We have stayed at the Dolphin two times, because of the good location and the big rooms. Even if some things aren't 100% the best, its location outweighs everything that could be classified as negative. But once you realize they offer transportation to every Disney attraction in the area, it becomes the perfect place to be. The huge pool, the great number of restaurants and the big beds are only a couple of things from the whole picture. I wasn't very satisfied with the prices, but we booked our rooms through http://orlando.hotelscheap.org and we got some good discounts.Of course, we have to point out that it's not a Disney-owned hotel, but it's still very recommendable.
Background: Family (mom, dad, 5-month old, aunt) from Nova Scotia who has made frequent visits to the World. Stayed on property several times at Institute, Pop, and French Quarter.
Just returned from a short, two-night stay at the Swan (Mar 8-10, 2012). The resort is beautiful and the staff were very helpful. Our room was ready upon an early 10am check-in. We were traveling with a 5 month old and the crib was already in the room. It should be noted that the crib was not adjustable and the base was set too low for us. We thought to ask for an additional crib matress to raise our daughter's sleeping level, but staff at the Swan said that they could not provide us another crib mattress for safety reasons (in the end we propped the crib matress up on the two firm, cylindrical bed pillows).
The room itself (room 404, 2 queen beds) was big enough for three adults and an infant in a crib. The additional sink is always handy when traveling with more than two adults. Our view out the balcony was beautiful. The television in the room was big and looked brand new. I turned it on for only a moment to note the large selection of channels (Stacey IS available for those who need their must-do fix). As everyone knows, the beds are super comfy. The tub looked a little tired but the ladies in my travel party approved of the extra wide ledge. The bath towels are on a shelf in the shower, but there is lots of room to store them in the closet.
We ate mostly at restaurants on the boardwalk or at Epcot. We did however have one meal at Picabu at the Dolphin. While it is considered the value spot when compared to Bluezoo, Il Mulina's, Kimonos, etc. you're still at a resort, and even the counter-service prices reflected it. Despite the price, the food at Picabu was fresh and tasted great!
There were two separate conferences going on during our stay but we found the lack of families with kids a bit refreshing. I was able to take my daughter out in her carrier for quiet, beautiful early morning strolls each day. The smiles and extra attention from staff and ground crew was a nice way to start the day.
The location of the Swan is without a doubt one of its best features. The walks to Hollywood Studios (15 min speed walking) and Epcot (5-10 min) are both beautiful. Yes, the parking fee is a pain but at least the drive to the Magic Kingdom is short and you are offered free parking at the parks.
A quick note on customer service. While the employees at the Swan are not Disney cast members, they were nevertheless kind, welcoming, and efficient. Specifically, the employees at Cabanas (who may be Disney cast members, not sure) were extra helpful and kind. They always took the time to ask us about our stay, play with our 5 month old daughter, and offer helpful advice.
In the end, our quick stay was fun-filled and lived up to expectations. I will admit that I did miss the Disney magic (although it's close enough that sneaking in to the Boardwalk or Yacht Club helped a bit), but my wife loved how quiet it was and definitely wants to stay here next time.
great... loved the atmosphere... much more sophisticated... felt like any other upscale disney resort
I agree with the other reviews. Anywhere else, this would be a destination hotel. But having stayed at most of the regular Disney hotels, this lacked the disney magic. Pool at Swan was not kid friendly at all, had to use the pool at Dolphin for a slide.
I've stayed here 4 times and it's always amazing. The location is perfect, the rooms are beautiful, and the atmosphere is wonderful. Yes, it does miss some of the disney touch, but it makes up for it in location. You can look out the window and either see DHS or Epcot and the surrounding resorts. It's a 5-minute walk to Disney's Boardwalk and Yacht & Beach Club, a 10-minute walk to Epcot, and a 15 minute walk to DHS. The boats provide a lovely way to travel. I honestly LOVE this resort.
Having stayed at the swan with myself and our then 6 y/o son 2 years ago all i can say is top notch. the only thing missing is that you can tell it is not a Disney owned hotel. every thing was perfect spotless ect. there was just a little "Disney Magic" missing. Even though you have all the same extras as a Disney resort. I cant put my finger on it maybe because of no theming. but when you were in the hotel it just didnt feel Disney. dont get me wrong we had no problems or complaints, Service was great,. but if you have stayed in a Disney Resort befor you will know what i mean.
The Walt Disney World Swan is a deluxe resort on Disney property. Not only is it on property, it is VERY close to Epcot and Disney-MGM Studios, so much so, that it's walkable from the resort to each of those parks. This is a great benefit for those who would rather get to parks under their own steam, and not have to rely on buses or boats. If you would prefer not to walk, you can of course take busses, or boats to the parks.
The rooms have probably the best bed on property, the Westin heavenly bed. It really is that good!
The rooms are very well equipped, and have just been refurbished, along with the rest of the resort. Everything is brand new, and looks great.
Something to be aware of, is that although the resort is on property, it is not operated by Disney. This means that the resort does not have quite the same amount of Disney immersion as the Disney resorts. If you are looking for 100% Disney all the time, this may not be the resort for you. Examples would be things like the soap in the rooms not being Disney, and no Mickey Mouse wake up calls. For me, it isnt a problem, as I get all the Disney I need from the parks.
The pool complex is often overlooked, and is on par with the other resorts on property. For me, it ranks right up there with the Yacht and Beach pool. It's huge, with lots of different parts to it, hottubs, a slide, and a waterfall.
There are lots of restaurant choices, including casual and fine dining options. There is also a 24 hour quick service restaurant. If you want even more dining choices, you are just a short walk away from the Boardwalk area, and of course the parks.
Add in the other benefits, like Disney's Extra Magic Hours, and Disney transporation, you have the perfect base to spend your Disney vacation.
Keep your eye out on WDWMAGIC, as we often have special rates for the Swan and Dolphin as low as $125.
I highly recommend this resort, specifically because of the great bed and room, and the close proximity of the resort to Epcot and MGM.
The Swan is a great hotel in a great location. We stayed there during the week between Christmas and New Years and even though it was very busy the Swan was a nice place to come back to and relax. It never seemed busy and loud like Dolphin did. The beds were great!! The only thing the hotel needs is a place like Picabu like at Dolphin. You could never get a cold pop unless you walked to Dolphin or you were lucky and the little bar was open. Even though you share Disney transport it didn\'t take long to get anywhere and we found seats almost every time. We\'d definately stay again!
My family and I (4 adults) stayed at the Swan for my parents\' 44th wedding anniversary from October 6 to 7, 2006. We were on the 10th floor (Starwood Preferred Guest Level) in a Courtyard View room. I signed up for the Starwood Preferred Guest status on Starwood hotels website before we left, gave reservations my Starwood Preferred Guest\\\'s number, and mentioned my parents\' anniversary. I also called Swan reservations mid-day 4 days prior to arrival to request a view of the Dolphin. I expected to get a partial view with a Courtyard View-level room. To our surprise, we got a full view of the Dolphin (dead center) with a partial view of Animal Kingdom (Everest) to our left and could see the fireworks on Friday night from what must have been the Magic Kingdom Not-So-Scary Halloween party to our right, just behind the Dolphin. The view was the best thing about our stay. The room decor was nice, not spectacular, the beds were very pretty and comfortable to all of us (even though 2 of us have back problems.) The hallway had a chemical smell like a new home perm. Luckily, the room did not smell. The bathroom was much smaller than I expected. (The door almost touched the toilet when you opened it.) There were two sinks -- one outside bathroom -- but they only put one hand soap in the room. The placement of shelves in the closet really limited space to hang clothes, but would probably be fine for 2 adults/2 small kids. The towels were placed on a rack in the shower. You had to remove all towels to take a shower, and there was no good place to put them. We had requested foam pillows and non-down comforters when the reservations were made because two of us are allergic to down feathers. The down comforter and pillows were there when we arrived and there when we left. Luckily we took our pillows with us, so we did not bother to make a second request for foam ones while there. We also requested a refrigerator, and when we arrived at 5:00 p.m., it was still in the hallway outside our door. It took a while to get it cold when it was finally plugged in, so if you are depending on it to immediately transfer medications into, I guess you need to tell them this when you make reservations. We ate at Gulliver\\\'s the first night. The mahi mahi was dry. The shrimp was tasteless. The salmon and desserts were good, and they did have a children\\\'s food bar. The wait staff was friendly, and the kids around us were enjoying visits from Timon and Rafiki. The brick hallway to the restaurant had what looked like water stains on it. There was also food on the floor under our table, and they didn\\\'t seem that busy when we arrived, so I was surprised at this. For the money, we prefer the Cape May clam bake buffet at the Beach Club, which has more variety for kids and adults and was cheaper last time we ate there- end of last year. However, it has no Disney characters. The Swan pool area was incredible, and the kids staying there seemed to really love it. There were more secluded areas for adults around the pool, too, including at least 2 hot tubs and some hammocks by the lap pools. The boat to Epcot and the bus to the Magic Kingdom were very convenient. Overall, I enjoyed our stay. However, I don\\\'t know if I would spend the money to stay here again.
The swan is a great hotel in a great location. It is easy to walk to Disney MGM Studios, the Boardwalk, and Epcot. The heavenly bed is just that, HEAVENLY! Its a great place to stay, one of my favorites, I'd recommend it to anyone. In fact, I recommend it to all the teachers at my school so that they can take advantage of the great teacher (nurses and govt. employees too!) discount rate.
Where to start? The employees at this resort went out of there way to make sure that every need was met with efficiency and a smile. The close proximity to Epcot, MGM, and the Boardwalk made it a nice touch to be able to get back to your room after a long day.
Me and my 2 year old son stayed at the Swan and it was great, he loved taking the boats to Epcot and MGM,the service was great. we walked for hours looking at the Swan and the Dolphin and it is a great walk at night on the Boardwalk. I would definitely stay there again. The Heavenly beds are great and the view at night looking at the dolphin is great.
Once you've slept in a Heavenly Bed, it's hard to go back. The Swan is great!!
The Swan hotel has a beach theme and shares the Michael Graves surrealistic designs of the Dolphin. The lap pool is a great place to swim laps, and the larger grotto pool (shared with the Dolphin) is wonderfully landscaped. The location is convenient to Epcot, the Disney Studios, and the Boardwalk--all are in walking distance, as is the Fantasia mini golf.
There are several on-site restaurants that can be quite pricy, but they serve wonderful food. Character meals are available. Also, note that those wishing to showcase their vocal stylings can stop by the karaoke bar.
With discount offers available to many, the Swan offers an upscale experience for less than the Disney hotels charge at the same level.