So at this point, you guys should know we love the Boardwalk area and will basically do anything we can to stay there. Unfortunately, when peak times hit, like Spring break or Christmas, the resorts on the Boardwalk(and everywhere else on Disney property) can really skyrocket. We are talking, you’d better sit down when you see these prices, kind of high. We’ve talked about how we love using a third party to book a great deal on Walt Disney World property. One of the best deals we usually see on a third-party site is for the Disney Swan and Dolphin hotels. We stayed at the WDW Dolphin before and absolutely loved it, so we were excited to find a great deal during Spring Break at the Walt Disney World Swan to see how it compares!
Walt Disney World Swan
For starters, the Walt Disney World Swan isn’t managed by Walt Disney World. It’s managed by Westin and as a result, you can collect/redeem Mariott Bonvoy points at this resort. This is a nice perk if you’re a frequent traveler because the Mariott Bonvoy Points program is one of the very best in our opinion and who doesn’t want free nights at Walt Disney World?! We also used our hotels.com hack on this trip and were able to save a ton, all while earning points towards both hotels.com and Marriott Bonvoy. Not a bad deal. So let’s get down to it.
Staying on the Boardwalk at the Walt Disney World Swan
If you ask us, the location of the boardwalk resorts can’t be beaten. Sorry monorail resort lovers, we prefer the Boardwalk area. Having the convenience of being able to walk to two different Parks saves us so much time when we are traveling to Disney. Being about a 10-minute walk from Epcot and a 20-ish minute walk from Hollywood Studios, the Swan is really the perfect location.
And let’s be real here, who doesn’t love the Boardwalk? It’s classic, it’s beautiful and best of all, it’s usually not too crowded! With the addition of Disney’s Skyliner in recent years, we love how easy it is to resort-hop from this area as well.
The Rooms at the Walt Disney World Swan
We have been very lucky to stay here a few times. We’ve stayed in standard rooms as well as balcony rooms and both are spacious and comfortable. There are a variety of room types and sizes to accommodate whatever needs you may have while traveling. The rooms are pretty standard in size for the area, and come equipped with a coffee maker, safe, mini-fridge, and Mariott’s signature smart TV. The bathrooms are separated from the vanity area which makes getting ready in the morning a breeze. The mirrors are backlit and provide excellent lighting, which we really appreciated.
Again, while the Walt Disney World Swan is actually on Disney property, it is managed by Westin, meaning that they have their signature Heavenly beds in these rooms, and well, they are quite heavenly. The rooms come stocked with water bottles, coffee, hot tea bags, and standard toiletries.
The Walt Disney World Swan Hotel has everything from standard rooms to suites, and we’ve enjoyed every type of room we’ve stayed in.
Amenities at the Walt Disney World Swan
If you’re looking for Amenities, there’s no shortage of them at the Swan. Bell Services, National and Alamo Car Rental desk, coin-operated laundry, shops, dining options, concierge services, and much more are all available here.
There is also a health club complete with Peloton bikes, fitness equipment, a wellness concierge, and much more; so if you’re looking to work off whatever you were eating around the world, you’re in luck! The Swan and Dolphin share amenities; so you can use any of the pools or health clubs at either resort, as well as the beautiful beach over at The Dolphin. You can also rent watercraft at the Swan and Dolphin, play beach volleyball, or bring your kiddos to the beach playground. There’s so much to do at this resort!
And if you’re looking for a more upscale experience during your pool day, the Swan has private cabanas that can be rented for the day.
Dining at the Walt Disney World Swan
There are quite a few options for dining here. The Swan itself has character dining in the evening at Garden Grove or you can forgo the characters and get breakfast and lunch daily here. The characters also make their appearance on the weekends for breakfast, so if you’re looking for a character meal without having to use a park ticket, they’ve got you covered.
Java is the resort’s coffee shop and recently got an awesome new upgrade. Plan to spend a pretty penny here; the coffee isn’t cheap. But if you need a handcrafted latte or a breakfast sandwich before the Parks open, it’s worth the stop. Chill is also available in the main lobby and serves up sandwiches and frozen libations for a quick stop.
For a more upscale experience, Kimonos Lounge and IL Mulino are also on-site at the Swan. You can find all of the Disney Swan dining options here.
Do guests get Disney Perks at the Walt Disney World Swan?
Mostly yes! For the most part, guests staying at the Swan will get the same perks as those staying at a Walt Disney World resort. 60-day dining reservations are available to those staying at the Swan and so is Early Theme Park Entry. And guests staying at the Walt Disney World Swan also get the perk of Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, which are available to guests at Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World.
Transportation at the Walt Disney World Swan
Transportation is easy at the Swan. We love that you can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios; but if walking isn’t your thing, you can always take the Friendship Ferry to either Park. Walking to Epcot will take you to the back entrance of Epcot, the International Gateway, between UK and France in the world showcase. It’s the perfect place to start your day at Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie for breakfast. And if you want to walk to Hollywood Studios, this post can tell you how to get there.
Buses go from the Swan to both Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. Or, you can get into Epcot and take the monorail to the TTC. You then transfer over to Magic Kingdom if you prefer to skip out on the Disney buses. A quick note about the buses that take you to Magic Kingdom. They are no longer run by Walt Disney World, but instead by Mears. Because of this, these buses no longer take you directly to the Magic Kingdom bus stop. Instead, they will bring you to the TTC, where you will have to take the monorail or ferryboat over to Magic Kingdom.
If you’re not really a fan of buses, you can also Uber or Lyft to any of those locations. When flying into MCO, you’ll want to book the Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine Bus Shuttle Service, which does go to the Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve Hotels. Or grab a taxi or Uber as well.
Going Green at the Walt Disney World Swan
One of the programs we loved at the Swan is their “Go Green” program. If you opt to forgo housekeeping services, they will give you a $5 voucher per day. You can use this at any of their restaurants on-site. Or an extra 500 points per day for your Mariott Bonvoy account. Using this program is easy and we love helping out the environment in any way we can, so it’s a win-win for us.
Housekeeping will continue to bring you new water bottles, coffee, and toiletries each day. And will take your trash if you leave it for them, but your room will generally not be serviced. Meaning no one will make your bed, or basically do any of the basic housekeeping you would expect.
This is totally optional and could be challenging for large parties or longer stays, but for short stays we found it to be a great perk!
Cons of the Walt Disney World Swan
As much as we love the Walt Disney Swan, we know it’s not for everyone! One thing to mention is that the Walt Disney World Swan does charge an extra $35 resort fee daily. This fee includes the use of the fitness centers, two bottles of water each day, use of the Swan boats at the Dolphin and fitness classes, as well as a few other perks you may not even notice.
The other thing to note that some people definitely may consider a con is the lack of theming. There is really no Disney presence at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel. It feels more like a smaller boutique hotel with a low-key, soft atmosphere. For some people this will definitely be a con; for others, it may be a nice break from being submersed in Disney all day. We’ll let you decide.
A lot of conventions and conferences are held at both The Swan and the Dolphin. So they generally have a little bit more of a “business” feel and less of a vacation feel. For us, it didn’t really make a difference. But just be aware that while you are all decked out in Minnie Mouse ears and character tees, you may be surrounded by professionals in suits and pencil skirts.
Overall, we love staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and highly recommend either of them. Have you stayed there? What did you think? Let us know!