass and would not have paid for parking anyway.

Oh yes, Dolphin has those Heavenly Beds, it may make it harder for you to get up for those early park visits! and, occasionally, the Dolphin or Swan pool will close for a special convention lunch or event. They will send guests to the other resort pool.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:38 AM   #8
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Guests of the Dolphin (and Swan) get complimentary parking at the theme parks as well as package delivery from the parks to the resort in addition to the perks you described below.

R/T transfer via towncar runs $100-to $120 depending on the company and often comes with a complimentary 30 minute grocery stop. You can also use Mears a shared bus service at $19 pp r/t less for kids.

Dolphin is our absolute favorite Disney resort - and we have stayed at all but two of the values so far! If you can get a good rate its not much more than a moderate with deluxe amenities. Look for discounts like AAA and if you qualify teacher, nurse, military or goverment employee discount. As a pp mentioned there is a resort fee so to do a true comparison of prices you need to add that to the nightly rate you get. The resort fee is clearly stated when your room rate comes up so its easy to calculate the "true cost" and gives you bottled water, internet access and unlimited access to the health club. Self parking is only charged if/when you park a car.

The pool area rivals any Disney pool except BC, the fast food restaurant is better than most disney food courts along with a fountain quick serve restaurant and many TS restaurants, we love Blue Zoo. All the great restaurants and entertainment of the BC/YC and the Boardwalk are a quick walk (or boat ride) away.

You can walk or boat to two parks and walk to one Mini Golf course. The arcade is terrific and if you want to use a kids club the dolphin club is in my kids opinion 2nd only to the Neverland club at the Poly.

For us the combination of the Dolphin and discounted ticket prices at Undercover Tourist can't be beat!
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjmw2727 View Post
Guests of the Dolphin (and Swan) get complimentary parking at the theme parks as well as package delivery from the parks to the resort in addition to the perks you described

Dolphin is our absolute favorite Disney resort - and we have stayed at all but two of the values so far!

The pool area rivals any Disney pool except BC, the fast food restaurant is better than most disney food courts along with a fountain quick serve restaurant and many TS restaurants, we love Blue Zoo. All the great restaurants and entertainment of the BC/YC and the Boardwalk are a quick walk (or boat ride) away.

You can walk or boat to two parks and walk to one Mini Golf course. The arcade is terrific and if you want to use a kids club the dolphin club is in my kids opinion 2nd only to the Neverland club at the Poly.

For us the combination of the Dolphin and discounted ticket prices at Undercover Tourist can't be beat!
I am thinking about the Swan or Dolphin have you tried both? Which do you prefer and why? Is one significantly closer to Epcot?
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsouth View Post
I am thinking about the Swan or Dolphin have you tried both? Which do you prefer and why? Is one significantly closer to Epcot?
We prefer the Dolphin - stayed at the Swan once Dolphin more times than I can count !

Dolphin has a cafeteria style restaurant that rivals any Disney food court plus a soda fountain type burger shake place (think Johnny Rockets) and 3 other great restaurants. It is closer to the main pool area, has an arcade and the children s center. Swan has two full service restaurants but no quick serve and is closer to the Boardwalk. I would say they are equal distance to Ecpot - and share a boat launch.

I think if you have kids Dolphin is a win hands down but if your adults only the Swan is a good option as you may not need/want some of the amenities over at the Dolphin.

If you look at an Epcot resorts area map Dolphin is on the BC/YC side and Swan is on the Boardwalk side and they are connected by a bridge with the boat launch in the middle.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:22 PM   #11
jenidot
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Thank you all! I think you are all selling the dolphin! All comments have been so helpful!!
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:19 PM   #12
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Not necessarily...for a first visit with a 5 year old boy ...hmmm Does he like Cars and Cars 2? A stay at AoA Radiator Springs just might be over the top perfect-for him. Whatever you do, you've made a good start. Weigh everything and decide. Only you know how your family will be comfortable and happy. Another thing to consider as a new visitor to Disney is how you plan to tour parks--if you plan to spend most of your time at the parks and only use hotel to sleep and change, it won't much matter where you stay, really. If, however, your plans involve more of a resort type vacation with lots of downtime, then it matters a lot. Have a wonderful first visit.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:19 AM   #13
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dolphin

just came back from the dolphin and LOVED it. nothing beats being close to two parks, and not having to get on a bus. Dolphin is also closer to the pools, and the Fountain is great for quick meals.

And that heavenly bed is just that: heavenly!

Are you a Starwood member? I am a gold level, and at that level. they waived my resort fee
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