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.

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Horizons '83Apr 18, 2022


Epcot82GuyApr 18, 2022

The hotel has its pros. My problem is it feels almost identical to a smaller version of the JW they just opened. So, it pushes the lack of uniqueness here. Love them or hate them, Swan and Dolphin at least had a whimsy and unique factor. This just hits as too generic. It's got great aspects that simply missed the mark given it's location and relationship. (And I love Swolphin personally.) In details, the lobby is unfortunately lacking given the size. Amare is actually pretty good, though quite pricey. The landscaping was particularly well done. The pool assessment is spot on. They should have gone "secluded escape" and pushed the main pool for the fun, energetic pool. And, the cross walk was surprising. (Maybe that will be addressed in the pool expansion. Just my thoughts.

mgfApr 18, 2022

Sure - and the wait really is short. It just seemed like a missing touch of extra design thought. Would have been great to see them take the extra mile.

Horizons '83Apr 18, 2022

100% agree with the pool area. While I thought the crosswalk would bother me, it really didn't. The crosswalk button takes less than 10 seconds to change, and the pool areas at the S&D are pretty close. I can see your concern with children crossing the street, but that is risk pretty much anywhere. Outside of those concerns, I think the rooms are fantastic and the views amazing (Epcot Room View) with the floor to ceiling windows. Still a very bland exterior and a "tower" but a good option to be on property.

mgfApr 18, 2022

Finally got the chance to walk through the Reserve. The footprint is tight, but they did a decent job of hiding that in the lobby areas. Fitness center looks really nice as did the main lobby restaurant. The top floor was completely closed down (although you could access it with the elevator). Two big complaints: The Reserve pool area is just unacceptably small with bad styling. It might be a little better if they were explicit this was a "quiet pool", but they clearly have tried to make it lively. It honestly feels like you are crammed up against on of those partition walls you see next to interstates . While integration into the SW complex is better landscaped than I expected, I am completely baffled why they decided to make the crossing at grade. Not only is it completely a-typical now at Disney to have to press a crosswalk button, but it is also really off putting at a "luxury" resort. Additionally, this is the main connection to the highly themed pool area, so it is likely that kids will be making that crossing back and forth -- and that road is not a quiet backroad. It is busy. Where is the overpass?

Mike WNov 17, 2021

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.

ImperfectPixieNov 15, 2021

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".)

PurduevianNov 15, 2021

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

JMcMahonEsqNov 15, 2021

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.

UNCgolfNov 15, 2021

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.

castlecake2.0Nov 15, 2021

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.

JMcMahonEsqNov 15, 2021

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.