We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, every great Disney vacation should include a resort day. After all, if you’re paying to stay in these awesome onsite resorts, you may as well give yourself time to really enjoy the place. Obviously, this applies to those staying in any and all of the Disney-owned hotels. However, there are two on-property hotels that are not owned by Disney, but definitely still deserve a resort day of their own. The Swan and Dolphin are both fabulous resorts that we simply cannot get enough of. In fact, we might even go so far as to say we like these two hotels better than many of the Disney options. If you’ll be staying at the Swan or the Dolphin soon and are planning a resort day, you may be wondering what to do during your day of downtime. Here are some of our favorite options.
1. Indulge in Good Eats
One of the most obvious things to do during your time in these fabulous hotels is check out all of the amazing dining options they have to offer. The two hotels boast a total of 17 eateries. These range from simple quick-service options to upscale restaurants, meaning there is something for every taste. Some of our favorite dining options in these resorts include The Fountain and Todd English’s BlueZoo. The Fountain offers a casual, retro-soda-fountain-themed dining experience that is perfect for families. Meanwhile, Todd English’s BlueZoo gives guests a chance to feast on amazingly creative and delicious dishes in a dining room that is a work of art.
2. Swim, Splash, and Relax
While both the Swan and Dolphin offer nice quiet pool options, and while there is an awesome lap pool available onsite, the combined main pool—known as the Grotto—is the place to be for fun. This awesome swimming spot offers lovely hot tubs surrounded by rock-work, an enormous pool with plenty of seating, a water slide, and an actual grotto where guests can escape into the shade and relax by the pool.
3. Experience Meet-and-Greets
Did you know the Swan and Dolphin host a character dining option? While Garden Grove serves up three meals a day every day, we recommend visiting for breakfast on Saturday or Sunday, or for dinner any day of the week. This is because Disney characters visit guests’ tables during these times. This is a lesser-known character dining option, and that means fewer crowds to contend with—and may even mean more one-on-one time spent with each character. Therefore, this is definitely something you’ll want to do.
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4. Join in the Holiday Fun
The Swan and Dolphin offer some spectacular holiday fun. Each year, the twin resorts decorate the rows of palm trees found outside of their buildings with Christmas lights. These lights are then programmed to dance to music that plays each night throughout the holiday season. This is a super fun thing to see if you happen to be visiting during the right time of year.
5. Try Out the Beach Activities
The beach located outside of the Swan offers tons of fun for everyone. Whether you prefer lounging by the water or playing a round of beach volleyball, you’re sure to enjoy your time spent here. For an extra bit of excitement, consider renting one of the swan paddle boats and taking a self-guided tour of the lake.
6. Take a Scenic Walk
Both the Swan and Dolphin were designed by renowned architect Michael Graves, and it definitely shows. The buildings—as well as the surrounding grounds—are absolutely beautiful and works of art in and of themselves. This fact, in addition to the fact that the place is meticulously maintained, means that these resorts offer some amazing opportunities for relaxing and scenic walks. Grab your partner and head out for a romantic stroll on this beautiful property.
7. Have Some Mini Golf Fun
In addition to all the fun offered at the hotels themselves, the Swan and Dolphin are also perfectly situated within walking distance of lots more fun. One of the awesome attractions guests can walk to is the Fantasia Gardens mini golf course. This is a well themed and surprisingly challenging course that is sure to please people of all ages and skill levels. Best of all, it’s right across the street from the hotels, meaning it’s easy to reach in mere minutes.
8. Go on a Boardwalk Adventure
Another great option within walking distance is Disney’s BoardWalk. Here you’ll find games, restaurants, street entertainment, and nightclubs galore. Rent a surrey bike to ride around the area, and be sure to grab an ice cream cone at Ample Hills Creamery.