Dolphin Resort
Kid's Review

by nearly 9-year-old Kid Korrespondent Alex
A Kid's Point of View

This review was originally published
in the March 20, 2001 issue of ALL EARS.


Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.


I've stayed at the Dolphin Resort twice now and I think it is my favorite hotel at Walt Disney World. (I've also stayed at the Contemporary, Dixie Landings, Disney Institute, and Caribbean Beach.)

There are several things I really like about the Dolphin. For one thing, there is a lot to do there, without even going into the Disney theme parks. I especially like the swimming pools! The grotto themed pool is the best, because it has a twisting slide that goes around and around. It's very relaxing to just lay there next to the pool in the sun, too. There are also other pools, and a real sand beach, too, with an outdoor snack bar! From the pool area, the miniature golf place called Fantasia Gardens is only a short walk away, too.

I also like the Dolphin's video game arcade. There are a lot of cool games there that are fun for all ages (but maybe not for adults). One thing I noticed, but didn't get to try, is something called Camp Dolphin. Parents can leave their kids there and they can watch movies or do crafts. I peeked in and it looked like a fun place -- maybe I'll get to try it the next time we go to the Dolphin.

In the rooms, there are soft beds and lots of room to move around. Our room on my last trip even had a balcony with a nice view of the Boardwalk. I could even see some of Epcot and the fireworks from the room!

One of the other things I like in the rooms is the mini-bar. You can buy snacks and drinks right in your room! (It's a little expensive, though.)

Another great thing about the Dolphin is the room service. They even wheel in your own table! And the food was really good, too. But if you don't want to eat in your room, there are lots of restaurants right in the hotel.

Tubbi's Buffeteria, in the Dolphin Resort, is a great place for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner. They have delicious food, and the service is usually good, unless they're busy. From French toast, pancakes, eggs, and fruit to cheesy grilled cheese and hot dogs to fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts, they have everything a kid could want to eat! They also have a jukebox, where you can pick your own music, and a convenient little store where you can buy things you might have forgotten from home. And when you're done eating, the Dolphin's video game arcade is just around the corner! I would recommend that you give Tubbi's a try!

I also saw the Coral Cafe Restaurant had a character breakfast with Disney characters. It looked like it would be fun, but we didn't get to go there this trip. Also, you can walk over to the Boardwalk and visit one of the restaurants there, or you can walk into Epcot if you'd like to go eat somewhere over there.

All in all, I think the Dolphin is a wonderful place to stay for kids. There are lots of things to do, it has a nice location, and the people who work there are very friendly. I love the Dolphin Resort!

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ASK ALEX


Several ALL EARS readers sent in questions about the Dolphin for Alex to answer.

Q: Hi Alex! Did you think the Dolphin is "kid-friendly"? My kids are 8 and 5 and we are thinking about staying there this summer. Also, how was the transportation by buses to other parks? Did you wait long? Thanks! Lori

Dear Lori: The Dolphin is *very* kid-friendly. There's a game arcade, pools, and other activities, as well as "Camp Dolphin", which shows movies and has special activities for kids. I thought the transportation to the parks was pretty good. You don't usually have to wait too long for the buses or the boats. And if you don't mind walking, you can walk to Epcot or the Disney-MGM Studios pretty fast, too.

Q: Alex, how kid-friendly is the hotel? What's your favorite thing to do there? What are the rooms like? Thanks. Doug in Iowa

Dear Doug, Like I said, I think the Dolphin is very kid-friendly. The people who work there have all been really nice to me and I think there's plenty to do there. My favorite thing to do there is either visit the game arcade or go to the pools. I think the rooms are great, very clean with lots of room, and sometimes even a balcony.

Q: Dear Alex, I hear that the Dolphin really isn't a Disney resort and that the Disney resorts are themed better for kids. What do you think? Dave K.

Dear Dave, My mom says the Dolphin is on Disney property, but it's run by another company called Starwood. But they still treat you like you're at a Disney resort. I don't mind that it doesn't have a theme, because it's still a nice hotel and there's lots of stuff for me to do there. I like the Disney resorts with themes like Dixie Landings, but I really love the Dolphin, too. (Ed. Note: The Dolphin and the Swan are both operated by Starwood, which also operates Westin hotels.)

Several readers wanted to know about the Dolphin's pools:

Q: Dear Alex, We like to stay at hotels that have fun pools with slides so our son can frolic in the water on warm afternoons. Did you enjoy the pool at the Dolphin? What is the pool area like? Are there fun slides and a theme that make it feel as special as a "Disney" resort? Nancy D., 9 year old Connor's mom

Q: Dear Alex, I was wondering what you thought of the pool area at the Dolphin. I think it's shared with the Swan, isn't it? It always seems to be empty when I'm there. Carrie

Dear Nancy and Carrie, There are several different pools that you can use. Two are just regular pools, but my favorite is the themed grotto pool. It's like a grotto from The Little Mermaid. The slide at the grotto takes twists and turns and is a lot of fun. There's even a waterfall. I'd really recommend it. The Swan and Dolphin have separate pools, but you can use any of them when you stay at either hotel. It can get crowded there, but maybe not as crowded as at other hotels. They have an outdoor snack bar, and they have music playing to make it feel like a party atmosphere.

Q: Hi Alex. My question is are there any things a teenager can do there? When I go with my mom and dad, I know this sounds silly, but I sometimes get bored. My mom and dad have been to Disney World 19 times, so there seems not much for a teenager to do. Thanks, Sara.

Dear Sara, If you like swimming or sunning, the pool area at the Dolphin is great! If you want to stay indoors, there's a game arcade next door to the great restaurant, Tubbi's Buffeteria. There's a miniature golf course nearby, too. There are tennis and basketball courts, if you like those sports, and you could also rent a pedal boat to go around the lake. If you get really bored at the Dolphin, you could always walk over to the Boardwalk area to go shopping or rent a surrey bike. There are some shops over there, too.

Q: Are there kids' activities (ages 4, 10, 12) and what are the best places to eat with kids? Elaina, Andrea & Chris.

Dear E, A, and C, I think the two best places for kids to eat at the Dolphin are Tubbi's Buffeteria and the Coral Cafe. Tubbi's is great for casual meals like grilled cheese sandwiches. The Coral Cafe has some character breakfasts. There is a "Camp Dolphin" for kids that shows movies and lets them do crafts while their parents do other things, and there are also the great pools.

Q: Hi Alex. We are planning our trip to Disney and are staying at the Dolphin hotel. We have stayed at the Dolphin a number of years ago and we got a great rate for November. We are members of the Starwood gold card program and would like an upgrade when we arrive. Do you have any tips on room preferences and also should you cash in Starwood points to stay on the club level. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Restaurant info would be appreciated too. Thanks, Cathy C.

Dear Cathy, I had to ask my mom to help answer your questions. She told me to tell you to check this website for lots of good information about the Dolphin hotel: http://wdwig.com/faq_dol.htm

She also said that you could find menus for the restaurants in the Swan and Dolphin hotels at: http://wdwig.com/menu/menus.htm .

(Ed. Note: The club level of the Dolphin is akin to the concierge level at other WDW hotels. If you like to be pampered, it might be worth trading in Starwood points. To read more about the club level rooms at the Dolphin, check the FAQ on the resort on wdwig.com.)


Q: Hello. I'm 14 years old and live in southern Florida, and I LOVE WDW! It is by far the best place on Earth. My one question is not about the Dolphin but how did you get to come into the job as a reporter that writes reviews of Disney hotels? I wouldn't mind doing what you do when I grow up. Could you tell me who got you into this business? And do you need to be a good writer/reporter to do it? Joe J.

Hi Joe. I'm lucky that my mom helps her friend Deb Wills with this newsletter and her website about Disney World. They asked me if I could write about some things from a kid's point of view, so I did. I think you have to really like to write and want to be a writer to do this. I want to be a writer too when I grow up.