Checking in – Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel

The month of September brings with it the Epcot Food and Wine festival and my birthday.  Since I have never been to this festival before I decided I would be celebrating my birthday there this year.  Nothing better than traveling the world all in one day while tasting different foods and drinks.  The decision to attend the festival this year was easy but coming up with the right hotel to stay at is a different story.  Orlando is not lacking in hotel options but this time we wanted to stay as close to Epcot as possible so we booked our stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel.

Overview of the Dolphin hotel

Dolphin hotel

The Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel and its sister hotel the Swan are Starwood properties so they are technically not owned by Disney despite their name. However as a Starwood hotel you can use your Starwood points to book a room and you will still enjoy many (but not all) of the benefits of staying at other Disney owned properties.

If you were to compare to a Disney owned hotel then I would consider this one to be a Deluxe hotel with a better value and less of a theme. While the design of the hotel seems right out of the 90’s with the coral and turquoise exterior and the dolphin fountains, the redesigned rooms are modern and comfortable.

One of the best things about this hotel is the LOCATION.  No other non Disney owned hotel will have as good as a location as this one.  It is next to Disney’s Boardwalk and within walking distance to Epcot and Hollywood studios.

The Dolphin hotel is a 27 story hotel with more than 1,500 rooms including 112 suites. Standard guestrooms contain two double beds or a king size bed and sleep up to four. With an optional rollaway bed for an extra fee so you could potentially accommodate 5.

The Room

The remodeled guest rooms at the Dolphin hotel are modern and comfortable. They feature heavenly beds with pillow top mattresses and down comforters. Several type of pillows to chose from and comfortable bedding. They have a mini fridge and a single serving coffee or tea machine with Starbucks coffee and 2 different tea options.  They also provide 2 complimentary bottles of water each day.  A small in-room  safe is included so you can store any valuables.


The bathrooms are also modern and clean. They provide the standard kits of soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion.  We forgot our toothpaste and the front desk was happy to provide me with one free of charge.  The shower had good amount of water pressure.  The toilet is inside the bathroom with the shower but there is a sink outside and the lighting there is nice and bright.

Our room at the Dolphin hotel was on the 17th floor and had a great view and at night we could see the fireworks from both Epcot and Hollywood studios.


Hotel Amenities

Lobby and check in Dolphin Hotal

Swan and Dolphin hotels have three pools, including a lap pool and the Grotto pool with a waterfall and a water slide. There’s also a kids’ playground and activities scheduled for most nights, as well as a kids club.

The restaurant selection is quite good with fine dining options such as Shula’s steak house, casual dining by the pool, several bars and room service.  However if you are looking for a character breakfast you will have to walk to The Swan.  You can check out all of the Dolphin hotel food options here.

The Dolphin hotel also has a full service spa and your resort fee entitles you to its use and a $25 credit towards a $100 service each day of your stay.   Click here for reservations and a list of offerings.

As I mentioned before you will have access to some of the Disney on-property benefits while staying at Swan/Dolphin:

  • Transportation to the theme parks, including the water taxi to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
  • Free parking at all theme parks (although you are paying for parking at the hotel)
  • Extended access to the theme parks during Extra Magic Hours
  • Extra days to book your Fast Pass rides


Dolphin hotel

I would consider the Dolphin hotel a Deluxe hotel and compared to the other Disney hotels in the area (Boardwalk Inn and Yacht and Beach Club) the Dolphin hotel is quite reasonably priced.  My only gripe with their pricing is their fees.  First off you will be charged a resort-fee and taxed on that resort fee, and then you will be charged to park your car.  But even with the fees the price comes around $200 a night on most occasions and this is still less expensive than Disney’s Deluxe hotel options.


View from The Dolphin Hotel

For the location and amenities I believe the Dolphin hotel provides a great value. You get a luxury experience, excellent amenities and proximity to the parks. And even though I hate being charged all those added fees the cost is still better than the comparable Disney owned hotels without giving up much of the benefits.

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Checkin in - Dolphin Hotel

What is your favorite place to stay when visiting Disney World and why? Drop me a note in the comments below or let’s get social on Instagram or Facebook.

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    1. I probably should have compared the Swan and Dolphin a bit. While they are sister hotels I think the vibe is a bit different at each one. The Swan is quieter and smaller and the Dolphin is a bit larger with more rooms and more people. The swan has a character breakfast the Dolphin does not. Just a few little things that are different in each but overall both are good options.

  1. My dad has a time share so when I was younger we used to holiday at Starwood hotels. I agree that the taxes on taxes are super pricey, but definitely cheaper than Disney. One of the great things about vacationing in Florida… All the pools. 😉

    1. Yes all the taxes add up quick but the resort does have many amenities and you are correct it is less expensive than similar Disney Hotels.

  2. I think it’s cool that you can see the fireworks from your window, and it looks like a nice, comfortable room. Walking distance is always nice, and three pools!! Wahoo!

  3. Ugh, I love how glam Disneyworld resorts are! I feel like Disneyworld is one of the best attractions in the world hands downs. And I keep reading about this Epcot Food & Wine Festival! So cool that you decided to celebrate your birthday there! Happy birthday! I can’t believe you got to see fireworks from your window!

  4. Sounds like a lovely hotel Jo in a great location. Love that you had a view of the fireworks! We had so much difficulty deciding where to stay before heading to Disney World, being my birthday we were leaning towards staying at the Grand Floridian but just couldn’t justify the cost! Ended up at The Waldorf Astoria instead and it was amazing, we also had a great view of the fireworks too 🙂

    1. So many great hotels it is difficult to pick where to stay. I think you made a perfect selection for you to celebrate your birthday.

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