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PO riverside or Dolphin

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by kdaniels16, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. kdaniels16

    kdaniels16 Earning My Ears

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    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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  3. kdaniels16

    kdaniels16 Earning My Ears

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    Oh there was also a great deal on Swan.
     
  4. Scott MC

    Scott MC DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  5. LSchrow

    LSchrow <font color=green>We're eating brussel sprouts & a

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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.
    hth :)
     
  6. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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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!)
     
  7. Best Aunt

    Best Aunt "That's the best-est present ever!"

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    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.
     
  8. DisneyGuy

    DisneyGuy Mouseketeer

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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).
     
  9. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    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.
     
  10. ziggystardust

    ziggystardust DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  11. Amy&Dan

    Amy&Dan DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  12. kdaniels16

    kdaniels16 Earning My Ears

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    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.
     
  13. Shaden

    Shaden DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  14. Amy&Dan

    Amy&Dan DIS Veteran

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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/
     
  15. stephm0188

    stephm0188 Mouseketeer

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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.
     
  16. crazyfordisney2000

    crazyfordisney2000 DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  17. momof2gr8kids

    momof2gr8kids DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  18. kdaniels16

    kdaniels16 Earning My Ears

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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...
     
  19. Missytara

    Missytara I'm all ears!

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    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.
     
  20. kdaniels16

    kdaniels16 Earning My Ears

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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.
     
  21. TTA Rider Matt

    TTA Rider Matt Earning My Ears

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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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