Experiences at Swan & Dolphin?

BriLovesDisney

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Hello,

We are thinking about changing our reservation for next December to the Dolphin to save some $. I was wondering how it differs from staying at a Disney resort. I understand that you get the same benefits as staying at a Disney resort, is this correct? If you've stayed there, how was it? Any advice appreciated! :)
 

JerseyJanice

A Disboards original...
Joined
Aug 20, 1999
I am crazy about the Swan. I stayed there with extended family (12 of us total) the past two years, and we are planning another trip in the spring. We stay in a 2 bedroom executive suite plus a regular resort room.

IMO, the biggest thing you give up is the Magical Express. You are also not eligible to purchase the Disney Dining Plan. I personally don’t care at all about getting a Magic Band or charging back to my room.

You get EMH and the ability to make FP+ at 60 days. You get the full Disney transportation system. Buses for MK and AK. Walking and/or boating for Epcot and the Studios. The location is fantastic for Epcot and Boardwalk lovers like my group.

Rooms are well-appointed, clean, big and beautiful. Food service is very good. The quick service Picabu is open 24/7. Staff is excellent, and the pool area is fab. Can’t say one negative thing about either stay. It’s our go-to resort at WDW now. :)
 

ThePrincess&TheJohn

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
I completely agree with the previous poster. Swan and Dolphin are amazing and if you don't NEED to have Disney theming and would like to feel like you are at an extravagant hotel with great dining options, for a lower cost to be around the parks, then Swan and Dolphin would be perfect. I have found them to be much more relaxing as well.
 
  • Hopefully

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 3, 1999
    As far as the "full experience" question - you do not get: ME transportation to and from the airport, Magic Bands, the ability to charge to your room, package delivery to your hotel, and the DDP.
     

    chris benton

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2016
    I'm a big fan as well. I have two DVC friends who have told me that Swolphin is a no brainer for price and amenities. If you are a Costco member, check out their pkg deals for WDW. There is also a full blown 200+ page thread in this Resorts forum. I'd refer specific questions there. Plenty of ppl will help. There are also ppl who will tell you that there is not enough Disney "theming," so it's not all wine and roses for reviews. If you are bringing a car, you have to factor in the price for parking at the resort. Parking at parks as a guest is free, I believe, but they DO charge for parking at the resort.
     

    chris benton

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2016
    As far as the "full experience" question - you do not get: ME transportation to and from the airport, Magic Bands, the ability to charge to your room, package delivery to your hotel, and the DDP.
    ??
    From the Swolphin's website:

    With all the great boutiques and gift shops available at the Disney theme parks, you're sure to find an item or two to bring home for yourself or a loved one. But there is no need for you to carry your purchases around the park with you all day. You can ask that your new Disney souvenirs be delivered back to the hotel for you! When you return to the hotel at the end of the day, simply stop by the Disney gift shop in the lobby and retrieve your merchandise!
     

    Hopefully

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 3, 1999
    ??
    From the Swolphin's website:

    With all the great boutiques and gift shops available at the Disney theme parks, you're sure to find an item or two to bring home for yourself or a loved one. But there is no need for you to carry your purchases around the park with you all day. You can ask that your new Disney souvenirs be delivered back to the hotel for you! When you return to the hotel at the end of the day, simply stop by the Disney gift shop in the lobby and retrieve your merchandise!
    My error. Thanks for the correction
     
  • BriLovesDisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2017
    As far as the "full experience" question - you do not get: ME transportation to and from the airport, Magic Bands, the ability to charge to your room, package delivery to your hotel, and the DDP.
    Can I link my park tickets to my account so I can use MB to get in the parks?
     

    BriLovesDisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2017
    Does anyone know how much it costs to park at the Swan & Dolphin as a guest since we will be driving down? Also, has anyone booked the Dolphin through Costco?
     

    loves to dive

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2011
    Does anyone know how much it costs to park at the Swan & Dolphin as a guest since we will be driving down? Also, has anyone booked the Dolphin through Costco?
    I'm rounding here but it's $20 per day to park. We drive down all the time so we have to factor in parking when looking to see if the prices are better. I'm not a Costco member so can't help you there.

    For original poster, Swan/Dolphin have become our almost go to resorts. I love all the Epcot resorts and tend to stay in whichever one is less and that is almost always Dolphin. We love it. No, it's not over the top Disney but there are small touches. The pool area is great, I'd almost say better than Stormalong Bay at YC/BC. The food is excellent. They have been working on Dolphin the last few times we have stayed there and I'll admit some of the construction, especially on the lobby was a little intrusive but they are finished now. If you are looking at prices make sure you factor in the resort fee (it doesn't show up until you are ready to book) and the parking fee if you have a car. You will have to carry around a room key (card) and you can't charge back to the resort like you can Disney resorts. This doesn't bother us since we don't do it anyway. We do send packages back to the resort and it works just like the Disney resorts do. My only complaint is that there aren't balconys in all the rooms and the ones with them are an up charge, if you are at YC or BW unless you are on the first floor you are going to have one and I like sitting out on the balcony in the mornings with my cup of coffee and watching the world wake up and at night with a glass of wine and watching it go to sleep. Small issue and certainly doesn't stop me from staying there.
     
  • loreli13

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Dec 9, 2016
    Our extended family of 6 stayed that the Swan last June in a 2 bedroom executive suite, it was great! We did buy magic bands for the convenience of the tickets and fast passes. I loved being able to walk to Epcot and Hollywood studios. The boardwalk area is just fun to walk through. Since I had SPG points the hotel stay was Extremely affordable. I'm staying onsite for the first time this weekend, so we'll see how it compares.
     

    AngiTN

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2011
    When we've stayed there the stay itself was fine
    We do miss the 3 things they don't offer, a lot. More than I thought we would.
    ME from the aiport, room charging and RAC for the trip back.
    Those things, and the fact that I can never find rates cheap enough (compared to AP rates at Disney resorts) that I don't see us staying there again.
    I will never say never because if the stars align just right we will but it has to be a greater savings than what I have had
     

    Miffy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 13, 2002
    I stayed at the Swan many years ago and although I liked the location and the room was perfectly fine, if personalityless, I felt like I was staying in a convention hotel in Anywhere, USA. There were always lots of conventioneers in the lobby and hallways and, you know, I was on vacation at Disney and, to me--and this is just me--that spoiled the mood. It's not that I'm looking for over-the-top Mouse-ness, but one of the things I love about the Disney bubble is that magical feeling that I'm kinda living in a fantasy. I like that fantasy and the Swan was a fantasy killer for me. So I transferred to a WDW property--AKL, for the record.

    I'm not a park commando and the resort's important to me. Many many many people on the DIS have a completely different view of the Swolphin, but since no one else had expressed this view in this thread, I thought I would. It's all about what you, OP, like and are comfortable with. When I originally booked the Swan, I thought that the location would overcome everything else, and I was actually surprised that it didn't.
     

    chris benton

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2016
    There's always a chance for a big convention (at other resorts as well.) Swolphin just had the MLB convention recently. Rumor was the place was packed for several days. When we stayed at Swan, we saw far more Disney families than conventioners. We had an absolute blast, and the Costco price made it a no brainer for everything included.
     

    scottmik2

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2014
    Are there any major differences between the Swan/Dolphin? Looks like a different price and the Swan has much better reviews. I'm wondering why?
     

    robinb

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 1999
    Are there any major differences between the Swan/Dolphin? Looks like a different price and the Swan has much better reviews. I'm wondering why?
    The Swan is a Westin and the Dolphin is a Sheraton. The Westin is a slightly higher class of hotel.

    The downside of the Dolphin for me is that they have double beds instead of queen beds at the Swan if you need 2 beds. The downside of the Swan is that it is more expensive on points and I don't feel as much "in the middle of it all" as I do in the Dolphin. Both resorts charge a resort fee and parking.
     

    Carol unsworth

    DisneyfanUK
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2017
    We stayed at the Dolphin for two weeks over Christmas and LOVED it ! We were pleasantly surprised as it was a last minute holiday and there wasn’t really much other availability. We stayed at the Swan 18 months ago and found it a bit soul -less and said we wouldn’t stay there again, the Dolphin,however , was so welcoming, the staff in Reception and Picabu were lovely, the room was perfect and we love the Boardwalk area and just walked to Epcot and HS .

    I do like the ability to charge to your Magicband but we just used a gift card and kept topping it up and used the Magicband for park entry and Fastpasses.

    Our room was also very quiet, we never heard a thing, and we opted for no housekeeping and got a 5 dollar voucher every day to spend in the restaurants, which worked out great for us.
     



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