Walt Disney World Dolphin

Theme Park Insider Reader Rating: 8 out of 10

Price Level: Deluxe

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The companion to the Swan, the Walt Disney World Dolphin dominates the Epcot-area skyline. Its more than 1500 Michael Graves-designed guestrooms offers beds with pillowtop mattresses and high-speed Internet access.



Stayed there in December 2016. The location, grounds, atmosphere and staff were all exceptional. Because this is a privately run hotel on Disney property, there is a different feel here than at most WDW resorts. My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary, and just popped in for a couple of nights, and we actually found the lack of Disney decorations and flare a welcome aspect of our stay. There certainly were far fewer families at the Dolphin than we see at other Disney resort hotels. The vast majority of customers were adult couples, or convention attendees.
Being able to walk or take boats to the Boardwalk, Epcot, Disney Studios, or just around the adjacent resort properties made this the best hotel location I've ever experienced. We didn't go to any of the parks, so it was the perfect place for us. It was fun to just walk through the gardens to the World Showcase entrance, and take the shuttle boats through the canals.
The staff were exceptionally friendly, pleasant and helpful.
However, the one big disappointment was the room we stayed in. For sure, I have paid far less for a far more impressive room. It was clean, but relatively small and plain.
The other downside of this hotel was the nickel-and-diming they do. Parking is $10.00 a night. There is a $25.00 a day "resort fee" on top of your room rate. And for the love of gawd, don't make a long distance call. The rate for North American calls is apparently above $5.00 a minute. I made a quick phone call home, before we got the (free) internet/video-messenger hooked up to our phone, and it cost me $25.00. It didn't ruin the trip, but it was a bit of a slap in the face when leaving, to be handed an additional hundred-dollar-plus bill walking out the door.
Next time we go down with the kids, I would consider staying at the Dolphin again, just for the grounds and location, but I would be more cautious about the costs, and lower my expectations for the room itself.
Last time we stayed here it was in May, with a group ranging from 4 to 74. The pools and outside amenities were absolutely awesome, especially given the heat, and really made the resort for us. Location was also outstanding, we walked to Boardwalk, took a boat ride to the back of Epcot, and really felt in the middle of everything.

Everything else was good-but-not-great, and in particular the lower-priced food option didn't seem as good as the food courts in the other Disney Hotels.

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