Coronado Springs vs Swan and Dolphin: Best Disney Resort?

If you’re planning on visiting Disney World soon, then you might just be considering a stay at either the Coronado Springs resort, the Swan or even Dolphin.  But which resort is best and why? Well, in our ultimate comparison between Coronado Springs vs Swan vs Dolphin, we compare each hotel based on theming, pricing, dining, and room amenities to best help you determine which resort is worth your time and money.

Swan and Dolphin vs Coronado Springs Resort

Let’s begin this comparison by looking at the differences of these restaurants based solely on hotel theming.

Hotel Theming

The Swan and Dolphin resort offers a clean, modern feel in both buildings. The rooms of the Dolphin are decorated in hues of blue and white, while the Swan’s rooms sport more of a blue and gray tone. The room designs are reminiscent of cool water, enhancing the vibe inspired by its two namesakes! 

Coronado Springs offers two different aesthetics. Part of the resort transports you to Colonial Southwestern Mexico, with replicas of Mayan temples and artistic designs throughout the rooms. The Gran Destino tower offers a Spanish excursion, with architecture inspired by Gaudi and Moorish mosaic tiling, the Gran Destino Tower has more of a Spanish influence with the architecture inspired by Gaudi and Moorish tiling and mosaic designs around the property and in the rooms. 

Coronado Springs, specifically the Gran Destino Tower, is one of my favorite buildings on Disney property. The rooms, lobby, lounges and restaurants are simply stunning.  I love the blending of romantic gem tones and vibrant yellows and oranges. Not to mention the opportunity to hunt for a plethora of hidden Mickeys!

Average Nightly Rate

Situated just a quick 5-minute walk to Disney’s Boardwalk, the Swan and Dolphin will typically average $250-$400 per night for a standard queen or king sized room. As a Marriott Bonvoy property, you also have the option to use points for a stay in either building, which is a big pro if you are a Bonvoy loyalist! 

Coronado Springs is tiered as one of Disney’s moderate resorts. The average cost ranges from $240-$498 for standard queen and king rooms. Like the Swan and Dolphin, you’ll have a choice of two areas here: the Casitas, Ranchos and Cabanas resort area, or the Gran Destino Tower. 

Swan and Dolphin Layout

Moon Over Crescent Lake” by Eden, Janine and Jim licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Both the Swan and Dolphin and Coronado Springs are sprawling properties and are often used as convention centers for large corporate events. Don’t let this deter you though, they each offer plenty of space to feel comfortable and relax after a long day at the parks. 

Swan and Dolphin have two main buildings, easily identifiable by, you guessed it, the Swan or Dolphin sculptures that sit atop each building. There is a walkway between the two resorts, so it’s quick and convenient to walk between the two and enjoy the amenities of both. The Swan and Dolphin features:

  • A 3-acre grotto pool 
  • 2 lap pools (one on the Dolphin side and the other on the Swan side) 
  • 4 whirlpools 
  • 1 kiddie pool 
  • Kids’ playground
  • White sand beach 
  • Sand and pool volleyball 
  • Basketball court 
  • Paddle boat (rental fee applies)
  • Tube and crafts for the pool (rental fee applies) 
  • Lifejackets (complimentary) 
  • Jogging trails through Disney’s Boardwalk 
  • Arcade 
  • Mandara Spa (offering services such as massages and facials to be booked in advance) 
  • Laundry service 
  • Swan Fitness Center 
  • Fitness Classes 
  • Family programming (outdoor movies, activities etc.) 

Coronado Springs Layout

Coronado Springs is a beautifully laid out resort, described by Disney as a blend of “Spanish, Mexican and Southwest American Cultures”- the theming is one of my favorite aspects! It features two main sections, one being the Ranchos, Casitas and Cabanas and the other featuring the Gran Destino Tower, which was a new addition to the resort in 2019. 

Coronado Springs also offers a ton of great amenities and activities:

  • The Lost City of Cibola pool 
  • The largest whirlpool on Disney property 
  • 3 leisure pools at each of the resort sections (Casitas, Ranchos & Cabanas) 
  • White sand volleyball court 
  • Jogging trails 
  • La Vida Health Club Fitness Center 
  • Fitness Center at Gran Destino 
  • La Vida Salon 
  • Spa Services 
  • Campfire Events (Smore’s kits available for purchase) 
  • Family programming (outdoor movies, activities etc.)

The accommodations at both resorts are fabulous! Both resorts are inviting, clean and offer plenty of options for outdoor relaxation. I enjoyed the style of the Grotto at the Swan and Dolphin and found that the lap pools offered a quieter escape. Kids are sure to love the water slides at each resort, the family activities offered in the evening are such a nice way to end the day! 

I will say that since the amenities at each resort are equally great, I don’t think that the $40 daily resort fee at the Swan and Dolphin provides you with a better experience over Coronado Springs. So I’m likely to save money on that and enjoy all that Coronado has to offer. 

Room Options

There’s no shortage of room options at either of these resorts, so you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for after those long days of adventuring through the parks! 

Both the Swan and Dolphin offer traditional, deluxe and family sized rooms. Here’s what you’ll find in each: 

Disney’s Swan Rooms

  • Traditional Rooms: Two double beds or king. 
  • Deluxe: Two double beds or king with a balcony 
  • Family: One king or two full sized with a pull-out sofa in addition to a separate alcove with a table and chairs 
  • Bathroom: There is a vanity sink outside of the bathroom, in its own separate space. The bathrooms feature toilets and glass door enclosed showers (though you can request a full shower/tub combination if you choose) 

Disney’s Dolphin Rooms

  • Traditional Rooms: Two queen beds or one king
  • Deluxe: Two queen beds or king with a balcony
  • Family: One king or two queens with a pull-out sofa in addition to a separate alcove with a table and chairs
  • Bathroom: The sink is enclosed in the bathroom; bathrooms feature glass door enclosed showers (though you can request a full shower/tub combination if you choose). All rooms at both locations feature a small writing desk/chair, roomy closets, mini fridges, coffee makers and USB plugs. 

You can request “firework view” rooms at both the Swan and Dolphin, but doing so will result in an increased nightly rate, which may vary depending on the season. 

Speaking from experience, I found the rooms at both the Swan and Dolphin to be clean, comfortable and updated. The beds at each are extremely comfortable with pillow top mattresses and plenty of pillows. 

When it comes to the room layouts, I’m partial to the Swan. I loved the vanity sink outside the bathroom; this made it super easy when getting ready for the day, since there were two of us sharing the room. I didn’t stay in a Deluxe room, but truthfully, I didn’t feel like I was missing out by not having a balcony. The location on the boardwalk made it easy to catch Epcot fireworks from outside, and there weren’t any “bad views” in any one of my experiences. 

Additionally, the Swan offers the option to have queen beds instead of full when booking a room with two beds so for me, I’d choose the Swan for its larger beds if needing more than a king. 

Coronado Springs Rooms

Coronado Springs is also going to offer you several options for room stays. Like the Swan & Dolphin you’ll be able to choose the building location of your room by opting for either a stay in the Casitas or in the Gran Destino Tower. 

Rooms at Coronado Casitas, Ranchos & Cabanas

  • Standard and preferred options: Two queens or one king bed. 
  • Standard rooms will have views of the courtyard or parking area. 

Preferred rooms will have views of the courtyard, lake, parking areas and be closely located to resort amenities, including transportation. Suites offer one king or one queen plus a queen-sized sleeper sofa. 

  • Bathrooms in the Casitas have a vanity with two sinks, with a door that separates them from the shower and toilet.

In each room you’ll find a mini fridge, plenty of under-the-bed storage for your luggage, a safe, iron with ironing board, coffee marker, desk, chair and plenty of standard and USB outlets, flat panel tv and included Wi-Fi. There are no balcony options in this part of the Coronado Springs Resort. 

Rooms in the Gran Destino Tower

All rooms in the Gran Destino section of Coronado Springs are in the main tower building and like the rest of the resort, available options are standard and preferred rooms. 

  • Choice between two queen sized beds or one king bed, with plenty of luggage storage underneath the beds. 
  • Bathrooms have a glass door shower, and double sink vanity. There is a barn style door that separates the shower/sinks from the room, and within the bathroom another pocket door that separates the toilet into its own space. 

In each room you’ll find a baby or mini fridge, a bunch of room under the bed to store various items, a safe, ironing board (and of course an iron), a coffee marker, desk, chair and plenty of standard and USB outlets, flat panel tv and included WIFI. There are no balcony options in the Gran Destino Tower. 

I had an opportunity to stay at the Gran Destino Tower and really enjoyed it. The layout of the room felt very spacious, and it was clear a lot of thought had been put into the utilization of space. For example, the desk was built into the wall, eliminating the need for an additional piece of furniture in the room. 

We did have a preferred view room and happened to arrive the first night with fireworks in clear view, which was such a lovely way to kick off our stay.

Customer Service & Mobile Check In

I’ve had wonderful Customer Service experiences at both resorts. Coincidentally, I was celebrating an event when I had a stay at each of these resorts. Both the Swan and Dolphin and Coronado Springs took great care in ensuring that in room celebrations were delivered to us on time and laid out beautifully. Both resorts also offer mobile check-in. 

For Swan and Dolphin, you’ll do this through the Marriott Bonvoy app, and for Coronado Springs, you’ll use the myDisney experience app. I’ve been able to check in at each resort without having to visit the front desk- very easy and convenient, especially when you want to drop your things off and get to the parks! 

If you will be using Magic Bands, you’ll be able to open your hotel room door at Coronado Springs. This won’t be the case at the Swan and Dolphin, so you’ll need to be sure to carry your key card on you. 

A Note for Larger Groups

Each of these hotels have options for adjoining rooms or large family style, deluxe suits! If you need specific accommodations for a large travel party, I recommend calling your chosen resort directly so that they can help you select the best option! 

Fees & Parking

Coronado Springs does not charge a resort fee. For daily self-parking the cost is $20 per day. Valet parking is also available for $33 per night.  

The Swan and Dolphin has a resort fee of $40 per day. Additionally, the cost for self-parking is $45-$50 per day for preferred parking and $25 per day for standard parking. 

Guests who self-park at either resort will receive complimentary parking at each of the Disney parks by showing your hotel key card/proof of reservation. 

Transportation Options

The Swan and Dolphin sits right next to Disney’s Boardwalk and is situated between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It offers multiple options for transportation to and from the parks. 

Friendship Boats: Departing every 20-25 minutes you’ll be able to hop the ferry direct to Hollywood Studios, as well as a route to Epcot. If you’re taking the ferry to Epcot, you’ll also make stops to the Boardwalk, and Yacht Club Resort before arriving at the drop off by the International Gateway entrance at Epcot. 

Buses: Departing every 20-25 minutes, are buses with routes to the Magic Kingdom (Ticket and Transportation Center), Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs. The buses will also return from these locations back to the Swan and Dolphin and will run up to 45 minutes after park close and up to 90 minutes after Disney Springs closes. 

Walking: The Swan and Dolphin is a quick 10–15-minute walk to the World Showcase entrance at Epcot and about a 15–20-minute walk to the entrance of Hollywood Studios. I think the walks are beautiful, and I loved doing this when I was heading to one of these parks early morning or wrapping up the day in the evening. It’s always nice to stop for a sweet treat on the Boardwalk! 

Coronado Springs is in the Animal Kingdom Resort Area. The only free transportation option from this resort to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs is by bus, which depart from Coronado Springs every 20 minutes. Coronado Springs has a main bus stop, in front of the El Centro building, and makes three additional stops between the Casitas, Ranchos and Cabanas.

At each of these resorts you also have the option to request ride share services such as Uber and Lyft to take you to your destination. You can also use Disney’s Minnie Van service which just returned to Walt Disney World in June 2022.  

During my stay at Coronado Springs, I did have a car (I’m a big fan of renting cars on Disney trips, especially when the rates are good!) and traveling from the resort was simple. I really liked the location of the resort in proximity to the parks and self-parking was a breeze. 

Having used Disney bus transportation on other occasions, I absolutely wouldn’t hesitate to utilize it. I did not use a rental car for either of my stays at the Swan or Dolphin. I loved the ability to walk to the Epcot and Hollywood Studios and did so a few times. 

The ferry option was also great and I used that as well (for you early risers, it’s a great option – the lines are really short first thing in the morning!) Bus transportation here was also on time and easy, for Magic Kingdom, we arrived at the Ticket and Transportation Center and from there it’s just a quick monorail or ferry ride to the entrance of the park.  

I’ll also note that I have also used my fair share of Uber, Lyft and the Minnie Van service and never ran into a single issue transporting to or from either resort! 

Restaurants

Ok, I’ll be honest—eating is one of my top three reasons to visit Walt Disney World, and the culinary experiences offered through restaurants and festivals on each trip always keeps me going back! Like most places on Disney property, both resorts offer everything from fast casual to fine dining.

Swan and Dolphin Dining Options

There are some awesome quick, convenient options you can stop in at inside of the Swan and Dolphin and grab anything from a cup of coffee or a frappe to pastries and sandwiches.  Your best bets are the following:

  • Picabu
  • Fuel
  • Chill
  • Java
  • Grounds

All of these locations are essentially “grab and go.”  Fuel and Java are great for a quick cup of coffee or breakfast sandwich on your way to the parks. 

Then there’s places like the Garden Grove, Fountain, Fresh Mediterranean Market and Tangerine, which all offer casual sit-down dining options. 

I did have a chance to eat at Fountain and I found it just okay. If I wanted something similar (sandwiches, ice cream, shakes – I would opt to go to Beaches and Cream on the Boardwalk, especially since it’s a short walk from the resort). I also ate breakfast at Garden Grove and felt that the price wasn’t worth the time sitting down and eating, I usually like to get going in the mornings so the grab and go were great options. 

Shula’s Steak House, Il Mulino, Kimonos, Todd English’s Bluezoo and Amare are all considered to be signature dining options, and each have a dedicated lounge. Kimonos is well known for its sushi, and rightfully so! If you’re a sushi connoisseur, I cannot recommend this place enough. The restaurant is beautiful, the sushi is fresh and delicious, and the Wagyu Beef Satay was also memorable!  

There are two additional lounges on this property. Phins and Stir. Cabana Bar & Beach Club, Splash Pool Bar & Grill are going to be your casual pool side options. 

Coronado Springs Dining Options

El Mercado de Coronado & Café Rix offers quick service and grab and go options for breakfast lunch and dinner. You’ll find more menu choices here than the grab and go options at Swan and Dolphin. I also think the portions are a better value. 

Rix Sports Bar and Grill offers a casual sit-down spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner 

Siesta’s Cantina and Laguna Bar are casual poolside options. 

Three Bridges Bar & Grill will also offer a casual dining option for lunch and dinner. The location is truly unique, located on the Villa del Lago, three bridges connect different parts of the resort to this lovely spot surrounded by water. Truly a unique and enjoyable atmosphere. 

Toledo is the signature dining option located on the top floor of Coronado Springs. This is truly one of my favorite spots to eat on Disney property. It is a beautifully designed and decorated restaurant. If you like Tapas style dining, do not pass on this one! Next-door to Toledo you can find the Dahlia Lounge – which offers breathtaking views of the property and is a great spot to view fireworks! 

The Barcelona Lounge also offers a few breakfast options (the coffee here is delicious) and in the evening is a great place to grab a cocktail or glass of wine. 

Both the Swan and Dolphin offer in room dining service as well. 

There are so many dining options that you could easily stay at your hotel the entire trip and still not try them all! I love the variety at each resort, as well. You can grab something on a go or enjoy a nice celebratory dinner at a signature location. 

As far as food options go – Coronado Springs edges out the Swan and Dolphin for me. I think there is better value in the breakfast options and the uniqueness of the lounge and restaurant spaces at Coronado make me want to go back again and again. 

The wonderful thing about staying on Disney property, is that you don’t have to eat all your meals at your resort. Part of the fun of a Disney vacation is resort hopping and getting to try new places to eat and relax. So no matter which resort you choose – you have all these great options! 

Resort Perks

Guests staying at either one of these resorts can book their dining reservations 60 days in advance for the entire duration of their stay. This differs from guests staying offsite who may also book in advance but only one day at a time. 

In addition to the free transportation options to Disney Parks, resort guests will also be able to take advantage of early theme park entry which allows for entry into Disney parks 30 minutes prior to the official park opening. 

Guests of the Swan and Dolphin are to participate in Extended Evening Magic Hours (a perk to guests of Disney Deluxe Hotels and participating hotels) 

Resort guests can also purchase Genie+ Lightning Lane selections beginning at 7:00am daily, from their resorts, for the duration of their stay.  

Conclusion

So, at the end of the day, should you stay at Coronado Springs or Swan or Dolphin?  Let's give our final choice for the best Disney World resort.

It’s time to book your trip, so what do you choose when it comes down to Coronado Springs vs. Swan and Dolphin? 

The short answer: it depends! I know, I know, but the truth is, there are compelling reasons why you might choose one over the other. So, let me leave you with these final thoughts.

Are you a Marriott Bonvoy Loyalist with points to cash in? If so, go with the Swan and Dolphin. The location is great, and it’s a huge benefit to be able to utilize points at a hotel on Walt Disney World property. While Marriott doesn’t waive resort fees, you could still come out with a huge savings. If you had enough points to cover a 5-night day, you’d still be paying $200 in resort fees + applicable taxes…that could be less than the cost of one night depending on the season – no brainer! 

Between the actual Swan or Dolphin building. I’d go with the Swan here. It’s a bit smaller and quieter. The lobby is much smaller and not as bustling as the Dolphin. Also, much shorter lines for grab and go! I also think the bathroom layout here is an advantage, as are the queen size beds. 

If you’re traveling with kids, or you just want to have more than just the option to take the bus to resorts, this might also be a good pick for you. And if you’re dying to have those 30 extra minutes of evening hours – you’ll also get that, since it’s technically tiered in with Disney’s deluxe resorts. For me, the extra $40 per day wouldn’t be worth the extra 30 minutes in a park…but that’s me. 

I truthfully don’t know how Coronado Springs (or at least the Gran Destino Tower) is a moderate resort. Quite honestly, for as low as the rates can go, I think it’s an absolute steal! I consider it a deluxe resort at a moderate price. It’s just a quick 5 minutes over to Epcot and the Boardwalk, and about 7 minutes to Hollywood studios. So, while you can’t walk – they aren’t much further to the resorts than Swan and Dolphin are. 

I think the theming here is spectacular, so if you want to feel like you’re truly immersed in Disney resort, hidden Mickeys and all, this is a great pick! Plus, if you’re choosing to travel with a car, you’ll save not only on those resort fees, but the parking here will be less expensive overall. 

I’ve enjoyed my stay immensely at both resorts, but if I could only choose one to stay at again, for me – it’s an easy choice, Coronado Springs every time. Of course, that’s just me…no matter what though, you’re in the Disney “bubble” and there are few things more magical than that! 

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