When our kids were younger the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort was our go to hotel when visiting Walt Disney World. However, over the years, it had been a while since we visited. This January 2020, our family was hosted at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, and remembered just how much we enjoyed this underrated resort. The Swan/Dolphin has beautiful grounds, is the closest resort to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (great for visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge), and very reasonable room rates. If you haven’t visited the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for a while, continue reading to see what you’re missing.
Our last stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort was 2014. Since that time, the entire property completed a 3-year, $140 million transformation. All the guest rooms at each hotel were remodeled, and the Walt Disney World Dolphin received a new lobby featuring Phins lounge.
In addition to Phins, a grab-and-go shop, quick service restaurant, and coffee bar named Fuel was added to the property as well. I love the “Monsters Inc.” themed sugar sculpture created by world champion pastry chef Laurent Branlard titled “Monsters Can Be Sweet Too.” Fuel was always hopping while we were there, with people grabbing their fancy coffee drinks, sandwiches, and snacks.
Now that our college-age daughters are young adults, we decided to get adjoining rooms at the Walt Disney World Dolphin which was a great decision. Each of the girls had their own bed, and Mom and I could close the door between our rooms in order to get some sleep. I loved the look of the remodeled guest room with its white, blue, and gray color-scheme – reminiscent of the original design by renowned architect, the late Michael Graves. There were plenty of outlets and USB ports for charging our electronic devices, and the HD TVs were “smart TVs” allowing us to connect to multiple digital platforms or stream from our mobile phones, laptops, etc.
Another benefit of the adjoining rooms was having two separate bathrooms for our daughters and ourselves. The bathroom itself was very well-lit featuring a vanity with a backlit mirror surrounded by iridescent glass tiles.
Each room had a mirror opposite the bathroom to assist with getting ready for the day. This was a big help for multiple people getting ready at once.
I loved the serene resort view from our room overlooking water. I watched the Swan Boats floating past as people walked up and down the causeway leading between the hotel. Sunrises over the Swan made for a peaceful start to the day.
Aside from the lobby additions, the restaurants had not changed much at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort from our last stay. Fortunately, one of our favorites was still on site, The Fountain, known for its over the top milkshake creations. Click here for a detailed review of the Dolphin Fountain from a previous visit.
For those who love to swim, there are multiple pools at the resort. The main feature pool includes a waterfall and slide, and there are also quiet pools as well as ones for lap swimming and exercise.
There is also a white sand beach that stretches between the Swan and Dolphin Hotels (complete with volleyball net) and complimentary Swan Boats that guests can use to paddle on the water.
Our family loved returning to the Walt Disney World Dolphin. The rennovated rooms and remodeled lobby were fantastic additions to the resort. In my opinion, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin are often overlooked in the wide array of hotel options on Walt Disney World property. The resort receives all the same Disney benefits as the official Disney-run hotels (except for Disney’s Magic Express which could keep some people away). Plus, the Walt Disney World Swan is currently the closest hotel to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
With the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, families need to be at the theme park gate at least 30 minutes prior to opening in order to get a boarding pass to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This is often prior to the start of regular theme park transportation. The ability to walk from your hotel to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a huge benefit for those wanting a boarding pass to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – the most immersive theme park attraction to date.
If you have not visited the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for a while, it’s time to head back. Especially if you are planning a Walt Disney World trip to go to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. We even found some fun Star Wars touches around the resort to get ready for our galactic adventure.
DISCLOSURE: Dave Parfitt was hosted by the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort and received accommodations at a reduced media rate. However, all opinions expressed are also those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagram, twitter and “like” our facebook page too.