Disney lovers know that the location you choose to stay is an integral part of your experience at the parks. Some may be puzzled by the similarities between the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and the Dolphin Hotel in Florida. While the buildings are similar in design and color, there are many differences. It is important to understand the differences between Disney Swan and Dolphin when it comes to benefits.

This guide will help you make the most of your Disney World Swan and Dolphin stay, regardless of which hotel you choose.

Shared Services at the Disney Swan & Dolphin

Although the Swan and Dolphin hotels have been managed by two Marriott Bonvoy brands respectively, they can be considered one resort property. Guests will find more value when they stay at the Swan and Dolphin hotels because they share many of their amenities and services.

It is important to remember that neither hotel is a Disney resort hotel and Disney Magic Bands are not used as room keys.


These hotels are situated between Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom parks. Both properties offer free transportation to Disney parks. This includes boat and bus transfers, as well as walking options.

These hotels are located next to the Disney BoardWalk. There is plenty of dining, shopping and entertainment right at your doorstep.


Guests at either hotel have access to both properties’ services, including the use of the pools and restaurants, as well as child care.

Mandara Spa. (Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin)

The Mandara Spa offers a wide range of beauty and massage treatments to its guests. Fitness enthusiasts can choose from three different health centers offering a variety exercise classes.

Six pools are available to guests, including a lap pool and white sand beach. Private cabanas can also be rented. You can also play basketball, pingpong, rent watercraft, and have fun at the playground.

One of the pools on the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin property. (Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin

There are 22 restaurants and lounges on site. You’re sure to find the right dish for you, whether you’re looking for a casual family meal, fine dining or a more formal experience.


You can redeem points for a hotel stay by using Marriott Bonvoy’s dynamic pricing model. Eligible perks for elite status members include complimentary breakfast and room upgrades for the top-tier.

Cash-paying residents of Florida, seniors, and Walt Disney World passholders are eligible for special rates and discounts.

Guests staying in these hotels receive complimentary parking at the parks. Both hotels do charge $35 per day resort fees, which cover amenities such as in-room internet, boat rental, and staff-led exercise classes.

Walt Disney World Swan

The two 56-foot-tall Swans that are atop the hotel will help you identify it. The Swan, which is smaller, operates under the Westin brand. Guests enjoy early access to the parks, and can also stay later.


The hotel features the usual Westin amenities that are heavily focused on wellness. The hotel’s signature white tea fragrance wafts through public spaces. Everything in the hotel features Westin touches, from the menus featuring healthier options to guest rooms equipped with Heavenly Showers and white tea-scented toiletries.

The redesign of Westin’s rooms is reflected in Heavenly Beds, which feature soft duvets and pillow-top mattresses. You can even find a Sleep Well menu with meals and snacks that promote rest.

You have the choice of a room with one, two or three queen beds. Some rooms include balconies. The larger rooms can hold up to two adults or two children.

The Swan, unlike other Disney properties, doesn’t have a Disney theme. This can be a nice break after a long day at the parks.


Guests of the Dolphin can enjoy many of the amenities of the Swan, including spa services, restaurants and pools.

There are many dining options at the Swan.

What is it that makes it different?

The Swan is more adult-oriented than the Dolphin. The Swan is also smaller with only half the rooms making it easier for you to navigate. This can be a significant advantage for some families.

All double-bed rooms in the Swan have two queen beds. The Dolphin has full-sized mattresses. The Swan rooms can only accommodate four people, while the Dolphin has five.

The bathrooms at the Swan feature a traditional showerhead with a wand, while at the Dolphin it’s an overhead rain shower.

The Swan pool is also smaller than its neighbor. It may be worthwhile to stay at Dolphin if you plan to spend a lot of time poolside.


The rooms at Walt Disney World Swan are generally more expensive than their neighbors. The Swan can charge more for rooms during peak periods like school holidays or annual holidays.

On Easter weekend, for example, the rates at Swan are about 12% more expensive than at Dolphin. They come in at $405 per person versus $358 at Dolphin. The trend for Swan to be slightly more expensive than the Dolphin is evident during the summer months.

Walt Disney World Dolphin

Two 56-foot tall dolphin statues are atop this building, and they give away the hotel’s name. You can enjoy both early access to the parks and advance golf tee times, which is a popular advantage of staying here.


The lobby has many bars, restaurants and lounges that give off a luxurious atmosphere. Although it is the bigger of the two hotels but not all rooms are equal, choose wisely when choosing yours.

Some rooms offer no views, others have a view of either the resort or the evening fireworks. For the best experience, choose a room with a balcony.

Some rooms offer a view of Epcot’s fireworks at night. (Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin)

The rooms at the Dolphin can accommodate up to three people, and are slightly larger than those at Swan. Some rooms include a sofa bed for families. The Dolphin also offers two-bedroom suites for those looking for more space.


There are many dining options at Dolphin, including celebrity chef-led restaurants such as Todd English’s Bluezoo and Shula’s Steakhouse which offer fine cuts of meat.

You can relax by any of the four swimming pools at the hotel, which include a grotto and whirlpool as well as a water slide, waterfall, and water slide. The Swan also offers guests access to a sandy beach.

This property houses the laundry facilities that are shared between the hotels and Camp Dolphin. Camp Dolphin provides child care for children aged 5-12 years old.

What is it that makes it different?

The Dolphin property is twice as large as the Swan, and offers more dining options. It is also the home to most pools and entertainment.

The Dolphin offers a double-bed room with two full beds instead of two queens. This reduces the sleeping space but allows guests to move more freely. These rooms are slightly larger than the Swan’s.

Families might also be pleased to know that the Dolphin can sleep three children, but only two children per room in the Swan.


The Walt Disney World Dolphin is a little more affordable than the Swan. This may be due to its larger size and numerous on-site activities. This can be a good thing for some, but if relaxation is your goal, the Swan will offer more tranquility and peace.

The Swan Reserve

The Swan Reserve, which is not to be confused with its main Swan property, has 349 rooms. Nearly half of these are suites. There is a pool area, a fire pit and an elevated deck. The rooftop offers panoramic views of the Disney parks.

This hotel is not part of Marriott Bonvoy’s Autograph Collection, despite its name. This property at Lake Buena Vista is great for those looking for a more peaceful experience. However, it should not be confused the main Swan property.

Swan vs. Dolphin, recapped

While either of these Marriott Bonvoy properties will please, they have some nuances that travelers need to understand.

The Dolphin is twice the size of the Swan and has more resort facilities. One may have more benefits than the other depending on your interests. Couples who are looking for less activity might prefer the Swan. Families will love the wide variety of dining options and pools, including waterfalls, that come with a Dolphin vacation.

Although there are fewer resort amenities at the Swan, it is likely that stays there will be more expensive than at the Dolphin.

No matter where you are, free transportation to Disney parks is available and you can redeem or earn Marriott points.

Featured photo courtesy Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.

Maximizing your Rewards

A travel credit card should be able to prioritize what is most important to you. These are our top picks for the top travel credit cards for 2022.