When you are looking for a convenient and less expensive alternative hotel to the Disney resorts, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is an excellent choice. We’ve chosen to stay at the Swan and Dolphin 4 times. They’ve all been short, adult only stays. In fact, for one of the stays we were in the room only to drop a bag, sleep for 8ish hours, shower and get back to our adventures. It really is a great resort, though, for the convenience. In this post, I discuss the resorts (it’s actually 2- the Dolphin, and the Swan. Although they share charging privileges, the main pool, and some other features.
As compared to official owned and operated Walt Disney World resorts, the Swan and Dolphin have some advantages as well as some disadvantages.
Advantages of Staying at the Swan and Dolphin (versus a Disney Resort):
– Location and price!! Typically much cheaper than its Disney deluxe counterparts.
– Some Disney Onsite perks: 60 day FP+ window, ability to make dining reservations at WDW180 days plus 10, Extra Magic Hours, transportation to the parks, delivery of your purchases to the resort.
– SPG (Starwood rewards program)/ Marriott Rewards points can be earned or redeemed.
– Have I mentioned location?! You can easily walk to the Boardwalk area and the Beach and Yacht Club to take advantage of their dining choices. And you can WALK to Ample Hills Creamery in a matter of minutes! In addition to the easy access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
Disadvantages of Staying at the Swan and Dolphin (versus a Disney Resort):
– No magic Bands
– No dining plan (not important to everyone.)
– No DME (Disney’s Magical Express) (not important to everyone.)
– Fees: Resort fee, separate from the parking fee. We just heard they added a service fee in addition to the gratuity in their restaurants.
– Lacks Disney’s magical theming.
In order to obtain the Walt Disney World advantages of the resort (FastPass+ and Dining before non-Disney resort guests), you link your hotel in My Disney Experience the same as you would any official Disney resort. You will need your hotel confirmation number and check-in date. Note, it does take about 24 hours from the time you book the resort to when you can link the reservation online. After linking the reservation, you will have access to your dining reservations 180 days in advance for your whole resort stay. (For stays up to 10 days.) You may also reserve your fast pass selections at 60 days before your check-in day for your entire stay. (Also up to 10 days.)
I understand that they have a nice pool. I sadly have never been to it. They also provide a schedule of the recreation activities offered throughout the day, including movies at the pool on the weekends. They have dancing fountains. (Like the Bellagio in Vegas.) It’s called the Dancing Light Spectacular. They play music and use light affects to move with the music. It’s beautiful and something we stumbled upon one night. According to their daily schedule of events, it’s a nightly activity from sunset until 10 p.m.
My final thoughts on the Swan and Dolphin
We really do love this hotel for a quicker trip, especially an adult only trip. It’s close to all the action, but without a larger cost of a Disney Deluxe hotel. We love it for Epcot Food & Wine Festival trips. You spend so much time at the parks, you just need a place to sleep at night, and perhaps a quick nap during the day. Its location is fantastic. Seriously, you can get to Ample Hills in minutes! I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to others.