Comparing Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve

Comparing Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve

The Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve are often misunderstood hotels at Disney World. Are they Disney hotels? Are they Marriott hotels? And which one should you choose? In this post, we are comparing the Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve so you can see which resort is best for you.


walt disney world swan

Comparing the Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve

The Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve are deluxe resorts located in the Boardwalk area at Disney World. They all offer most of the same perks you get for staying at any other deluxe resort at Disney. They don’t offer the option to use Magic Bands and the transportation to Magic Kingdom is a little dicey. But generally, you can expect all of the perks you’d usually for staying on property. Things like the 60-day advanced dining reservation window, free transportation to and from the Parks and Extended Evening Hours for deluxe resort guests are all included when you book at one of these hotels.  

Let’s take a look at these three resorts. What each one offers, and why one may be better or worse for your Disney Vacation. One thing to keep in mind is that guests staying at any one of these resorts has access to any of the amenities at the other two. So, things that don’t really affect where you stay include the pools, spa, resort activities, beaches and restaurants.  Yes, each resort has its own unique set of these things. But as a guest of any of these, you have access to it all. 

Now that being said. It can be quite the pain to lug your family to a pool that may not be super close to your room. So, things like the pool might be something to consider if you’re looking for convenience.  It’s really a matter of personal preference, so let’s dive into comparing the Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve. 

Disney Swan and Dolphin

Disney Swan 

The Disney Swan is the medium sized hotel of the three. And feels more intimate, like a boutique hotel.  The Disney Swan is home to 756 guest rooms and contains both standard rooms and suites. The Disney Swan’s pricing usually falls somewhere in the middle as well. With standard rooms being less than the Swan Reserve and slightly more than the Disney Dolphin. Pricing is always dependent upon the season and hotel availability of course. But generally this is what you can expect when comparing this resort to the other two. 

The Disney Swan is located directly across from the Disney Dolphin. So it’s not really any closer or further away from EPCOT or the Boardwalk area. But it is a little closer to the walking path that takes you to Hollywood Studios, though not by much.  Location wise, it’s essentially the same as the Disney Dolphin. The Disney Swan does have some rooms with EPCOT views so you can see the fireworks from your room, though not as many as the Disney Dolphin or the Swan Reserve. So if that’s something that’s important to you, either plan to reserve your room early, or consider one of the other hotels. 

Disney Swan and Dolphin

Disney Dolphin

The Disney Dolphin is the largest of the three resorts and brings with it its own style and vibe. Contrasting to the Disney Swan, it is larger, louder and feels more like a commercial resort.  And the Disney Dolphin also tends to be the cheapest of the three. With over 1500 guest rooms, there is usually the most availability here. As well as the most available rooms that can be booked using your Marriott Bonvoy hotel points.  It also usually has the lowest redemption rates when it comes to using your points, though this will greatly depend on the time of year you’re traveling and availability at the resort.  The Disney Dolphin also has the largest selection of room types. So if you need to accommodate a larger party or just want the extra space, the Disney Dolphin is a good one to check out. 

The Disney Dolphin has excellent views of Epcot when reserving a room with a view. And has the largest pool of the three, the Grotto Pool, as well as the beaches.  As a resort, the Disney Dolphin feels the most complete and overall has the most amenities in one place.  The Disney Dolphin also is where guests can take the ferry from to get to any of the Boardwalk area resorts, EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. So if being close to ferry transportation during your stay is a priority, the Disney Dolphin may be the right choice for you. 

Walt Disney world swan reserve

Disney Swan Reserve

The Swan Reserve at Disney  is the newest Marriott hotel at Disneyworld. It’s a step above the other two resorts in terms of style and luxury. But it’s also the furthest away. And is the most expensive of the three hotels.  We loved staying here and truthfully found the views of EPCOT to be spectacular at night. But one thing that the Swan Reserve doesn’t have that the other two resorts do is rooms with balconies. Only the two most expensive room types at this property offer balconies, which is really a shame. The standard rooms here do have huge windows which is a nice touch, but the lack of balconies is a little disappointing. 

The Disney Swan Reserve is located right next to the Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf course, which is especially nice if you plan to have some non-park fun while at Disney.  And even though it’s technically across the street from the Disney Dolphin, it’s actually quite close to the Grotto Pool since the pool is located at the back of the Dolphin property. So if you’re looking for a more luxurious stay in a quieter area, but still want great access to the Grotto Pool, the Swan Reserve could be a great option for you. 

As far as location is concerned, the Disney Swan Reserve is about a 20-minute walk from the back entrance of Epcot. And about a 10-minute walk to the back of the Boardwalk area at Disney. 

Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve: Which is best?

So when comparing the Disney Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve, how do you know which is best for you? If you’re working with a Disney Travel Planner, they can often help you choose based on your preferences. If you’re booking on your own, there are some things to consider when choosing the “best”. Are you looking for a resort that is more fun and may feel more family friendly? The Disney Dolphin might be the right choice. If convenience and location are important, then either the Disney Swan and Dolphin are going to be the best fit. However, if you want something that feels shiny and new, with a more modern feel, the Swan Reserve delivers there. If you’re hoping for a quieter experience and don’t mind a longer walk to the Parks, the Swan Reserve again is going to be the best fit. 

You really can’t go wrong with any of these hotels! The location alone is enough for us to book one of these. And with prices well below standard deluxe resorts, these resorts are all great for Disney travelers on a budget who still want a little more upscale experience. Or those looking to cash in on their Marriott points. Though none of these have much in the way of Disney theming, the proximity to the parks and pricing make any of them a great option. 


Disney Swan, Swan Reserve or Dolphin Hotels

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website | + posts

Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .

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