A little less than two months ago, my husband sent me a message that he’d been invited to go to a training event in Orlando. Jokingly I replied, “Can I come?” His response: “I can ask.” As it turned out, I could come and the minute I heard ‘yes’, I was searching online for the best flights, calling family members to ask if they could watch our kids and dreaming of sunny Florida. (I’m a planner, remember?) Midway through the day I asked my husband if he knew the name of the hotel they were putting everyone up at: “Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort“. Um, what?! That’s right my friends. We were going to be staying at a WDW hotel and I was doing a happy dance in my living room.
When I first pulled up to the hotel, it was nighttime and everything was lit up. The hotel has 11 floors and has huge swan statues on the top of each wing of the hotel. With the lights shining on the swans as well as the beautiful fountain out front, I knew I was in for a treat. Walking into the lobby, it is bright and welcoming. You can see straight through to the other end of the building where it opens out onto the grounds. When I first was looking at the hotel’s website, I realized that the hotel is actually two hotels on the same property: the Swan and the Dolphin. They share many of the amenities, such as the pools and other entertainment, but each one has different restaurants and dining options to offer.
For the first two nights, I stayed in the west wing of the hotel in a grand deluxe king room. It turns out that we were originally booked into a queen room, but we were able to switch to a king room that also happened to be wheelchair accessible so the bathroom was bigger and there wasn’t a sofa. Our room had a balcony that looked out onto the grounds behind the hotel (facing the back of the Dolphin). I had a great view of the little lake (Crescent Lake) and one of the pools and there were lots of palm trees close by as well. The room was clean and bright, with a desk, TV and a mini fridge that included two complimentary waters (great for drinking and refilling at the parks!).
Our third night, we changed rooms and stayed in the east wing of the hotel. Our view wasn’t as nice in terms of being able to see the grounds, however, we were able to look down into the courtyard area and it was a little more shaded. We stayed in another grand deluxe king room that was almost identical to our first room but the bathroom was smaller and it had a sofa.
Each morning for breakfast, we headed down to the Java Bar. We don’t drink coffee, but there were really good muffins and pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants) as well as fresh fruit, cereal, bottled smoothies and a few other basic breakfast items. It was located towards the back of the hotel near the exit to the grounds and the water taxi, which made it really convenient to grab something and get on our way. The only other place we ate at on the Swan hotel property was The Garden Grove Restaurant for a character dining experience, which I’ll be posting about later this week. For now, suffice it to say that it was amazing!
The grounds of the hotel are absolutely beautiful. When you walk out the back doors of the Swan, directly in front of you is a large walkway that leads to the Dolphin. It is open in the middle with flowers and palm trees and flanked on either side with a covered walkway. The walkway spans a portion of Crescent Lake where a water taxi comes by every 20 minutes or so to take you to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. On one side of the property are three different pools: two lap pools and one larger grotto pool with a waterfall and water slide. There are also a few hammocks near the pools and on the beach. We relaxed on the hammocks a couple of different times and it was soooo nice. On the beach, they had a playground for kids and two or three volleyball courts, along with some loungers.
On the opposite side of the pools was a bridge over the waterway and a path that led to Hollywood Studios or the Boardwalk. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore the boardwalk but we took the walking path to and from Hollywood Studios a couple of times and it was about a 12 minute walk. I loved the option to walk or take the water taxi, especially at night when the park had closed and everyone was trying to get back to their hotel.
One amenity that I found extremely helpful at the Swan was the option to have the hotel hold our luggage for us. Because we had to change rooms for our third night, we didn’t have a place to put our luggage while we were at Hollywood Studios. So in between when we had to check out at 11:00am and when we could check back into our new room later that afternoon, they held our stuff for us until our new check in.
All in all, our stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort was amazing. Their proximity to the parks, especially Hollywood Studios and Epcot, made its location ideal. The rooms were large and welcoming. We loved the grounds and their list of amenities and services made our stay comfortable and hassle-free. I would absolutely recommend this hotel for both families and couples.
If you are going to be traveling to Florida to visit any of their Disney theme parks or Universal Studios, definitely consider looking into the Swan and Dolphin to see if it’s the right fit for your family.