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Disney Orlando: Dolphin or Swan? 2007-present [Master Thread]

Disney Orlando: Dolphin or Swan? 2007-present [Master Thread]

Old Jan 9, 07, 8:50 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: California
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Lifetime Platinum, United 1K, Southwest PP
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Arrow Disney Orlando: Dolphin or Swan? 2007-present [Master Thread]

I will be taking my wife and kids (12 and 13) this October '07. I have stayed at both hotels a couple years ago and had about the same experience at each. Have any of you every stayed at both locations and prefer one over the other? If so, why? I seemed to like the Dolphin better but I remember thinking the Swan had better views on the side that faced Epcot.

Also, what benefits should I expect with Platinum status? Are room upgrades pretty standard? Any other benefits you think I could expect?

We are on the west coast so I hope to take a red eye to get more time in WDW as this will be the first trip for my kids. Any advice would help. Thanks.

Last edited by SanDiego1K; Jun 1, 08 at 11:18 am Reason: Thread prior to 2007 is at http://flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=736706
aloha12 is offline  
Old Jan 9, 07, 9:38 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The City of Angels
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My personal preference is the Swan. The rooms are slightly larger and, assuming you have requested two beds, the Swan has queen beds while the Dolphin only has doubles. The Swan is smaller, which I like. I think the Dolphin is just too big and can be a real zoo. True, if you stay at the Swan, some of the amenities are over at the Dolphin (i.e. the gym, Tubbi's Buffeteria, etc.), but that isn't really much of a walk to be any real inconvenience.

Last year was my first year as platinum and I had one stay at each property. Although I didn't get a suite either time, in both cases I was upgraded to balcony rooms overlooking Epcot. That said, for my upcoming Swan reservation in March, my reservation already shows an upgrade to a suite.

I'm not sure I would recommend a red eye, particularly with kids. The parks are tiring enough without starting out with a mediocre and shortened night of sleep on plane. I think you are better off arriving in the early evening, having a nice dinner at the Boardwalk and getting a good night sleep before taking on the parks full force the next day.
el_tigre is offline  
Old Jan 10, 07, 5:24 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Which one of the two hotels is a closer walk to EPCOT?
NotSoFrequentTraveler is offline  
Old Jan 10, 07, 6:23 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Originally Posted by NotSoFrequentTraveler View Post
Which one of the two hotels is a closer walk to EPCOT?
They are both *about* the same distance, if pressed I would say the Dolphin is maybe 100 ft closer (now that they have the walkway along the lake to the Yacht Club so you don't have to cross the bridge). The Swan is a tad closer to MGM, as it's closer to the bridge that takes you in that direction. Either way, it's negligible as part of the total distance.

I much prefer the Swan over the Dolphin. Our experience has always been that the service there is warmer, the rooms nicer, and our ONLY upgrades have been at the Swan. We always reserve a balcony view room, and at the Dolphin, even view requests have been ignored; the Swan has always netted us our requested view at the minimum, and huge suite upgrades at the maximum. These hotels are both extremely busy, so I would never depend on an upgrade. It seems that since the convention space is in the Dolphin, they cater more to their groups than the individual. Our last stay (reported here in Nov.) drove Mr Fish to say that if the Swan is not available, he would rather pay Disney resort prices.

Robin
Fishbait is offline  
Old Jan 10, 07, 8:14 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Great property...Poor staff

We recently completed a one week stay half at the Swan and half at the Dolphin. My initial comment is if you're choosing between the two based on freatures and quality pick the Dolphin, if a short walk to your room is a necessity chose the Swan.

Check-in:
I advise walking right up to the counter if checking-in at the Swan and as to be helped. The standard gold/platinum check-in sign is off to the right of the normal line...unfortunately my wife (on crutches no less) were completely ignored for 25(timed it) minutes standing at the front of the platinum line while other customers were continually checked-in despite our cough and wave attempts every few minutes. So much for platinum. I called the manager regarding this once we got to our room. She apologized. Then when I went down to the front desk a couple hours later for some room questions the same thing happened. This time 15 minutes in the platinum line. Arghh. Looks like a little training is needed as this usually isn't a problem at Starwood properties.

Upgrades:
We struck out on upgrades at the Swan, but received a nice corner room with a balcony in the Dolphin. At the Swan the group checking-in in front of me did not have status and was offered an upgrade. When the staff member tried to put them into the upgraded suite she offered the room came up as occupied, so they were offered yet another "super" upgrade. This sounded promising to me standing in the check-in line as platinum guarantees best room available. Unfortunately when I got to the front of the line I was told no upgrades were available. My referencing the previous customer brought me a rude little smile and sorry can't be helped.

Theft:
We've stayed at many Starwoods and never had trouble with the cleaning staff. Strike three for the Swan...my wife's purse was stolen out of the room. Luckily it was one of those pricey little nighttime bags ladies like to carry so none of her personal effects were inside.

Room Service: Breakfast was excellent and was right on time.

Billing: Platinum members according to the front desk received two bottles of water free each day. We drank two bottles each day. Randomly at check-out we were billed for some of the water and not others. Internet according to the hotel stay was included in a resort fee at the Dolphin. Two of the five times we used internet we were billed. These apparently random billing issues really are a drag when checking out and trying to get to the airport.

Conceirge: The conceirge was very helpful with restaurant reservations. The conceirge was very unhelpful with park tickets. The gentleman charged me the full price rather than the appropriately discounted amount. When I pointed it out on the credit card slip he said he didnt know how to do a refund. I chalked up the lost $80 to getting over to the park as the morning was already drawing late. Come on Starwood/Disney...basic training please.

We enjoyed the properties over all, but certainly not a magical staff experience. Starwood would do well to send some trainers down to Disney to get the property in-line with the average. The Disney location can only be used as a crutch for so long.
regulatorug is offline  
Old Jan 10, 07, 9:56 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Lakeside, AZ, USA, in the beautiful White Mountains of Eastern Arizona (Home airport SOW; Major airports PHX/ABQ)
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Stayed at the Swan in September for a Convention. Had no problems and was upgraded to a view room with a King Bed. I could see MGM, but not well. I prefer the Swan over the Dolphin as it is smaller and has a little more "classy" feel. Also, the Swan is all non-Smoking.

Walk to Epcot is about 10-minutes across the Boardwalk. Didn't try the walk to MGM. All other parks have bus service the runs regularly. Are you renting a car? If so, parking at the property is *not* included in the resort fee. (I didn't feel the need for a car.)

If you haven't already, checkout http://www.disboards.com for some great advice. Also, search here for "Mousesaver", a monthly newsletter.

Have a great time with Mickey, et. al.
AZ_MISMAN is offline  
Old Jan 11, 07, 2:48 pm
  #7  
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I visited the Dolphin last week and got great service there. I know my way around the parks very well, so I dont need to rely on the concierge staff for that type of assistance, but I have had absolutely no problems with the staff (front desk, parking, housekeeping, dining) in recent memory. Once my TV remote had dead batteries. When I called to report it , I had another in 15 minutes and a free pay per view movie for my 15 minutes of inconvenience. I miss the old club level lounge, but still like to return to this property above all others at WDW (including Swan).
Lurwood Starker is offline  
Old Jan 14, 07, 4:11 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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What is the best way to get from MCO airport to the Swan?. I called the Swan and they transfer me to the Mears shuttle desk they have onsite. The Mears person there told me that with three people I would be better offer taking a taxi at $50 each way. I get nervous about taxis because of previous bad cost experiencies elsewhere. Any recommendations?
NotSoFrequentTraveler is offline  
Old Jan 14, 07, 5:30 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Originally Posted by NotSoFrequentTraveler View Post
What is the best way to get from MCO airport to the Swan?. I called the Swan and they transfer me to the Mears shuttle desk they have onsite. The Mears person there told me that with three people I would be better offer taking a taxi at $50 each way. I get nervous about taxis because of previous bad cost experiencies elsewhere. Any recommendations?
We took a Mears shuttle (they kind of have a Monopoly in MCO) for two of us last summer. You might look into a town car or limo. Considered it for us, but it would have been a splurge. For 3 people, it may not be much difference. You can research it all online and comparison shop for yourself.

I wonder if the suspension of the poster before you had anything to do with their name?
Sam P. Goodman is offline  
Old Feb 23, 07, 6:12 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 8
Disney Dophin/Swan

I'm staying in Orlando next month and im wondering.

Which hotel is better?

Walt Disney Swan
Or
Walt Disney Dolphin

Thanks
aZnsTuy is offline  
Old Feb 23, 07, 7:01 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
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Unless it's changed lately, the Swan has the Westin Heavenly Beds and the Dolphin has the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper. That pushes our family to the Swan.
DawgmanOH is offline  
Old Feb 23, 07, 7:13 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
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If you're needing two beds, the Swan has queens while the Dolphin has doubles.
bankingguy is offline  
Old Feb 23, 07, 7:42 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Another vote for the Swan, always had a nice room, had several upgrades
as gold. Nice place.
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Old Feb 23, 07, 9:59 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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I've stayed in both hotels three times now and I'll always choose the Swan over the Dolphin. Not only are the beds bigger in the rooms that have two beds, it seems the rooms are a little bigger as well. The Dolphin is so huge; it feels like a zoo. There are some things the two hotels share that are in the Dolphin (i.e. the gym, the buffeteria, etc.), but the Swan is so close, that realy isn't an issue. The Swan is a no brainer for me too.
el_tigre is offline  
Old Feb 23, 07, 10:18 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: ATL
Posts: 3,219
We love staying at the Swan, especially the xx25 jr. suites.

The Dolphin is much busier and doesn't feel as cozy.
Tummy is offline  

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