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The Best Hidden Gem Disney Resort

If you know me you know Walt Disney World is my happy place. Even though we recently moved to Orlando to be closer to the parks there is still nothing I love more than actually staying at Disney. It’s just the most magical way to experience Disney because you feel fully immersed in the Disney experience.

As a hardcore Disney fan, I try to stay at Disney as often as possible and because of that, I’ve had the opportunity to experience many of the resorts on Disney property.

About two weeks ago my husband and I decided to do another Disney staycation and stay somewhere we’ve never been before: The Walt Disney World Swan Resort. Today I’m going to be walking you through why I now believe The Swan is the best-hidden gem resort on Walt Disney World Property.

Today we’re working backwards from smallest reason to largest reason that this is the best hidden gem resort at Disney World.

7. An open spa

Spas are one of those things that just feel like a vacation within a vacation. If a trip to the spa is something you want to do on your next Disney Vacation I highly recommend staying at the Swan (or their sister resort next door the Dolphin) because while Disney World has been back open since July of last year their resort spas haven’t reopened yet.

So if you want to stop by the spa on your upcoming Disney vacation the only place you will be able to do that is the Swan or Dolphin.

6. Access to the BoardWalk

When planning this vacation I originally wanted to stay at the BoardWalk because I love the ambiance and being able to stroll the boardwalk in the evening and pop in to the shops or beaches and cream for ice cream.

But once I found out number one on this list I couldn’t justify staying at the BoardWalk instead of the Swan.

Plus when researching the swan I learned when you are staying at the Swan you are basically staying on the BoardWalk. The resorts are right next to each other, so it is very quick to just walk down the sidewalk that connects the two resorts and be on the BoardWalk all the restaurants and shops I love.

5. The room itself

I love Disney more than 99.99% of the population but I don’t need my room to be overly themed to enjoy my vacation. I feel like I get enough of the Disney theming in the resorts.

One thing I personally enjoyed about the Swan was the room felt very nice, modern and upgraded. Sure their weren’t hidden mickeys in the carpet and picture frames but it was a beautiful and super clean resort.

The bathroom had two vanities, a great shower, and a good sized closet for storage.

One of my favorite things about the room was something I hadn’t seen anwhere else on property. It was a table on wheels. It had it’s own chair so it could function as a desk but it could also roll to be next to the couch so you could play games or eat as a family.

It made it feel like we had a dining table in the room without actually having a dining table taking up half the room.

Another thing I loved about the room was they had comforters on the bed. Now like I said I love Disney but their beds don’t have comforters they have like a sheet as the “blanket” and it isn’t cozy. The beds at the swan were medium-firm and had a comforter. The bed truly felt like heaven after a long day in the parks.

I guess I’ll mention this here as well but the room came with water bottles. FREE water. After years of staying in resorts in Orlando, I’m used to seeing a water bottle next to a sticker that says something along the lines of “yours for $6” nope not at the Swan. It was FREE and there were four full bottles in our room when we arrived.

4. Proximity to Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

There aren’t many resorts on Disney property that allow you to walk to theme park, let alone the most popular theme park on property currently Hollywood Studios.

After leaving your room it’s only a short walk to Hollywood Studios or Epcot which means you don’t have to wait for a bus or wait in line for a monorail or Skyliner. Walking to the park also means you don’t have to fold up your stroller to get on a boat or bus.

Walking to a park is definitely the easiest way to get there and that is something you can do from the Swan.

Being able to walk to a park means you can pop back and forth and enjoy more downtime on your vacation. For instance, on our vacation our boarding group for Rise of the Resistance was called at park opening so at 10:00am we walked on over, then after that, we didn’t have anything to do until late afternoon so we headed back to the resort and enjoyed the amenities and when we felt like it at around 4:00 we walked back on over to Hollywood studios for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and dinner.

Plus now that park hopping is back that means you can spend your morning at Hollywood Studios for Rise of the Resistance and your evenings in Epcot strolling and eating (or drinking) your way around the world showcase.

3. Top tier restaurants & lounges

Now I’m pretty sure 60% of what I love about being and staying at Disney is the food. There is also nothing better than having amazing dining in your resort that way when you come back from a long day you don’t have to worry about headding out again to get food. The swan has what felt like the most food options of any Disney hotel that I’ve ever stayed at.

  • Shula’s Steak House (amazing steak house)
  • Todd English’s Bluezoo (seafood restaurant in the dolphin)
  • The fountain (quick bites and great ice cream in the dolphin)
  • Garden Grove (American breakfast and lunch with characters)
  • il Mulino (amazing nice Italian restaurant)
  • Java (Quick bites + cafe)
  • Kimonos (sushi)
  • Splash Terrace (pool bar + eats)
  • Phins (bar in the dolphin)

2. Access to the Skyliner

The whole reason we wanted to stay in the Epcot resort area was for access to the Skyliner. Now you might be thinking their is no Skyliner stop at the Swan. While technically that’s true the Swan is within walking distance to Epcot, and Epcot has a skyliner. So from the Swan you have direct access to:

  • Epcot (tons of
  • Hollywood studios
  • Pop Century Resort (fun snacks)
  • Art of Animation Resort
  • Caribbean Beach Resort (Great quick bites and drinks)
  • Rivera Resort (Amazing restaurants like Topolino’s Terrace, and a great bar / cafe)


I’m gonna come out and say It. I prefer deluxe resorts (AKA top tier or four plus star resorts but Disney calls them “deluxe”) but that means paying $400-$900 a night for my Disney accommodations. Well that was until we recently found out that Swan and Dolphin resorts are deluxe accomadations at a fraction of the price.

When deciding where to stay for this staycation we were between the BoardWalk, the Rivera, and the Swan.

  • The BoardWalk Villas Deluxe Studio: $530/night full price $318/night with my annual pass discount.
  • The Rivera Deluxe Studio: $683/night full price – $420/night with my annual pass discount.
  • The Swan Deluxe Studio: $127/night – price on their website.

Are you kidding? we got deluxe accommodations, with all the benefits I mentioned above and more for $127/night. The swan (or their sister resort the Dolphin) is hands down the best-hidden gem resort at Walt Disney World. All the benefits without the price.

So if you are planning a Disney vacation anytime soon I highly recommend booking your stay at the Swan or Dolphin resorts.

You can click here to check out current rates at the Swan and Dolphin.

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