Category Archives: Tips &Tricks
This question comes from Jeanie P., who asks “If you stay at the Swan can you purchase a meal plan?”
Jeanie, thanks for your question and for reading Chip and Co. Unfortunately, neither the Swan nor its sister resort the Dolphin participate in the Disney dining plan because it isn’t a Disney-run hotel. In addition, Swan and Dolphin guests are not able to make room charges outside of their respective hotels or use Magical Express. One benefit that you’ll likely be most happy to hear about is that both the Swan and Dolphin participate in Extra Magic Hours. Guests may also use package delivery from the parks (or Downtown Disney) back to their resort and park for free at Disney theme parks, however there is a fee for parking at the resort itself.
The Swan and Dolphin are run by Westin, one of the better hotel groups out there, so you can have confidence in your choice. If you’d like to read more about the Swan and see photographs of the rooms and resort, check out the AllEars page here.
Hope that helps!
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Okay, I know it’s not Disney, but if you’re a theme park nerd, excuse me, afficionado, you might like this. Some video is starting to trickle out of Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter Exhibit in Universal Studios. WWHP opened today to special guests who booked the Harry Potter Package through Universal. If you missed my report this morning check it out here.
Here is a collection of videos from around the interwebs.
Walk through Hogsmeade Village at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Frog Choir performing in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal
Ollivander’s Wand Shop show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando
Harry Potter Cast Visits The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Mikey and the Forbidden Preview
Anonymouse lives to provide you with fresh, hot gossip. You can also follow her on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/AnonymouseOne. Got a tip? Send it to Anonymouse@chipandco.com. Thanks.
I just received word from a reliable source at the DIS that people are quite upset with Universal Studios right now over the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It seems that Universal opened it up to select guests today who booked the Harry Potter Special but failed to tell them it was only going to be for 2 hours.
It seems that “He who must not be named” is giving them the shaft..literally..lol
To top that they didn’t even inform their staff that it was going to be open at all..haha way to go Universal.
I will keep you informed of more Gossip as it arises.
Anonymouse lives to provide you with fresh, hot gossip. Got a tip? Send it to Anonymouse@chipandco.com. Thanks.
I wanted to talk today about the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin resort hotels, certainly a couple of the neatest looking hotels around. If you have ever visited Disney World, you have surely seen these fantastic-looking landmarks, not far from Epcot’s Spaceship Earth icon.
They are definitely distinctive, to say the least. I have always thought that Michael Graves, the award-winning architect who designed the Swan and Dolphin, took his mission to design buildings that fit the “Disney magic” very seriously. These buildings are way cool. And pretty hard to miss!
I will admit that interesting design fascinates me, so I find the architecture of the Swan and Dolphin extremely appealing. And the interiors and grounds are lovely as well: in fact they rival any of the deluxe Disney properties when it comes to elegance and attention to detail. But, how they look is, frankly, the least of the benefits of being a guest here.
Owned by Starwood (the parent company of the Sheraton and Westin hotels) the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin resort is actually located on Disney property, and is a short walk or boat ride from Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It is an extremely convenient location. And as a guest, you also get access to Disney’s bus service to the other theme parks as well.
One of the nicest benefits of staying at the Swan and Dolphin is that guests, while not officially Disney resort guests, still enjoy many great Disney resort perks: in addition to the transportation and location, guests of the Swan and Dolphin can participate in the Extra Magic Hours program, get free parking at the theme parks, and can get package delivery from the parks to the hotel.
And then there are the beds. Oh my gosh…
If you have ever stayed at a Westin property, you may be familiar with their “Heavenly Beds”: pillow top mattress, triple sheets, down blanket and comforter, and goose down/feather pillows….Let me just say that after a long day at the Disney parks….the Heavenly Bed is an extremely accurate name!!
What makes the Swan and Dolphin even more attractive is that although in the “deluxe” category, these two hotels are typically less expensive than similar Disney-owned properties. And even better, they are well known for frequent discounts for AAA members, Florida residents, seniors, government employees, members of the military, nurses, and teachers.
We stayed here several years ago over New Years Eve and the reason we did was that the location could not be beat, plus we got all the benefits of being a Disney resort guest, yet got more value than staying at an official Disney resort. Perfect location, more for your money, and Heavenly Beds: What’s not to love?
There are a few decisions you have to make before you go- when you are going, where you are going to stay and how many days you will stay there and buy tickets for and these things will all affect your budget. Then we can cover what to do when you are there. Hopefully when reading this series, you’ll get some answers to these questions and be ready for your next Disneyland trip.
Disneyland Resort has 2 main seasons: Peak and Off-peak.
These are most commonly times when kids are out of school for holidays and breaks- June through Labor day weekend, Spring break (weeks before and after Easter), Thanksgiving, week before Christmas through New Year’s and most 3-day weekends.
Pros- all rides and shows are open
Cons- biggest crowds, longer waits, higher prices for hotels/flights
If your travel period is set and you need to go during peak season, plan to be there on certain days of the week like Tuesdays-Thursdays, so it will be less crowded, because Mondays and Fridays are right after/before the weekend- people only have to take one or two days off of work and usually leave before the middle of the week. This also hits two possible “Magic Morning” days, which will get you in the park an hour earlier than other guests either on Tuesday or Thursday (more about then when we cover if you are staying on-property or have a park-hopper pass) and one time with “Toontown Morning Madness” (special pass only) on Wednesday.
You will definitely need to take advantage of the Fast-Pass rides to see more (also will go into more detail later) but it will be a time-saver when it comes to big crowds.
This scene always gets me in the Holiday spirit
Usually runs after New Year’s until President’s day weekend (mid-Feb), week after Easter until Memorial day weekend (end of May), mid-September through mid-October and after Thanksgiving until week before Christmas.
Pros- less crowds, lower prices for hotels/flights
Cons- some rides are down for refurbishment/maintenance, shows aren’t daily
Any periods not listed are average attendance- after President’s day weekend until the week before Easter, Sundays not during Peak season, Memorial day until school is out and mid-October to Thanksgiving. If you can handle a little more crowds and want less cost than peak season- these are the times to go.
We like to go during off-peak season. Even Sundays during off-peak season (average attendance since it’s open to Southern California pass-holders) are too much for us. My favorite time to go is the first of December when the holiday decorations are already up which really gets me in the holiday spirit but without all the peak crowds. The evenings and mornings are about 40 degrees, which is below our Hawaii average, but it gives it an experience that is new for us- bundling up and wearing layers. And we still want to try the Halloween party at California Adventure (mid-September through Halloween). This is the only time an adult can wear Disney costumes around the park. Taking our kids out of school for a week to go on family trips is something we are okay with cause it means we can see more and do more for less cost.
If you can go during off-peak season, staying during part of a weekend, for at least Friday and Saturday is good if you want to view the nightly spectaculars- like Fantasmic or the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s castle or the new “World of Color” opening in June at California Adventure. These won’t run daily like during peak season. Saturdays and Sundays are also “Magic Morning” early entry days, so you can take advantage of having more than one option to get in before the crowds. Friday would be when you could go to the “Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness” parade.
This gives you a good idea of what time of year you will want to go to the Disneyland resort or what to be ready for on the dates you’ve chosen.
Next up: where will you stay?
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