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Old 06-10-2013, 06:13 AM   #16
momof2gr8kids
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The free dining dates in September are Sept 2-25. If you check in during one of those dates you get it for the length of your trip.

For it being your first trip and the ages of your kids I would pick POR if you could get the Free Dining. There are many great character meals and dining experiences that you will probably all enjoy as a first timer. They can add up quickly!

Check the Disney website and run the numbers for the FD promo and see how it compares to the Dolphin rate plus resort fee and transportation.

We stayed at POR and didn't have any issues with the busses.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:20 AM   #17
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I have checked for free dining for all of Sept (as our dates are flexible) and it tells me that there are no rooms available for POR with free dining. I am so frustrated about this! It does however give me availability for Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs. I wonder if i call the line of I'll get a different answer. Still thinking about Swan or Dolphin bc of the shuttle issues at POR. Hmmm...

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Old 06-10-2013, 09:24 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by kdaniels16 View Post
I have checked for free dining for all of Sept (as our dates are flexible) and it tells me that there are no rooms available for POR with free dining. I am so frustrated about this! It does however give me availability for Caribbean Beach and Coronado. I wonder if i call the line of I'll get a different answer. Still thinking about Swan or Dolphin bc of the shuttle issues at POR. Hmmm...
POR sells out very fast with FD; sometimes within the first day. You get the best bang for your buck, since AB is set up for a family of 5.

Some people do cancel their reservations, but a few people who are knowledgeable in the booking system have stated that often those rooms do not go back into discount inventory, but regular inventory.

It never hurts to call, but I would not get my hopes up. I am glad I called as soon as the summer discount came out (like that morning at 7 am) and got upgraded from standard view to garden view at POR.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:37 AM   #19
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Thanks for the FD info. I am now looking into Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs bc the FD really appeals to me. Still thinking about Swan for the Epcot/boardwalk closeness. I think the FD saves us about $300-400 total...might be willing to spend the extra for Swan or Dolphin. I'm still holding onto POR even w/out FD. Basically have I no idea what we are doing yet.

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Old 06-10-2013, 09:49 AM   #20
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I've never stayed at Port Orleans, but I have stayed at Caribbean Beach which is also a moderate resort. To me, it's about how much you value the following:

Park Access:
Dolphin > Moderate - Walking to EPCOT and DHS is HUGE for me, and on real hot days, the boat runs more frequently and is less crowded than buses.

Location:
Dolphin > Moderate - Proximity to Fantasia Gardens and the Boardwalk area is also a big deal for me.

Transportation to/from airport:
Moderate > Dolphin - Magical Express is awesome, nothing else needs to be said. You can find shuttles that are between 120 and 150 round trip, but the free Disney service is great. Plus it's got the silly videos and presentation that get you excited for your trip.

Cost:
This depends on when you're going, but I see it as a wash. Without discounts or anything, Moderate resorts in September are just under $200 a night, while the Dolphin would be maybe a little over $200 a night after room fees and such.

Amenities:
Dolphin > Moderate - The rooms are bigger and better, and as someone else said, you can potentially have some really beautiful views. I stayed there 2 nights back in 2010 and had a beautiful view of the Swan and the Tower of Terror.

For me, the Dolphin wins out, even if I have to pay for airport transportation. The free dining has never been available when I've gone, so I can't speak to that, but yes, free dining is another major cost you wouldn't have to worry about. It's really up to what's important to you. For me, the location alone is enough to choose the Dolphin.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:06 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by kdaniels16 View Post
Thanks for the FD info. I am now looking into Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs bc the FD really appeals to me. Still thinking about Swan for the Epcot/boardwalk vacuity. I think the FD saves us about $300-400 total...might be willing to spend the extra for Swan or Dolphin. I'm still holding onto POR even w/out FD. Basically have I no idea what we are doing yet.
Well, what about a split stay? Not sure how long you are going for, but if it's longer, maybe that might be a possibility. You could do the first part of your trip at POR whatever dates you could get, with the FD and tickets for your full length of stay, then head over to the Dolphin for the last part. By the time your FD stay ends you will be stuffed with food and have counter service credits left most likely that you can use up on your check out day to bring with you to the Dolphin! But you will have to pay for return transportation to aiport form the Dolphin.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:24 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdaniels16 View Post
Thanks for the FD info. I am now looking into Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs bc the FD really appeals to me. Still thinking about Swan for the Epcot/boardwalk closeness. I think the FD saves us about $300-400 total...might be willing to spend the extra for Swan or Dolphin. I'm still holding onto POR even w/out FD. Basically have I no idea what we are doing yet.
Does free dining save you $300-$400 over Swan/Dolphin including food if you pay OOP for food? I have found that we eat different when we pay OOP, and eat a little more liberally when on DDP.

If CSR has availability, I think it's a great option. We stayed at POR twice before and are opting for CSR this trip. A convention is a plus because it frees up the pool and buses, it doesn't share buses with another resort, and its really nice aesthetically.
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:01 PM   #23
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Now you have me thinking that we might try to stay at the Dolphin. We were planning to do POFQ but we stayed at POR last time and I really didn't like it. The option to walk to 2 parks is really great.

Man. Wish I would stop reading all these good threads!
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Old 06-10-2013, 04:43 PM   #24
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We stayed at POR just last year and we rarely waited more than ten minutes for a bus. If always depends on what time people show up to the bus stop at, but in a week long trip no more than a ten minute wait was great bus service to me.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:16 PM   #25
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I love the Dolphin. You are in a Deluxe location for a moderate price. Walking to 2 parks can not be underestimated. The Boardwalk is fun at night. The pool is fabulous and there are so many dining choices within 5-8 min walk
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:39 PM   #26
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My vote would be for the Swan (or Dolphin). I stayed in the Dolphin for a conference a few years ago and found it very nice. That is where the conference center is though so if you want to avoid the potential of a conference crowd, the Swan may be a better choice.

Regarding POR, I haven't stayed there but it does look like a beautiful resort. I took my family to CSR a couple of years ago for similar reasons you are probably looking at POR; the theming of the resort was incredible. HOWEVER, we quickly found that convenience to parks trumped everything. Having the ability to walk to two parks (Epcot and HS from the Swan/Dolphin) is very convenient. If you're like us you won't spend as much time at the resort as you think. My whole family thought CSR was beautiful but it's not like they wanted to walk around enjoying the scenery; they just want to go to the parks.

When I look at Disney resorts now, I either look at value or deluxe. If our current budget doesn't allow for a deluxe, we would be perfectly happy in a value resort considering how little time we spend there. If we can afford it though, staying in a deluxe that offers more convenience to the parks, we'll take it.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:17 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by kdaniels16 View Post
We had settled on PO Riverside for our trip in Sept. until I came across a great deal on Dolphin on Expedia. I need help deciding. A little about us and our preferences: we have a 5 and a 7 yr old. This is our first DW trip. We are concerned with shuttles/ length of time it will take to get to parks. We will be eating on site only as we will not rent a car. I was impressed with all the evening activities the PO has for the kids (a friend told me about). Thanks in advance for your help!
This is probably the same deal we had come across last year while booking. We took it and stayed at the dolphin. We have a family of 5 ages 15,11,7. I think with this being the first trip stay in a disney resort experience it. We stayed at the dolphin last time and didn't have the best time. It's a convention hotel and yes there will be a lot of people there at times they rented out the pool area several times during our stay. POR has a great disney feel and family atmosphere. The swan and dolphin are not owned by disney yet they are on disney property. You do get extra magic hours and bus/boat services but I think an actually disney resort is better especially for the first stay. Dolphin has boats to get to Epcot and DHS and buses for the others while POR is strictly buses I believe. The Dolphin to me has more of an adult feel something I would definitely want to go to if I was at a conference hence why its a convention hotel. Adults only I would say of course go for the dolphin but with kids go for POR I would much rather go there even without kids.

One thing to watch for the pools are not always clean we had birds swimming in the pools and they were pooping away in them as well. Those dropping weren't cleaned out for several days and there were a lot of them. The landscapers come by every morning and blow the leaves and a good majority of those also get into the pools. I didn't find the pools to be very sanitary by my standards which usually isn't to high.

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Old 06-10-2013, 11:18 PM   #28
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I must also add there is a daily fee for parking at both swan and dolphin. And there is a daily fee for wifi, newspaper, and two bottles of water and the catch is you have to pay for it.

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Old 06-10-2013, 11:23 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by kdaniels16 View Post
I have checked for free dining for all of Sept (as our dates are flexible) and it tells me that there are no rooms available for POR with free dining. I am so frustrated about this! It does however give me availability for Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs. I wonder if i call the line of I'll get a different answer. Still thinking about Swan or Dolphin bc of the shuttle issues at POR. Hmmm...
Plan accordingly if you have to be in the park in five minutes then you didn't plan and you bus will be late. you need to get up and moving for your busses about 25-35 minutes prior to your time you want to be at the park. Earlier you go there is a less hassle with busses at least that's what we found. At night busses are going in and out constantly thats not much of a problem. Don't book on busses it the person that needs to plan for the busses some busses do run,ate but that's why you go early incase of those situations its all in the planning.

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Old 06-10-2013, 11:28 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by TTA Rider Matt View Post
I've never stayed at Port Orleans, but I have stayed at Caribbean Beach which is also a moderate resort. To me, it's about how much you value the following:

Park Access:
Dolphin > Moderate - Walking to EPCOT and DHS is HUGE for me, and on real hot days, the boat runs more frequently and is less crowded than buses.

Location:
Dolphin > Moderate - Proximity to Fantasia Gardens and the Boardwalk area is also a big deal for me.

Transportation to/from airport:
Moderate > Dolphin - Magical Express is awesome, nothing else needs to be said. You can find shuttles that are between 120 and 150 round trip, but the free Disney service is great. Plus it's got the silly videos and presentation that get you excited for your trip.

Cost:
This depends on when you're going, but I see it as a wash. Without discounts or anything, Moderate resorts in September are just under $200 a night, while the Dolphin would be maybe a little over $200 a night after room fees and such.

Amenities:
Dolphin > Moderate - The rooms are bigger and better, and as someone else said, you can potentially have some really beautiful views. I stayed there 2 nights back in 2010 and had a beautiful view of the Swan and the Tower of Terror.

For me, the Dolphin wins out, even if I have to pay for airport transportation. The free dining has never been available when I've gone, so I can't speak to that, but yes, free dining is another major cost you wouldn't have to worry about. It's really up to what's important to you. For me, the location alone is enough to choose the Dolphin.
With the dolphin you would need to find your own transportation from the airport magical express does not go to the dolphin you have to pay for a car or shuttle to take your to and from the hotel that is one downside. DHS is a bit of a long walk thats why they have the boat or busses but you can still walk Epcot is less than 5 minutes we walked several times. Just an FYI some descriptions on views are deceiving we got a standard view and we got to look at the back of the dolphin fountain which was all scummy and gross on the sixth floor. Actually the rooms between the dolphin and POR are not much different in size by my comparison I've never stayed at the swan so I can't tell you about that.

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