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Walt Disney World Dolphin
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1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd, Lake Buena Vista
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Average Reviewer Rating: 3.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 5
Number of Reviews: 13 ( Displaying Reviews: 1 - 10 )
5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   January 14, 2001
Reviewer: JEANYLASER34 Miami, Florida     June 05, 2008
our family went for my Birthday to the Dolphin it was awesome with Goofy and Pluto to say Happy Birthday with me. and the rooms are cool. And the view of Epcot looks very good and bright. My mom said that our family will stay in the hotel for September with a Florida Resident for $129.00! What a deal and now I can't wait to stay in the Dolphin. Disney I really love this magical place.
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   August 8 - 15, 2007
Reviewer: dmwang9 San Francisco, CA     September 02, 2007
I loved the Dolphin and will happily stay there (or perhaps the Swan) the next time I return to WDW. In no particular order, here's why:

1. The Swalphin are, dollar for dollar, an incredible deal compared to the other deluxe resorts. While their rack rates aren't always all that pretty, they often have discounts that make their nightly rates close to what you find at the moderate resorts on property.

2. Location, location, location. Epcot and the MGM Studios -- excuse me, Hollywood studios -- are both nearby and a quick boat ride or walk away. Also, the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club are really close, if you like those restaurants and shops.

3. The Heavenly Beds are by far the most comfortable beds to be found anywhere on Disney property -- quite important after a long day at the parks.

4. Because the Swalphin aren't owned by Disney, they aren't themed like all the other resorts are. To many, this is a big negative, but for me, it's a plus. After spending all day surrounded by Disney everything, I'd likely go insane if I had it in my hotel room as well.
25 out of 25 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   April 29 thru May 5, 2007
Reviewer: patty4645 Cleveland, Ohio     May 08, 2007
I have been visiting Disney World since the early 80's, and have been there many, many, many times. We usually stay at the Disney Hotels on the property and use the Disney bus transportation. This year we stayed at the Disney Dolphin for one week. (Adults and a 6 year old child). They give a discount to nurses, teachers and military. I did not know this hotel was not owned by Disney. It was FANTASTIC! We were soooo pleased. The room was extreamly clean, the staff friendly and the pool was not over crowded. The Disney characters were there for the little one too. I loved being so close to EPCOT and MGM and taking the short boat ride. I can't say enough nice things about the Dolphin. There was something to do for everyone there. I have experienced dirty rooms at the Port Orleans and grumpy, overworked staff at the Disney hotels. The Dolphin/Swan was a breath of fresh air. I just wanted to post a note to let others know how HAPPY we were with this hotel. I would go back there in a minute!
35 out of 36 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   February 15 - February 21, 2007
Reviewer: CraigC Memphis, Tennessee     February 24, 2007
Our family (two adults and 10-year old daughter) stayed at the Dolphin for a seminar and also enjoyed WDW. We found the Dolphin to be a nice hotel where we would definitely stay again, but we did miss some of the "extra magic" that we have experienced before at Disney operated resorts.

Our room was nice, and the beds were VERY comfortable. Having the sink in its own separate space is a good design that allows more than one person to get ready at the same time. The Dolphin is really a beautiful hotel, and we had a nice view of the grounds from our room.

The Dolphin has many restaurants on premises. While we did not try the more expensive restaurants (Shula Steak House, bluezoo), we did have quick bites at some of the other options (The Fountain and Picabu's). The Fountain was disappointing to us (see separate review), but Picabu's is a combination cafeteria/sundries-convenience store that was a great place to get a snack or a quick bite.

The best thing about the Dolphin is the location. You can walk to both Epcot and MGM (although the path to MGM is harder to find and it is a longer walk). The Friendship boats are also convenient and available to ride to Epcot and MGM, and there is bus services to the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, and water parks. The Friendship boats run continuously - almost one after another with very short waits. While there are typical bus waits like any other resort, we never had to wait more than about 10 minutes for a bus.

The Epcot resort area (including the Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club, Swan and Dolphin) is beautiful, fun, and comfortable. There are many, many restaurants and activities (in addition to the parks) within walking distance. We enjoyed strolling the Boardwalk and watching the entertainers in the area.

We knew that the Dolphin was not operated by Disney, but we were not fully prepared for an almost complete lack of Disney inside the hotel. Although you can step out the doors and right into WDW, while inside the hotel, you can literally forget that you are at Disney. There is no nod to Disney in the decorating, etc..., and it almost seems as though Disney is meant to be "checked at the door." (Which may very well be intentional since the Swan and Dolphin are very much conference hotels geared more for adults).

The staff of the Dolphin was just fine. But we missed the cast members, many of whom will "go the extra mile" for you while you are staying at the Disney operated resorts. The staff at the Dolphin were all cordial and professional, but there was none of the extra friendliness that you often find from cast members. Also, the staff at the Dolphin did not seem to have much knowledge of Disney-related information. For example, we did not know where the path to MGM was located, and neither did the Dolphin employees. We ended up having to wander around and find it ourselves.

All in all, we had a good experience at the Dolphin. It is essentially what you would expect at a nice chain hotel (on beautiful grounds with extra amenities). The price is lower than the Boardwalk or the Yacht/Beach Club and you get to stay in the same beautiful, convenient area. We would recommend the Dolphin and will likely stay there again, but just be prepared to leave a little of the Disney magic at the door each time you step inside.
21 out of 22 people found this review helpful
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3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   3-29-05 through 4-1-05
Reviewer: almckean Arvada, Colorado     April 18, 2005
We stayed at the Dolphin resort for my husband's convention. It was paid for by his company, so if there were a few problems I can't complain too much.

The best thing to be said about the Dolphin is that the location is great and the grounds are really spectacular. I loved looking at the huge fountain outside the Dolphin. The pool was great, though cool, and my son loved the slide. I liked the fact that there were many recreational opportunities, including the paddle boats and the miniature golf course across the street. We also received a free icecream at the Dolphin Fountain for our son at the front desk.

The negatives about our stay: Although we requested a non-smoking room, we were placed on a smoking floor. Our room was right next to the elevators where there was a standing ashtray and there was an ashtray in the room. The smell was horrible in the entry and bathroom areas. When I called to complain, I was told that the room was a non-smoking room (despite the ashtray.) I was told they would spray my room and the elevator area with a deoderizor, but I couldn't tell whether they actually did.

The other downside to the Dolphin was that because it's not a Disney hotel, you can't use your room key to charge at the parks. The Disney desk closes at 5:30pm and doesn't open in time to hit a park early the next morning. I had to walk over to the Boardwalk Inn to buy our tickets for the next day. Also, the pool was closed for a whole evening due to a convention event that didn't even include swimming!

After we checked out of the Dolphin we spent four more nights at All-Star Movies. Although it was much less grand, I enjoyed it just as much. Still, I might try the Dolphin again if the price were right.
12 out of 14 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   JULY 2004
Reviewer: krevene Massachusetts     July 28, 2004
We stayed at the Dolphin for the 5th time in July 2004 and as usual, we enjoyed our stay. We had one of the renovated rooms and it looked great and the bed was soooo comfortable. I especially love the seperate sink area from the bathroom.The hotels close proximity to Epcot, MGM and the Boardwalk area can't be beat. We had no real waits for buses or boats. The staff was always pleasant, courteous and helpful. And having your choice of all the pool areas is great!
9 out of 9 people found this review helpful
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2.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.0   Sept 4-Sept8 2003
Reviewer: cocoabeach Portland, Oregon     April 23, 2004
2 Planets is a realistic rating on this hotel. 3 Planets if you want to stay at a hotel in Disney to "escape" from the magic (see below). I'm not trying to be critical but when I compare it to all the other hotels I've stayed at this was the least appealing and I just couldn't give it a higher rating.

I stayed here on a business trip and the appeal is that it is the quieter of the two hotels between the Dol and Swan. It was definitely more subdued with a small lobby, etc. but honestly it is a bit anticlimactic for a vacationing family. If you like the ambience of a hotel at Disney, I wouldn't recommend this. If you want something a little less Disneyish and want to get away at your hotel then this is for you. I'm of the former unfortunately.

I would agree that the rooms, and hallways especially, were in desperate need of renovation. I know it is a fairly new hotel but during the walk to my room I could see that things were dirtier, in need of painting and wallpapering, and just didn't feel too inviting. I stayed at the concierge level and that was decent but still not spectacular.

I definitely prefer the Swan of the two. All told, I'd say that this hotel is best for those with no kids and want to escape from all the magic.
6 out of 8 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   2/20/03-2/25/03
Reviewer: goalie ( Grand Rapids, Michigan     January 07, 2004
I thought the hotel was great. The location, right next to the boardwalk, was excellent. The rooms weren't spectacular or anything, but they were clean and comfortable and the room that I was in had a great view of the boardwalk and epcot. So, I was able to watch Illuminations from my window every night. I would definitely stay at this hotel again.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   12/31/03 - 1/1/04
Reviewer: keggyandbobert St Petersburg, FL     January 02, 2004
We got a great price at the Dolphin for New Year's Eve. Almost $500 less than what the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach were asking so we snatched it up! I had read some very negative reviews going into the stay and was extremely worried. We had absolutely no reason to be worried.
We were upgraded to a club level room on the 14th floor. We had a great room that was extremely clean. I was looking for signs of wear and tear and the only thing I could come up with was a little wallpaper that was tearing in the entry way.
We were told the Dolphin is getting the same wonderful beds as the Swan and have done so up to the 8th floor. Our bed, presumably one of the old beds, was just fine. We had a great nights sleep with no disturbance.
The room was very large. We had a King Bed, desk with high speed internet access, big tv, bathroom - with one sink outside, terry robes, and a dressing table with lighted mirror. Plenty of room!
We would definitely stay here again!
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful
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1.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.0   11/26/03 thru 11/30/03
Reviewer: mousehouse1 Sarasota, Florida     December 26, 2003
I would not recomend the Dolphin, unless location is the only important factor to you. The location to Epcot and MGM is excellent. But the rooms are the worst we have ever experienced. The beds are uncomfortable. The sheets did not fit the bed, the bedspreads were made of some material like plastic and would slide off the bed. The carpets were rippled and the room smelled rank. If we had not gotten a passholders rate of 139.00, we would have checked-out. The extra $10.00 a day for the paper and coffee (which is not drinkable) is a rip-off.
We have stayed at almost every on property hotel and they are Superior to this one. The staff is not very informative, or helpful. Transportation to Epcot and MGM were good, but I'll opt for the bus ride from one of the Disney resorts anyday.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful
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