Planning Your Resort Day at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is one of the best resorts on Disney property to plan a ‘staycation’ or a resort-only getaway. With numerous pools, including a lap pool, children’s activities, and more right at the resort, and the entire Epcot Resort area in walking distance, it’s easy to see why this resort is a favorite for a resort getaway to Walt Disney World.


1. BoardWalk

One of the best perks of staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is the close walking distance to the other Epcot Area Resorts. One such resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is also home to a host of restaurants, surrey bike rentals, the Atlantic Dance Hall, and nightly entertainment at Jellyrolls. Bring the kids down to the BoardWalk for carnival games and bike rentals, or take an adults-only trip to browse the shops or party at Jellyrolls, all just a stroll away from your room.

2. Karaoke at Kimonos

For nightlife right at the Dolphin, look no further than Kimonos. Not only does this lounge offer some tasty sushi, but they also host nightly karaoke. You can easily make an evening out of cocktails and sushi while belting out some of your favorite tunes, and you can’t beat the proximity to your room if you’re staying right at the resort. (If karaoke isn’t your thing and you’re looking for a more lowkey night at the hotel, try Il Mulino’s lounge at the Swan. Il Mulino, the resort’s signature Italian restaurant serves small bites, cocktails, and wines right in the lounge.

3. Brunch at Phins

Phins, the lobby bar at the Dolphin, serves up one of the most inventive Sunday brunches on Walt Disney World property. The bar’s Sunday Sips menu features ‘brunch in a glass’ in the form of four specialty Bloody Mary’s overflowing with toppings and themed around  four of the restaurants at the resort. The Shula’s-inspired version is topped with filet mignon, a lobster claw, BBQ shrimp, and steak sauce, while the Il Mulino version comes complete with giardiniera, italian seasonings, and antipasti skewers.


4. Swan boats

Guests of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort are able to take advantage of complimentary swan boat rides! Take a break from the pool or plan to cruise around the resort before or after your spa treatment with a 30-minute swan boat ride. These are paddle boats, so you’ll be doing the ‘rowing’ yourself but that’s all part of the fun!

5. Mandara Spa

The Mandara Spa is one of the best places to relax at the Walt Disney World Resort– and if you’re staying at the Swan and Dolphin this oasis will only be a short stroll from your room. This spa complex spans 10,500 square feet encompassing everything you’ll need for treatments from manicures and pedicures to deep tissue massages. The spa services menu is so expansive, you’re sure to find just the service you need (and a day at the spa can be just what your body is looking for when you’re roughing it in the theme parks during the rest of your trip!).

6. Food & Wine Classic

If you are flexible in when you’ll be able to stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, you may want to consider a trip during the annual Food & Wine Classic. For one weekend each fall, the resort hosts numerous chefs featuring small plates and wine tastings along the causeway. The event also comes with educational cooking seminars, and courses from renowned sommeliers where you can learn how best to pair meals with craft and specialty beverages. For the ultimate foodie escape, spend at least a long weekend at the resort and spend the days around the Food & Wine Classic at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, just a short walk or boat ride away.

7. Holiday resort tour

“The most wonderful time of the year,” is also the most wonderful time to stay in the Epcot Resort Area. During the holidays, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin are beautifully decorated and the season comes to live around Crescent Lake with stunning Christmas tree displays, sweet tastings, and even opportunities to meet Santa himself. This resort, along with the others around the lake, feature life-size chocolate and gingerbread Christmas displays, so you can easily spend an entire day exploring each resort.

8. Palm tree lights

The palm trees that like the causeway between the Swan and Dolphin feature lights that ‘dance’ to music regularly, so if you happen to be heading out for dinner at the right time you may just be in for a special treat! And if you are planning your trip during the holidays, you’ll be able to catch the lights as they blink in synchronization to some of your favorite Christmas tunes. Catching the lights with the sunset over the causeway also makes for some excellent photo opportunities, and is worth the walkthrough whenever you can while staying at the resort.

9. Signature dining

Some of the best restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort can be found right here at the Swan and Dolphin. Il Mulino for instance, serves up some of the best Italian cuisine with a signature dining atmosphere and fresh and tasty ingredients. (The menu also features half portions of the pasta dishes, so if you’re indecisive or just want to try a few different things this is the place for you!). Shula’s named for NFL coach Don Shula is a prime steakhouse with custom cuts and an aging process that set it apart from others in the industry. And this only scratches the surface of dining at the resort– with Todd English’s Bluezoo and Kimonos rounding out the signature dining list that’s only a small part of the 17 total restaurants at the resort.

10. Character dining

Worried about missing out on “Disney” if you opt for a non-Disney resort? Thankfully, the Swan and Dolphin has you covered, not only with the close proximity to two of the theme parks and onsite Disney planning services, but also with character dining! The resort’s Garden Grove restaurant features the Fab Five nightly at dinner and for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, the eats on the dinner buffet are not to be missed, especially the seafood buffet offered Thursday-Sunday.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."