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Old 09-04-2013, 08:22 AM   #31
eliza61

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Op, I'm going to give you the same tips I give anyone considering on vs off site.

1) the only time I stay on site is when I use my dvc points. I stay deluxe and imo I would never pay what disney charges for deluxe resorts. the value does not match the price.

That being said...

2) list what amenitites are important for your family. We always have a car so ME is not a perk for me. Once on site I can use any transportation like any other guest but 99% of the time I prefer to drive.

3) we don't do ADR's and ddp is no longer a cost savings for my family. Once again it's price. I have 4 disney adults. Never have we spent 230 bucks a day on food (cost of 4 adults).

4) the only perk we miss is EMH. for the 700-1000 dollars I routinely save (remember I don't do values so I'm talking the cost from a deluxe) I get over it.

Lastly

5) post your question on the Orlando area thread. You're answers will be vastly different and a wonderful "other side" view. Many people there have equally "magical" vacations that are "immersed" in disney "bubbledom". They will give you gorgeous hotels with fabulous pools.
I have stayed at the Dolphin on my starwood points. I had a great vacation, never read a paper, never left my disney vacation bubble didn't turn on the tv. Kids loved the pool and cabana.

Oh, I have a girls only trip in March. we are staying at the Waldorf Astoria right next to disney (with free shuttle, better rooms, true luxury) for 180.00 cheaper a night for what it would cost us to stay onsite at our two choices. the Poly or the Yacht club.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:45 AM   #32
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Thanks for all of your responses, keep them coming!

I've got so much to plan, and now I'm thinking that his might be the way to go!

What are the grounds like in comparison to the Disney resorts?
What are the pools like?
We've stayed at every deluxe except CR and every moderate except POFQ. We tried the Dolphin last December because we got an incredible price and it was fantastic! It's deluxe on a mod budget. Grounds are beautiful and well maintained. Restaurants are some of the best in the area. Pool is wonderful. You can even use a swan boat! And you can walk right across the street to fantasia mini-golf. You will be the first boat stop coming back from DHS and last going so no stopping at other resorts. Quick walk to EP and same Disney bus transportation to and from other parks that you would get at a Disney resort.

If you decide to book Swan or Dolphin, I highly recommend subscribing to the Swan Dolphin thread on the DIS and also joining The Starwood Preferred Guest program which is their free loyalty rewards program. As an SPG member, you get a free category upgrade when you check in. And keep checking Starwood for discounts which can be released up to the last week before your trip. Unlike Disney, Starwood will let you combine discounts under one reservation. Last year we ended up with one night under one discount and two nights under another. All in all, we got three nights at Dolphin for the price of one night at the Boardwalk. Loved it! I enjoy all of the resorts in the EP area, so I now go with whichever is cheapest whether it's a Disney hotel or Swan/Dolphin.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:00 AM   #33
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have you considered renting points to stay at the BWV? (i would pick BWV over BCV, as BCV tends to be louder, with character meals, and lots more kids).
the BW itself has evening entertainment, with magicians, carny games, etc. dining options range from fresh-baked goods at the bakery & ice cream from the sweet shoppe, to casual (ESPN, Big river grill, kouzzina), to fine (flying fish).
there are surrey bike rentals, jellyrolls (dueling piano bar), atlantic dance hall....aside from just walking to EPCOT & DHS (or friendship), mini-golf is a stroll away, across from the dolphin.
of course, dining, & most BW activities are available to anyone paying (as are the dining options at the swolphin) - it is just sooooo nice to have everything at your fingertips.
then you would still get DME (no need to pay for a cab, rent a car, pay for resort parking), tax is included & there are no "resort fees", and you could still opt for the DDP. btw, while the swolphin is nice, both are usually full of conventioneers - less vacation-like, more business casual.

check david's rentals (board sponsor) - hth
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:02 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Princess Jes View Post
Thanks for all of your responses, keep them coming!

I've got so much to plan, and now I'm thinking that his might be the way to go!

What are the grounds like in comparison to the Disney resorts?
What are the pools like?
Grounds and pools are lovely and they're connected to the Disney Boardwalk which is awesome. Also, one of the Disney mini golf places is right behind the hotel. You can walk there.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:11 AM   #35
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Lol, what feel? Sorry I love the WL and the Yacht Club. They have no more "DISNEY" feel that the Swan. I ask this Queston because i hear about the so called "immersion" all the time. Now if I'm at one of the values, I definitely agree but sorry, I've stayed at just about every deluxe except the poly. The Grand Floridian is not oozing "disney".

The grounds on both properties are gorgeous. I'll see if I can find some of pictures. expertly landscaped a very pretty. check allears.net they may have some good pictures.
If you're used to staying Disney Deluxe I totally agree, the resort doesn't look any different. My son and I went over on our last trip to see the Christmas decorations and they were just as spectacular as all the other resorts.I was thing about this after I wrote that they had a different "feel". I think for me, the difference is not in the hotel appearance or theming but in the staff. Not that S/D staff isn't everything a luxury hotel should be. Customer service is excellent. But there's still a difference between hotel staff and a Disney CM. when you're at the S/D, you may have a lovely stay. But you know going into it not to expect any pixie dust.

Not that that's a deal breaker, as I said, I would rather stay at S/D than any of the Disney Moderates or Values or any Deluxes that are inconveniently located. The only resort I make an exception for is AKL, which is awesome, but even then we did a split stay and worked our park schedule around that location. Location is key. And honestly we love the Boardwalk.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:54 PM   #36
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We have stayed at a bunch of different WDW resorts over the years. The Swan is now our first choice, unless I luck into a truly exceptional rate at a deluxe that I love, like AKL. As others mentioned, we joined SPG and try to stay at SPG hotels whenever possible to accumulate rewards. I love that I can almost always get a Gov't or AARP rate at the Swan. The beds are the BEST. DH loves the fitness center and the lap pool for working out, and we all enjoy the recreational pool area that is shared with the Dolphin. We also love that it is an easy walk to Epcot. I have never felt like I was missing any magic by staying at the Swan.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:09 PM   #37
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We would select S&D.

Our view was Disney themed.

Walking to the BW, EPCOT and DHS, or the boat is great.





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Old 09-04-2013, 08:29 PM   #38
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have you considered renting points to stay at the BWV? (i would pick BWV over BCV, as BCV tends to be louder, with character meals, and lots more kids).
the BW itself has evening entertainment, with magicians, carny games, etc. dining options range from fresh-baked goods at the bakery & ice cream from the sweet shoppe, to casual (ESPN, Big river grill, kouzzina), to fine (flying fish).
there are surrey bike rentals, jellyrolls (dueling piano bar), atlantic dance hall....aside from just walking to EPCOT & DHS (or friendship), mini-golf is a stroll away, across from the dolphin.
of course, dining, & most BW activities are available to anyone paying (as are the dining options at the swolphin) - it is just sooooo nice to have everything at your fingertips.
then you would still get DME (no need to pay for a cab, rent a car, pay for resort parking), tax is included & there are no "resort fees", and you could still opt for the DDP. btw, while the swolphin is nice, both are usually full of conventioneers - less vacation-like, more business casual.

check david's rentals (board sponsor) - hth
Yeah I'm not really sure the dvc rental is for us. I'm sure it's all fine and above board, but being from Australia, I'm a little apprehensive.

Resort fees don't bother me as I just consort them a part of the per night cost. (Why don't they just work that in if it's a compulsory charge?!)

Convention goers don't bother me in the slightest, so that's fine too :-)
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:50 PM   #39
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Yeah I'm not really sure the dvc rental is for us. I'm sure it's all fine and above board, but being from Australia, I'm a little apprehensive.

Resort fees don't bother me as I just consort them a part of the per night cost. (Why don't they just work that in if it's a compulsory charge?!)

Convention goers don't bother me in the slightest, so that's fine too :-)
sounds like the swolphin would be perfect then. we really enjoyed csr also but having two parks within walking distance is fantastic.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:06 AM   #40
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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.
I agree with this. I've seen every deluxe hotel at Disney (other than WL) along with Swan/Dolphin, and there's a difference IMO. The Swan and Dolphin are very nice and luxurious...but I find them generic. When I'm in their lobby or in their rooms, I could be *anywhere* in the US at any Hilton or Marriott or Westin, etc. When I'm in the Poly's GCH, I do not get the feeling that I could be in any random high-end hotel in any city USA...I know I'm at Disney.

When I mention 'theme' when discussing the differences between Disney resorts and Swan/Dolphin, I'm *not* talking about in-your-face-100-foot-tall Mickeys at value resorts. I'm talking about subtle details in resort decor, architecture, etc. that make them stand apart. I can tell the difference between the Poly's lobby versus BC's lobby versus AKL's lobby (and their rooms, pools, etc.). Each resort has unique details that make it different from others not only in WDW, but just about anywhere else. I've never walked into a Hyatt anywhere and gone, 'Wow, this reminds me of AKL'. I *have* walked into a Westin and gone, "Wow...this looks just like my sister's room at the Swan that time we met up at Disney".

Once inside the Swan/Dolphin, unless I happen to glance at the gift shop filled with Disney merch, I can't tell if the hotel I'm in is in Orlando or Philly or Chicago. That's the difference to me between those two hotels and on-site resorts at Disney. It's not a bad thing necessarily, but it's a consideration for certain visitors to WDW to keep in mind.

Swan/Dolphin are both beautiful, but when I go to Disney, I just love staying in their resorts. Swan/Dolphin (no matter how awesome their location/price/amenities) leave me disappointed when I visit them because they're so...not Disney. Not everyone has this quirk, I guess you can call it, and I totally get that others find the hotels to be amazing. They ARE amazing...but they're not what I want when I'm at Disney.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:06 AM   #41
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I've never been to either but I subscribed to this thread BECAUSE, I am pondering the same thing. We stayed at POR last time. This time
July 2014 I was set on CSR but then I hear about Swan/Dolphin and I love Westin Hotels & the location is amazing! The disney theme at the hotel means little to nothing to me. The luxury does. I can't afford WL or CR, but I could Swan/dolphin. So why am I still considering CSR?? I like the DDP & I like the idea of room key, park tix, WP tickets, and charging all on one key or band. I'm a bit unorganized so the thought of all that @ "stuff" together is something that's valuable to me.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:44 AM   #42
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When I'm in their lobby or in their rooms, I could be *anywhere* in the US at any Hilton or Marriott or Westin, etc.
Don't get me wrong-we would choose BW and YC/BC over S&D by far, but as the OP said if we had to choose S&D or a mod, we would choose S&D over any Mod or Value (and actually over SSR/OKW/AKL) because of the location to 2 parks and the BW area. Hate buses.

That said, when we saw this from our room-we knew we were not in just any other Deluxe in the US. I think EPCOT views are pretty good as well. But then we would still choose S&D even with a ground floor room.

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Old 09-05-2013, 08:52 AM   #43
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We stayed at the Dolphin the beginning of August and had these perks:
Extra Magic Hours
Was able to send purchases back to the resort
Free parking at the parks if you drive
Disney bus and boat transportation
Character dining onsite
Was able to buy tickets onsite

The only two things that were not available to us were the dining plans and magical express.
We're staying at Dolphin in November...and after having stayed at BC once,we LOVE being able to walk to HS and Epcot whenever we felt like it.....plus the boats back and forth,and the boardwalk just to walk and enjoy.... The only drawback for us,is we're not keeping a rental car to avoid parking fee at hotel. SO we'll just get a cab to go to airport,shouldn;t be a big deal
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:53 AM   #44
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...oh,and it seems a lot of the restaurants at Swolphin have a AAA discount,so that's another bonus
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:58 AM   #45
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I'm talking about subtle details in resort decor, architecture, etc. that make them stand apart. I can tell the difference between the Poly's lobby versus BC's lobby versus AKL's lobby (and their rooms, pools, etc.). Each resort has unique details that make it different from others not only in WDW, but just about anywhere else. .
I know exactly what you mean.... it's the 'immersion factor' of Dis resorts... I love them,we visit as many as possible just to hang out and soak it up..... Like at POFQ, all the details,gardens,music,etc combine for a certain feel that is very different from the Poly....which is different from CBR..... I will miss that, but my other 'benefits' outweigh that this trip......I love Beach club,and will probably hang out there in the daytime just to soak it up,and staying at the Dolphin,I can easily do that!
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