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Everything You Need to Know About the Walt Disney World Dolphin for families: Tried and tested review

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Located right within Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, The Walt Disney World Dolphin is a fantastic Sheraton resort owned by Marriott. It’s the kind of place that families will love, and price-wise offers the pros of an onsite Disney hotel but at a lower price point. Our family have stayed at this family resort and at its sister hotel the Swan hotel next door. (See our review of the Swan here) We cover all you need to know about the Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel for families.

Everything You Need to Know About the Walt Disney World Dolphin for families: Tried and tested review

You’ve got cozy family-friendly rooms, cool pools that are all about fun and splashes, a beachy vibe for those sunny days, and they even offer free rides to Disney’s theme parks! The Dolphin is a real gem for families looking to have a blast.

This guide has everything covered about the Dolphin – from easy ways to get there (no magic tricks required) to awesome amenities for the kids and a bunch of exciting things you can explore nearby.

Beautiful blue pool at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Orlando, Florida

Amenities for Families at Walt Disney World dolphin

At The Dolphin within Walt Disney World, families get to plunge themselves into a world of excitement! Imagine a colossal resort with nearly 1500 rooms and an atmosphere that feels like a slice of tropical paradise. Honestly, you might just have a blast without ever stepping outside the resort!

The Dolphin Lobby

The resort offers all the classic facilities you’d expect: WiFi, health club services, convention rooms, shopping centers, a spa, and more! And when it’s time for a meal, you have plenty of restaurants to choose from, whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a lavish feast.

Plus, when you’re ready to explore, complimentary shuttles are waiting to whisk you off to Disney’s top attractions.

Things to Do at Walt Disney World Dolphin with Kids

The Dolphin boasts six pools, offering an array of activities for you and your little ones. Plunge into the Grotto pool for a family fiesta, complete with water slides, climbing rocks, and even a volleyball court!

Nearby, the kiddie pool is perfect for budding swimmers, while the spring pool sets the stage for quality family moments.

Beautiful pool at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Orlando, Florida

Need beach gear? Head over to the Cabana Beach Hut for all your essentials and settle in for a family beach hangout.

If there’s one thing you can count on Florida for, it’s beach time fun, and the Dolphin delivers on that count too with its stunning white sand beach. Slip on your sandals and conquer the waves with rafting or tubing.

Kids swimming in the pool, Walt Disney World Swan, Orlando, Florida

And if the kids seek their adventures, Camp Dolphin is the spot! Here, they can enjoy movies, artsy fun, and video game action, all under the watchful eyes of trained counselors.

Ready for a shopping spree? Discover Disney goodies at The Disney Gifts and Sundries or uncover must-haves at Accents.

And, after all of this, there’s still more – Volleyball courts, jogging trails, playgrounds, and an arcade filled with alien battles and racing cars are waiting for your mini-adventurers. At The Dolphin, each day is an invitation to endless family fun!

Theme Park Map, Walt Disney World Swan, Orlando, Florida

Getting Around Walt Disney World dolphin 

The Dolphin’s location being conveniently close to Epcot and Hollywood Studios is a real game-changer! It’s just a short walk, or a quick ride on one of the friendship boats away. The walk is easy, flat, and quite enjoyable, making it effortless for strolling, especially with strollers.

If you’re planning to visit other Disney parks like Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom, head to the Boardwalk Hotel’s bus stop. Catch a Disney bus from there that’ll take you straight to the park’s entrance.

Alternatively, take advantage of the complimentary bus service from The Dolphin to the Ticket and Transportation Center. From there, you can hop on a ferry or monorail to reach your destination.

Feeling a bit fancy? You can call for a Lyft Minnie Van. They’ll arrive promptly at The Dolphin, adding a stylish touch to your journey.

Bathroom at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Orlando, Florida

Staying at Walt Disney World dolphin 

The Dolphin welcomes you with stylish and snug spaces, perfect to unwind after a day packed with adventures. Take your pick from a range of rooms that include Traditional, Deluxe, and Family, each offering its own mood and views that suit your preferences.

For that touch of luxury, the deluxe rooms come with balconies, setting the scene for a romantic getaway, especially for couples.

Most rooms come with double beds, but if you’re rolling with a bigger crew or in want of a king-sized bed or an extra sofa bed, they’ve got your back! And the views? They’re as diverse as your options, from serene lake vistas to lively scenes of the boardwalk and parking lot or fireworks views!

Whether you’re into the traditional guest room, the deluxe resort room, or want to indulge in something more premium, the choice is entirely yours.

Prices for rooms fit various budgets, but remember, there’s a mandatory resort fee tagged for all guests. As for parking, it’s available at an extra cost, but there is the perk of free parking at any Walt Disney theme park.

Dining at the Walt Disney World Dolphin 

At The Dolphin, you’ve got 6 amazing hotels to pick from, each offering its own unique dining experiences.

Breakfast Options:

Fuel: This cafeteria is perfect for a quick coffee or sandwich when you’re in a rush. It’s got everything, from awesome coffee to a candy wall and a stunning sugar sculpture, to make your kid’s day!

The Fountain: Another spot ideal for the little ones is The Fountain. It serves classic American dishes, burgers, salads, and mouthwatering ice cream treats and shakes.

Plus, there’s a convenient grab-and-go window for your late-night ice cream cravings! A wonderful spot to grab a hearty brunch before starting your day.

Other options include Rosa Mexicano for delicious Mexican cuisine and Picabu, a quick-service joint serving family meals, hot dogs, and pizzas.

Evening Options:

Phins: Located in the hotel, Phins is a bar offering drinks and cocktails and is a perfect place for a relaxing family evening.

Shula’s Steakhouse: If a satisfying dinner is what you’re after, head to Shula’s Steak House. Expect hefty steaks and a vibrant football-themed atmosphere.

Droids and Star Wars elements bring an extra cool factor to your dining experience here! 

If seafood is calling your name, make your way to the award-winning Todd English’s Bluezoo for a fantastic seafood experience.

Finally, wander along the boardwalk and discover ice cream shops, bakeries, and a plethora of other dining options waiting for you to explore.

Tips for Staying at the Walt Disney World Dolphin with Kids

The Dolphin is certainly a unique spot for offering up those Disney-related experiences and perks without the wallet hit. But, guess what? You can level up the deal even more! Consider booking during the off-season to make even more savings.

Booking Tips: When booking, go directly through the hotel’s website for the best deals. You can also score extra savings by using Marriott points, such as Bonvoy Member points.

Keep an eye out for special deals tailored for seniors, emergency personnel, teachers, and school support staff.

Room Choices: Select your room based on your plans. If you’re spending most of your time exploring outdoors, consider a more affordable room without a balcony.

Make reservations for your favorite activities in advance and remember to carry your hotel keycard at all times for room access, as the My Disney Experience app won’t work.

Florida Essentials: Sunblock and water are Florida must-haves! On rainy days, the game room can be a lifesaver.

Bring some entertainment for the little ones. Tune into the WDW Today channel on your TV for updated park operating hours.

Family wearing matching Mickey Mouse T-shirts at Walt Disney World Swan Dolphin Resort, Orlando, Florida
At the Swan hotel next door

Comparison of the Walt Disney World Swan, Dolphin, and The Swan Reserve

Marriott owns both the Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan which are practically neighbors in Disney World. The Swan Reserve’s slightly further out, adding an extra stroll to catch the Magic Kingdom bus—a factor worth noting, especially if you’re traveling with little ones.

Regarding distance: Dolphin’s closer to Epcot, while Swan sits nearer to Hollywood Studios.

Rooms? Swan and Swan Reserve offer queen and king beds, while the Dolphin leans more toward double beds. But here’s the catch—the Dolphin’s rooms are notably more spacious, great for larger families.

When it comes to dining, all three spots offer fantastic choices, but the Dolphin boasts a tad more variety, ensuring every craving’s covered.

So, who would stay here? Folks seeking proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios without the Disney hotel price tag.

Finding Walt Disney World dolphin 

Located within Disney World in Orlando, Florida, getting to the Walt Disney World Dolphin is pretty straightforward. Hop on a bus from McCoy Road and Gondola Drive in Orlando, and you’ll be living the Disney dream in about 2 hours.

Alternatively, you can save time by taking a taxi to reach the resort in roughly 25 minutes.

Once you arrive at the entrance, head south toward Epcot Resorts Boulevard. Take a right turn four times onto Epcot Resorts Boulevard, then make a left.

You’ll know you’re at the right place when you spot the distinctive 27-story pyramid-shaped Dolphin. And don’t get it confused with its equally stunning sister, The Swan, located just across from it.

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