There’s a new resort at Walt Disney World and we are here to tell you all about it! The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve recently opened and we were lucky enough to be able to stay there shortly after it opened. Here’s everything you need to know about the Swan Reserve at Disney World.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels
If you’re not familiar with the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin complex, they are located in the Boardwalk area of Walt Disney World. They are considered Walt Disney World hotels but are not managed by Disney. Rather, they both are managed under the Mariott Bonvoy brand. These hotels are considered deluxe resorts; and generally receive most of the same perks as guests staying in a traditional Walt Disney World resort. You can read more about The Dolphin here and The Swan here. The prices can’t be beaten for the area, and the Boardwalk area is our favorite area to stay. They are in walking distance to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios and have easy access to Disney’s Skyliner.
Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is located across the street from the Swan and Dolphin. As mentioned before, this hotel is managed under the Mariott Bonvoy name and is part of their Autograph collection. If you’ve ever stayed in an Autograph hotel, you’ll know they’re generally a little more upscale. And that’s what the Swan Reserve is. It’s also a little pricier than its sister hotels in the same area.
What does the Swan Reserve Cost?
Expect to pay anywhere from $325-$550 per night at the Swan Reserve for a standard room, depending on season and availability. We stayed during a lower attendance time of year and were able to get a pretty reasonable deal. Since it’s a Mariott Bonvoy hotel, you can also earn and redeem points here. The Swan Reserve is considered a Category 6 hotel, meaning you’d need anywhere from 40,000-60,000 points to stay one night for free here. But if you travel a lot or use a Mariott Bonvoy credit card, you could potentially stay here for free!
Swan Reserve Rooms
The Swan Reserve has a variety of rooms, from standard rooms to a variety of suites. We stayed in a standard room, with two queen beds. We originally had booked a Hollywood Studios view room because, well it was the best price we could find for the time we were traveling. A very nice surprise, we were upgraded to an Epcot view room. And let me tell you, this entire hotel has amazing views! We loved waking up to the sight of Spaceship Earth in the distance and being able to watch Beacons of Light and the Fireworks at night. We could even see, very faintly, the fireworks from Enchantment at Magic Kingdom! The weather wasn’t the best during our trip, as it was quite cold and rainy. So we really appreciated being able to watch these from the inside.
The rooms at the Swan Reserve are bright and airy thanks to the huge floor-to-ceiling window. I was a little worried when I originally heard about this new hotel that it would feel generic and sterile, which is sometimes how I feel when staying at hotels with stark white walls and little character. But I didn’t feel that way at all! Between the natural light and the little decor accents around the room, it felt welcoming and upscale.
The standard rooms come with a mini-fridge, coffee maker, and safe. There is also a decent-sized closet, along with enough drawer space for a few people. The bathrooms are roomy. And if you’re just getting a standard room, there is only one sink/vanity area that is located inside of the bathroom. We generally prefer having a vanity space outside of the bathroom since it makes getting ready in the mornings a bit easier, but it’s not really a deal-breaker for us.
There are plenty of outlets and charging ports for all of your electronics and the smart TV offers streaming capabilities which is always nice.
Swan Reserve Dining
The Swan Reserve has several dining options. Whether you want something quick, a nice sit-down meal, or room service, they offer a little bit of everything!
Grounds is their coffee shop and is a one-stop shop for all of your early morning needs. It is located on the third floor, which is considered the main lobby. With a variety of coffees and lattes, teas, breakfast sandwiches, and grab-and-go items, it’s a bit pricey but works if you’re in need of some caffeine or a quick breakfast before you get to the Parks or wherever you’re headed. We also loved grabbing hot cocoa on the way back to our room at night since it was a bit chilly.
Amare is the hotel’s signature restaurant. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, You can view the full menu for Amare here. Although we didn’t eat at the restaurant, we did order room service one night and were told that it’s the same food that is served there. We found the prices and portion sizes to be pretty reasonable. Room service itself is quite pricey since they add on a bunch of fees, but we wanted to eat in our room after a long travel day, so we were willing to splurge.
The hotel also has two bars. Stir, the lobby bar, is located on the third floor. Stir serves a wide variety of drinks, appetizers, and a few entrees. You can find the full menu for Stir here. And Tangerine is the pool bar located outside serving a variety of food and drinks. You can see Tangerine’s full menu here.
Swan Reserve Amenities
The Swan Reserve shares amenities with both the Swan and the Dolphin. So although they do have their own pool and fitness center, guests of the Swan Reserve can use any of the pools or health clubs located at any of these three hotels. The fitness center is small, but open 24 hours which is nice for those looking to keep up with their fitness during their trip. The pool area has plenty of seating and private cabanas that can be rented for a more luxurious experience.
Guests staying at the Swan Reserve also have to pay a resort fee of $35 in addition to the room rate. This is actually the same standard as the Swan and Dolphin, so if you’ve stayed at either hotel, this shouldn’t be much of a shock to you. The resort fee includes 2 bottles of water delivered to your room daily, complimentary WiFi, daily fitness classes at the Dolphin, use of the Swan paddle boats and discounts on select spa treatments. If you’re not using those things, it may seem like a waste of money. But the fee is included in your bill and there really isn’t any way around it.
Is the Swan Reserve part of Disney?
Yes! It is actually named the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve and is part of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.
Does the Swan Reserve get Disney benefits?
Yes! For the most part, yes. If you’re staying at the Swan Reserve, you can take advantage of 60-day dining reservations, early morning theme park entry, 7 a.m. Lightning Lane purchases and free parking at Walt Disney World theme parks. Extended Evening Hours are also available to guests staying at the Swan Reserve. To take advantage of these perks, make sure your confirmation number is linked in your My Disney Experience account. If you’re having difficulty with this, there is a Disney help desk in the lobby that can help you.
Transportation to and from the Parks and resort is included as well, and I’ll talk more about that below.
Swan Reserve Transportation
The Swan Reserve has the same transportation situation as its sister hotels. Guests staying here have access to transportation to all destinations at Walt Disney World. As mentioned before, since this is one of the Disney Resorts within Walking Distance of the Parks, you can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Epcot is about a 15-20 minute walk depending on your pace. And Hollywood Studios is closer to a 25-minute walk via the Hollywood Studios walking path. We prefer to walk so didn’t take the Friendship Ferry, but that’s also an option for those going to either location. You have to catch the ferry at the Dolphin for all 3 hotels, but it’s a quick and easy ride and the lines are usually not too long. Boats depart every 15-20 minutes.
There are buses that will take you to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. Mears Connect Driven By Sunshine Disney shuttle service now operates these buses, instead of Disney. Mears is great. Buses arrive about every 20 minutes. But we do need to mention that since these are no longer Disney buses, they don’t take you to the bus area of Magic Kingdom. They now drop you off at the TTC, which means you’ll have to take either the ferry or the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom. We actually ended up just walking to the Boardwalk Inn and taking the bus from there. I don’t really know if you’re supposed to do this, but that’s what we did and it worked out fine.
Airport Transportation at the Swan Reserve
If you’re flying into Orlando, you’ll probably know that Disney no longer offers the Magical Express. These resorts never had the Magical Express to begin with, but it’s really no longer a deterrent to stay here since everyone has to find their own transportation now. You can read about all of the options to get to Walt Disney World from the airport, and luckily Mears Connect Driven By Sunshine Disney shuttle services offer service to the Swan and Dolphin complex, which is what we used. Uber may be cheaper depending on your party size and demand at the time you need a ride. But we were happy with the Mears Connect service.
Is the Swan Reserve good for families?
Yes! And no. Let me clarify. The Swan Reserve isn’t bad for families. But if you’re looking for that Disney magic feel, you won’t find it here. There are touches of Disney around the hotel but they are generally more subdued. Hidden Mickeys can be found on occasion but that’s about it. The overall feel of the resort is more grown up, but not in a stuffy or offputting way. We do think that little ones will like the views from the rooms though! And there is Fantasia Mini Golf literally in the same parking lot as the Swan Reserve, which is super fun when you don’t have a Park ticket or if you’re taking a midday break. We saw plenty of families during our stay, and they all seemed to be having a good time.
Just be aware there are also quite a few conference rooms; which I’m guessing in the future will mean times when the hotel is packed with business people. That’s not really a big deal to me. But I know some people prefer to avoid that type of atmosphere so I wanted to mention it.
Overall though, yes I do think that the Swan Reserve is just fine for families and kids.
Can you book the Swan Reserve Through Disney?
Yes, you can! Booking the Swan Reserve is a little different than a regular Disney resort though. If you’re only booking a room, this can be done on Walt Disney World’s website. You can also book a room directly through Mariott Bonvoy, or look for a great deal on hotels.com. You can also now book packages at the Swan Reserve directly on Walt Disney World’s website.
Is the Swan Reserve worth the price?
That depends! There are a lot of things that can determine if it’s “worth it”. So here are my thoughts. It is definitely a little bit more expensive than both the Swan and the Dolphin. But if you prefer a newer hotel, or really want to be able to experience the views from this resort, then yes I do think it’s worth it. You can find a good deal on a third-party site like hotels.com. Or as I mentioned earlier, you can earn and redeem points through Mariott Bonvoy. It really does feel like an upscale stay. If you’re planning to spend any amount of time in your room, I do think it’s worth it to spend a little more. Plus, I’ve heard great things about the suites. So if you’re in need of a larger room, this is a great place to check.
The Boardwalk Resort Area is by far one of the most convenient areas to stay at Walt Disney World, but the Disney resorts in this area can get very expensive. So if you really just want to stay in this area, then again yes I do think it’s worth it. But if you’re just looking for a jumping-off point for your trip and don’t plan to spend much time in your room, then the Swan or Dolphin may be a better fit for you. Keep in mind, it is also a little further walk to Epcot. So it is slightly less convenient in that way. It’s only about 5 or so minutes extra, but worth noting.
Overall, we were very happy with our stay at the Swan Reserve! And we are excited about the fact that there is another place to stay in the Boardwalk area of Walt Disney World. Have you stayed at the Swan Reserve yet? What did you think?
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 .