Mission: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    256

    Mission: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort

    Mission: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort


    My parents and I made the trip to WDW from Australia and stayed at the Dolphin Resort from the 5th Sept 2012 till the 19th Sept 2012. Before I report on the actual resort I would like to discuss why we chose the Dolphin as our home away from home for the two weeks. Oh and if you see any words that you think are spelt wrong - please excuse them as we spell some words differently in Australia!


    When we booked our flights in January I spent a week or so researching all the different hotel options. The last time we had been to WDW was 1997 and we stayed off-site so I knew a lot would have change since our last visit! I read so many reviews on all the resorts on-site that my eyes started to go blurry and I lose track of what we wanted in a resort. There were so many to choose from and everything offered something different. Did we want to be close to the Magic Kingdom? Did we want to have a view of animals from our balcony? Did we want an amazing pool area with water slides? After an exhausting few days I finally sat down and worked out what our priorities were. They were as follows: 1) be relatively modern, 2) must be clean, 3) must have white linen bedspreads (thatís a funny one based on our hotels in Australia which have all pretty much been modernised with clean white bedspreads rather than the older style pattern bed covers Ė a little fussy I know but thatís what we are used to!), 4) must have a few restaurants to choose from, 5) must have at least one bar (who says you canít enjoy an adult beverage or two after a day at the parks?), 5) must be walking distance to Epcot (my motherís favourite park) and finally 6) must not break the bank! As we would be booking two rooms this was essential! So after a lot of research and a few sleepless nights wondering if I had made the right decision, we finally settled on two weeks at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort!


    Before I go any further I really want to mention that this is my opinion based on what we wanted from our hotel (thatís why I listed the ďmust havesĒ above). We were 3 adults travelling without children so my experiences of the Resort may be different to others.


    Firstly I will state that, without a doubt in my mind, we definitely booked the right hotel for us. I loved every minute there and when we return to WDW I will most definitely stay there again.


    We arrived at around 7pm on Wednesday 5th September. After about 24 hours travelling we were exhausted but at the same time our excitement was keeping our energy levels high. When I got our first glimpse of the Dolphin Resort I couldnít believe how huge it was. Obviously I had seen pictures but those pictures do not do it justice. We pulled up to the entrance and a bell hop (not sure if thatís what you call them in America?) was there straight away to greet us and help us with our bags (all 5 of them!). As we walked into the hotel I was impressed with dťcor and furnishings of the foyer and reception area. The foyer had beautiful large chairs to sit in and the ceiling had a lovely blue sky effect complete with stars. We headed to reception and were all checked in and ready to go within 5 minutes. The lady behind the desk was very warm and friendly.


    We were staying in the East Wing so we made our way over to the lifts and past the dolphin fountain in the middle of the room (which I do have to mention that the dolphin statues they use throughout the resort do not look like dolphins at all. Instead they rather resemble a fish. However we think that maybe the design is taken from a Greek dolphin design rather than our modern day notion of a dolphin. Although that is just a guess!). We were on floor nine, and I will say that during our 2 week stay I never had to wait for an elevator longer than about 30 seconds!


    Our rooms were opposite each other at the end of one of the towers that jut out from the main building. Both had king beds, a couch (which I think may have also been a sofa bed), desk, the usual TV set up and the bonus of not one but two balconies! Because we were at the end we had our side balcony but we also had one of to the other side of the room. The room size was great, I have certainly stayed in much smaller rooms before, and there was plenty of storage space either in the closet, the bedside tables, and the desk or in the TV cabinet. The bed was wonderfully comfortable (essential after long days in the parks) and everything was excellently cleaned every day. Knowing I was doing this report I even checked underneath the bed and it was even clean under there! I had heard reports before I arrived that the rooms were outdated Ė I personally didnít find that, and I am very picky! Yes you have the normal wear and tear on a hotel room (the odd knock on the wall etc) but besides that I was very happy with the room.


    The bathroom is divided into 2 areas, the bath with overhead shower and toilet are in one room and the sink and vanity area just outside. I personally liked this set up. Because it was done this way it allowed a lot of vanity space which meant I could keep all my toiletries in the bathroom area rather than in the main bedroom. Mum and dad also found it useful because it meant mum could be doing her hair or makeup whilst dad was in the actual bathroom. This area again was always very clean. They were always very prompt with clean towels and not once did I have to ring housekeeping for anything. Even when I used the products supplied, the next day there were fresh ones sitting there waiting for me (I may or may not have slipped a few of the soaps into my suitcase! But travelling regularly for work I always need little soaps and these soaps were lovely).


    After we had arrived in our rooms the bell hop arrived within a few minutes with our luggage. He was great fun and joked around with us as he was lifting our slightly heavy bags. He gave us a run down on the resort, bus areas, pool areas and restaurants and was very happy to answer any of our questions. We had also received a resort map at reception which included all the information about the Dolphin and Swan resorts that we could have wanted!


    I want to make mention of the $14 per day resort charge for bottles water, Wi-Fi, newspaper etc. I used the Wi-Fi almost every day at night to check work email on my IPad and IPhone and not once did I have a problem with it. Every night when I returned from the parks there was always 2 bottles of water waiting for me. I ended up with a nice system of having a bottle of cold water to take with me each morning and bottle of cold water to drink when I got home hot and tired! We always received our newspaper each morning and I never had to ring and ask for water. We didnít use the parking because we had caught a taxi from the airport. This resort fee was explained from the second we enquired about making a booking in January and we were again asked if we were aware of it when we checked in. I didnít mind it. By the time we bought bottles of water and paper each day it would have come close to that price and the ability to be able to check my emails each night, from my room, was priceless. Because we come from Australia my internet connection does not work in America and I didnít want the hassle of buying a new international sim and I didnít want to use my phone because I know from experience how astronomical the overseas costs are for us! So for us this resort fee was something we were happy to pay. Especially since the rooms had been considerably cheaper than any of the other Disney Deluxe Resorts when we booked, so even with an extra $14 per day we had still saved a lot of money. Oh and this resort fee also included the Starbucks coffee that was in our room for us to brew ourselves!


    The transport system worked very well. The water taxis to Epcot and Hollywood studios are great. Yes if you have just missed one you might have to wait 10 minutes or so but if thatís the case you can just walk! Walking to Epcot takes about 10 minutes and HS is about 15-20. We normally always caught the water taxi to Epcot but we always walked home because itís a lovely walk and the water taxis are often very busy at the end of the night. The buses pick you up right out the front of the resort. The longest we had to wait was again about 10 minutes. The first week and a half we never had huge problems getting a seat (except for the odd occasion leaving a park at closing time) but the end of the second week was much busier. We never had to let a bus go because it was too full Ė we just had to stand a bit more. I have worked out part of this depends on if there are conventions at the Dolphin and Swan at the time you are visiting. The first week and a half had conventions on at both hotels. Now personally this was not a problem. Yes the bars were a bit busier but the restaurants were fine because the conventions had organised dinners, the pool area was quieter and so were the buses. During the last half of the 2nd week we noticed a lot more people on holidays and large family groups. This did mean that the buses, pool area and restaurants were a lot busier, but still not unmanageable by any stretch of the imagination.


    We had a lot of choices for dinning. Between the two hotels (they are linked with a short walkway and it only takes about a minute to walk between them) there are 13 restaurants and bars. Some serve quick service food, some are pool side, some are lobby bars and some are more upscale restaurants. We obviously didnít get a chance to try them all but the ones we did try were very good. My favourite was probably the Cabana Bar and Beach Club next to the lap pool at the Dolphin. Fantastic service, great frozen pina coladas, and excellent food. I cannot fault this place and even now my mouth is watering for their fish tacos!


    We had a few late night meals at Picabu Ė the quick service place in the Dolphin. The food was good, not amazing but you wouldnít expect that for a quick service place. Their buffalo wings were better than I expected and their lasagne was good. The only thing I had that I wasnít that fussed on was the meatball sub Ė the bread was just a bit dry. But besides that, itís a great place to go to grab a quick bite to eat. Oh and their chips are fantastic and they stock a lot of healthy salads and sandwiches.


    Breakfast at the Mediterranean Market was great. They have an omelette bar where you can choose your own toppings, there were freshly made to order Mickey pancakes and waffles, a few cereal choices, some fruit and lots of pastries. They also did this freshly made juice mixes which were delicious. An excellent place for a sit down breakfast. If we wanted something on the go we grabbed a coffee and a pastry from the Lobby Lounge which is open till 11am and then reopens later for drinks.


    We grabbed lunch a few times at The Fountain, which is basically like a diner. Burgers, sandwiches and hotdogs. Everything was great. And they also offer some healthier options. The chocolate shakes were probably the best I have ever eaten.


    We just didnít get a chance to try out Shulaís Steak House (because steak is cheap and very good in Australia we just couldnít justify the prices) and Todd Englishís bluezoo Ė although I would have liked to try the last one we just didnít have the time. Oh well Ė a good reason to come back!


    We did also try the Garden Grove at the Swan. We had their Friday night seafood buffet. The buffet was fine Ė nothing spectacular but good food. The characters (Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale) however were excellent. I definitely suggest that if you are looking for a quiet character dining experience in off-peak season go here! The restaurant was very quiet so the characters spent a lot of time with each family and with us!


    The other great thing about staying at the Dolphin was we could walk across the road to Disneyís Fantasia Gardens and Miniature Golf Courses. We played both courses and it was fantastic being able to walk there. The other place in walking distance was the Boardwalk. We actually only really went there once. There are a few restaurants and a corner store (which stocked Coke Zero! We were thrilled at this as we couldnít get it anywhere else). Even though we didnít go there much it was great know it was only a few minutesí walk away.


    The pool area is great with 3 pools, including a lagoon pool and waterslide at the Dolphin and another lap pool at the Swan. Both hotels share all the pools. But we never found them over crowded. They seemed clean and well maintained and the little beach area with a few hammocks next to the pools is a lovely place for a little walk.


    I honestly cannot fault the Dolphin Resort. The staff were always polite and friendly and made us feel welcome and I donít think there was anything we could have needed that we couldnít get at the resort. We were able to buy all our tickets for WDW at the Disney desk, there is also a shop that sells a lot of Disney merchandise. The resort has pretty much everything you could possibly want. There is a gym (after hours of walking each day I decided to pass on this), a kids games room (dad and I played a game of air hockey Ė I won!) and they also have the Mandara Spa. This place is amazing! Both mum and I had a treatment there and the waiting area seriously makes you feel like you are in Bali. My massage was excellent (and I know massages because I have them regularly) but you do pay a lot for all of this. It certainly wasnít cheap but if you want to pamper yourself you cannot pass up on going here! They also have a kids club Ė Camp Dolphin Ė obviously having no kids in our group (do I still pass for a kid when Iím travelling with my parents at the age of 31??) we didnít get an opportunity to check this out.


    After 2 weeks there I cannot rave about this place more highly. I have travelled a lot for business and a lot for vacations around the world and I can honestly say this resort exceeded my expectations. I hope you have enjoyed my report and I hope you all try the Dolphin Resort soon (although not when Iím there next Ė I donít want to make my perfect hotel too busy!! ) .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	082.jpg 
Views:	252 
Size:	590.7 KB 
ID:	6734   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	083.jpg 
Views:	414 
Size:	529.4 KB 
ID:	6735   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	086.jpg 
Views:	490 
Size:	724.3 KB 
ID:	6736   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1972.jpg 
Views:	347 
Size:	824.5 KB 
ID:	6737   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1481.jpg 
Views:	2033 
Size:	788.7 KB 
ID:	6738  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	879.jpg 
Views:	472 
Size:	910.9 KB 
ID:	6739   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1911.jpg 
Views:	1630 
Size:	818.3 KB 
ID:	6740  
    AusDisneyFan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
    Posts
    10,183

    Re: Mission: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort

    Wow - what an amazing trip report. I really enjoyed reading it - thank you for all your efforts!

    I've always been intrigued by the Swan and Dolphin and so your report really interested me.

    Il Mulino lounge is a favorite bar of ours - did you get to try it at all?

    I did gasp a bit at the resort fee but you're right - by the time you take into account the cost of two bottles of water at WDW, I guess it's not bad after all.

    Thanks again for posting!
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Phillyburbs
    Posts
    1,277

    Re: Mission: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort

    Great report! It sounds like a really nice place. And Starbucks coffee in your room?! I'm sold! We have a Shula's near us and went there for our anniversary. It was good, but I agree that their prices are outrageous. We only went because it was a special occasion.

    Thanks for writing!
    Couldn't imagine life without WDW!
    Last Trip: Oct 2015
    Upcoming: Feb 2016
    Treehouses(2) Vaca. Villas(2) Poly(1) Contemporary(1) CSR(1) CBR(4) POR(1) Sports(4) OKW(1) SSR(2) AKL(1)
    **Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally, Golly, what a day!**

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    256
    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster
    Wow - what an amazing trip report. I really enjoyed reading it - thank you for all your efforts!

    I've always been intrigued by the Swan and Dolphin and so your report really interested me.

    Il Mulino lounge is a favorite bar of ours - did you get to try it at all?

    I did gasp a bit at the resort fee but you're right - by the time you take into account the cost of two bottles of water at WDW, I guess it's not bad after all.

    Thanks again for posting!
    Thanks! Really glad you enjoyed it!

    We didn't get a chance to go to II Mulino. Was a shame but we just ran out of time! Next time hopefully!

    I know a lot of people have gasped at the resort fee but when we added it to the cost of the room it still worked out cheaper than a deluxe resort so we were happy
    AusDisneyFan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    256
    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    Great report! It sounds like a really nice place. And Starbucks coffee in your room?! I'm sold! We have a Shula's near us and went there for our anniversary. It was good, but I agree that their prices are outrageous. We only went because it was a special occasion.

    Thanks for writing!
    Really glad you enjoyed it! I didn't end up using the Starbucks coffee (dad did though). The coffee at the Lobby Lounge was so good that I ended up just going there all the time!
    AusDisneyFan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Mission: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort

    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster View Post
    Wow - what an amazing trip report. I really enjoyed reading it - thank you for all your efforts!

    I've always been intrigued by the Swan and Dolphin and so your report really interested me.

    Il Mulino lounge is a favorite bar of ours - did you get to try it at all?

    I did gasp a bit at the resort fee but you're right - by the time you take into account the cost of two bottles of water at WDW, I guess it's not bad after all.

    Thanks again for posting!
    $14 is reasonable considering up until very recently, Disney charged $10 for wifi/internet per day. I'd rather have paid $14 and gotten bottled waters (don't really read newspapers...that's what the internet is for!)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Fantastic report. I'm like Winkster...always been curious about the Swan/Dolphin. I remember when they were building them, I was excited...and when I saw the finished product...I thought they were ugly.

    Then, in 2011, we took the Water Taxi and got off and strolled the grounds for a bit (didn't go inside though, from your descriptions, now I wish we had)...and my mood changed. I especially love the fountains (it was a hot day, and the A/C was busted on the boat!)

    The hotel grew on me, I just think the choice of "brass green" is what threw me off when it was first built. Now, I find it fitting...but never chose to stay there.

    Thanks for a detailed report! Enjoyed it thoroughly!
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    10,070

    Re: Mission: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort

    Wow, excellent reporting! Very impressive!

    It was interesting reading about this hotel, since I don't know much about it. I've never really given it a thought, but after reading this report, I am interested. The only time I've ever been to the Dolphin was for lunch at the Fountain, which we both liked a lot. I had a falafel, which was very good.

    (And yes, we call them bellhops, too!)
    Last edited by Curious Alice; 10-11-2012 at 10:13 AM.
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

    DL: At least 5 times in '80s
    WDW: '72, '77, '88, May '03, May '04, Nov '04, Jan '05, Feb '05, Dec '05, Jan '06, May '06, Oct '06, Nov '07, Nov '08, Feb '09, Oct 09, Dec '09, Mar '10, Apr 10, Dec '10, Mar '11, May '11, Oct '11, Dec '11, Jan '12, Oct '12, Dec '12, Feb '13, Dec '13, Nov '14, Dec '14, Feb '15, Mar '15, Apr '15, May '15, Aug '15, Oct '15, Dec '15


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Miami Fl
    Posts
    5,282
    Thanks for the great MISSION. I've always loved the swan and dolphin and now you have confirmed that they can be a great alternative for a moderate resort!
    Frying pans! Who knew, right!?

    Talk Disney Moderator


    Click here to become a Premium

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    256
    Thanks everyone! Really glad you enjoyed the report. I had fun writing it!
    AusDisneyFan

Similar Threads

  1. MISSION: Tips for parents with babies at Walt Disney World
    By Freshee61 in forum Mission:_Disney
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 03-07-2013, 08:59 PM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-27-2012, 11:19 AM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-08-2010, 06:08 PM
  4. Luxury Pet Resort Opens at Walt Disney World Resort
    By Ryan C. in forum Disney Front Page News
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-05-2010, 11:50 PM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-15-2002, 07:51 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
BACK TO TOP