Help!! Dolphin or AKL?!

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by disneymore2, May 3, 2013.

  1. disneymore2

    disneymore2 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    196
    Ok can't decide on my June trip. We have 5 days booked at the contemporary:). Want to do add 2 days to the front end of our trip and can't do the CR. we can either do AKL or Dolphin.. We would check in Sunday and have already planned Epcot on Monday and DHS on Tuesday (the day we transfer).. I am thinking dolphin because of location.. I always assumed dolphin was really nice, but started reading reviews and a little worried...Stayed at AKL once and loved it.. My little girl would love the animals!! However the AKL room reservation would be a convention ressie, so no guarantee on room location... What do u all think??
     
  2. Avatar

    DIS Sponsor The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Reosrt.

    to hide this advert.
  3. ThumpersWorld

    ThumpersWorld Mouseketeer DVC Gold

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    We have never stayed at AKL but it never interested us due to its location. We love the EPCOT location the best. We actually had a great experience at the Dolphin. We stayed there twice and the only reason we don't anymore is we became DVC owners. We stayed at the Dolphin with 2 small boys and I can't say anything bad about it. The "heavenly" beds are even more comfortable than Disney beds IMO. The only thing you'd miss is you won't be able to use Magical Express for that leg of the trip. But if you have AAA or a teacher's discount, the price of the room goes down considerably.
     
  4. HM

    HM My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,175
    If you are planning Epcot and DHS those two days, then definitely Dolphin! We'd walk to the parks. So nice not having to wait for buses and come and go as you want.
     
  5. figment_jii

    figment_jii DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    14,347
    Given that you want to do Epcot and DHS on those days, then the Dolphin is much more convenient. Just walk or boat to the parks. However, I love AKL and it's a great resort. It has amazing attention to detail and lots of animals to see (even if you can't watch them from your room you can always go to the viewing area). However, as the PP mentioned, you can't use ME when you arrive (because the Swan and Dolphin aren't included). So you might want to factor that into your planning.

    For me, I think I would ultimately deal with the bus rides to DHS and Epcot and stay at AKL (better theme and so much to do, plus ME). Now, if you could swing either BW, YC, or BC, then I would choose one of those because of proximity to Epcot and DHS.
     
  6. cannonboys

    cannonboys Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Messages:
    120
    I would absolutely choose AKL over convenience to walking to Epcot! Your daughter will LOVE the over the top themeing of AKL!! The dolphin is just a hotel....not impressed at all.
     
  7. Belle83

    Belle83 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,182
    I haven't stayed at AKL but I loved the Dolphin :lovestruc The location is great and you'll probably get a cheaper rate than AKL. Plus you've already stayed at AKL.

    I'm not sure if transferring to/from Dolphin/Contemporary is as easy as AKL/Contemporary though?
     
  8. chasgoose

    chasgoose Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Messages:
    470
    This was my worry. I mean certainly you can hop in a cab and transfer yourself, but it is nice to be able to leave your bags with bell services at hotel 1, go to a park, and return to hotel 2 and check in. Also you will lose out on Magical Express for the part of your stay at the Dolphin.

    That said the Dolphin is FAR better located for Epcot/DHS days than the AKL, but if they were priced similarly I would take the AKL since there are going to probably be more extra costs at the Dolphin.
     
  9. tuckerkeys

    tuckerkeys official cookie taster

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    753
    try quikbook.com for a swan-dolphin great rate! I just scored a nightly rate for Oct for $159. They do charge tax, as well as a $20 a night resort fee. Even with all this, it is still cheaper than a Disney deluxe. The Dolphin & Swan are 1 of my families favorite places to stay!

    If you sign up for SPG, which is free, you can accumulate points on each night you stay at any spg hotel therefore earning you free nights in the future! We are going to the Dolphin over Memorial weekend for a looong weekend all on points! Of coarse, I do have the spg am-ex so points rack up for me outside of staying at a spg hotel

    Good luck on your decision!
     
  10. disneymore2

    disneymore2 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    196
    Thanks for all the advice! We r driving so me is not an issue.. Leaning toward dolphin right now.
     
  11. msp2mco

    msp2mco DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    510
    We've stayed at AKL and loved it too, but given that you will be in the Epcot resort area, you will save so much time by staying at the Dolphin. And, since you haven't stayed there before, you'll experience something new. On our last trip, my kids and I tried a few of the restaurants there and found the get away rather peaceful.
     
  12. hsmamato2

    hsmamato2 <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Messages:
    6,377
    THANK YOU for the referral!:cool1::cool1::cool1: that is a great site if youy can find city/dates you want!
     
  13. tjmw2727

    tjmw2727 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2001
    Messages:
    9,112
    Just to clarify - the Swan and Dolphin will transfer luggage to a WDW Resort - and this works in the reverse as well !! So you can indeed leave your bags with bell services in the am, hit the parks and return to the Contemporary to check in later in the day :)

    OP has a car so DME isn't an issue - however OP factor in that the Dolphin charges $15 per day parking fee but you can still park for free at the parks.

    Dolphin is one of our favorite resorts and we have stayed at almost all of them !! Love the Heavenly beds and the range of dining options as well as the pool area - one of the 3 best on property IMHO :) Walking to DHS and Epcot is a huge plus of course.
     
  14. MrsDuck

    MrsDuck DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,503
    I'd stay at AKL for the actual resort's sake but at the Dolphin for it's awesome location! I'd choose which of those matters most to you and then make your decision.
     
  15. Magic3forme

    Magic3forme Grand Slam club members

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Messages:
    3,079
    we were at the Dolphin last year --the location is great, but its on our list of been there, NEVER going back. ( there were 2 other families there and we all had the same opinion) rooms smell musty, pool was filthy, and the list goes on.

    as for AK --- we have been there numerous times.. I recommend staying there. both resorts have great pools!! yes it is a little further away, but the atomsphere etc makes up for it!!
     
  16. disneymore2

    disneymore2 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    196
    I know that is what has got me worried!! The reviews are not great...I would actually save about $5 at AKL- but love the idea of being so close- especially since those are the parks we were already planning on hitting.

    We have never stayed in boardwalk or monorail hotels- so excited about trying both on one trip.

    I think we are sticking with dolphin and hoping for the best!
     
  17. DisneyDmbNut

    DisneyDmbNut <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2003
    Messages:
    13,128
    Doesn't the Dolphin also charge a "resort" fee?? I thought I remember that
     
  18. disneymore2

    disneymore2 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    196
    Yes 17- plus 15 for parking
     
  19. DisneyDmbNut

    DisneyDmbNut <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2003
    Messages:
    13,128
    that is why they aren't worth it to me..plus, I can't use my KTTW card for charging
     
  20. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5,816
    We've stayed at both Dolphin and AKL, and actually did a split stay between the two a couple years ago. As much as I love Epcot, and location/transportation is really important to our family, I'd definitely go with AKL. I was thrilled to move over to AKL on our transfer day!

    The atmosphere, the lobby, the Disney feeling, the two AMAZING pools, the theming, the great dining options (love Sanaa and Jiko) at AKL . . . the list goes on. But OP already knows all of that!

    I think Dolphin is a great budget option compared with mods, and the location is wonderful, but I agree that the overall feel and condition just aren't the same as the Disney-owned resorts. And little things made the Dolphin different - the underwear on the path that stayed there for over 24 hours (we laughed every time we saw it - and so did other guests!) And there was more of a pool party atmosphere (employee selling $5 shots from a backpack around the pool.) It definitely had more of a convention feel. Again, great budget option compared with mods, but I'd choose AKL over it any day.
     
  21. rteetz

    rteetz DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    6,535
    Stay at AKL we stayed at the dolphin last year and didnt have the greatest experience. It's a great hotel and the service was fine, but the pools were dirty and you have to pay a fee every day for two bottles of water and wifi use and they make you pay that. Plus the Dolphin is not owned by disney but its on disney property so you don't get some of the disney luxuries. The location is great and its not that expensive but I would much rather stay at an official disney hotel than the dolphin.

    disney lover at heart
     

Share This Page