Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Pros and Cons of the Swan and Dolphin Resorts in Disney World.

I am a Disney Freak. Yes, I am proud of it and wear the title proudly. Disney is a pilgrimage we make at least once a year. We have been there over 30 times, and have planned numerous trips for others. Besides, the mug controversy and the people in a room controversy, the thing we hear most about is the Swan and Dolphin vs. the Disney resorts. We have stayed at both Disney resorts and the Swan and Dolphin and after staying at the Swan and Dolphin over 20 of those times, these two resorts can't be beat. Yes, the Swan and Dolphin are NOT Disney owned resorts; the land they sit on is leased to Starwood by Disney. Both hotels were designed by postmodernist architect Michael Graves, and are considered Deluxe resorts . They have 2,500 rooms and suites, seventeen restaurants and lounges (including one character meal, Todd English's Blue Zoo, Shula's Steak House etc...), many shops, five swimming pools, two health clubs, spa, Kids Clubs, business center, five nearby golf courses and a miniature golf course, and much more. If you need to leave the property at any time a Mears Limo or Town car is available for hire at the valet stand.

The rooms are roomy and bright, and were designed with special touches by Michael Graves. Their Heavenly Beds® are just that..heavenly. You won't want to get out of them quickly. Many of the rooms overlook Disney fireworks. On our July visit last year, we had a magnificent room. From the window at one end of the corridor we could see the Epcot fireworks, from the window on the other end of the corridor we could see The Studio fireworks, and finally from our balcony we could se Wishes off in the distance. At one point we did not know which way to watch! The Swan and Dolphin have exceptional service, from check in to check out. There is a Disney desk in both lobbies of each hotel as well as a concierge desk to help with reservations and other needs you may have. Packages delivery from the parks can be done until the day before you leave and items can be picked up at the Disney store in the hotel.

Guests of the Swan and Dolphin get many of the perks that Disney onsite guests receive. They are entitled to the EMH (extra magic hours) which enables guests of Disney resorts and a select few others to enter certain parks 1 hour early or stay after parking closing up to 3 hours later. This is great for the summer when the parks are crowded and only onsite guests are allowed to enter a park. Recently they have been using room keys as a way of making sure that only onsite guests get on rides during that time. Another special perk is the use of Disney transportation to and from your hotel. The Swan and Dolphin resorts are nestled between the Disney Studios and the World Showcase in Epcot. As a matter of fact, you can walk to both parks in less than 10 minutes, but there is a water taxi that takes you to both if you want a leisurely ride. The Boardwalk entertainment complex, the Beach Club and Yacht club resorts are within a five minute walk. How much more immersed can you be than next door to two deluxe Disney resorts and all their amenities plus between two Disney Parks (Epcot and The Studios)

The Swan and Dolphin also have specials and discounts not offered by Disney resorts. Recently they had a "get a room for regular price and the second room was $99" special. They also offer special rates to teachers and nurses with proper documentation. For teachers, it includes administrators and school personnel. They are just now finishing a military promotion. Swan and Dolphin guests can also take advantage of AAA and CAA discounts as well as, Entertainment rate discounts and coupons.

Now what is it about the Swan and Dolphin Resorts that differs from Disney resorts? You can not charge purchases to your resort key. Purchases at the park can not be put on your room key, but must be paid separately. You can not participate in the Disney Dinning plan or the Magical Express. Mickey Mouse is not available to make wake up calls in the morning. If these things are critical to your enjoyment then by all means do not stay here. Disney has plenty of options for everyone.

The Swan and Dolphin are themed, and elegant, but you can feel comfortable walking through the lobby in your bathing suit. You will see people in suits, families getting ready for a day at the park, and others just enjoying the hotel. Busses to the parks can be taken from the front of both hotels, and are often shared with the Boardwalk , Beach Club and Yacht Club guests. The water taxi mentioned earlier takes you to Epcot or The Disney Studios.

The Swan and Dolphin are great Deluxe resorts in the heart of Disney, that offer an affordable way of staying on site without paying some pretty hefty prices. It has everything you may want from a resort.

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Judy said...

I will fully admit, I WAS a Disney snob. I had walked thru the hotels, and didn't feel they were anything "special" at that time. I was a DVC owner, why would I stay there, my home resort is The Boardwalk. I love the area, prefer to stay in that area, and have now become a Swan/Dolphin convert only because of the coaxing of a certain Swan/Dolphin Hotel fanatic! I love the Heavenly Beds, I enjoy the room lay-outs, the amenities...pools, restaurants and the same travel time to Epcot and The Studios as I am used to. I look forward to my next stay in August, maybe now I am a Swan/Dolphin snob in conjunction with being a Boardwalk Villas snob? :-)

Vanessa said...

The heavenly beds.....OMG...are simply..heavenly! When we do get out of bed, we enjoy the walk to and from the Studios and Epcot. We have eaten at Blue Zoo and enjoyed it very much and don't forget that kareoke can be found close by.

Jaz said...

Hotels are often considered more luxurious and more expensive compared to hostels.

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