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  • Author
    • rhjohnston

      Registered: September 2014
      Posts: 9
      Review Date: Sat September 13, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): location, pool, food options, cost
      Cons: large hotel, resort fee, no airport transportation

       
      The Dolphin and Swan offer many of the Disney Property advantages on a deluxe level for less money. My husband and I stayed 9/7-9/12 to celebrate his 50th birthday. I recommend this time frame because the parks were not crowded. Kids had just gone back to school so you mainly encountered families with young children or adults celebrating special occasions. The Dolphin is a conference hotel so it is huge but it is well planned and the elevators were great. The décor is not Disney and much of the clientele is business but you do get the complimentary transportation to the parks, the extra magic hours and an excellent location. You can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios or take a boat- the Boardwalk is adjacent to the hotel. The pool facility is awesome and you have more food options than the less expensive Disney resorts. The room size was fine for 2 people although the bathroom might be a little tight if several people were in the room. I suspect these rooms will be refurbished soon as they are looking a tad worn. We stayed in room 8023. This room had a great view, no balcony but you did have to walk a bit to get to it. I would return to this hotel even with the $23 resort fee. The benefits outweigh the cons.
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      alfy

      Registered: July 2010
      Posts: 21
      Review Date: Sun December 8, 2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 8 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Lots of elevators, friendly staff, great restaurants
      Cons: Dated

       
      The room was clean and well equipped. We found the decor dated with a faux '50s look and unchanged from when we stayed many years ago, many layers of paint on the walls. The restaurants here and at the Swan are uniformly great and folks staying anywhere in the Epcot area should take advantage of them. We also note that S and D are offering a fastpass plus service, where you make your choices at stations inside the parks. We didn't use the service this trip. Dolphin and Swan are our choices when the Disney Epcot resorts are fully booked or not offering advantageous rates.
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      amybosshard

      Registered: January 2009
      Location: Sound Beach, NY
      Posts: 2
      Review Date: Tue October 22, 2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 8 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): close to EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Boardwalk
      Cons: bus to DTD

       
      My husband and I just arrived home from a 5 night stay at the Dolphin (sans kids!) for the Food and Wine Festival. Overall we thought the hotel was great. Within walking distance to EPCOT, HS and the Boardwalk. It was so nice to be able to quickly walk over to the Boardwalk area for shopping, something to eat, or just the ambiance.
      Check-in was a breeze, quick and efficient. We stayed using our Starwood points, so the total bill was $95, for the extra fees they charge. Our room was a king bed with a partial view of the boardwalk and Swan. If you craned your neck, you could watch the EPCOT fireworks.
      The beds at the Dolphin are extremely heavenly! I have never slept so well at a hotel. And, am hoping to talk my husband into buying one!
      We sat at the pool one afternoon and really enjoyed it. Although not themed (like other Disney resorts) it had exactly what you would want, and a slide for kids too. And, although we didn't order anything, there was sufficient staff walking around taking drink and food orders.
      We ate at BlueZoo one evening. Delicious!! We also ordered ice cream from the Dolphin Fountain...so good...
      The room is a little dated looking, but I felt the comfort of the bed far out-wayed the dated feel. On our first night, the toilet didn't flush, and someone came up within 2 minutes of a call to the front desk and fixed it quickly.
      Now, for my only complaint. The hotel rooms have Starbucks coffee pods. I was sooo excited to see this, as I am a serious coffee drinker and need a strong cup of coffee in the morning. The only problem? The pods did not fit into the coffee maker they had (different make of machine), they were way too big. So, on my first morning, after making a complete mess (water and coffee everywhere) I stopped using it. Total bummer.
      Overall, I would stay here again and can't wait to go back. Yes, it definitely feels a little convention/business like at times (especially at night when you have to walk through the bar to get to the hotels). But, I think the pros far out-way the cons!
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      tommygunn

      Registered: November 2009
      Posts: 34
      Review Date: Tue August 20, 2013 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 3 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Location
      Cons: Everything else

       
      It was cheap, and close to Epcot. But ultimately you get what you pay for. Dated is a kind word for this property. And ZERO Disney theming/magic. Will never stay here again. Spend a little more money and stay at the Port Orleans Riverside. Best deal going on sight IMHO.
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      veniceboy78

      Registered: May 2013
      Posts: 1
      Review Date: Thu May 16, 2013 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 4 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Great location close to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
      Cons: Rude staff, Dirty rooms

       
      We have been to Disney World several times and always look forward to our yearly vacation there. Two years ago we stayed at the Dolphin and it was fantastic! Enough so that we stayed again this year....


      Unfortunately it was the opposite experience this time around. We are members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program and had a resort view room on reserve. When we got there they told us that they had given our room away! We were stuck with a view of the service area/roof top. In addition,there was old garbage in the drawers of the dresser, the coffee maker was broken (as was the refrigerator), there were stains and holes in the bed sheets, the shower curtain was torn. The list was EXTENSIVE! To make matters worse, we were given poor attitudes from members of the wait staff at the ice cream shop downstairs.


      We tried contacting the manager, but she did not get back to us until after we had returned home! We were there for a whole week and were very disappointed. They tried to "bribe" us with a free taxi ride, but we do not feel that this was fair compensation for ruining our hotel experience. This is unfortunate because we will not be staying at the Dolphin in the future due to this experience. We also let Disney know as their name is attached to the property. They were much more helpful!
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      FoxzLem

      Registered: April 2006
      Posts: 8
      Review Date: Tue May 7, 2013 Would you recommend the product? No | | Rating: 5 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Walk to Epcot and Boardwalk
      Cons: Not Disney Property

       
      Hotel was nice and close to great locations at Disney (walking distance to Epcot/Boardwalk).


      The hotel had more of a business feel to it due to conferences going on – didn’t get the “Disney” feeling of being at other hotels on property.

      Main complaint about hotel - we were on the 6th floor for a week and complained about bad odor in hallway (smelled horrible – complained three times). Our complaint didn't seem to matter to front desk. They did nothing to move us to different room and no other adjustments were made.


      Also can’t partake in Disney Magical Express.
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      Doombuggy

      Registered: July 2008
      Posts: 21
      Review Date: Sat December 15, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 8 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Location, cost
      Cons: front desk confusion

       
      I stayed here for 2 nights to attend a medical conference. My room was ok but could use some updating. The beds were very comfy. I paid $199 a night with my conference rate.


      I had my sister who lives locally spend the night for a girls' night out. I asked the front desk to add her to the reservation but when she got there they didn't have her on the reservation. They had to call me and verify the information while I was on a special tour at the Magic Kingdom. Annoying!


      We ate at the poolside restaurant and it was great! Good service. The pool (too cool to swim for old people like me) looked nice and there is a cute little beach.


      Christmas decorations were pretty but there was a weird piped in scent in the lobby. The lobby could also use some updating as well.


      I would have given a 9 if not for the front desk issue.
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      mmc55

      Registered: October 2008
      Location: North Reston VA
      Posts: 33
      Review Date: Fri December 7, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 8 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Location/Price/Exterior Decor
      Cons: Not enough Disney/Big Conventions

       
      The location would earn an "11" - but there are a lot of business people around - usually sales "types- "not that there is anything wrong with that", but it does diminish the Disney magic experience. The bar area was noisy and crowded but you cannot hear it in your room and I believe the business people had rooms in the upper floors. We had the Government rate which is very reasonable for a deluxe resort. The pool is great and the entire Swan and Dolphin resort area is as beautiful as any Disney Deluxe resort - some would say more - the pastel colors of the exterior are perfect. They did put us next to the elevators and our view was the roof of the convention hall but I don't go to WDW to stay in my room. There were thousands of 12-13 year olds around Monday night (12/3) - not sure what was going on but they were "magically" gone Tuesday morning. We were allowed to check out at 12:30 without charge - you ask the day of check-out. We stayed in the Swan in 2008 and do prefer it more (see review Oct 2011). The convenience of the boat transportation is wonderful.
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      nessz79

      Registered: November 2007
      Location: Naples, FL
      Posts: 20
      Review Date: Sun October 21, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Location, price, service, beautiful grounds
      Cons: none for us!

       
      We just returned from a weekend stay at the Dolphin Resort at Disney. We have stayed here once before as a couple, but this trip included our two children (ages 9 and 8) and my husband’s parents (in their 70s and 80s). I was able to get a teacher’s rate for both rooms as they were both under my name. Being a Starwood Preferred Plus member, I was upgraded to a resort view upon check-in. I mentioned it specifically at check-in, but they may very well have upgraded us anyway.


      Our room was comfortable, although a bit worn. The beds were “heavenly”, the particular room we had was spacious (although my in-laws’ room was a bit smaller), and the view was very pleasant of the adjacent Swan as well as the lake. The bathroom is a bit small for such a nice resort, but the showerhead and water pressure is lovely. The included coffee for the room is Starbucks. There was more than enough storage for clothes and such. Wi-Fi was rather weak in our room, but it was easy to log in and use (included in the resort fee). It was quiet and though we occasionally heard a boisterous child or two in the hallways, it was seldom and expected (being at Disney). We were never woken up in the middle of the night with loud neighbors or the like. We couldn’t even hear the rooms next to us. The Friendship boat can be heard during park hours, but it’s a pleasant muffled sound. Fireworks can be heard at the nearby Epcot, but they are relatively few and brief.


      Service was very friendly. In fact, we ran into one of the maintenance workers when we were checking out and he asked us about our stay, talked to our kids about what they enjoyed, and wished us safe travels. Being that his position isn’t directly service-related, this shows that the entire staff is customer-service oriented and friendly.


      We did not use the pools or recreation areas this trip, but the pool was beautiful and clear (though a bit cold when we touched the water) and there is plenty to do, from basketball to volleyball to ping-pong. The fitness center is well-equipped. Restaurants abound, though they are pricey.


      We only went to Epcot for this trip, but we know the Swan and Dolphin to be convenient to the parks. You can walk or ride a boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Downtown Disney can be accessed by bus, though I recommend driving to Downtown Disney if you have a car. The Epcot resorts sometimes share a bus which can make it a long and crowded ride.


      Overall, this is a very pleasant resort and it is significantly less expensive than staying at a Disney deluxe resort, which often costs in the neighborhood of $300-400 per night. If you can get a teacher or nurse rate, you can pay as little as $159 per night at the Dolphin. AAA rate is a bit more expensive, but still more reasonable than the Disney deluxe resorts.
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      bobbis

      Registered: April 2008
      Location: iowa
      Posts: 10
      Review Date: Tue October 2, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Beautiful, close to everything, friendly staff
      Cons: None

       
      We stayed at the Dolphin for the first time in September2012. This resort is wonderful. Since it was low season, we got a great rate. I have stayed at other moderate & deluxe resorts at WDW & this is my new favorite. It is so close to dozens of restaurants & is a close walk or boat ride to Epcot & the Studios. The room was nice, spacious compared to others, nice balcony & great view. The pool complex is outstanding. Staff was very helpful. The layout is a bit confusing, but not more so than other resorts. Amenities are great, especially for the low price in off season. We will return to this resort on our next visit.
      I recommend watching Illuminations inside Epcot at night near the International Gateway, as it is easy to leave the park, take the boat back to the resort & be in your room within 30 minutes.
      Also, walk to Beaches & Cream restaurant at Boardwalk resort. Great food & desserts for the low price!
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      thegoof25

      Registered: April 2006
      Location: Maryland
      Posts: 15
      Review Date: Wed April 18, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 10 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Everything!
      Cons: Nothing!

       
      We loved everything about the Dolphin!! We were there from 3/30 to 4/6. My family and I are HUGE Disney fans and I honestly was slightly worried that we may not see as much Disney magic here. I soon found out that I had nothing to worry about! We really felt like we were staying in the very heart of Disney World and you can't get more magical than that! We have previously stayed at ASM, Pop, CBR and Poly but have never had this kind of access to multiple parks before. Being able to either walk or take a boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios was something we were really able to take advantage of. The walk to both parks was a very easy distance and we never had to wait long for a boat. When we did need to take a bus, it was nice to have a covered place to wait complete with benches and a TV. From the second we checked in we really felt like we were being taken care of. They even had a Wii set up for anyone wanting to play while they waited to check in! Every staff member that we encountered was very friendly and helpful.


      The lobby is beautiful!! That beauty carried on throughout the rest of the resort too. Also there is never a lack of things to do there. Just within the Dolphin alone, there are 6 different place to eat and multiple places to get a nice drink. While we were there we saw live musical entertainment in the lobby as well as in Bluezoo. Although no one in our party has kids, the Camp Dolphin kid's club looked like fun. They had a table set up near the front desk with a staff member from the camp there to inform parents and interact with the kids.


      I loved that even though the Dolphin is not Disney owned, they have a Disney Store called Daisy's Garden! It has everything any other Disney resort store would have, including the Disney music! We also loved that we didn't miss out on the Disney resort benefits like the Extra Magic Hours and having our park purchases delivered to the resort.


      We loved the pool area!! The Grotto pool was our favorite because of it's winding shape, waterfall and slide. The pools are shared with the Swan Resort but because the pool area is so large it never felt like it was too crowded. Even though we were there during spring break, we actually were able to get chairs every time we went. Along with the huge Grotto pool there are also 2 lap pools. The pool area also has jacuzzis, a beach with hammocks, beach volleyball, a basketball court, ping pong, a dj that plays games with the kids as well as music and a pool bar and lounge area. You could stay there all day!!


      Our room was beautiful and very clean! We even had an amazing view of The Tower of Terror, the Sorcerer Mickey Hat, and the water tower of Hollywood Studios! We had 4 adults in our standard size room and never felt cramped. We all felt that the beds were really comfortable too!


      I know the Dolphin is labeled as a convention resort but the majority of people that we saw there were families and regular resort guests. We did see people that were clearly there for conventions but they pretty much just kept to themselves. The rooms holding the conventions are separated from the common areas of the resort. I personally would never foresee the fact that conventions take place there as an issue at all. It didn't take away from our family vacation in any way!


      We go to Disney World every year and staying at the Dolphin made our trip extra special. Being steps away from The Boardwalk and short walks/boat rides away from 2 parks really enhanced our vacation. One night we walked to Epcot to see Illuminations and on our walk back to the Dolphin by way of The Boardwalk we saw the fireworks from Wishes at the Magic Kingdom! Then from our room we saw the fireworks from Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios! That was definitely something new and so exciting for us! We really felt like we were in the heart of all the action! We loved everything about the Dolphin resort and are already thinking about when we can go back!
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      wattage

      Registered: January 2010
      Location: Richmond Virginia
      Posts: 75
      Review Date: Mon April 16, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Great location, beautiful hotel
      Cons: None

       
      We stayed here one night while visiting Disney World – waiting for our reservations at the Wilderness Lodge the next day. We stayed on Starwood Preferred Guest Points. The hotel is beautiful!! This is my third time staying at the Dolphin and its lobby has recently been remodeled. Our room was on the 15th floor and had a king bed with a roll-a-way bed for my 12yo daughter. The roll-a-way was the nicest roll-a-way I’ve ever seen in a hotel. My daughter said it was very comfortable and very sturdy. The bed was delivered to our room with-in 10 minutes of our arrival in our room. The room faced the Magic Kingdom and we could see the fireworks at the MK at 10PM. Our king bed was very comfortable with top quality sheets and bedding. The bathroom was clean and very spacious with nice thick towels.


      My only complaint is the check-in process. It took nearly 30 minutes for me to just get to the counter for check-in, and there were only about 10 people in front of me when I arrived. They had about a dozen staff members working the counter so I thought check-in would have been a lot quicker. The other two times I stayed here, I got dropped off by a bus with about 30 other people at the same time and check-in only took about 10 minutes.


      Would stay here again.
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      clbury

      Registered: October 2008
      Posts: 2
      Review Date: Sat April 14, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 9 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): location, customer service, room was great
      Cons: had to pay for parking

       
      I loved this hotel. This is the first time I have stayed there. It is so beautiful and not just in the lobby. The room had a pleasant decor, it was clean, comfortable and seemed larger than the deluxe hotel rooms I have stayed in at Disney deluxe hotels; the in-room coffee is Starbucks. There are many places to go to eat, have a cocktail and a good list of other amenities, and if the Dolphin doesn't have what you want you can easily walk to the Swan, Boardwalk or Beach Club hotels. The customer service was excellent; everyone was helpful and very polite. I was there the week after Easter so it was very busy; the customer service was still excellent. This was an adult vacation so if you are looking to be totally immersed in Disney this is not for you. There was elegance with enough Disney to let you know you were still in the magical place.
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      tewcute

      Registered: May 2008
      Posts: 19
      Review Date: Sat December 3, 2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 6 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Close to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
      Cons: Very thin walls, limited eating options if you have kids

       
      Overall the hotel was beautiful. The lobby made you feel like you were in a very expensive new york hotel. But overall it was missing Disney magic. You can definitely tell this is not a 'Disney resort'. There were a few minor issues with the room such as the refrigerator that was barely cool. So much for keeping milk to have cereal in the morning. The air conditioning was weird too. No matter what temp we set it on up or down it would alsways come back to 72 degrees. My sister was in a room on the first floor and it was litterally at the end of a hallway on the corner of the building. The first floor feels like you are in steerage. it definitely needs remodel. Bathrooms were tiny. I usually stay at the beachclub villas and this room felt very small to me. Overall, a decent hotel but I would not stay here again for the price.
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      gilleska

      Registered: February 2009
      Location: MA
      Posts: 12
      Review Date: Mon November 7, 2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | | Rating: 6 

       
      Positive aspects of the product (pros): Location, beds
      Cons: Room smelled musty; uninspired decor; hard to navigate

       
      My son and I, and my best friend and her son, stayed in two standard rooms at the Dolphin Nov. 4 and Nov. 5. We stayed there because we wanted to be close to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, and because we got an excellent deal through an AllEars.net discount code.


      Pros: the location was great for Hollywood Studios, where we spend most of our time, and good for Epcot. The beds were extremely comfortable, and the WiFi worked well. My son really liked the pool, which was uncrowded and had a nice slide.


      Cons: my room smelled musty, though my friend's room did not. Because we got a discount, we got rooms with an unattractive view (roof of the convention center). We had rooms at the end of a long hall, so long walk to elevator. And the decor seemed completely bland and uninspired to me after having stayed in Disney and Universal hotels.


      Summary: it was fine for what it was, but next time, I think I'd stay at Port Orleans or Caribbean Beach and live with bus transportation rather than stay at the Dolphin.
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