A Review of Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resorts
Conveniently located, beautifully decorated and filled with amenities and fun for guests, the Swan and Dolphin Resort is an excellent choice for Walt Disney World guests. Located side by side the Swan Resort and the Dolphin Resort are two separate hotels that are often referred to as a pair. Though not owned by Disney, these resorts lease prime property on the Walt Disney World BoardWalk and offer guests Disney Resort perks. This article is all about uncovering the details of these Walt Disney World Resorts and informing your next Disney vacation resort booking.
The Swan and Dolphin location is one of the top reasons it is popular with guests. Located along the Disney BoardWalk, it is grouped with resorts known to Walt Disney World insiders as “Epcot Resorts” because of their proximity to Epcot. Indeed the Swan and Dolphin are a short walk or boat ride away from both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The location makes it convenient to pop back to your resort room midday for a nap or pool time. At night you can see fireworks over the trees from Epcot and can enjoy the display from the Disney BoardWalk with a frozen margarita or a cupcake from the BoardWalk Bakery!
The Swan and Dolphin are different from other resorts on the property in the area of theming. Because the resorts are operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (the dolphin) and Westin (the Swan) theming has a different flavor than other resorts on the property. Think classic Florida resort décor with an upscale flourish and you have the ambiance of these beautiful resorts. Fountains in the lobby, pastel textiles, palm printed seating, thatched roof bungalow style lobby décor and palm lined pools cultivate a tropical vibe. These resorts are perfect for guests looking for Florida resort theming in the heart of the Disney magic.
3. Resort Rooms
Resort rooms at the Swan and Dolphin range from standard level rooms with a king sized bed or two double beds, to Grand Deluxe Rooms that offer a balcony to enjoy the beauty of Crescent Lake. Select Grand Deluxe rooms also have a sleeper sofa available. All rooms are equipped with sleek contemporary décor, plush bedding, Wi-Fi, a mini fridge and other amenities like ironing equipment, a coffee maker and an in-room safe.
These resorts are a great option for guests looking to split time between a relaxing Florida vacation in the sun and time in Walt Disney World Parks. Because the theming exudes Florida flair instead of Disney characters, the feel of the resort is relaxing and contemporary without feeling character laden and busy. You could enjoy days of your vacation at the resort without ever hitting the parks. The Mandara Spa offers treatments like a Fire & Ice Manicure and Pedicure, Coffee Body Polish & Coconut Milk Wrap and a menu full of facial body and massage treatments. Golfers can enjoy time on the green with discounts on equipment rental and golf packages. Camp Dolphin is a fun kid’s club for children 4-12 located in the Dolphin Resort. Kids can drop by for fun with activity counselors and new friends while parents enjoy a meal out, time at the pool, on the green or at the spa. Fun resort shops, health clubs, game rooms, basketball and volleyball courts, jogging trails, a beautiful beach and gorgeous pools with cabana rental are some of the amenities and activity highlights for guests of the Swan and Dolphin.
Speaking of pools, swimmers will be excited with the pool options at these beautiful resorts. One of the perks of staying at the Swan or Dolphin Resort is that you get access to pools at both resorts. With waterfalls, hot tubs, fountains and five heated pools between the two resorts, you may want to lay poolside your whole vacation! If you choose to go that route no worries, the cabana rental counter has you covered. If you are looking for the total vacation experience rent a private cabana that comes complete with a TV, mini fridge, fruit basket, lounge furniture and more luxurious extras. Poolside restaurants make grabbing lunch and drinks during the day super easy and there is a beautiful beach, kid’s playground and watercraft rental nearby.
You will not go hungry at the Swan and Dolphin. There are around 13 quick eats, casual dining spots, fine dining restaurant and bars available between the two resorts. Shula’s Steakhouse is a guest favorite with delicious premium Black Angus Steaks and a restaurant inspired by the Miami Dolphin’s 1972 season. Sushi lovers cannot miss Kimonos for artfully prepared and delicious sushi options alongside Japanese dishes like Kobe Beef and tempura platters. If you are craving Italian food you must try Il Mulino. Those hoping to savor some fresh Florida seafood should not miss a visit to Todd English’s Blue Zoo. If quick service dining is more your style, drop by Picabu or Fuel for a sandwich or a snack on the go. Coffee addicts can get their fix at the Java bar and you can close out the day with a cocktail at one of five lounges that serve delicious specialty drinks. My family’s dining favorites at Swan and Dolphin Resorts are The Fountain, an old school diner with shakes and burgers, and Garden Grove Restaurant that offers savory American style entrees and sandwiches.
Depending on the time of year you visit the Swan and Dolphin Resort, rooms range in price. Personal experience with rates have ranged from around $180-$340 per night depending on the month I visited and the crowd pattern at that time. If you are driving to Walt Disney World, self-parking at either resort costs around $23 per day. If you are flying in and out of Orlando, you will need to arrange and pay for you own transportation to the resort as the Magical Express does not serve the Swan and Dolphin. There is an additional resort fee of $30 per day, per hotel room. The resort fee includes complimentary Swan paddle boat rentals, one s’mores fun kit each day to be used at the campfire in the evening, 2 complimentary bottles of water per day and access to other resort amenities. A full list of resort fee inclusions is available on the swananddolphin.com.
Because these resorts are not operated by Disney, guests with discount cards like AAA and AARP should inquire about discounts and special rates. Guests racking up credit card reward points through a Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Credit Card can cash in reward points at these resorts to enjoy serious savings on rooms.
Be sure to include parking/transportation costs and the resort fee into your budget estimate when planning and booking a room at either of these resorts. The Swan and Dolphin offer the ambiance and amenities of a Disney Deluxe Resort and have an unbeatable location, making them resort options worth considering for your next Walt Disney World vacation.