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Old Jan 10, 06, 8:42 am   #1
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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SWAN OR DOLPHIN ??????? Help!!

Hi, We are going to WDW very soon and have the choice to stay at either the Swan or the Dolphin. We have never stayed at either, so have no clue. We are a family of 5 (2 Adults, 3 children--oldest is 10 years). We will be going to WDW for just two days--to Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Any ideas about which hotel you think might be best to stay at?

I looked at tons of reviews and cannot decide! Both seem to have LOTS of pros and cons. But when you call Disney they say they're the same.

Any input to help us make a decision would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
Kansaskix
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Old Jan 10, 06, 8:53 am   #2
 
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My vote would be the Dolphin. I have an 8 year old and she likes the Dolphin better. Neither hotel are "Disneyesque" but the Swan has a particularly small lobby - whereas the Dolphin's is very large. Plus, the pool at the Dolphin is one you shouldn't let your kids miss. My DD loved it. There is a slide there - which may seem "small time" compared to the slide next door at the Yacht and Beach Club (which I hated because my thighs would burn every time I had to climb panting to the top). The slide at the Dolphin made my belly tickle when I actually was persuaded to be an "uncool, but nagged into it" adult and went with DD down the slide. It was a blast.

We love the Dolphin - and have paid through the nose to stay at the other nice Disney resorts. I particularly prefer the Dolphin BECAUSE it is primarily a convention hotel and is not overrun with little ankle biters.

Ask for a room facing the Epcot ball. You will be able to see the Epcot fireworks at night from your balcony. Yes, in this case, it's worthwhile to spring for the balcony. I love the Dolphin.

Incidently, if you are a nurse, govt' employee, school staff or military, you can get a KILLER price for your room. Also, the AAA price isn't too bad, and I think you still can get an Entertainment book rate.

Have a blast!
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Old Jan 10, 06, 6:28 pm   #3
 
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I'm with the Disney folks--there really isn't that much difference. You can easily experience the amenities of both hotels when staying at either one. If push came to shove I would say I prefer the Swan because it's a little smaller and therefore has a more intimate feel. You'll be happy either way!
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Old Jan 10, 06, 10:37 pm   #4
 
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(A little background which was probably assumed in the responses above Last I checked, both are Starwood properties (so consider SPG upgrades if you have those). I think Swan was originally branded a Sheraton and the Dolphin a Westin (I'm sure someone will correct me if I got those reversed). When they were originally built, Sheraton and Westin were not part of the same hotel group. I believe there are several other threads on this same topic, so you may want to search for additional comments. It's been a number of years since I stayed at either, but I don't remember much difference between them; assuming Dolphin is/was the Westin, I would probably have that as a first choice.
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Old Jan 10, 06, 10:53 pm   #5
 
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I stayed at the Dolphin through priceline in the summer of 04. I would thoroughly recommend it. Unfortunately, I have not seen it come on on P/L for quite a while.

My only criticism of the resort is the food is quite expensive (but what would one expect at a themepark hotel?).

Whichever resort you stay at, however, I would recommend having a car. I found driving to each of the theme parks (with the exception of EPCOT) was easier than waiting for disney transportation. Additionally, you can park for free at the parks by showing your room key card.

Have a great trip!
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Old Jan 10, 06, 11:07 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaskix
Hi, We are going to WDW very soon and have the choice to stay at either the Swan or the Dolphin. We have never stayed at either, so have no clue. We are a family of 5 (2 Adults, 3 children--oldest is 10 years). We will be going to WDW for just two days--to Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Any ideas about which hotel you think might be best to stay at?

I looked at tons of reviews and cannot decide! Both seem to have LOTS of pros and cons. But when you call Disney they say they're the same.

Any input to help us make a decision would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
Kansaskix

Last edited by suntzu; Jan 10, 06 at 11:11 pm. Reason: Deleted
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Old Jan 11, 06, 10:56 am   #7
 
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Thank you for your responses!

Hi! Thank you so much to everyone who has responded to my question! I greatly appreciate all your comments and input. This is the first time I have participated at FlyerTalk and it's been great. I won a prize off the internet for a free stay at Swan or Dolphin and originally we were going to stay at the Swan based PURELY on that the Swan has Queen beds, whereas the Dolphin has double beds (and by the way, does anyone else besides myself think that is totally cheesy for a "deluxe" resort to have double beds???). But it sounds like overall Dolphin will be our better choice. Thanks!! :-)
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Old Jan 11, 06, 11:03 am   #8
 
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As a former Floridian - I've stayed at all of the better resorts at WDW. I can tell you that the Swan - the smaller of the two hotels - has historically been the nicer one. Originally, the Swan was built and managed by Westin while the Dolphin was operated by Sheraton. That's changed; but both chains put their imprint on the hotels. The Swan simply has a more intimate feel then the Dolphin in my opinion.
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Old Jan 11, 06, 11:24 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdx42
As a former Floridian - I've stayed at all of the better resorts at WDW. I can tell you that the Swan - the smaller of the two hotels - has historically been the nicer one. Originally, the Swan was built and managed by Westin while the Dolphin was operated by Sheraton. That's changed; but both chains put their imprint on the hotels. The Swan simply has a more intimate feel then the Dolphin in my opinion.

Yes, that's what we felt from our research--that the Swan might be more up-to-date and generally nicer overall. We read sooo many reviews bashing both the Swan and Dolphin for torn up carpet, dirty rooms, thrashed hallways, peeling paint, thread bare linens, moldy bathrooms, super humid rooms, saggy beds, etc. etc. etc. However, we looked and supposedly, both hotels have gone major renovations and have upgraded all beds to the "Heavenly Beds" (though Dolphin's are still double sized). We were/are concerned about getting a mildew/moldy room or one that maybe hasn't undergone repair yet. Sometimes it seems that what you get is purely luck of the draw.

I am VERY picky as to cleanliness and even pickier when it comes to serenity. I HAVE to have a quiet room or I cannot sleep at all. So usually I request a room on the highest floor, away from the elevator, laundry, vending, and stairwells.

I also love Disney and Disney-esque things, so I don't necessarily need to lodge in an envirnoment to "get away from the mouse", but I do want an updated, clean and quiet room. Convenience is important, too--and it seems that the Dolphin has the activities, restaurants and that the pool is closer? Also, a little closer to Epcot if you want to walk? (probably won't be doing that anyhow). It seems to be somewhat of a toss-up. I am a Starwoods member and would love to get a free upgrade to a better view. However, since this is a freebie, I wonder if they would even consider it or just be of the opinion, Hey it's free, be thankful for the basic/standard room. Which of course I can't argue.

Thanks again for the info!!
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Old Jan 11, 06, 11:54 am   #10
 
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We just returned from a week at the Swan--we chose it over the Dolphin because of the beds.We had major problems with housekeeping and the rooms did have a mildew smell-running the AC helped.I do not know if the housekeeping staff is interchangeable at these properties-if so, than I guess it would not matter which you chose.If you are going anytime soon,the pools will not be a factor--it was just too cold to consider swimming anyway.

We ate at both properties-things were fine.Both hotels seemed dated,but they were painting while we were there-perhaps they will improve after renovations.

Walking to Epcot is much faster than the transportation options.MGM is also walkable,but a long one.

You really cannot go wrong since you won this trip--congrats!
I would return to either of these hotels-they are still better than staying offsite and their location within Disney is excellent.

We have stayed at Disney hotels also,but the Swan and Dolphin are a much better value for the money.

Have fun
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Old Jan 11, 06, 8:19 pm   #11
 
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I'd once took the Disney architecture tour. They said Grave designed the hotel, so that Swan is the quiet elegant section, and Dolphin (aka Tuna the fish) is the festive one. So the lobby is much more chaotic (by design) in Dolphin side. And it shows. The wait line and the lobby looks busier to me ever since I know the back story.
That said, it really doesn't matter that much. It's a great location, walkable to Broadwalk (ie, restaurants and reasonable nightlife). I found both hotels to be a bit tiring. But you get SPG points, and it's the individual rooms that count, whatever you're paying for.
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Old Jan 16, 06, 8:25 pm   #12
 
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we did the Swan in April

Queen beds were the difference for us. The Swan and Dolphin share the pool outdoor activity area. The two hotels are only a breezeway apart so you really can't go wrong with either. Kids had a greattime at childcare at the Dolphin when we had an adult dinner evening.

Enjoy your trip
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Old Sep 24, 07, 9:08 am   #13
 
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What's new?

OK, so last post on the Swan/Dolphin differences was back in early '06... Anything new? Have renovations changed anything?

I'm going with my gf, we're both 26 (no kids). We certainly enjoy oversized and funky hotels (stayed at the vegas louxor last june), but I value cleanliness above all, as well as the possible upgrade. For now we're thinking about the cheapest room (limited view), and would love to get a view one, but can't spend the money...

we're going dec. 18-21 (tuesd. - friday).
Thanks!
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Old Sep 24, 07, 9:15 am   #14
 
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[quote=Benjh;8453391

we're going dec. 18-21 (tuesd. - friday).
Thanks![/QUOTE]

Dolphin. They have the Christmas Tree and Santa.
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Old Sep 25, 07, 1:59 pm   #15
 
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There are other threads for more up-to-date info on these hotels in the Starwood forum.
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