Disney World Retreats: Dolphin vs. Swan Resorts Showdown

As an impartial judge, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing both resorts and savoring their unique offerings. From the Dolphin’s whimsically modern facade to the Swan’s quiet elegance, each hotel has its own allure.

So, whether you’re a solo traveler or the leader of a bustling family, let’s dive in and uncover the nuances that may sway your allegiance in this friendly rivalry of hospitality titans.

Location: Where Magic Meets Convenience

The Dolphin and Swan hotels are both located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, making them prime choices for those seeking easy access to the parks.

However, the Dolphin steals the show with its proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, offering a secret weapon for park-hopping folks.

On the other hand, the Swan’s location near Disney’s BoardWalk provides a bustling atmosphere and a treasure trove of dining and entertainment options.

Top Notch Accommodation

Both hotels offer luxurious accommodations, but they each have their own distinct style. The Dolphin boasts an imposing presence with its modern architecture, while the Swan exudes a quieter elegance. No matter your personal preference, both hotels provide comfortable rooms and top-notch amenities to ensure a blissful stay.


Foodies will be delighted by the dining options at both the Dolphin and Swan hotels. The Dolphin is home to a plethora of restaurants, including the iconic Shula’s Steak House and the innovative Todd English’s Bluezoo.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more adventurous, try Shula’s Steak House. This famous steakhouse offers a menu of prime steaks and fresh seafood. The elegant decor and impressive wine list make it a popular choice for a special night out.

The award-winning Todd English’s Bluezoo is an upscale seafood restaurant offers a sophisticated menu with dishes like miso-glazed cod and lobster risotto. The elegant atmosphere and impeccable service make it a perfect choice for a special occasion.

Meanwhile, the Swan offers delectable cuisine at Il Mulino New York Trattoria and Kimonos, a hidden gem for sushi lovers.

For those craving Italian cuisine, Il Mulino New York Trattoria is a must-visit. This classic Italian restaurant serves up authentic dishes like homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas. The warm and inviting atmosphere will transport you to the streets of Italy.

If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, check out Cabana Bar and Beach Club. This outdoor restaurant overlooks a beautiful sandy beach and offers a menu of island-inspired dishes and refreshing cocktails. It’s the ideal spot to relax and soak up the Florida sunshine.

No culinary experience at the Swan and Dolphin Resorts would be complete without a visit to the Garden Grove. This family-friendly restaurant features character dining experiences, where you can meet your favorite Disney characters while enjoying a delicious buffet meal.

In addition to these dining options, the Swan and Dolphin Resorts also offer a variety of lounges and bars where guests can relax and unwind. Whether you’re sipping on a craft cocktail at Kimonos or enjoying a glass of wine at the wine bar, there’s no shortage of places to enjoy a drink.

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Whichever hotel you choose, your taste buds are in for a treat.


When it comes to recreation, both hotels go above and beyond to keep guests entertained. The Dolphin features a sandy beach, multiple pools, and even a water slide for the little ones. Meanwhile, the Swan offers serene gardens, a lap pool, and a tranquil spa for those seeking solace. No matter your age or interests, these hotels have something to keep everyone engaged and entertained.

Extra Perks: Unlocking the Disney Magic

Staying at either the Dolphin or Swan hotel comes with its own set of perks. Guests can enjoy early access to FastPass+ selections and Extra Magic Hours, giving you a head start on exploring the parks. Additionally, both hotels offer complimentary transportation to all Disney parks and Disney Springs, ensuring seamless navigation throughout your stay.

In the battle between the Disney World Dolphin and Swan hotels, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

If you’re a fan of modern whimsy and close proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Dolphin is your perfect match.

On the other hand, if you prefer a quieter elegance and a bustling atmosphere near Disney’s BoardWalk, the Swan is the hotel for you.

Whichever you choose, rest assured that both hotels offer a magical experience fit for every Disney enthusiast.

Pricing and Affordability

When it comes to pricing and affordability at Disney World Dolphin, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the hotel offers a range of room options to accommodate different budgets. From standard rooms to suites, guests can choose the option that best fits their needs and financial constraints.

Additionally, Disney World Dolphin often runs special promotions and discounts throughout the year, making it more affordable for guests to stay at the hotel. These promotions can include discounted room rates, free dining plans, or package deals that bundle hotel stays with park tickets.

It’s worth checking the hotel’s website or contacting their reservation team to see if there are any current offers available.

Another aspect to consider is the overall cost of visiting Disney World. While staying at Disney World Dolphin may be more affordable, guests should also factor in the cost of park tickets, food, and other expenses.

Disney World offers various ticket options, including multi-day passes and annual passes, which can help reduce the per-day cost of visiting the parks.

Additionally, bringing snacks and drinks into the parks or opting for quick-service dining instead of table-service restaurants can help save on food costs.

Overall, while Disney World Dolphin strives to provide affordable options for guests, everyone should carefully plan and budget for their entire Disney World vacation to ensure they can fully enjoy their experience without breaking the bank.

Unique Amenities

Unique Amenities at Marriott-Owned Resorts at Disney World

Swan Reserve:

  • Rooftop Dining with Panoramic Fireworks Views


  • Complimentary Energizing Fitness Classes


  • Captivating Character Breakfasts for Kids

All Properties:

  • Tempting Signature Restaurants and Lounges

Personalized Retreats with Sophistication and Connection

Overall Convenience

Let’s compare Disney World Dolphin, Swan, and Swan Reserve

Proximity to Epcot & Hollywood Studios

Dolphin: Short Walk
Swan: Short Walk
Swan Reserve: Shortest Walk

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Transportation Options

Dolphin: Skyliner, Bus, Boat
Swan: Skyliner, Bus, Boat
Swan Reserve: Skyliner, Bus, Boat

Dining Variety

Dolphin: Extensive
Swan: Extensive
Swan Reserve: Exclusive

Intimacy Level

Dolphin: Lively
Swan: Balanced
Swan Reserve: Most Intimate


In the end, it’s like choosing between two glittering gems in Mickey’s crown—both the Dolphin and Swan shimmer with Disney magic.

But, if I’d to crown a ruler, the Swan’s refined elegance and cozy charm just edges out. It’s where I’ve found a touch more serenity after a whirlwind day in the parks—like a lullaby after a grand symphony.

And that, my fellow Disney devotees, is the kind of spell that truly enchants.


What distinguishes the location of Disney World Dolphin from Swan?

Both hotels are centrally located, but Dolphin is near Epcot and Hollywood Studios, while Swan is near Disney’s BoardWalk.

What dining experiences make Disney World Dolphin unique?

Dolphin offers iconic restaurants like Shula’s Steak House and Todd English’s Bluezoo, providing diverse and upscale culinary options.

How do recreational amenities differ between Disney World Dolphin and Swan?

The Dolphin features a sandy beach and water slide, while Swan offers serene gardens, lap pools, and a tranquil spa for a more relaxed experience.

What exclusive perks come with staying at Disney World Dolphin or Swan?

Guests enjoy early access to FastPass+ selections, Extra Magic Hours, and complimentary transportation to Disney parks, enhancing their overall experience.

Can you provide insights into the pricing structure of Disney World Dolphin?

Dolphin offers various room options to accommodate different budgets, often with special promotions throughout the year for more affordable stays.

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