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Walt Disney World Swan - Orlando [Master Thread]

Walt Disney World Swan - Orlando [Master Thread]

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Old Oct 2, 19, 10:31 am   -   Wikipost
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Old Jul 11, 11, 9:34 pm
  #241  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Merritt Island, FL
Programs: AA EXP 4MM, SPG Lifetime Platinum
Posts: 436
Originally Posted by FocusGroupsMia View Post
My opinions are based on approximately 7-8 stays over the past 10 years, and unfortunately have witnessed a marked service deterioration over that time (e.g. elimination of the Club Lounge, kid photos with Santa, lower quality bathroom amenities, etc.). But as stated, sometimes location is the primary driver in the decision-making or the redemption of promo awards.

Regarding your Hilton question, the feel of the Hilton Bonnet Creek (ambience, clientele, service, room) is much more similar to a Westin than a Hilton, IMO. And certainly more like a Westin than the Dolphin or Swan.
You have a very good point with the elimination of the Club Lounge. That was a nice thing to have and I was quite disappointed when it closed several years ago. I also agree with the bathroom amenities not being as good as they used to be. The main things that keeps us going there are 1) the fact that we almost always score a suite upgrade, and 2) the hotel being within walking distance to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Pedro M is offline  
Old Jul 13, 11, 12:23 am
  #242  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: New Orleans, AA EXP, DL PM, SPG PLT, HH Diamond
Posts: 3,750
Recently stayed at the Swan; had stayed at the Dolphin a couple of years ago. We had booked a corner suite-this was a large,fantastic room at a very good property with an excellent location. Would not consider staying anywhere else while visiting Disney.


Originally Posted by FocusGroupsMia View Post
The Swan looks and feels like a Sheraton (including the BR amenities). Go for the location and $, but keep all other expectations in check. The rooms, the service, and the restaurants are mediocre; there is limited upgrade potential; and there is no bona fide Plat recognition. If location is key, stay here; if you want more of a Westin experience, I strongly recommend the Hilton Bonnet Creek.
aceflyer2 is offline  
Old Jul 15, 11, 11:40 am
  #243  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,988
Originally Posted by FocusGroupsMia View Post
The Swan looks and feels like a Sheraton (including the BR amenities). Go for the location and $, but keep all other expectations in check. The rooms, the service, and the restaurants are mediocre; there is limited upgrade potential; and there is no bona fide Plat recognition. If location is key, stay here; if you want more of a Westin experience, I strongly recommend the Hilton Bonnet Creek.

Granted, we've only been there once, earlier this year, but we actually found the rooms, service and restaurants to be just perfect for our needs - a family with two very young children. We have stayed at all kinds of "Disney-owned & run" properties, and all of them underwhelmed in some way.

Not the Swan. We especially enjoyed the wide variety and quality of eating options, both onsite, as well as within a short walk of the property. This gave us all kinds of flexibility, depending on the kids' temperment. And - as everyone agrees - the location just can't be beat! Walking to two parks in one day, taking in fireworks at night, yet kids in bed within 20 minutes!

While we appreciate lounges when travelling on business, or as couples without kids in - for example - Rome, Tel Aviv or Sydney, we felt no need for one at the Swan. We also found the pool facilities to be ideal for our needs, and received excellent Plat recognition, including a great suite upgrade.

All in all, we were so satisfied we have booked a return trip this fall - thanks to half a dozen FRNs.

While I agree it is always wise to keep expections in check - after all, anything can go wrong, even at the best of properties - we have yet to find a better Disney property for our particular family circumstances.

Cheers,
Flews is offline  
Old Jul 26, 11, 7:54 pm
  #244  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NYC
Programs: Delta PM, Starwood Gold, JetBlue, Marriott Silver, Hilton Honors
Posts: 207
Hello, I am new to this forum and happy I found this thread. I am planning a trip for this December for eight nights and have some questions, but first a little background:

-I am an SPG Gold member, but will probably reach Plat by the time I check-in
-My wife and I will be traveling with our three kids, ages...13, 11 and 2 (yes a nice surprise!)
-We just remodeled our house and my wife has an SPG credit card that we used for much of the renovations, thus a differrent SPG account than mine but with lots of points.
-I booked two reservations, the first two nights using my points (20k) and the last six nights using her credit card points (50K points).
-We booked at the Swan for the bigger beds, we can put all three kids in a Queen if needed. I did call the hotel and they told me they would provide a roll away crib at no charge (but on the forums I have read they charge for this.)
-My order of preference is...size of room, view of fireworks, balcony, convenience.

So, my questions...

-I booked the first two nights with my points hoping to get an upgrade as an SPG Gold (and hopefully Plat by the time I travel) and then maybe they will keep the same room for the my wife's reservation. Chances?
-If I am still just a Gold, will I have to pay a resort fee as opposed to being Plat? I've read conflicting posts on this.
-Which hotel between the Swan or Dolphin will I have a better shot at an upgrade? I would love a suite, with balcony and view, for my family of five.
-There was no option to book an upgarde with points at time of reservation. I have read here that others paid 11,500 points per night. Why didn't I get that option?
-Overall, based on the above, what do you think is my best path to get what I want?

also, one last side question...does anyone know if it is possible to combine mine and my wife's SPG account? I also have a credit card under her account and do all of the traveling. Would love for it to be combined.

Thanks!
Krankenfaren is offline  
Old Jul 26, 11, 8:11 pm
  #245  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: From: PWM
Programs: United GS, Fairmont Platinum,SPG LTPlat, Hilton Diamond, MarriottGold..like the rest of the world
Posts: 4,398
Originally Posted by Krankenfaren View Post
So, my questions...

-I booked the first two nights with my points hoping to get an upgrade as an SPG Gold (and hopefully Plat by the time I travel) and then maybe they will keep the same room for the my wife's reservation. Chances?-There was no option to book an upgarde with points at time of reservation. I have read here that others paid 11,500 points per night. Why didn't I get that option?
-Overall, based on the above, what do you think is my best path to get what I want?
First off, welcome to Flyertalk, Krankenfaren. I hope you'll find this place to be a wealth of good information!

I'll toss out a few quick replies to a few of your questions.

Upgrades here can be hard to come by -- like most all properties, it's just going to depend on many external factors. If there are large groups meeting on site, then many of the suites are assigned to attendees and that leaves few, if any, available for others. However, if you're going in December, meetings tend to drop off dramatically as the holidays approach, so you might get lucky. Bottom line = you just won't know until you get there. I think that the hotel really does try to upgrade Platinum members, but there are LOTS of times where this hotel simply doesn't have upgradeable inventory to offer.

If you want the 11,500 option, it's not bookable on line. One must call SPG directly to arrange for that upgrade award. And, if you have any special requests at that time, the SPG agent can include them in your reservation.

I'll hasten to add that it's my recollection that the Swan doesn't offer many (if any) good fireworks view rooms. The Dolphin has fireworks view rooms. If this isn't correct, I'm sure someone will correct me. I just wanted to ensure that your expectations are in line with reality.

For me, the bottom line is that the Swan is a nice, but not exceptional hotel. The location (for Epcot and Studios) is really quite good and kiddies will enjoy walking the nearby Boardwalk, etc. It's a haul to the Magic Kingdom, but that's okay if you're just doing it one day.

Again, welcome to FT.
sbtinme is offline  
Old Jul 26, 11, 8:20 pm
  #246  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NYC
Programs: Delta PM, Starwood Gold, JetBlue, Marriott Silver, Hilton Honors
Posts: 207
Thanks so much Jet! My family is very much experienced in Disney World. We go every year (always at a Disney Resort) and love the Boardwalk area for the location reason you mention above. This is the first time I am using a reward to cover my hotel. My dilemma is...if I am pretty cetain I will get an upgrade, I will book Dolphin (I read nicer ambience at Christmas plus better chance of fireworks view). However, if no upgrade, then the Swan for the larger beds and sink outside the bathroom. Your tip to call to pay for the upgrade with points is a good one and I will do so tomorrow.

Thanks again!
Kevin
Krankenfaren is offline  
Old Jul 26, 11, 9:46 pm
  #247  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: YYZ
Programs: SPG Plat, AC*E, PC Plat, Marriott Gold, Hyatt Diamond, Delta Gold
Posts: 223
Originally Posted by Krankenfaren View Post
So, my questions...

-I booked the first two nights with my points hoping to get an upgrade as an SPG Gold (and hopefully Plat by the time I travel) and then maybe they will keep the same room for the my wife's reservation. Chances?
-If I am still just a Gold, will I have to pay a resort fee as opposed to being Plat? I've read conflicting posts on this.
-Which hotel between the Swan or Dolphin will I have a better shot at an upgrade? I would love a suite, with balcony and view, for my family of five.
-There was no option to book an upgarde with points at time of reservation. I have read here that others paid 11,500 points per night. Why didn't I get that option?
-Overall, based on the above, what do you think is my best path to get what I want?
Thanks!
Based on my stay last year, with a total of four kids and four adults, I booked two traditional rooms at the Swan, given, IMHO, that the Dolphin typically has more conferences, making upgrades hard to come by. Thereafter, I contacted the hotel directly through the hotel's e-mail address listed on the website. We were celebrating my eldest child's birthday and they upgraded the rooms to one of their suites with a connecting room to 2 rooms, one king bedded and the other room with two double beds. The parlour portion was huge with a dining table for 8 and a pull out sofa. My suggestion is to contact the hotel and see if they can arrange a pre-arrival upgrade, with no additional points, as a Plat.

No great view of the fireworks from the Swan but easily seen from the Boardwalk area, as you well know.

As an aside, if you want to purchase some Disney welcome amenities, I suggest having the hotel arrange the purchase. My four kids got a whole cart full of Disney souvenirs at a fraction of the cost instead of purchasing anything through Disney Gifts.
SPG Junkie is offline  
Old Jul 28, 11, 11:27 am
  #248  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC*E, AA, Mar*S, SW*P, HTZ #1G, AVS Pref
Posts: 159
one other thing - in terms of combining accounts - no need. if you and your wife are living (and registered) at the same address, you can transfer her points to you (as the platinum member that would make the most sense).
jeff3380 is offline  
Old Jul 28, 11, 11:33 am
  #249  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Programs: Club Awesome
Posts: 112
staying here later in the year, thanks to the Q2 promo, which restaurants onsite does everyone recommend for dinner? Right now we are thinking of trying the Sushi place.
discostu is offline  
Old Jul 28, 11, 12:58 pm
  #250  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: YYZ
Programs: SPG Plat, AC*E, PC Plat, Marriott Gold, Hyatt Diamond, Delta Gold
Posts: 223
Originally Posted by discostu View Post
staying here later in the year, thanks to the Q2 promo, which restaurants onsite does everyone recommend for dinner? Right now we are thinking of trying the Sushi place.
Kimonos was okay. I went mid-week in August and it was pretty desolate with only a couple of folks having a marathon of karoake. I had a much better time when my wife and I had dinner at the Italian restaurant, Il Mulino.
SPG Junkie is offline  
Old Jul 28, 11, 3:45 pm
  #251  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: From: PWM
Programs: United GS, Fairmont Platinum,SPG LTPlat, Hilton Diamond, MarriottGold..like the rest of the world
Posts: 4,398
Originally Posted by discostu View Post
staying here later in the year, thanks to the Q2 promo, which restaurants onsite does everyone recommend for dinner? Right now we are thinking of trying the Sushi place.
None except Il Mulino. We found all of the other dining options to be of incredibly low quality. (I'll hasten to add that lunch at the Dolphin Pool was always really good.) Il Mulino has a nice vibe and some good food.

Otherwise, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.
sbtinme is offline  
Old Jul 29, 11, 12:36 am
  #252  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: New Orleans, AA EXP, DL PM, SPG PLT, HH Diamond
Posts: 3,750
I agree about the dining options. Nothing really all that impressive at either (although Dolphin has better (more variety) options, and way overpriced. I would go to Boardwalk or Downtown Disney.


Originally Posted by sbtinme View Post
None except Il Mulino. We found all of the other dining options to be of incredibly low quality. (I'll hasten to add that lunch at the Dolphin Pool was always really good.) Il Mulino has a nice vibe and some good food.

Otherwise, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.
aceflyer2 is offline  
Old Jul 29, 11, 12:30 pm
  #253  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,988
Originally Posted by discostu View Post
staying here later in the year, thanks to the Q2 promo, which restaurants onsite does everyone recommend for dinner? Right now we are thinking of trying the Sushi place.
We've enjoyed the sushi several times. The lower end restaurants are also perfect for our kids. Room service wasn't bad either.

Cheers,
Flews is offline  
Old Jul 29, 11, 12:33 pm
  #254  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,988
Originally Posted by Krankenfaren View Post
Thanks so much Jet! My family is very much experienced in Disney World. We go every year (always at a Disney Resort) and love the Boardwalk area for the location reason you mention above. This is the first time I am using a reward to cover my hotel. My dilemma is...if I am pretty cetain I will get an upgrade, I will book Dolphin (I read nicer ambience at Christmas plus better chance of fireworks view). However, if no upgrade, then the Swan for the larger beds and sink outside the bathroom. Your tip to call to pay for the upgrade with points is a good one and I will do so tomorrow.

Thanks again!
Kevin
If you need certainly about the upgrade my advice is to book the suite. While I am having good luck at this property, we always go into it assuming we will get nothing more than we've paid for - well maybe an upgrade, but not a suite.

We have also had luck at other properties booking two rooms - even on points - and asking nicely if we could have a parlor between them if one is available. So that suggestion, from another poster, might be worth a try. At the very least, you end up with two rooms instead of one.

Cheers,
Flews is offline  
Old Jul 29, 11, 9:55 pm
  #255  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: PVD
Programs: AA-G, B6, DL, SW, SPG-P, AGR-S
Posts: 284
Originally Posted by discostu View Post
staying here later in the year, thanks to the Q2 promo, which restaurants onsite does everyone recommend for dinner? Right now we are thinking of trying the Sushi place.
I've enjoyed Kimono's. At around 9pm or so, karaoke starts so dine early if you want to avoid it. "Onsite" restaurants include the ones at the Dolphin resort as well (the restaurants are interchangeable when it comes to charging back to the room). I'm a big fan of bluezoo at the Dolphin, but I'll second Il Mulino. For casual dining, Cabanas at the Dolphin is really good and the Fountain (also Dolphin) has great ice cream concoctions. There are a lot of ways to get a discount on dining at the Swolphin restaurants:

AAA or DVC membership for a 20% food discount at the non-signature places

restaurant.com for $25 gift certificates for some of the signature and non-signature places

Disney's Tables In Wonderland dining program (available to Annual Passholders or Florida Residents) gives 20% discount off food & booze at the signature dining locations
ImprovGal is offline  

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