Walt Disney World Swan Hotel: The Complete 2021 Guide

Disney Swan Hotel boardwalk
Photo by Grace Hoyos

Best known as part of the Swan & Dolphin resort area, the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel is one of the “unofficial” Disney resorts on site.

Like some of the other hotels in the Disney Springs area, such as the Wyndham Garden Lake or the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, Disney itself does not run the Swan hotel.

However, the three hotels in the Swan & Dolphin area have many of the same benefits of a Disney guest, as the hotels are on property. At the same time, Swan hotel guests get the rewards of a Marriott stay, including Marriott-specific discounts and points.

Located near the BoardWalk area of Walt Disney World, the Swan hotel is part of a block that now includes three resorts – the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, and the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve. These hotels do have their own website separate from Disney (which is not the case for official Disney resorts), and are essentially considered one resort with three separate buildings. That is important if you choose to book through the Swan & Dolphin site, as you could be expecting a room in one building and actually be booking in another.

As for the parks, the Swan hotel is closest to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and is a short boat ride away from Epcot. One of the more central locations in Disney World, the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel is a great option for those looking to use their Marriott membership benefits and maximize their park time.


Table of Contents


A Look inside the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel

Upon walking into the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, you’ll immediately notice a difference between the Swan and the Dolphin.

The Swan hotel uses softer, elegant tones with sunny accents in comparison to its more tropical partner.

This décor reflects the story created by the architect of the two resorts, as well as the overall stately nature of swans as they swim.

A beautiful fountain greets guests as they come into the Swan hotel, with cream-white swan statues and a serene pool beneath them. Above this fountain arcs a gorgeous mural of bright yellow flowers with sky blue highlights to add depth.

Moving further into the lobby, the Swan hotel updated their overall look to a more modern décor, including new streamlined furniture and angular light fixtures that remind us of hanging crystals.

Between the Swan and Dolphin, the Swan definitely has more of a high-end feel while the Dolphin takes on some of the island vibes of a tropical escape.

That being the case, the Swan is better for adults, particularly couples or single travelers, while the Dolphin has more appeal for families. The Swan would also be our recommendation for weddings or the bridal suite, even if you’re using the Dolphin facilities for your actual wedding space. After all, they’re only a few yards apart!

Want a closer look at the lobby of the Swan Hotel? Check out this video!

History of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotel

Beauty from Strife – Story of the Swan & Dolphin Hotel

To begin, the Swan & Dolphin Hotel does not belong to Disney.

The journey began in the 1980s, as Disney was working with John L. Tishman and the Tishman Construction Corporation to build Epcot and the surrounding areas. Leading up to park construction, Tishamn and Disney had actually been dealing with a legal battle over who had the rights to build a hotel in the area, specifically with a convention center. Finally, after a two-year battle, Disney and Tishman reached an agreement that gave Tishman Construction these rights, and paving the way for the Swan & Dolphin.

In the 1980s, the Disney Company was in something of a creative rut with its resorts. Former CEO Michael Eisner wanted to see something new and innovative out of the two new hotels, not just “gray boxes.” Even though these hotels were never under Disney control in terms of their ownership, Eisner wanted their architecture and aesthetic to fit with the Disney image. Architect Michael Graves took on the challenge of making design that had luxury hotel feel and a cohesive vision while living up to the Disney standards

Intricate Backstory of the Swan & Dolphin Hotel

Graves went with a story-based theme of an island overwhelmed by catastrophe, such as a volcanic eruption. Because of the calamity, the island rose out of the water, bringing the dolphins with it. Meanwhile, the swans swam over to the island to see what was happening. Their curiosity became their doom, as the island’s disaster turned the swans to stone. The leaves and plants on the Dolphin Hotel are the foliage on the island, while the waves on the Swan Hotel come from the aftermath of the island rising.

This explains why the swans sit above the waves rather than the dolphins – it is a common misconception that the swans were placed on the wave hotel by accident, a mistake too expensive to fix. Both hotels have black glass decorations that represent the heart of the island and the darkness that lies within. These were never intended to be potential monorail stations, which is another falsehood spread about the Swan & Dolphin.

Looking to the Future

Opening in July 2021, another hotel will join these two to form a trio. The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, a boutique hotel part of the Autograph Collection Hotels, brings more accommodation options to Disney guests. This resort will feature lavish comfort, suite options for large parties, and all the Disney benefits we know and love.

Want to see a construction update? Check out this video!

Amenities of the Walt Disney Swan Hotel

While the Swan is certainly its own resort separate from the Dolphin, it shares many of the same amenities. Swan & Dolphin guests alike have access to places like the pools, spas, outdoor recreation, and other services. Make sure you take a look at the restaurants you book or places you’re planning to visit to be sure they’re in the Swan or Dolphin – just so you don’t get confused.  

Accommodations

One important thing to note – on Disney’s website, you can only book one type of room, the Swan – Standard Room. However, if you go through the official hotel site for the Swan & Dolphin, you’ll find that you have a lot more options. This is where doing your research or using an agent can come in handy!

Rooms

At the Swan, the rooms have much the same categories and breakdowns that we see at the Disney resorts. The three categories are Traditional Rooms, Deluxe Rooms, and Family Rooms. Within those categories you can choose between No View, which essentially is a standard view, or Resort View, which gives you an clear look at the rest of the resort area. Resort view could look out at the Dolphin across the way, areas like the pool, or even the Disney BoardWalk area. Swan rooms are also larger than the Dolphin rooms by about 20-30 square feet.

Traditional & Deluxe Rooms

In the traditional rooms, you have a choice of three layouts – one king bed, two queen beds, or one king bed and a sofa bed. According to the website, Swan rooms hold two adults and two children (which is one less than the Dolphin traditional rooms). Disney’s site for the Swan allows for four adults when booking, which aligns with the Swan & Dolphin site. With the two queen bed set up, you could certainly sleep four adults if needed.

Traditional rooms also have a glass-wall shower, or a shower with tub upon request. Swan showers also have a wand in addition to the rainfall showerhead, an extra benefit you won’t find at the Dolphin. Bathrooms also have a backlit mirror above the sink, which is outside the shower and toilet space. There is also another sink in with the shower and toilet, perfect for expediting the morning rush to get out!

The main difference between traditional and deluxe is that the latter has a balcony, and traditional does not. Other than that, the bed options, layouts, and even the square footage is the same.

Want an inside look? Check out this video!
Family Rooms

Designed with families in mind, these larger rooms accommodate more guests and give everyone a bit of space. Available with two double beds, one king bed, or a king and sleeper sofa, the rooms have separate alcoves that divide the spaces. This is nice if you’re travelling with kids, as they have their own sleep space away from you. It isn’t a separate bedroom, so there isn’t a door closing off the spaces, but you’ll feel less on top of each other.

All of the Swan room options, including the family rooms, can come as connecting rooms. If you want a separate space from the kiddos, or you’re travelling as multiple families, that might be a good option for your party.

Suites

There are seven different suite options between the Disney Dolphin Hotel, Disney Swan Hotel, and Disney Swan Reserve. For some of the options, there is only one of that suite in the entire area! Each suite has its own amenities and features to make your stay feel over the top indulgent. You can find four of the suite types at the Swan – the Executive Suite, the Grand Suite, Governors Suite, and the Presidential Suite.

Executive Suite

Think of the Executive Suite more as an add-on than a whole suite. For this set up, you utilize the connecting rooms to give you an extra living space, potentially turning the Executive Suite into a two-bedroom set up. The part that makes a room and Executive Suite is just a living area without any additional bedroom space, with the exception of the sofa bed in the living room.

Essentially, to create an Executive Suite, you combine a traditional room with a living room, dining room, and full bathroom. The Swan accomplishes this via connecting lock-off doors, one at each end of the room. If you just want a one-bedroom, select either the two queens or the single king. If you want a two bedroom, there is the potential to connect both the two queen and single king rooms to the living space. However, that might be a set up you would need to arrange with an agent or on the phone with the Swan.

Grand Suite

With a large living area, two full bathrooms, and a separate sleeping space, a grand suite might be just what you’re looking for with a family group. This suite has the same bed options as the rest of the hotel – two double beds, one king bed, or a king and sleeper sofa – which allows you to put your kids out on the sleeper and give yourself the privacy you need.

Governors Suite

The Governors Suite is similar to the Grand Suite, with the addition of a massive living space, wet bar, and extra closet space. This suite still sleeps the same number of people, with the same bed configuration options, but also has more space in the bedroom. Some of the Governors Suites are on the corner of the building, and these have the luxury of a walk-in closet in the living area and an L-shaped bedroom space. This gives just a bit of separation from the sofa bed, which can help your kiddos as they sleep.

Presidential Suite

The largest and most opulent of the suites, you’ll know the difference as soon as you walk in the door. A beautiful circular alcove sets the tone…as does the sight of the baby grand piano in the living room. The living space splits between the full dining room with attached kitchen and the spacious couch area. A full bathroom connects to the living area as well, the first of three bathrooms in this suite.

In the master bedroom, enjoy a massive king bed and lounge space, as well as plenty of storage space. The master bathroom includes a huge sink area, Jacuzzi tub, and glass-wall walk-in shower. Not only do you have a separate room for the toilet, but go European with the Bidet as well!

The second bedroom has a similar set up to a standard room as the Disney Swan Hotel, with two queen beds, closet space, and attached full bath. Both bedrooms also have direct access to the main hallway of the hotel, so guests can come and go without disturbing the others in their party.

Pools

While the theming of these pools isn’t quite to the same level as other Disney resorts, the Disney Swan Hotel has one of the largest pool complexes on property. Both the Swan & Dolphin share the pools and other recreation areas, so you should be aware that you’re competing with two hotels’ worth of people for space. However, as the area is spacious, this shouldn’t be a problem. Thee three-acre Grotto Pool is perfect for all the swimmers in your family. Varying depths, waterfall features, and a twisting waterslide bring all the fun you could ever want!

For those that want exercise or a quieter swim, there is a lap pool over by the pool bar, Cabana Bar & Grill. Also for adults are four different whirlpool options spread throughout the pool area. Don’t worry about your kiddos – if they’re not swimming, they’ll love the white sand beach area and kid’s playground. Just remember that the lake is not swimmable. Swimming can only happen in the pool.

The Mandara Spa

While the spa is technically located in the Dolphin, as a Swan guest, you’ll want to take advantage of this incredible spa. You might think you know what to expect out of a Disney spa, but the Mandara Spa goes above and beyond. Two garden oases serve as the reception areas where you can relax before your treatments, enjoying calming music and sipping tea to get you into a calm state of mind.

The spa offers a host of different services, including massages, facials, wraps, and even bathing rituals. All of these experiences target different areas of the body, but also incorporate scents and lotions to stimulate soothing areas of the brain. You can book a variety of salon-type treatments, like haircuts, manicures/pedicures, waxing, and even makeup. This is ideal for those that are doing a wedding or large bash on site, so you can do everything all in one place!

Mandara Spa also offers a couple of special treatments, including in-suite massages and spa group events. You can also work with the spa directly regarding wedding preparations to include your entire party and roll all the styling into one!

To book your appointment, you can call (407) 934-4772 or book online Steiner Spa E-booking Service. For group events, call (407) 934-4772 to work out the details. The spa asks that you arrive thirty minutes before your treatment, and silence your cell phone upon arrival to maintain the calm atmosphere. If you need to change or cancel, please contact the spa a minimum of four hours before the treatment. Otherwise, you will be charged for the full price of the booking. While there are teen or child treatments, these are specific and limited. Outside those options, guests must be 18 years old to receive a treatment and use the spa.

Camp Dolphin

Again, Camp Dolphin is in the Swan’s sister resort (thus the name); if you’re looking for adult time you’ll want to take advantage of Camp Dolphin. A certified child care service and play area, you can pay an hourly fee for your kiddos to hang out, play games, do crafts, and enjoy themed activities. This is perfect if you’re travelling during an anniversary or other celebration where you want a bit of alone time.

Kids have to be four years old and fully potty trained (no pull-ups or trainer pants), and cannot be older than twelve. You do need to make reservations in advance, this isn’t a drop-off service, and the cost is $10 per child per hour. However, if you have a reservation at the Dolphin’s Mandara Spa or dine at Shula’s Steak House, Todd English’s Bluezoo, or Il Mulino New York Trattoria (all incredible on-site restaurants!) you’ll get two hours at Camp Dolphin for free!

Parking

Like all Disney resorts, you have to pay a daily parking fee to keep your car overnight. Registered guests of the hotel $35 per day (plus tax) for self-parking, and $39 per day (plus tax) for valet. Where the parking differs from the typical Disney experience is that you still have to pay to park if you’re not staying at the resort. That means if you’re coming for dinner or an event, you have to pay the parking fee (same costs) simply to park at the Swan. As that’s the case, our recommendation would be to use Disney transportation if possible to get to the Swan rather than pay the extra fee.

This parking fee charges per exit, meaning if you are not a registered guest of the Disney Swan Hotel you will have to pay this fee each time you leave and return to park. With that in mind, if you’re planning an event, you might want to warn your guests or have them all stay on property with you. Obviously, if you are staying at the Swan, you will only pay the daily fee.

What’s Nearby?

Not only are you in the middle of Disney World, but you’re right by the Disney BoardWalk! This means that you are in walking distance from the BoardWalk Inn & Villas, Disney Beach Club, and Disney Yacht Club. If you’re staying at the Disney Swan, you will definitely want to walk over and experience the incredible food and fun these resorts offer!

The Swan is also in easy walking distance of Disney Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Even if you’re not going into the parks, you might be able to catch the fireworks from both places if you time it just right.


Sports and Recreation

Fantasia Mini-Golf

Even though this isn’t at the hotel, within walking distance is Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf, one of the two mini-golf locations at Walt Disney World.

Mini-golf is a great way to spend the evening, particularly after a large meal, and is fun for the whole family. Enjoy the colorful and exciting course based on the Disney film Fantasia, featuring the music from the movie as well as the beloved characters. Be careful, there are more than a few fountains on this course that spray when you least expect!

Designed with lovers of traditional golf in mind, the Fairways course is like a miniature version of a standard course, complete with hazards. If you have older members in your party, or just want to avoid the crowds of the Fantasia course, this would be a great option!

Traditional Sports

There’s no shortage of outdoor fun at the Disney Swan Hotel. Over by the pool, you can play a game of beach volleyball on the open courts. Also by the pool are ping-pong tables, great if you want to take a break from the water or just want to challenge your family. There are also plenty of jogging or running trails around the area, some of which connect to the BoardWalk loop. 

Inside, enjoy the game room and arcade, playing favorites like pinball and air hockey. This is perfect for those rainy days when you’re going crazy in your hotel room!

Swan Health Club

Both the Swan and the Dolphin have their own health clubs located within their respective buildings. That means if the weather isn’t nice to do your workout outside, or if you prefer the exercise machines, you have a dedicated space. The health club is adjacent to the pool, so you can always step out for a quick dip to cool off after your workout.


Transportation

Disney Swan Hotel and lake view
Photo by Grace Hoyos

One of the best parts about staying at the Disney Swan Hotel is immediate access to water transportation. The water taxis go to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, making it a nice alternative to the busses or walking. You can even use the boat just to get over to the Yacht & Beach Clubs, which is nice if you’re headed over for a meal after a long park day. While I always recommend walking if you’re close enough, sometimes it’s just not practical depending on who is in your party. The smooth, open-air travel of the boat is fun and relaxing.

The only other official Disney transportation is the bus. We have a love-hate relationship with Disney busses – they are timely and mostly reliable, but you almost always have to wait. There are more busses than boats, but for most people the bus is the go-to. Also, Disney newbies don’t always know about their other options, making the busses even more full. You can catch the bus on the left side of the main entrance, immediately outside the lobby.

You might be wondering – what about the Disney Skyliner? Yes, there is a Skyliner station at Hollywood Studios, but the only reason to use the Skyliner would be if you’re trying to get to Disney’s Riviera Resort or Caribbean Beach Resort. Otherwise, it would almost be like backtracking. The boats will take you straight to Hollywood Studios and Epcot (the two parks on the Skyliner) which would be faster than the Skyliner.


Walt Disney World Swan Hotel Location

Location on Property

Part of the Epcot resort area, the Swan has a central location on Disney property. That means that you can essentially come at it from any angle and take about the same amount of time. If you’re coming from the Florida 400 (I-4), I recommend the Osceola Parkway exit. From there, you’ll turn right onto World Drive, and then right again onto East Buena Vista Drive. It will then be a left into the entrance for the Swan.

It’s important to realize that the Swan and Dolphin parking areas do not connect to one another, so if you end up at the Dolphin by mistake you’ll need to exit that area completely. Also, you have to check in and get your Swan keycard before you can enter the parking lots through the back ways, so be sure to go to the main lobby before trying to park.

Resort Address

1200 Epcot Resorts Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830


Contact Information

If you need to contact the hotel directly for any reason, call (407) 934-3000. For questions with booking, you might want to contact the hotel first before contacting Disney, especially if you booked directly through the Swan. If you have questions about the Disney aspects of your trip, call (407) 939-5277 or check online.

To make reservations, we recommend Booking.com.

Looking for a luxurious and serene vacation with a touch of magic? You’ve found just the place with the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel.


Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer

Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.

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