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Old 06-09-2013, 01:40 PM   #1
kdaniels16
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PO riverside or Dolphin

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!
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:41 PM   #2
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Oh there was also a great deal on Swan.
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:57 PM   #3
Scott MC
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We recently had a lovely stay at POR...but I must reccomend the Dolphin. The meal plan will not be included, but I do believe you get a lot more for your money, including..

-bigger rooms
-much more comfortable beds
-superior bedding
-superior toiletries
-possibility of a spectacular view
-walkable to Studios or Epcot (boat is available too)
-Share a bus only with Swan and Boardwalk.
-Bus picks up at Dolphin last...and drops off first
-the room doesn't reek of Disney magic, but don't worry...you can buy any Disney souvenir your heart desires in the lobby gift shop
-superior...less crowded pool
-You can certainly watch the movies on the beach at BC without being a guest there.


Just some thoughts. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:01 PM   #4
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make sure you factor in the cost of getting to and from the airport (else, rent a car and pay the $15 daily parking fee) as free DME is not offered, and daily $15.75 "resort fee" at the swolphin. packages bought in park cannot be delivered to resort. the dolphin has a lot of great amenities, but do realize it is usually filled with conventioneers.
but.....
EPCOT & DHS are a walk/friendship away.
buses to the other parks are shared by the swan, dolphin, and BWI/BWV, with the YC and BC/BCV added on occasion (we average about 20% of the 5-stop buses).
there have been a lot of discussions about the swan/dolphin and its merits (and drawbacks) - i would recommend doing a forum search, and seeing if you feel it fits your family.
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:16 PM   #5
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Are your dates within free dining? I know a September free dining promo was released, and you'd only be able to do that at POR. If free dining or the dining plan in general is of no interest to you, then the only other factor to me is DME. You'd have to make alternate arrangements to get to/from Swan/Dolphin and the airport which could be a good added cost for 4 people. Something to price out.

Normally, I would say go with Swan/Dolphin because being able to walk/boat to DHS and Epcot is great, but being that its your first trip I find that POR has more of that Disney feel - starting with DME. I also love the boat to DTD since DTD can be annoying to get to from other resorts (especially the Epcot area resorts!)
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:24 PM   #6
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my opinion

If you are getting from the airport to the Swan or Dolphin, the think the cost for 4 people would be the same as the cost for 1 person, if you do a taxi or towncar or rent a car.

I like the Epcot resort area. I've stayed at POR and Swan and Dolphin. I would definitely choose Swan or Dolphin over POR. I think Swan and Dolphin have more of a Disney feel because you're so close to Epcot and the Boardwalk area. Walk out the door of the hotel and you're right there. At POR you have to get on a bus to get to the parks, so to me it didn't feel like I was "at Disney" as much.
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
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I'd definitely pick the Dolphin (or the Swan) over POR and for all the reasons mentioned.

Unless you need "free" dining or a dining plan at all, or Magical Express - then you'd have to stay at POR.

The location alone is very "Disney" to me and it's nice being able to walk to Epcot (or take a boat if you want) and take a boat to Hollywood Studios (or walk there if you are up for it as it's a little further of a walk).
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Best Aunt View Post
If you are getting from the airport to the Swan or Dolphin, the think the cost for 4 people would be the same as the cost for 1 person, if you do a taxi or towncar or rent a car.
The exception would be the Mears shuttle which charges per person. In fact, if there is room on a DME bus, Mears will even put them on it. The difference would be they would have to pay per person since they'd be at Swan or Dolphin.
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSchrow View Post
packages bought in park cannot be delivered to resort.
I see people post this a lot. I stayed at the dolphin in oct and had my purchase delivered to the dolphin's gift shop just like I have at all other wdw hotels. Maybe it's a new feature.
Unlike other wdw hotels, you can't charge to your room or use disney gift cards at the restaurants there.

Do agree with you about the convention go-ers. But if you are seeing such a deal, I'd guess the hotel doesn't have any major conventions going on.
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:30 PM   #10
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Well, I am a big onsite fan and POR is my favorite resort. I enjoyed the Epcot resort area when we stayed at Boardwalk and being able to walk to two parks is nice. But to MK, DTD, AK and the waterparks it wasn't so great.

We really rely on Magical Express and the Dining Plans when we go to WDW so for us, Swan is just not appealing. It does look like a lovely hotel but to me kind of lacks that Disney feel. I also love the expansive grounds at POR and the nightly activities are a lot of fun. I also love the food court, you cannot beat it for quick meals, it has a huge selection. On or off a dining plan, its a great deal. My kids also have always loved the boat to DTD, especially when they were younger.

Dolphin will have a lot of really great sit down options in the hotel, at BW, BC, YC and Epcot. However, if you are off a Dining Plan that can add up quick. It also has the interior hallways many people prefer. I am the opposite (but only when I am on property at disney, everywhere else I won't stay at a place that has doors that open to the outside).

Visit www.portorleans.org for lots of good information and also check out www.allearsnet.com for resort photos and especially the resort videos. I find those videos give a very good feel for the resorts.
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:11 PM   #11
kdaniels16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkereina
Are your dates within free dining? I know a September free dining promo was released, and you'd only be able to do that at POR. If free dining or the dining plan in general is of no interest to you, then the only other factor to me is DME. You'd have to make alternate arrangements to get to/from Swan/Dolphin and the airport which could be a good added cost for 4 people. Something to price out.

Normally, I would say go with Swan/Dolphin because being able to walk/boat to DHS and Epcot is great, but being that its your first trip I find that POR has more of that Disney feel - starting with DME. I also love the boat to DTD since DTD can be annoying to get to from other resorts (especially the Epcot area resorts!)

Thanks for the response. I keep hearing about the free dining plan but haven't seen it anywhere. We weren't planing on the dining plan but if its free (for the kids I'm assuming) I may consider it. Any help there? That might help me make a decision.
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:13 PM   #12
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If you are doing POR in Sept, aren't you getting free dinning ?

For a Party of 4 that should be a significant savings.

But hey, if the dolph can beat it, all the power to em.
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:23 PM   #13
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kdaniels: Free dining would be free for everyone in the room. You would pay rack rate for the room.

Also, there are room discounts for September. If you go to the Disney website and look under "explore ourspecial offers" you will see room discounts and the free dining offer. That free dining offer is for stays in September from September 2-25 but I believe its a five night minimum stay (not sure how long your trip is)

Here is the link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:28 PM   #14
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We've stayed at both POR and the Swan. Both have their pros and cons, but I really do prefer the Swan/ Dolphin. I liked the ease of getting to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Swan is a bit more intimate than the Dolphin, and I liked the size a little more. POR was massive, and even though we were in a building close to the lobby, I felt like it was a hike to get anywhere. I preferred the pool at Swan/Dolphin as well. And while it lacks small Disney touches like access to Magical Express and those cute little Mickey shampoos, it makes up for it in other ways. We were upgraded to a suite that had a great view of Epcot's fireworks.

My biggest gripe about POR during our stay was the transportation. The buses were chronically late and always overcrowded. Standing room only while holding a sleeping child really stinks. I realize that transportation woes can vary from day to day and week to week, but that experience alone was enough to leave a sour taste in my mouth for POR.

If you can indeed take advantage of free dining, I'd be more apt to go with POR. Otherwise, I'm a huge fan of Swan.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:51 AM   #15
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We always go in September and stay in a moderate resort. This debate always seems to come up and so far, the moderate resort has won each time over the Dolphin due to free dining. The price for us each year has worked out about the same (within $100) between the 2 resorts, EXCEPT we had to pay for our meals if we chose the Dolphin and free dining with the moderate, so a considerable savings for our family.
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