With Epcot offering a new festival nearly every season, you are sure to find yourself searching for the best place to stay that’s close to the magic. When planning your Epcot travels, be sure to consider the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. Though managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, guests may still take advantage of many Disney resort guest benefits, and they are only a quick walk from Epcot’s World Showcase. But that’s not all—here are 10 more things you’ll love about the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin:
1. Walk to the parks
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is located right between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. International Gateway (the entrance to Epcot located between the France and UK pavilions) is about a half mile away from the resort, and the entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is just under one mile away. Additional walking may not be at the top of the agenda while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort but taking a stroll to either of these parks can be a great way to squeeze in some extra exercise and save time getting there! A walk to Epcot will also take you by Disney’s Boardwalk area which includes a variety of bars and lounges, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.
2. Or take a boat
Guests of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin can also reach Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios by boat. It can be a bit more time consuming than walking it, but the boat ride can also be quite relaxing. Plus, if your feet are tired after a long day in the parks and you’re looking for something more “fun” than a usual bus, taking a boat is a nice option to have.
3. Value for the location
If Epcot is where you are planning to spend the bulk of your time on your next trip, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin can help give you a greater value compared to the Disney resorts in the same area as it consistently falls under the price points of the other Epcot Area Resorts, and offers an experience that is just as, if not more, “deluxe.” Since the resort is managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, you also have the ability to use and earn points during your stay, which can be used in a number of locations outside the Walt Disney World Resort.
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4. Seventeen dining options
Foodies rejoice! The Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin offers a total of 17 restaurants and lounges along with 24-hour room service. By comparison most Disney deluxe resorts have about five dining options. Dining choices at the resort include everything from grab-and-go’s and coffee bars to upscale lounges like Phins in the recently renovated lobby of the Dolphin, and Shula’s Steak House (named for the “perfect season” coach of the Miami Dolphins, Don Shula).
5. Architectural design
The architecture of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is one of the most unique designs in Orlando. Designed by renowned architect Michael Graves, the entire resort plays off this whimsical theme while retaining an element of sophistications that guests expect in the Epcot resort area. Graves’ use of water as a recurring motif can be found throughout the resort, both interior and exterior and in everything as literal as the fountains and as subtle as the colors and styles of furnishings, and as a result the resort is full of breathtaking views and memorable photo ops.
6. Disney resort guest benefits
Guests staying at the resort are entitled to many of the same benefits as those staying at Disney-managed resorts. These benefits include complimentary Disney transportation by both boat and bus, Extra Magic Hours, the ability to reserve FastPass+ selections 60 days in advance, complimentary parking at Disney parks, and package delivery for purchases made in the parks. Additionally the resort features an on-site Disney planning center and a Disney gift shop. Guests staying over a weekend can even enjoy Disney character dining! The resort’s Garden Grove restaurant features character dining with Mickey and friends for breakfast and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays.
7. Five swimming pools
The perfect resort to cool off at between visits to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin features five swimming pools, including a grotto pool complete with waterfalls. Families with kids will especially love the resort’s kiddie pool and Spraying Seal Fountain, and guests looking for a more refreshing workout can go for a swim in one of the resort’s two lap pools or play some water volleyball. The poolside activities don’t stop there—during the summer months you’ll find additional entertainment by the pools, and games like ping pong, giant checkers, a packed schedule of children’s activities, and more.
8. Swan Boat rentals
Remember when you used to be able to see swan boats in the Magic Kingdom Park? It’s been some time since they’ve been spotted anywhere else on Disney property, but guests of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin may still experience these classic paddle boats by renting them right from the resort!
9. Special events
This location makes visiting the special events and festivals at Epcot a breeze! With a quick walk, you can find yourself taking in the beautiful topiaries during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival in the spring or snacking around the world at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in the fall. To add even more food and wine to your stay, plan your fall trip around the resort’s annual Food and Wine Classic. This event is part food and wine festival and part street party, featuring tasting size portions, entertainment, seminars, and more.
10. The views!
Whether you are an aspiring photographer or just a family looking for a way to view some fireworks outside the theme parks, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is for you! You can easily spend hours taking in all of the architectural details of the resort from behind a camera lens, or you can just as easily beat the crowds out of Epcot and enjoy the fireworks from the privacy of an Epcot-view resort room. The photo-ops are endless (so get your Instagram ready!) and the views of the fireworks are the ultimate way to cap off a day exploring the theme parks.