Whether you’re an expert Disney goer, or starting to plan your first trip you know that finding a hotel can be an overwhelming task.
There are so many wonderful options on Disney property for all different price ranges. From the Grand Floridian and hotels on the monorail to The Art of Animation and everything in between, there really is something for everyone on property.
You may or may not be familiar with Walt Disney World’s Swan & Dolphin Hotels. While they are on property, located directly in between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (walking distance to both!) they are not technically owned by Walt Disney World. This is something that sometimes turns people off, immediately.
The Swan and Dolphin hotels, owned the Starwood group, are tucked away between Disney’s Yacht Club & Disney’s The Boardwalk. There has often been a stigma that these twin hotels are “convention” hotels, and that ides isn’t too far off. There are a LOT of conventions held at both of these hotels at any given day of the week, year around. But, we’ve been staying at these hotels for years, and they still remain our top choice for our stays.
We’ve stayed at The Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Polynesian, Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Wilderness Lodge, Art of Animation, even Bay Lake Towers… and we still chose The Swan and Dolphin year after year.
So here’s why!
- Location – when you stay at these hotels you have the best of 2 worlds with close proximity to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Listen, the bus transportation is great…but with so many strollers, we try to avoid the bus as often as possible. A boat will arrive every 10-20 minutes at The Swan and Dolphin to take you to either park within minutes. BONUS: you don’t have to break down strollers on the boat!
- Getting Around – you can bypass the Disney transportation altogether and WALK to both of these parks. And I should mention, the walk is to EPCOT is quite enjoyable. It’s equal distance whether you walk on the Yacht and Beach or Boardwalk side. We chose The Boardwalk because there is more to see. A simple 20 minute stroll down the Boardwalk takes you directly to the backend of the World Showcase. You will enter the park between Great Britain and France. The walk to Hollywood Studios is less scenic, but you can walk to the park in about 20 minutes. The upcoming gondola (Disney Skyliner) will be amazing too! Scheduled to open this fall.
- Rooms & lobby – the rooms are very comfortable, not to mention the beds are probably the softest beds on property! The rooms are updated and
can accommodate a large family, like ours. We usually request a rollout mattress in our room for one of the kids to sleep on. They also offer cribs for babies, it’s so great to not have to travel with a pack n’ play! There are many afternoons where we want to beat the heat but are tired of being in our rooms, so we’ll venture down to the Dolphin lobby where there is a calming water fountain and nice bar for a cocktail or two!
- Pool – the swimming pool at the Swan & Dolphin is probably our. Not to mention, the food!! Cabana Bar and Beach Club is the most upscale pool bar we’ve seen on Disney property. Our trips consist of early mornings at the parks and long afternoon breaks at the pool… so lunch is a priority for us while having fun in the sun. The menu is extensive and includes crab salad, fish tacos, burgers, and tuna poke bowls. For the kids, cheeseburgers, pizza, and honestly the best waffle fries I’ve ever had! Both the Swan and Dolphin have their own quiet pools and hot tubs, but the main pool is one they share and it has some really cool features. The Grotto Pool by the Dolphin has actual seating in its very large grotto area, along with a slide and two separate areas of the pool to enjoy.
- Epcot Dinners – Okay, I’m going to be a bit biased here… but we love having
dinner at EPCOT. Honestly, the best restaurants on property reside inside the World Showcase. Some of our favorites are San Angel Inn in Mexico, Teppan Edo Dinner Japan & Tokyo Dining, Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, Chefs de France, Coral Reef and more! I will be sharing a full post soon on all of our favorite Disney restaurants. Let me know if you’d be interested in that read!
That being said, the Swan & Dolphin is the place to be. I hope you give these hotels a serious consideration when booking your family’s next magical getaway.
Have you stayed at Disney’s Swan & Dolphin before? If so, what are your thoughts on the hotels?