PHOTOS - Height test balloons over Fantasia Gardens parking lot area

Jan 12, 2016 in "Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf"

Height test balloons over parking lot
Posted: Tuesday January 12, 2016 9:44am EST by WDWMAGIC Staff

Height test balloons were spotted this morning around the Fantasia Gardens mini golf area.

The majority of the balloons were located over the tennis courts that are used by guests of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. There were also more balloons at a lower height across the Fantasia Gardens mini golf parking lot area.

Balloons like this are typically used ahead of new construction during the design process to assess how the new construction would impact sight lines from around the resort.

Discuss on the Forums
View all comments →

Mike W16 days ago

Stayed at the Swalphin and always had a great stay. On a few of the rooms on the higher floors, you can watch the fireworks from above.

ImperfectPixie18 days ago

The Swalphin was also renovated in 2015/2016. We stayed in one of the first newly refurbished family suites in October of 2015. (Someone complained earlier that it felt "dated".)

Purduevian18 days ago

Just stayed at the Swan this this past October. My room was $344 a night for a room with 2 queen beds. The other cresent lake resorts were all over $700 a night. Easy decision for me to get all the perks of a disney hotel, walk to EPCOT, boat to DHS, and stay at a very nice resort. Just looking 4 months from now (just a random dates March 12th-19th). I can book Dolphin $336 a night Swan $442 a night Swan Reserve $452 a night Or All Star Movies $235 a night (Cheapest Value Resort) Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside $366 a night (Cheapest Moderate Resort) Animal Kingdom Lodge $618 a night (Cheapest Deluxe Resort) *I can also get AAA discounts and BonVoy points by staying at Swalphin

JMcMahonEsq18 days ago

That's interesting. We had the exact opposite customer service experience when we went in August. We had booked 2 rooms, one an upgraded resort view room, the other a standard (least expensive available) room. When we went to check in, and they gave us our room keys, we were asking the location of the rooms and they stated that they were both in same area, with adjoining door. When we asked how that could be they stated that they had complimentarily upgraded the standard room to the deluxe room and gave us adjoining rooms, which ended up being a really nice surprise. We thought service was great, but at same time we were their in late August, during a definite dead time at the parks/hotels, so likely the service staff was not being pushed all that hard. I will say now that some business travel is picking up, it has been my experience that many hotels are short service staff, and that check ins times have been spotty. As to the hotel itself, the only downside to the room I could pick on was having 2 full beds as opposed to 2 queens. But they clearly advertised that was what we were going to get, so I can't complain too much.

UNCgolf18 days ago

That's the kind of theming I'm talking about. I don't want "Disney" theming that consists of characters slapped on stuff. I love the Boardwalk Inn, for example, and used to love Grand Floridian before they cut the orchestra, among other things. I also love Port Orleans. I like theming that's intended to evoke another era and/or location. The Contemporary isn't really themed at all, or at least wasn't before they built the new awful Incredibles rooms, which is one of the reasons I never had much interest in staying there.

castlecake2.018 days ago

Had friends stay at Swan this weekend. Rooms felt dated. I feel if your beds still have bed skirts you are out of date in the hospitality industry. They arrived around noon and asked if there room was available. “No but you can do early check in into an upgraded room for $40 a night.” They decided to wait. 5pm room still wasn’t ready. “We can check you into a different room but it’s an extra $10 a night because it’s an “upgrade” from your booked room”. Ridiculous. You’re going to PO your guest to make an extra $30 because you couldn’t get the room ready in time? Anyway, good location but overall resort felt tired, almost like it’s too big for its own good and they can’t keep up.

JMcMahonEsq18 days ago

The Marriot/Bonvoy point option is definitely a big plus. Especially when it comes to corporate event planning, although to be fair, it also makes a significant impact if your looking to reduce costs and makes an attractive alternative budget planning feature. For anyone that travels at all for work, taking out a Marriot/Bonvoy credit card is an easy way to rack up points, which can help you get a free or heavily discounted stay here, one of the few choices for alternative pricing/budgeting for an on property stay. We normally stay at the Contemporary but this summer due to construction we booked a relatively last minute trip to Swan and Dolphin and really enjoyed the trip. Given the easy walking access to two parks, and the level of restaurants/pools at S&D, I think it is fairer to compare it to Disney Deluxe Resorts (Boardwalk or Yacht Club) as opposed to moderate resorts, thought to be fair/honest, I haven't personally stayed at a moderate resort. As to theming, I will admit to never staying at a Pop Century or AoA type property that had themed rooms. However I will say comparing my stays at other Deluxe resorts (Contemporary, Yacht Club, Poly, GF) prior to the the latest round of room renovations at Poly and Contemporary, I didn't see the Deluxe resorts being overly "Disney" themed. Yacht club has its own nautical theme, Boardwalk its Jersey Shore/Cape May type theming. Poly obviously a Polynesian type setting, and Contemporary a "modern" feel. But none of those things really screamed Disney theming. Other than the theme park view from Contemporary (which to be fair to me was the most "worth it" upgrade cost of anything Disney related) nothing at any of those resorts in style really linked me to a Disney experience. It was more the connection via location to the parks that made me feel within the Disney bubble, as opposed to the theming of the hotel itself. We liked it so much, and given that our kids are getting older and looking at less of an MK centric trip with more time spent at Epcott/HS I priced out a trip for next summer, looking at pricing differences between Boardwalk, Swan, and Marriot World Resort, and found significant savings at Swan vs. Boardwalk (around range of 15-20%) using cash payments only, not points. Marriot World being off site was of course was by far the most economical at over 20% saving (and I do love that hotel itself) but we thought the onsite ability at Swan (we loved walking to 2 parks, and the helpful hint from someone on these boards to just walk to boardwalk or Yacht Club and take their buses to MK and AK was a lifesaver) outweighed the cost savings of off site Marriot vs Swan. Now that all being said, going back to more on topic. The Reserve really doesn't fit into the Swan/Dolphin motif, and really in my mind does look out of place. That can be good or bad. While not my particular style, it does create a new offering that wasn't available in the area. The more suite focused approach of the hotel creates an opening to a certain guests especially in the convention setting that I can see being appealing. Its "on site" for the convention, yet still across the street and separate.

danlb_200018 days ago

I haven't looked at the prices recently, but when I have stayed there the prices were dramatically less then the other Boardwalk area resorts, so I was basically getting Deluxe amenities for the price of a Moderate.

MisterPenguin19 days ago

It used to be that the Swolphin was significantly cheaper than the Crescent Lake resorts, providing a resort from which one can walk to EP or DHS. Not so much anymore. However, the main use is for conventions. And the Reserve seems to be the more upscale set of suites for the big muckety-mucks (tho, the downside is they'll need to walk outside to get to the conferences).

UNCgolf19 days ago

I don't spend much time at the resort either (I never use the pools or anything like that), but the resort theming is still a big part of the experience to me. My issue with the Swan and Dolphin is the price, though. They're not that much cheaper than the Disney deluxe resorts, and cost more than the moderates. If I'm going to pay those prices, I want the theming. Otherwise I could just stay at one of the Disney Springs area hotels for much less. They only make sense to me if you have a bunch of Marriott points and can stay there for a reduced rate or free.

lazyboy97o19 days ago

But it doesn’t need to look so ugly. The colored spandrel panels are completely washed out. The random angled rooms that don’t really do anything but expose the floor slabs. Then the giant columns on the roof that don’t match anything else. It’s a mishmash of kind of trendy bits just slapped together onto a box.

danlb_200019 days ago

Personally I spend very few waking hours at the resort so theming isn't that important to me.