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Our ~Hoppin'~ Guide to Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

by Mommy Frog on September 25, 2019

Guide to the Swan and Dolphin Resort

What if I told you I had a frogtastic Walt Disney World Resort location, where you can walk to Epcot, easily access the Boardwalk, catch the fireworks from your room's balcony, enjoy top-notch pools and dining experiences (sushi with a side of karaoke, please!), access a 60-day FastPass+ reservation window and take advantage of Extra Magic Hours ... all with a toadally reasonable price tag.

It sounds like a dream, right? Hoppy news! It's real. With rates as low as $131 a night, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort checks all of the boxes, and saved Leap and I some green, too!

Want to know more? We've gathered everything you need to know about the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in this guide to help you get the jump on your next stay!

Overview | Rooms | Transportation | Amenities | Dining | Recreation | Tips

Frog Family Guide to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Swan Lake View

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is actually comprised of two hotels: the Swan and the Dolphin (though you may hear some aficionados calling it the "Swolphin"). While they are different buildings, guests can use amenities interchangeably, and they are just a walkway away from one another. You can actually see both hotels from Epcot; their coral exterior and giant seafoam green fish and swan statues make them pretty easy to spot!

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Walkway

Sitting next to the Boardwalk, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort offers 2,270 guest rooms on 87 acres  (some of which is lakefront). With 15 restaurants between the two resorts, there's a wide variety of dining options at all price points (including character dining!). Swan Dolphin also offers on-site childcare, hoppin' recreation and a variety of free transportation options to get you where you need to go.

Swan and Dolphin Resort Rooms

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Swan King Room

There are a few key similarities between rooms at the Swan and Dolphin. Rooms in both Swan and Dolphin include a minifridge, hair dryer, safe, television and lamps with charging stations. The beds are high enough off of the ground that you can stash your luggage beneath them, but there's also a luggage rack included in the closet (which is pretty spacious! We were able to fit the whole fam's luggage in there).

We especially love the bathrooms. One sink with a well-lit mirror is just outside of the bathroom door, with the toilet, shower and an additional sink on the other side. When you're traveling with froglets, this extra "prep space" is a huge advantage. (Who am I kidding! Even Leap and I took full advantage of one of us being able to brush our teeth while the other put on makeup.)

Swan Dolphin Resort - Balcony View

The key difference between the rooms at the Swan and Dolphin is the size of the bed(s) and overall size of the room.

At the Dolphin (as low as $131 a night through Undercover Tourist), you'll find the following options:

  • Traditional King or two doubles
  • Family Room (King with sleeper sofa; L-shaped, larger room)

At the Swan (as low as $192 a night through Undercover Tourist), you'll find the following options:

  • Traditional Room (King with sleeper sofa or two queens)
  • Deluxe Room (King with sleeper sofa or two queens with balcony)
  • Family Room (King with sleeper sofa; L-shaped, larger room)

Both Swan and Dolphin offer suites, as well as rooms with Epcot and fireworks views. The resort charges a daily resort fee, $30 per day plus tax.

Transportation at the Swan and Dolphin Resort

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Bus

While not technically a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, Disney World buses do make stops at the Swan Dolphin (though Disney's Magical Express does not). What's more, Epcot is a quick walk down the Boardwalk, while Disney's Hollywood Studios is a bit farther, but still walkable. If you're heading to Hollywood Studios, we recommend taking a boat and/or transferring at Epcot.

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Boat Launch

The Swan and Dolphin Resort also offers water taxi transportation to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, with stops at destinations on the Boardwalk along the way (Leap's favorite mode of transportation ... can't keep him off of the water!).

Come Sept. 29, a quick walk down the Boardwalk to International Gateway will also grant you access to Disney's Skyliner Transportation System.

Swan and Dolphin Resort Amenities

Swan Dolphin Resort - Swan Lobby

Some of the biggest perks of staying at Swan Dolphin Resort are the ability to book FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance and to hop over to the parks early for Extra Magic Hours. Be sure to link your hotel reservation to your My Disney Experience account to take advantage of the early FastPass booking window! To head into the parks early for Extra Magic Hours, you'll need to present your room key. (Note that Swan and Dolphin Resort guests do not receive complimentary MagicBands. Likewise, MagicBand hotel benefits, including your MagicBand acting as a room key or using it to charge to your room, don't apply here.)

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Dolphin Lobby

Additionally, Swan and Dolphin Resort offers:

  • Childcare
  • Gym
  • Merchandise delivery from the parks or World of Disney
  • Complimentary theme park parking
  • Health club
  • Spa
  • Game room
  • Business center
  • Concierge
  • 24 hour convenience store
  • 24 hour bell desk
  • Self and Valet parking ($25 or $35 plus tax per day, respectively)
  • Coin-operated launderette
  • Airline boarding pass kiosks
  • National and Alamo rental car desk
  • Disney planning centers
  • ATM machines

Dining at the Swan and Dolphin Resort

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Fuel

Both Swan and Dolphin Resorts offer in-room, quick-service and table-service dining, though the character dining experience, Garden Grove, is located in Swan. Here are the restaurants available to fill up even the most finicky frog tummies:

  • Swan Signature Dining: Il Mulino, Kimonos
  • Dolphin Signature Dining: Shula's Steakhouse, Todd English's bluezoo
  • Swan Casual Dining: Garden Grove, Splash Pool Bar & Grill (located near the main pool area)
  • Dolphin Casual Dining: Fountain, Cabana Bar & Beach Club (located near the Dolphin lap pool), Fresh Mediterranean Market, Phins Lounge
  • Swan Quick Service Dining: Java Bar, Kimonos
  • Dolphin Quick Service Dining: Fuel, Picabu

We were fortunate enough to try a handful of the dining options at Swan Dolphin, and we enjoyed all of them. The risotto at Il Mulino was delish, and was a nice, moderately priced date night option. Bluezoo was incredible, but the price point is a bit higher (we enjoyed a dinner there for our anniversary while Tad and Lily hung at Camp Dolphin — more on that below!).

Don't froget about that minifridge in your room to stash leftovers!

Fuel became a regular stop for us, as well, from breakfast sandwiches, to lunch salads, to soft serve ... you can find just about anything you need there for the whole fam at reasonable prices! Java Bar was an easy stop for morning, well, java. Lily's sweet tooth led us to try out ice cream at several different spots, including a good old fashioned banana split at Fountain (for you frogs 21 and over, they also have some adult milkshakes that looked amazing!).

Recreation at the Swan and Dolphin Resort

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Pool with Waterfall

The Swan and Dolphin Resort has over 3 acres of pool and water areas, including a children's pool, four whirlpools and a waterslide. (There's also a little pool hut where you can find necessities such as sunscreen and swim diapers ... and fun additions such as animal pool floats!) You can also play a family game of basketball or volleyball at the on-site courts, or take a spin in a swan boat on the lake.

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Sand Play Area

Tadpoles looking to get the wiggles out can take their pick from a sand play area or a playground.

Camp Dolphin provides on-site childcare for children ages 4 to 12, letting parents to enjoy some child-free time from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily. What's more? If you're enjoying Mandara Spa or dining at Shula's Steak House, Todd English's bluezoo or Il Mulino, you can receive up to two hours of childcare at Camp Dolphin for FREE! Just present your receipt when you pick up your tadpole. Lily and Tad raved about the s'mores at Camp Dolphin and have asked (okay, a few times) to go back! Your kiddos do need to be potty trained to attend. The cost to attend Camp Dolphin is $12 per hour, per child, and a kids meal from Picabu can be included for an additional $10.

Swan and Dolphin Trip Tips

Swan and Dolphin Resort - Phins and Feathers

  • If you love to hang by the pool, this isn't one to miss! The pools were each beautiful, large and not very crowded (which made for good tadpole splash time!). One of the highlights of our stay was taking the time to say "aaah."
  • Swan and Dolphin have their own celebration buttons! If you're celebrating, be sure to share at check-in.
  • We know we talked about ice cream earlier, but it bears repeating that you have lots of options for sweets, from traditional soda shop malts to DIY soft-serve ... including Dole whip at Fuel!
  • Remember that sushi and karaoke we mentioned? That hoppens at Kimonos beginning at 9 p.m., and it is lots of fun! (Leap rocked "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night.)
  • The resort has its own beer: Phins and Feathers.
  • If you're looking for some quick eats after a day at the pool (or the parks!), Fuel has several grab-and-go options. You can also get made-to-order sandwiches and salads, as well as some pre-packaged snacks. Fuel is also a quick morning option!
  • With such a convenient location, don't be afraid to venture outside of on-site dining. You're a hop, skip and a jump away from the Boardwalk or even Epcot or Hollywood Studios to grab some grub. Be sure to take advantage!
  • In the walkway between the two resorts, you can sometimes find a small light show! Colored lights illuminate the palm trees and move with the music piping through the speakers.
  • Don't froget to keep your eyes peeled for magical touches! From elevator door posters to character candy sculptures in Fuel, there's no shortage of hidden treats.

Have you stayed at the Swan and Dolphin Resort? What was your experience like? Did we miss any tips? Be sure to share with us in the comments below!

Related: Reasons to Stay at a Disney World Resort Hotel

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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