Swan and Dolphin vs. WDW resort?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by merina888, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. merina888

    merina888 Mouseketeer

    Jul 10, 2012
    My younger sister is attending a conference in June at the Swan and Dolphin and is really excited. I would like to know what's the difference between staying at the Swan & Dolphin and staying at a WDW resort (as in those owned and operated by Disney)? What do you get at a WDW resort that you don't get at Swan & Dolphin? Thank you!
  2. mickeynut1

    mickeynut1 DIS Veteran

    Apr 16, 2007
    A WDW resort offers room charging to your KTTW card, free transportation to/from the airport (DME), package delivery to your resort, free transportation around WDW (bus/monorail/boat), Disney dining plan (if you choose to get it), and EMH. I'm sure I'm missing some things, but that's all I can think of right now. When staying at the Swan or Dolphin, you can't get the dining plan or charge back to your room. I'm not sure if DME is available to Swan/Dolphin guests or not. I think guests get EMH and package delivery, but hopefully someone will be able to verify that or give the correct information.
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  4. jlh512

    jlh512 Johnny

    Jul 17, 2005
    Correct. No magical express, no dining plan, you cannot charge to your room, you have to pay daily for parking at the hotel, and you cannot send packages to your resort. You do get extra magic hours thought and Disney transport on property which I guess everyone gets while on property. We stayed there once and liked it.
  5. LexiC123

    LexiC123 DIS Veteran

    Feb 5, 2009
    Actually, you can send packages back to the resort, and you can use all of the WDW internal transportation (buses, boats, monorail).

    It is true that there is a daily parking fee at the S/D resort, but you do not have to pay to park at the theme parks.
  6. Magic3forme

    Magic3forme Grand Slam club members

    Jan 26, 2005
    There is a 15.00 a day fee to park at the resorts.

    The pools are better maintained at the Disney resorts. The Dolphin pool in June had a film all over it.

    The hotels are better maintained too. ( the carpet on floor 10 was thread bare in certain places.) and many rooms have a musty smell.
  7. Dizzytime

    Dizzytime DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2008
    We fly from the west coast,stay at Epcot resorts and have often considered the S/D option... but since we don't rent a car, the cab expense vs ME to/from MCO, plus a little shorter walk to our favorite WS restaurants!!! has always made it an easy choice to go with BC/YC/BWI.

    Good luck, you have nice choices for sure!

  8. ke3d98

    ke3d98 Mouseketeer

    Aug 17, 2012
    You can be on the Disney dining plan and you get free transportation to the parks, downtown Disney district, and the water parks.
  9. Scott MC

    Scott MC DIS Veteran

    Mar 1, 2009
    You can be on the dining plan? Really? I didn't think so....
  10. LexiC123

    LexiC123 DIS Veteran

    Feb 5, 2009
    I have to disagree with blanket statements like these. Of course, the S/D may have their share of issues from time to time, but so can other resorts. There's an on-going thread in this forum right now about how one guest found the guest rooms and public areas of the Beach Club to be run-down and dirty, but other guests have chimed in about being quite happy with the cleanliness and condition during their trips.

    It's the same with the S/D. I've stayed at both properties over the past four years and have never had a problem with cleanliness or musty smells...as as someone who has asthma, believe me, I would have noticed that instantly! Have there been a few people over the years who were less than thrilled with the condition of the resort, as you were? Of course. But there are also dozens and dozens of people on the S/D Resort thread who have come back from there trips raving about the resort.

    And as far as the pools at the S/D go, yes, it appears that there have been periodic maintenance issues with the pools over the past few months, but it's not as if it's a given that the pools are like that all the time. Again, in my stays over the past several years, I have used both the main Grotto pool and the lap pools, and have never had a problem with them being unclean, or the water being anything other than crystal clear.

    Different guests, different experiences.

    Guests of the S/D cannot participate in the Disney Dining Plan.
  11. HeartWDW

    HeartWDW Earning My Ears

    Apr 23, 2011
    I've stayed at both the Swan and the Boardwalk. Both hotels have their pluses and minuses. The biggest plus for the Swan and Dolphin is the price. On average, the Swan is about 30% less than the Disney hotels on the boardwalk. At the Boardwalk my room was about $335 a night. At the Swan it was $179 per night including the extra per day fee (August date - normally it's about $250). The Swan has great restaurants like the Fresh Market buffet breakfast and Don Shula's Steakhouse. You can walk to Epcot from there (I've done it) and you get internal transportation to all Disney parks for free. What many people have a problem with is that it's not "Disney" enough. There are no hidden Mickeys and such. No dining plan or DME. So if you want full Disney immersion, you may not like it. I love both places though.
  12. 2disneycruzrs

    2disneycruzrs DIS Veteran

    Oct 12, 2003
    I've stayed at both S/D a few times as well as YC/BC because we like the BW area. My preference for S/D is the ability for free room nights using Starwood points for the same quality hotel as the BW area Dis hotels. If you need to pay, the rooms are usually cheaper at S/D than the BW hotels even with the other charges figured in. A lesser item for guests at S/D is you can't use DCL transfers to the ships anymore - only Dis hotels. The DME is a nice value but not worth $100-150 per night more. If I remember correct: Swan is like YC with queens in two bed rooms and Dolphin is like BC & BW with doubles.
  13. mickeynut1

    mickeynut1 DIS Veteran

    Apr 16, 2007
    The dining plan is not available at the Swan/Dolphin.

    All of the Disney deluxe resorts have queen beds, including the BC & BWI.
  14. HelenParr

    HelenParr DIS Veteran

    May 16, 2008
    Hey OP - I hope your sister has a great trip. We usually stay at YC/BC, but have stayed at Swan and Dolphin several times, either for a cheaper option or because of last minute trips and could not get into YC/BC resort. We have always had a great time at S&D, and found them to be really excellent for the price.

    The differences that are a downside for us: The daily parking fee, and resort fee tack on...but the hotel is so much cheaper than YC/BC, it is still chepaser than "free parking" at YC/BC. And there is a little less Disneyfication: the lamp is not a Mickey, and the floor has no hidden Mickeys. We never do dining plan or DME so those have not come into play for us. We don't find not being able to charging to the room that big a deal - just keep a credit card on hand.

    We love Kimonos at the Swan. Love the location. Transportation is same as YC/BC/Boardwalk for the most part. I think she'll love it.
  15. cjsm&d

    cjsm&d DIS Veteran

    Jan 31, 2010
    The pluses for Swan & Dolphin:
    Location, walk or boat to EPCOT and HS
    Price, folks like to throw the extra charges into the conversation (which you get at WDW resorts too, they just add them into the total). Even with the these "added costs" you can almost always get rooms for under $200 including the "added costs." You will pay $350 to $400 a night at the WDW resorts.

    BC/YC and BW are terrific resorts and if money is no object, or if you can get FD, then they are the better choice. For my family, money counts, and if I can stay there for about the cost of a moderate, I always will.

    Also, they have the best beds in all of WDW at S&D.
  16. CanadianGuy

    CanadianGuy <font color=green><br><br><font color=blue>Me and

    Apr 24, 2006
    My last two stays were at the Swan and then Dolphin respectively.

    You can get EMH... and yes, they can deliver packages back to the lobby of the S or D but not to your room is typically how it goes.

    You can get transportation between the hotel and various parks and waterparks.

    You cannot get Disney Dining Plans of any variety, you can not get Disney Magical Express, you can not charge back to your room with your room key.. and your tickets remain separate media. They cannot be added to your room key either.

    One night when entering the Magic Kingdom for EMH, we realized we didn't have the required room key for each member of our party. Only one of us brought a room key. We stopped at guest services outside the park and they were able to accommodate us. But it was just something I hadn't thought about before heading out that evening. Obviously when tickets are on the room keys .. that's one less thing to worry about.

    These are the major differences.
  17. DebbieB

    DebbieB DIS Veteran

    Aug 24, 1999
    I stayed at the Swan for 1 night when I arrived at WDW one day early because of airfare. They did have the most comfortable bed - it was "heavenly". But it just did not feel "Disney", I felt like I was at a business hotel. I used Starwood points and cash and they upgraded me from a standard to a balcony room. Too bad the balcony had a chain link fence across it.
  18. KonaKaiTom

    KonaKaiTom DIS Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    I have stayed many times at Dolphin and Swan for business purposes. I agree that it does feel like a business hotel, but I don't find that to be a bad thing. The rooms are quite comfortable, the hotel is comparable to a Disney Deluxe in a lot of ways, but when you can get it for $140 per night at a corporate rate, it is hard to beat. Throw in Mears Transportation Shuttle from the airport at $21 per person and it isn't so bad.

    If you want pure Disney Theme, it isn't the hotel for you. But if you want a business hotel in the Hyatt/Westin caliber and be next to, with SOME of the same priviledges as a Disney Themed hotel, it might be a good option. Note that the walk to Epcot or DHS is just as easy as it is from any of the "Disney" Epcot hotels -- +- 4 minutes.

    It is just a matter of deciding what you want. A 3 year old would probably love All Stars Movies over the D or S, and I bet the same child would think the same of All Stars Movies versus the GF, Poly or CR!

    My 2cents

  19. Sue M

    Sue M DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2009
    Hope your sister has a great time. I would consider S/D. WE stayed at BC and loved it, got a good AP rate. Love the Epcot area.
    I can get educator rate at S/D and sometimes check their rates.
    I don't have a car, so parking fees don't apply, and I never charge to resort, I load up a Disney Gift Card on arrival, and prefer to use that to pay for meals, suvies, etc. We also haven't ben using DDP the past year. I find it's not the value it once was.
  20. jenndisney

    jenndisney DIS Veteran

    Jan 15, 2005
    So the daily rate there also covers parking at the parks??
  21. Robbi

    Robbi DIS Veteran

    Oct 21, 2012
    The was something floating in the pool at the Poly and it wasn't film! The pool was evacated. Any resort can have an off day. We were just at the Swan in August and thought it was beautifully maintained.

    Yes, it does.:) There are excellent restaurants at the the Swan and Dolphin too.

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