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Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Pros and Cons

After taking a short last minute trip to Disney World with my two boys over Presidents day Weekend, I am back and have lots to share about not-so-official Walt Disney World Hotels known as the Swan and Dolphin.

I should start out by explaining that this was a last minute trip I planned for myself and my two boys (aged 6 and 3). Once I decided to make the trip, I began looking for availability at one of the All Star or Pop Century resorts, of course, they had been sold out for months for the holiday weekend. Being a travel agent, I had a few tricks up my sleeve. I always tell my clients that sometimes I have access to negotiated rates through certain vendors for specific hotels. This proved true for my dates over Presidents Day weekend at the Dolphin hotel.

So what did I think of the resort? In short, I liked it. It was a solid hotel with a fantastic location. But it definitely isn’t perfect. Here are a pros and cons list to better explain.

The Pros:

Location/Transportation – While a bit more of a walk than Beach or Yacht, it is still only a 10 minute Walk to Epcot and there is boat transportation heading directly to Hollywood Studios every 20 minutes.

Food – Fuel, the quick service grab and go was solid with good pastries and all the essentials for grabbing a bite before heading to rope drop. While we didn’t eat at their table service restaurants, Shulas, Il Molino and Blue Zoo always receive top reviews from guests and critics alike. It should be noted that while we did not enjoy the table service restaurants at these resorts, we did take advantage of the neighboring hotel restaurants and the multitude of options at Epcot.

Beds – Weston Heavenly Beds, do I need to say more? I slept like a rock, even when my three year old crawled into my bed at 3 am.

Public Spaces – The exterior grounds are beautiful. While the Swan lobby was small and unimpressive, the Dolphin has done a great job converting the old circus tent motif into something fresh with their Miami inspired Phins Bar. Additionally, the pools are top notch and the signature scent in the lobby is amazing.

Service – Every encounter I had with staff members were pleasant and courteous. The valet, bell services, front desk and restaurant staff were all very helpful.

The Cons:

Resort Fee – While it is very clear through the booking process that most rates do not include the resort fee, I personally find a resort fee to be insulting and dishonest.

Bathrooms – While the beds are amazing, the tiny toilet and shower area are a real let down from an otherwise tastefully decorated and spacious hotel room. I would say the rooms are adequate.

Architecture – While some may love the whimsical design from Michael Graves, while iconic, I think they are a bit garish.

MDE – I did not have a problem with linking to My Disney Experience, but I have had two clients who have had issues in the past. BUT Louis in customer service was able to fix these issues in 5 minutes. So it really was a non-issue for me.


While the hotel is not my first choice for most of my clients, I will say that both the Swan and the Dolphin are solid options for booking a last minute trip when there is limited inventory at the Disney managed properties. I would place these properties between the moderate and deluxe properties in the on property line up.

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