Located in the Epcot resort area, the Swan and Dolphin are two great resorts to consider when booking a Walt Disney World vacation. These two hotels aren’t managed by Disney, so they are often overlooked when comparing vacation packages. Today we’re going to share with you everything you need to know about staying in either the Swan or the Dolphin for your next vacation.
History of the Swan and Dolphin Resort
The Swan and Dolphin are both included in the Walt Disney Collection of resorts yet are a joint partnership that is managed by Marriott International. These resorts still offer you many of the benefits of staying at other Disney resorts, which is why they are a great option for visitors to the area. The Walt Disney World Swan opened back in January 1990, and in June of the same year, the Walt Disney World Dolphin also opened. Both resorts were designed by Michael Graves, who is a Driehaus Prize winner. The Walt Disney Company owns the land the two resorts were built on, but the buildings are leased to the company by MetLife and the Tishman Hotel Corporation.
While the Dolphin and Swan have some similarities in their overall aesthetic, they both have unique features from the outside. The Dolphin is the triangular-shaped building, whereas the Swan is the rectangular-shaped building. They both have a similar color scheme and turquoise waves throughout the design. The Swan is the smaller of the two resorts, with 758 rooms, whereas the Dolphin has almost double that at 1509 rooms. They are located between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot and enjoy easy access to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Their location is one of the many reasons these are such a great option for your next Disney trip, but there are many more reasons you’ll want to consider staying here.
Pros of Staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin
There are many reasons why families and individuals would choose to stay at the Swan and Dolphin resort for their next vacation. These are just a few of the benefits of booking a stay at either of these properties:
- The Price – The Swan and Dolphin are considered to be Deluxe properties. However, they rarely command the same prices as the other Disney resorts in this category. For this reason, it’s a great option for anyone looking to enjoy excellent amenities and a fantastic location for their next trip. Also, if you collect Marriott points, you can use these for your next vacation here.
- Location – The Epcot resort area is one of the most popular locations for visitors to Walt Disney World to stay in. From both the Swan and Dolphin, you can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, or alternatively, you can take the friendship boats that link these resorts and parks.
- Transportation – You’ll benefit from a wide variety of transportation options when staying at these resorts. Enjoy boats, buses, and walking access to the parks, making the start and end of your day much easier.
- Dining – The dining options in both the Swan and Dolphin are some of the best on property. You’ll be treated to food that’s far superior to the typical theme park offerings. We highly recommend Shula’s Steakhouse at the Dolphin and Il Mulino at the Swan. On top of that, you’ll also enjoy easy walking access to the other nearby resorts, where you can enjoy even more dining and drinking options in the evenings.
- On-Site Amenities – You’ll be blown away by the spacious grounds of these hotels and the beautiful amenities they offer to guests. You’ll have multiple swimming pools to choose from, as well as a white sand beach to relax on after a busy day in the parks. On top of that, there are plenty of sporting facilities on offer and watercraft rentals.
- Points – For those that are enrolled in the Marriott Bonvoy program, you can redeem points here. It’s a popular Disney destination for business travelers since they can be on property and use points to save on their Disney World vacation.
- Disney Benefits – Finally, while the Swan and Dolphin aren’t operated by Disney, you’ll still enjoy many of the perks of staying on-site. When Extra Magic Hours and FastPass return, these are offered to guests of these hotels. You’ll enjoy free transportation across the resort and package delivery to your hotel. On top of that, if you are driving during your vacation, you’ll enjoy free parking when you visit the Disney theme parks.
Cons of Staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin
While there are many great benefits of staying at these resorts, there are a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before booking your next vacation.
- Magical Express Is Not Included – For anyone who is visiting Orlando without a car, this can be a slight frustration when staying at these resorts. You’ll have to find your own way to your hotel at the start of your trip, which can add additional costs to your vacation.
- Lack of Disney Theming – While for some adults this may be seen as a benefit, for anyone visiting with younger children, you may miss the fun Disney theming found in the other resorts. It’s a luxury resort with beautiful rooms and amenities but lacks any unique theming.
- Resort Fees – The resort fees for the Swan and Dolphin are pretty high and can quickly make this hotel not as much of a bargain as you initially considered it to be. On top of that, there’s also a parking fee if you are bringing a car here.
The Future of the Swan and Dolphin – The Swan Reserve
A couple of years ago, construction began on the Swan Reserve, a new 300 room hotel on the property. It will feature many great amenities, including a signature restaurant and a health club. This will bring another accommodation option to the area, and it looks to be a modern and exciting addition to the resort. This boutique hotel is set to open in Summer 2021 and will enjoy all of the benefits of the other two hotels we’ve described above.
The Swan and Dolphin resorts are well worth considering for your next visit to Walt Disney World, especially with the addition of the Swan Reserve to the property. They all offer a fantastic location and many benefits to visitors, making them an excellent option for a vacation this year.