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Old 08-31-2013, 06:18 PM   #1
Princess Jes
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I'm planning our honeymoon and being from Australia, I thought I'd contact a travel agent to assist with flights and hotel/resort options (staying 3 nights Universal, 6 nights WDW, 3 nights in New Orleans, 5 night NYC, and 4 nights Las Vegas!)

Some posters in the DIS suggested a travel agent in Australia that is a Disney agent.

I also contacted a local agent for comparisons.

One of them suggested the Swan/Dolphin. I wanted to stay on site for the "perks", but I'm unsure what the differences in perks is with the Swan/Dolphin?

I'm thinking that the DxDP would be good (DFiance is a penny pincher so I don't want to be sitting in a restaurant looking at meal prices)

Is this the only thing we can't do if we stay at the Swolphin?

Also, what is the pricing like? I'd have loved to stay at BC but it's a bit pricey, so have picked CSR, but the proximity to Epcot and DHS with the Swolphin is a perk that I liked from BC that CSR doesn't have.

Also... What are the differences between the Swan and Dolphin?

Any info would be appreciated!!
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:56 PM   #2
jperrot1
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If you are going to universal for 3 days, may I suggest staying at Royal Pacific because that is a universal resort that gives you ahead of the line (VIP) privileges. And, it's not too expensive. Plus, you get boat ride (or walk via nice pathway) to the park from your hotel. And, the pool is very nice. Their club level rooms are nice because of access to a nice club lounge. The upcharge for those rooms isn't too bad.

You are right that the Beach Club is a great resort (I have never stayed there, but have a very close friend that stayed in their club level rooms). It has, arguably, the best pool in the (WD) world. The bottom of the pool is sand. And, I think their ice cream parlor (beaches and cream) has the best ice cream in WDW. I would pick the Swan over the Dolphin because the Swan has Queen beds, and the Dolphin offers Double size beds. But I think the double size beds are actually oversized double sized beds and only a little shorter than queen size beds. I loved the Swan, but my wife felt it did not have a "disney feel." I can say the Swan and Dolphin are definitely in the deluxe category, though. I love their pool, and loved their fitness center too.

Now, my favorite moderate resort is the Coronado Springs Resort. They offer a business class room category, and I suggest it. It's just a few dollars more than a preferred room category, and you get a lounge that will have drinks and snacks throughout the day. It is in a great location. It is not the same as club level, though. The other thing good about booking business class is you will know exactly which building you will be staying at. Coronado Springs is a huge resort and if you book a standard room you can request a certain building but it is only a request. A few weeks ago we stayed at All Star Sports and requested a specific building 6 months ago. We were put in a building that couldn't be farther from my request. Requests are only requests, but booking business class room.... well.... there's only 1 building for business class.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
olive
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You already know that you can't use the dining plan (for us room discounts have worked better even than free dining and we don't like the dining plan limitations, eg, sometimes like to just have apps and drinks for a meal). You also can't use magical express. You can cab to the swan/dolphin or take a town car service. We have used Tiffany town car (with online coupon) for about the same price as a cab and a grocery stop was included. They were also happy to stop at a liquor store. We have gotten great rates at swan/dolphin, comparable to moderate rates and well less than the Epcot area deluxes. I loves staying in that area and walking to Epcot and DHS. We absolutely loved our Epcot fireworks view at the dolphin. It was every bit as disney or magical no whatever adjective you want to use as when we has MK views from the contemporary or bay lake tower. I wouldn't hesitate to stay there. If there price is even a bit higher than the disney mods, I still personally think it is worth the convenience. Plus the on site restaurant options are much more varied, and you have the BW (and Epcot) options nearby. Love the grotto pool, too. We preferred the dolphin. It is a bit larger, which can cut either way, but we preferred the view (Epcot fireworks is a booking category) and our room was in better shape. Bathrooms could stand to be updated in both. We plan on returning.

I second staying on site at universal! It is a huge perk there.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:36 PM   #4
Princess Jes
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Thanks guys!

We are definitely staying on site at the pacific royal at universal, can't beat those front of line privileges (if only WDW did that!)

So no Magical express, but you can use the park buses, is that right? Or no Disney transportation at all?
That would be an instant deal breaker.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Princess Jes View Post
Thanks guys!

We are definitely staying on site at the pacific royal at universal, can't beat those front of line privileges (if only WDW did that!)

So no Magical express, but you can use the park buses, is that right? Or no Disney transportation at all?
That would be an instant deal breaker.
Yes. You only lose magical express. You have same type of park transportation as disney resorts. You even share the same boat service to hollywood studios with yacht and beach club. I agree it's nicer than any moderate (deluxe resort at moderate price).
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:19 PM   #6
Princess Jes
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Originally Posted by jperrot1 View Post

Yes. You only lose magical express. You have same type of park transportation as disney resorts. You even share the same boat service to hollywood studios with yacht and beach club. I agree it's nicer than any moderate (deluxe resort at moderate price).
So far I've gathered that the only differences are:
No MDE
No access to DxDP
No theming

Am I missing something?
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:16 AM   #7
olive
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I think the no theming point depends on who you ask. There is a character meal on site and some kind of disney shop at Swan/dolphin. It is located amongst the disney hotels in the Epcot resort area. Definitely no Mickey towels or anything like that in your room, though. There can be convention folks, but there can be at CSR, CR too.

If you drive, you will have to pay to park at the hotel. Parking is free for disney guests at their hotels.

I am not up to date on whether there would be any differences with theme park tickets or fast pass. Maybe someone can chime in, although I think it is an unknown still? They were testing the new tickets on our last (January) trip. For our swan portion, we had to use the "regular" turnstiles. For the bay lake tower portion of our stay, when lines were long we could use our room cards and the RFID turnstiles to enter (when it worked; they were still working out the kinks).

By they way, on our list few trips we got tix at undercover tourist for good savings.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Jes View Post
So far I've gathered that the only differences are:
No MDE
No access to DxDP
No theming

Am I missing something?
Unable to charge purchases in the parks to your hotel room
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:52 AM   #9
nkereina
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Unable to charge purchases in the parks to your hotel room
This and I don't believe you have the ability to send purchases back to your room, so you don't have to carry them around. That is one perk I love. It worked well when I purchased glassware at MK and the next day it showed up at my resort - no need to haul it around all day!

I've never had a desire to stay at Swan/Dolphin but the location and price is tough to beat. The ability to walk/boat to two of the four parks without having to rely on buses is HUGE. You would pay a lot more for that same benefit if you stayed at BC/YC or BWI. But, the low cost means you lose some other perks already mentioned so you have to decide what is most important.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:38 AM   #10
OurBigTrip
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No room charging and not being able to send purchases back to the resort are the deal breakers for us.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:21 AM   #11
dogwoodflwr
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List of thing you get at the Swan & Dolphin

Staying on-site at our Disney resort allows you to enjoy many special Disney benefits (available exclusively for guests staying at Walt Disney World hotels) including:

Extra Magic Hours Benefit at the Theme Parks

Complimentary Scheduled Transportation Throughout Disney
On-Site Disney Ticket Desks
Character Dining

Advance Tee Times on Championship Disney Golf Courses

Complimentary Delivery of Purchases Made in Disney Theme Parks

Complimentary Parking at Disney Theme Parks
These Disney benefits are just a few of the reasons you will enjoy staying at our Disney hotel.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:35 AM   #12
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Skip the Swan and Dolphin

Skip the Swan and Dolphin, it is on Disney property, but is NOT a Disney property. All the NON Disney resorts will tell you they have the same amenities, but they really don't. I have stayed at the Swan and I can tell you once you are inside, it is just another luxury hotel. Disney resorts have a certain feel to them, hard to describe, but you are immersed in the Disney experience, which is hard to duplicate.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogwoodflwr View Post
Staying on-site at our Disney resort allows you to enjoy many special Disney benefits (available exclusively for guests staying at Walt Disney World hotels) including:

Extra Magic Hours Benefit at the Theme Parks

Complimentary Scheduled Transportation Throughout Disney
On-Site Disney Ticket Desks
Character Dining

Advance Tee Times on Championship Disney Golf Courses

Complimentary Delivery of Purchases Made in Disney Theme Parks

Complimentary Parking at Disney Theme Parks
These Disney benefits are just a few of the reasons you will enjoy staying at our Disney hotel.

A couple of these are misleading...anyone is eligible to use the transportation, not just resort guests. Anyone can book character dining, and the last time I was in the Swan (2004), they had a Disney ticket desk as well.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:01 PM   #14
DisneyGuy
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you CAN have purchases delivered from the park back to both the Swan and Dolphin.

A lot of people will say they are not "themed", but you can probably tell just by looking at pictures that these hotels do not look like a typical Hilton/Marriott/Westin just dropped in the middle of the Epcot resorts - at least not in my opinion.

I'd go with the Swan and Dolphin any day over a moderate and most of the "Disney Deluxe" resorts also for the lack of "Deluxe" Disney offers.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:10 PM   #15
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I prefer the Boardwalk but I would do (and have done) the Dolphin over any of the Disney mods or values when budget is an issue. I have nothing against the other resorts but For me location is everything. Location means less wasted time and more sleep. Since we spend a lot of our park time at Epcot and go frequently to F&W, this location makes all the difference.

The downsides that stand out in my mind - charging (F&W gift cards solve that) and no DME (love DME but cab was faster). It did "feel" different. Kind of halfway between a Disney resort and a regular hotel. But the minute you walk outside its totally Disney again, so I could live with that.
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