Transportation Options at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin
If you’re staying at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, you have a few different transportation options to get you to the theme parks. But, perhaps, the biggest perk of vacationing here is being able to walk to nearby Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
In addition to walking, the hotels offer boat and bus services to several on-property destinations. However, the bus service provided by the hotel is not the same as the surrounding Disney Resorts.
For this article, we’ll look at the transportation options available at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort. Then, we’ll discuss your best options for traveling to and from the parks and a few other popular destinations.
Walking from the Swan and Dolphin
Disney’s Swan and Dolphin are conveniently located within walking distance of Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Both hotels sit on the far end of Crescent Lake in the Epcot Resorts area.
You’ll cross a bridge when coming and going from the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. On the other side of the bridge, you can head to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
For Hollywood Studios, you’ll want to take a hard right on the opposite side of the bridge. There’s signage indicating the path.
From this bridge, it’s a .65-mile walk to the entrance of Hollywood Studios. The walk takes approximately 14 minutes at an average pace.
If you’re headed to Epcot, you can walk by either the Boardwalk Inn or the Yacht and Beach Club hotels. From the Swan and Dolphin, it’s a .46-mile walk to the International Gateway entrance at Epcot via the Boardwalk. This walk averages 11 minutes.
Is walking faster than taking the Friendship boats? It depends.
The boat will likely be the quickest option if you’re headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That’s because the Swan and Dolphin are the last stops before the boat reaches Hollywood Studios.
However, the boat will make several stops if you’re headed to Epcot. First, it stops at Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club (one-stop). Then it will stop again at Disney’s Boardwalk before making its way to Epcot.
Those stops will take more time than walking. Additionally, you’ll have to consider how much time it takes for a boat to arrive. But in most cases, you won’t have more than a five to ten-minute wait.
Boat Service at the Swan and Dolphin
The Friendship Boats are an excellent way to travel around the entire Epcot Resorts area. They provide relief from the intense heat and an opportunity to rest while traveling.
Generally speaking, riding a boat around Disney is a pleasant experience. As much as I love to walk, I enjoy taking a leisurely boat ride from time to time.
As we briefly discussed above, the Friendship boats travel between the immediate resorts and theme parks. Three to four boats usually travel this path at any given time.
The boat service travels in two directions.
- Beach and Yacht Club
- Swan and Dolphin Hotels
- Hollywood Studios
Then when a boat reaches Hollywood Studios, they return and stop in the opposite direction:
- Hollywood Studios
- Swan and Dolphin Hotels
- Beach and Yacht Club
Below you can see the boat dock for the Swan and Dolphin. The dock is centered on a covered walkway between the hotels.
There are two lines at the boat dock.
The one on the left is for those traveling to Epcot via the Yacht Club, Beach Club, or Disney’s Boardwalk.
The one on the right goes straight to Hollywood Studios.
The boat ride to Hollywood Studios takes approximately 10 minutes.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach Epcot from the Swan and Dolphin via the boat service. However, that time varies greatly depending on how long it takes to load and unload at each stop.
Additionally, boat service begins one hour before the park’s scheduled opening time. During this time, the boats start running one hour before the early theme park entry.
*Early theme park entry is for guests of Disney Resort Hotels, including the Swan and Dolphin. Resort guests can enter any park up to 30 minutes before its scheduled opening time each morning.
Bus Service at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin
Until the last few years, Disney’s Swan and Dolphin offered standard Disney bus transportation at their hotels. However, these hotels now use Mear’s bus service.
Mear’s Bus service is provided from the Swan and Dolphin to the following locations:
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Disney Springs
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach
The main difference with the newer bus service is that you won’t be dropped off at the same location as the other resorts. For instance, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the bus stop is located in the parking lot near the park’s entrance.
When visiting Animal Kingdom, the bus drop-off location is convenient. However, at Magic Kingdom, you’re dropped off at the Transportation and Ticket Center. This drop-off will require boarding another bus, monorail, or ferry to reach the Magic Kingdom.
Related: Disney World Monorail Guide
The Transportation and Ticket Center is located at the front of the parking lot for Magic Kingdom. All guests visiting Magic Kingdom from off-property must go through the center to get to the theme park.
So if you plan to drive to the parks during your stay, this is standard procedure. However, if you plan to use the resort’s bus service, you’ll have to go through this extra step to get to Magic Kingdom.
How long will that extra step take? In addition to waiting for the bus and then taking it to the Transportation and Ticket Center, it will take at least 15 more minutes to travel to Magic Kingdom.
All in all, I would anticipate it taking 45 minutes to an hour when traveling from the Swan and Dolphin to the Magic Kingdom. That’s not terrible, but it is a bit of a nuisance over the former system.
Both the Dolphin and Swan have a bus stop. Buses will pick up and drop off at each stop.
For instance, if you’re staying on the Swan side of the hotel, you’ll get picked up first. However, you’ll have to ride the bus over to the Dolphin bus stop before heading to your destination.
On the way back, you’ll get dropped off first. When I stay at the Dolphin, I usually exit the bus at the Swan so I can enjoy the walk back to the Dolphin.
It may sound silly, but there’s a light show with music each evening on the walkway between the two hotels. I think you’ll like it as much as I do.
Anyway, the Dolphin’s bus stop is located toward the hotel’s front entrance. You can walk out to it from the second-floor lobby. The walkway is located near the West Elevators.
The walkway is directly next door to Fuel.
Related: Fuel at Disney’s Dolphin
There are signs indicating when the next bus is scheduled to arrive.
Likewise, the bus stop at the Swan is located out front, past the main lobby.
Guests who have a car on hand can expect parking charges at the resort. At the time of this article, parking runs $32.00 per day. You can check current prices here.
However, standard parking at the theme parks is included. You’ll want to show your room key when parking so you won’t incur additional charges.
Additionally, valet parking is available at $42.00 per day. So if you return to the hotel during inclement weather, you might leave your car with the valet for that day. Just don’t forget to move it back in the morning.
Ultimately, the Swan and Dolphin come highly recommended. They are beautiful resorts in a prime location with tons of amenities.
And being able to walk to two theme parks isn’t bad at all.
All of our articles for the resort are listed in our complete guide.
Related: Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort
Or you might enjoy the following articles:
- Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Review
- The Pools at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin
- Swan and Dolphin Restaurants Guide
- Room Tour at Disney’s Swan
Related: Transportation at Disney World
You might also enjoy browsing our other hotel transportation guides.
In the comments:
What are your thoughts on the transportation options at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin? Do you have any other questions about utilizing transportation at this resort?