Walt Disney World in sunny Orlando, Florida is the place where anyone can be a kid. It is home to multiple parks and restaurants and is the best place to make lasting family memories. In addition to its theme parks, it is also home to some of the best resorts and hotels in the U.S. The Dolphin Resort is one of SPG’s family-friendly properties in Orlando. It is also the sister resort to the Swan where we stayed recently.
What Makes it Family Worthy?
The Dolphin boasts features for everyone in the family. The hotel; centrally located near Disney’s Epcot theme park is also close to several Disney hotels– the Boardwalk, Beach Hotel, and Yacht Club. Its location, plus the fact it shares a restaurant complex with the Swan, means families will find no shortage of food options while staying here.
The hotel also offers a more budget friendly yet luxurious option for families wishing to stay near the parks.Moreover, since The Dolphin is part of the SPG hotels, guests can use their points to stay.
The newly renovated Dolphin does feature connecting rooms so families of any size can stay there comfortably.However, unlike The Swan the property only offers rooms with two double beds or a king size bed. Fellow travelers, we met, were families and business people that came to attend conferences.
Though we did contact the hotel initially to let them know we needed feather free quiet, the room was not ready by the time we arrived at 6 pm. In fact, it took a good extra hour for them to arrange the room and get it ready for us.Needless to say, the waiting made our son with autism quite anxious and antsy.
The resort’s tropical vibe was enhanced by the plethora of palm trees leading to the resort and inside the lobby . One could easily recognize the resort by the twin dolphin statues on the rooftop. The decor inside The Dolphin was similar to The Swan, with hues of soft yellows and browns along with tan tiling. The central area featured a fountain much like the one in The Swan, except that the centerpiece had dolphins holding a water spouting clamshell with their tails.
Our recently renovated standard room 17104, on the 17th floor, which we paid for with SPG points, was comfortable enough for a family of four. The room color palate was very similar to what we had experienced previously at The Swan. With its turquoise carpeting, textured grey-green walls, and Scandinavian-style furnishings the room looked modern and functional.
The closet, right by the entrance, had shutter doors and featured an ironing board, safe, and luggage rack. Across from the closet was the “bar” area with bottled waters and a coffee maker for guests to enjoy.
Our room had two double beds. Between the beds was a nightstand, on top of which stood a lamp with power outlets and a clock. The headboards were made of a silvery tan leatherette with a wood trim. Facing the beds was a 42 inch TV over a set of chest of drawers that housed a mini cooler.
In the far corner of the room, we saw a glass table on wheels that could also be used as a desk. Directly across from it was a sitting chair with an attractive tan and wintergreen velour texture.
The windows had both thin and thick curtains. We didn’t have much of a view, as our requested quiet room faced a parking lot. We did appreciate that the hotel apparently covered some machinery just below us with a colorful orange and blue roof.
The bathroom, also recently renovated, was decorated with lots of soft greens, blues, and whites. Just like in The Swan, the backsplash behind the single sink was made of pale green and white glass mosaic tiles. In the bathtub area, the walls were a textured pearly white tile. We found the floor tile interesting, textured in an almost fabric looking tan and set in a subway pattern.
The bathroom’s tub/shower combo had a grab bar, anti-slip textured flooring, and a clothesline to dry swimsuits. Unfortunately, this tub did not have a handheld showerhead.The provided amenity kit included the basic shampoo, body soap, and body lotion and housekeeping provided more than enough towels for our stay.
As a resort close to Disney properties, The Dolphin had a lot to offer for families.
The property boasted five swimming pools, including two lap pools and a three-acre grotto pool complete with a sandy beach front and a waterslide. There was also a spring pool for a more relaxing swim where guests could enjoy conversation in the water.Kids and kids at heart will also love the onsite playground and arcade room.
The property also offers a state of the art health club with cardiovascular and strength equipment. There are also onsite tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts. Joggers could enjoy one of many jogging trails with varying levels of difficulty, including a run around the nearby Crescent Lake.
The resort provides a relaxing shuttle boat ride to Disney’s Epcot theme park for staying guests.
As sister properties, both The Dolphin and Swan shared an area featuring many different restaurants. Even the pickiest of eaters could find something in this place.
There are several restaurants unique to the Dolphin property. Guests seeking fine dining can try out Shula’s Steak House or Todd English’s Bluezoo. At Bluezoo, we enjoyed Happy Hour drinks and loaded nachos. Those seeking budget friendly or casual dining can try out the Cabana Bar and Beach Club, the Fresh Mediterranean Market, or the Fountain. Picabu features quick, cafeteria style dining along with a sundries store. And finally, The Dolphin has 24-hour room service for those who couldn’t or didn’t want to leave their rooms.
The cost, which includes free Wi-Fi and access to the previously mentioned amenities, starts at around $350 a night. Both self and valet parking are available near the resort, for $18 a day self-parking and $26 a day valet parking.
Autism Travel Tips:
- The glass rolling table in the rooms can be hazardous for little kids as they can easily move it, break it and get injured.
- The pools do have lifeguards for added security, although they only work specific hours. Families who consider this an important feature should check schedules ahead of time.
- The dresser and the nightstand featured glass tops, which could also be potentially hazardous for kids.
- Parents should bring an anti-slip mat and night light since the hotel does not supply them.