Stay for Free at Disney
Free and Disney – two words you don’t frequently hear together.
The Swan and Dolphin Hotels are on Walt Disney World property and take points/miles from various programs, and the number of related programs has just increased with the Marriott chain expanding its holdings. The hotels are located on Crescent Lake, almost adjacent to the Yacht Club property, and right across from the Boardwalk hotel. We love all location son the lake as this puts EPCOT and Hollywood Studios within walking distance!
I just booked a 10 night stay at the Dolphin hotel for 96,000 Starwood Points! And how did I get these points you might be asking? Several credit offers to start with. Before any major purchases, like paying for my son’s sleep away camp, I try to open a new credit card with a great signing bonus. My husband and I did this with Marriott credit cards and moved the points to Starwood, and then we opened a Starwood Amex credit card, which gave us 35,000 points after the bonus and the down payment for Paul’s Bar Mitzvah last year! I only suggest this if you are able to pay your credit cards every month!
I have some insider secrets from the Swan/Dolphin to share, as we stayed there for the first time two years ago, when I was able to use points accumulated from credit card deals I worked out with British Airways Avios program:
1. Bottled water is free. They leave you two a day, and you can request more. I did take six of these with me into the parks every day to save money. Saving $15 a day for eight days adds up.
2. They have a room service department called the marketplace. Soda is delivered for $1 a can. At a Walt Disney World hotel! I hope that deal is still current!
3. Character dinner at the Swan Hotel buffet.
4. Full laundry room on property – this is our third trip where we stayed away for over a week and doing laundry was a necessity. It was just as easy as using my laundry room at home, and we did not smell during the second half of our vacation. Well, at least our clothes did not smell!
5. All the Starbucks coffee you can drink. There is a one cup coffee maker in the room. And a small fridge! I made 2 cups every night and left it in the fridge so I could have my iced coffee in the morning. If I needed more, I just called the front desk and they brought it. For free!
And from some of the rooms, you can see the Illuminations fireworks show from EPCOT:
NOTE: This is not a Disney owned property so you do not qualify for use of the Disney meal plan, which is no problem for us, we never take that food plan. The Magic Express free shuttle, to and from the airport, is also not part of these hotel’s amenities. A taxi from the airport can cost $70, and rumor has it an Uber for the return trip is almost half that price. That is an extra hundred dollar expense, but also a time saver as the Magic Express process can cost you two-three hours each way.
You are eligible for Magic Hours at these properties!