Like most (if not all) of the Disney on-site resorts, the Swan has magical perks like magic band room keys, transportation throughout Walt Disney World, on-site ticket and information desks (avoid those lines at the front gate!), Extra Magic Hours, and more.
But there are a few things that make the Swan a unique place to stay while enjoying everything Disney has to offer. But it’s not for everyone. The Swan is one of the best Disney World hotels for adults for sure, but the kids might be less enthused.
Here, we’ll go through what you can expect when you book a room at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel and things to check out in order to get the most out of your vacation or business trip at a Disney property.
The atmosphere at the Swan Hotel is calm and has an air of sophistication. It feels like a retreat from the energetic, colorful world of Disney theme parks but with the same amount of attention to detail.
The Swan Hotel (with its sister hotel the Dolphin) are usually the convention hotels. It’s typically to see real estate investment conferences or dance competitions being held at the Swan.
And that’s because not only does it have massive convention center space, it also is probably one of the more neutral of the hotels on Disney property, with less of a flamboyant or stand-out theme like some of the other resorts.
This makes it a better choice for corporate events since it’s classy and elegant, but not very noisy. You’ll be able to satisfy a variety of guests with different tastes at the Swan hotel.
As previously mentioned, the Swan hotel feels very separate to the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort. Typically, clientele without kids would be happy staying at the Swan because there is definitely less to entertain them.
But, if you are traveling with kids, the Swan is close enough to all the action that you’ll be only moments away from quality entertainment at any given time. Plus, the Swan hotel offers a service to watch your kids in a safe and fun environment. It’s called Club Dolphin and is the perfect way to keep your children happy (and perhaps maintain some sanity yourself).
And it is still Disney World. Cast members are known to give top notch service to each and every guest, not matter the resort. So, you’ll be sure to find some Disney magic here and there, even if it isn’t as themed and “fun” as some other hotels.
It probably goes without saying, but it can be mentioned that the Swan and Dolphin don’t feel grimy or dirty. These are upscale hotels and while they may not have the most Disney flair of all the resorts on property, the atmosphere is one of a clean, well-kept hotel. Built in 1990, perhaps you can tell from the outside that it’s a bit older, but you’d certainly never know from the inside.
Of course, when choosing which hotel to stay at during your Walt Disney World vacation, it’s important to take a look at the amenities. Is there a pool? What’s nearby? Are there any special services available?
At the Swan, the answer to all these questions is – yes! We’ll start with the pool because in the Florida heat, it’s truly a necessity.
The Swan’s pool is a 3-acre tropical paradise complete with a waterfall and rock cave, a slide for the kids (or the kids at heart) and four relaxing whirlpools to help you wind down from a long day at the parks.
With a kiddie pool and a lap pool, plus a DJ with games and poolside activities, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.
Relaxing Spa On-Site
When it’s been an incredibly long day enjoying the Magic Kingdom or you’ve just had a stressful morning delivering the keynote speech at your company’s annual conference downstairs, you’ll be utterly relieved that there’s a spa in the Dolphin hotel (right next door to the Swan).
It’s called Mandara Spa – a Balinese-inspired, full service luxury spa and salon to treat with all your spa needs in a lush setting offering “an experience that’s as therapeutic as it is magical”.
The reception area for the spa are two beautiful gardens to meander through. One a meditation garden for a bit of peace and quiet to escape the hustle and bustle. The other is a tea garden where you can sip refreshments while you await your service.
Spa therapies include massages, body wraps, facials, and aromatherapy. At the salon, enjoy manicures, pedicures, hairstyling, and grooming. Rejuvenating for both men and women, you can make this part of a bachelorette trip or a romantic date night.
The spa is pretty pricey though, so be prepared to drop some dough. But from the looks of it, you’re in for a spectacular spa day so it could easily be worth it if you’re ready (and needing) some serious pampering.
Once you get more used to the Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll realize that each of the hotels correspond to one of the four theme parks on the property. The Swan hotel is an Epcot hotel which basically means it’s situated closest to Epcot.
One of the perks of staying in a Disney World Resort is the convenience. Take a bus to any of the theme parks (including those fun water parks, too!) but are particularly convenient when getting to Epcot.
The Swan is located in Disney’s Boardwalk area, a quaint area that’s well… a boardwalk. Enjoy a few restaurants and breathtaking views in an area much less busy compared to the parks or Disney Springs.
From there, you’re walking distance from Epcot. Avoid the hassle of parking and taking the tram, enter Epcot right from the Boardwalk. It’s super easy and much more relaxed.
Hollywood Studios is nearby as well and only a boat ride away. Again, avoid parking or taking the bus. Plus, who doesn’t like a nice boat ride to get where they’re going?
But again, the Swan offers complimentary transportation to all the theme parks and Disney Springs and to be honest, all of it is really convenient and efficient. Definitely take advantage of the buses and boats while staying at the Swan.
Between the Swan and Dolphin hotels that are just walking distance from one another, there are 17 restaurants, most of which a swanky and delicious. These restaurants are definitely where you’ll want to go to celebrate big milestones or if you’re gunning to impress a first date.
Spots like Todd English’s Bluezoo craft meals by celebrity chef (you guessed it) Todd English and have won various awards. Or maybe the high-end steakhouse, Shula’s is more your style. If you’ve got kids they’re welcome to join you or they can play with other youngsters for a complimentary two-hour stay at Camp Dolphin.
But not to worry, there are also more casual options like Garden Grove and bites to eat at the poolside Cabana Bar and Beach Club. Or you can head over to the Boardwalk with even more options as if one of the 17 at the Swan and Dolphin won’t be enough.
One thing that isn’t lacking on Disney property is a shortage of fantastic restaurants and dining options. When staying at the Swan, you’ll be close enough to all of the parks, Disney Springs, and of course the Boardwalk to be able to find some food that satisfied everyone’s palate.
But plan ahead because you’ll always want to make Disney World restaurant reservations since everything tends to fill up quickly, especially if you’re in town during the busy season.
Honestly, compared to other rooms at Disney, at the Swan they leave you wanting more. But it’s not awful – nothing of the sort. They’re just average. Decorated in what you’d expect an upscale hotel room to be fitted with.
Everything is comfortable and up-to-date, but it’s nothing special. I didn’t walk into the room ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the thoughtful detail or the magical touches. It just looked like a nice hotel room. And hey, that’s ok.
The standard hotel room is a decent size – neither surprisingly big or annoyingly small. Again, it’s average and if you want a simple hotel room in the middle of the Disney World action, you’ll get that at the Swan.
As an add-on, you can get Disney-inspired gifts delivered right to your room. Say you’re celebrating a birthday, order a Mickey and Minnie celebration delivery. Or get your daughter a gift to celebrate her first trip to Disney right in the room. Order champagne on an anniversary or treats for the whole family. It’ll help give the room a touch of magic it may have been missing.
If you’ve visited Walt Disney World before, you’ll know that the cast members are some of the best in the business. And while the Swan hotel is a separate entity in some ways, the staff are just as excited to work for the Mouse as anyone who has a job closer to Cinderella’s castle.
From check-in to help with directions, the staff is very helpful and approachable. And in the restaurants (especially the pricier ones), servers are extremely knowledgeable on the menu and give excellent recommendations. This experience is definitely worth the extra money if it’s in your budget.
The rooms at the Swan aren’t outrageous. They’re actually rather reasonable for a hotel on Walt Disney World property. Especially if you’re there to visit the theme parks, it’s a good value for all the perks you receive.
Even if you’re in town for a convention or an annual meeting for your company, it’s a good deal to be able to simply walk downstairs and be in the middle of the action. The rooms aren’t amazing, but it’s certainly a nice hotel with a lot of flair.
For a family with kids, there are more affordable options that will probably be better suited to the wants and needs of everyone, not just the parents. But you won’t be disappointed with the amount of money you paid for a room at the Swan.
What Makes the Swan Unique?
With renaissance style architecture and the coral and green façade paying homage to Florida’s tropical weather, the Swan is certainly a sight to see. The Swan and Dolphin hotels, while sisters have their own distinct feels.
Once you step inside the front doors of these hotels, you’ll instantly feel like it’s a place you can relax and enjoy. Whether it’s resting from miles walked through Animal Kingdom or the long day of meetings in the convention center, you’ll be glad that at least you get a nice place to come back to.
The Swan and Dolphin are also unique in that it really isn’t like any other the other Disney hotels. Operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, you’ll feel a difference when you stay here. As mentioned before there’s a lot less “in your face” Disney branding, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on what you want out of your stay.
Is It Worth Booking a Reservation?
The Swan is a pretty magnificent hotel. You can see it from miles away and the Swan and Dolphin duo is a classic staple on Disney property. As a retreat from the noise and sometimes overstimulating atmosphere that is so well-loved at the Disney World theme parks, this hotel can be a welcome retreat for all of that.
Overall, no – from the value of the rooms to the amenities and perks, the Swan hotel will meet your expectations. But your expectations won’t be exceeded. You’ll want to consider other options if you’re looking for a more “Disney-fied” resort that doesn’t feel as much like your standard high-end hotel.
On a scale of one to five, with one being terrible and five being excellent I’d have to give the Swan a three. Not because I don’t think it’s a great hotel, but because there are some other hotels on Disney property that are just so much better. Personally, the themed resorts make your entire stay feel like one big fairytale and I think that’s what most people are looking for when visiting Walt Disney World.
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