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Major Change to Swan and Dolphin’s Bus Transportation – What Does It Mean For You?

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For nearly three decades, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels have stood as an iconic property that blends the benefits of staying on Disney property with the amenities of a Starwood (now Marriott) property. By offering many of the same benefits as a Disney owned and operated hotel, plus Marriott’s standards, the Swan-Dolphin hotel area is  a great choice for many families. But a recent change to their bus transportation may decrease the overall value of staying at these properties.

For years the Swan and Dolphin utilized Disney’s own buses for guest transportation to the Disney theme parks. This allowed guests to be dropped off at the Disney owned bus stops, which are closest to the theme park entrances. This is especially helpful at Magic Kingdom because it means being dropped off and picked up close to the park entrance itself.

Swan-Dolphin Bus Transportation Mears Bus

Now, the Swan and Dolphin has switched to Mears Transportation. Although Mears is the absolute largest transportation provider in Orlando, this means a major change to Swan-Dolphin’s transportation. Guests are now dropped off and picked up at the third-party bus lots. For Magic Kingdom this means the Swan-Dolphin bus stop is at the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Guests that are used to the Disney bus terminal just outside the entrance to Magic Kingdom will find this to be a big change. Having to instead come and go from the Transportation  and Ticket Center, will add about 15 – 30 minutes to their arrival and departure. And while that may not seem like a huge amount of time, it can certainly feel like a big change, and it can feel like a lot more effort is in involved.

Swan Dolphin Bus Transportation Mears Bus

The Swan and Dolphin still offer an incredible location. They are right next to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. They are part of the Boardwalk neighborhood which is home to Disney’s Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Boardwalk Resorts. If the main focus of your trip to Walt Disney World is visiting EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios then the Swan and Dolphin hotels offer an unbeatable location. For those two parks it is best to walk, especially since the Friendship Ferry Boats are currently not operating. In fact, the Swan Dolphin’s guide to Disney transportation essentially states that to get to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests need to walk there.

Swan Dolphin Bus Transportation Information

If you’re not sure which resort is the best fit for your family we can help with that. We’ve got information on all the Disney Resort Hotels. And our Room Finder tool is free to use and enables you to find the specific hotel rooms that fit your needs at any of the Disney properties. Becoming a TouringPlans Subscriber will give you access to all our tools and the Lines app, which will give you the ability to avoid long lines to maximize your time.

Have you stayed at the Swan or Dolphin before? What do you think of this change to their bus transportation?

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Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando Native who loves sharing her hometown with others. She's worked in nearly all of Orlando's theme parks, on board Disney Cruise Line, and in hotel management. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thisfloridalife

16 thoughts on “Major Change to Swan and Dolphin’s Bus Transportation – What Does It Mean For You?

  • I just checked into the dolphin (I’ve stayed at the swan/dolphin a number of times over the last 15 years).

    Since I’m a passholder, I think we’ll drive to the magic kingdom (parking is free). The take a bus to the monorail is kinda disturbing (found that out this morning)

    Did any other benefits change?

  • Hello, staying at the dolphin in late June. I’ve seen a few options for transportation to MK.

    1. Walk to Yacht club, take Disney bus. (will they check if I’m a Disney Resort guest?)
    2. Uber to contemporary, take monorail to MK
    3. Use Mears coach, take monorail from ticket center

    What’s the fastest commute? Thank you!

    • Hi, Justin:

      They shouldn’t check to see if you’re a Disney Resort guest if you walk on over to the Yacht Club. For Uber, drop-offs are no longer allowed at the Contemporary — the drop off would be at the TTC. If for some reason you were able to get to the Contemporary, then your best bet is to walk to Magic Kingdom. Taking the monorail means you’d go the long way around past the TTC, Polynesian (although the station is currently closed), and Grand Floridian before heading to Magic Kingdom. You *might* have more luck getting dropped off at the Grand Floridian, and then you can walk from there, or if you try the monorail, it would just be one stop.

      I personally just prefer simple methods…I’d just take the Mears coach to the TTC and enjoy the ferry boat, monorail, or possibly even a second bus over.

  • I wonder if early theme park entry will be part of Swan and Dolphin or will that be excluded too.

    • Generally, the deal for Swan and Dolphin is whatever benefit is offered at a Disney owned hotel, Swan Dolphin is supposed to get an equivalent option. We’ll certainly keep an eye out.

  • The $30 a day is a resort fee, not a bus fee. Not uncommon at any Marriott hotel no matter where in the world you stay.

  • We stayed at Swan early Dec for 4 nights/3days. We were charged $30 per day for using their buses to the parks.

    • Is there a way to get from the dolphin to ESPN using the buses?

      • Hi Sherry, generally there is not direct service, but if there is a big event at Wide World of Spots then a shared bus going to Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios is sometimes used to head to Wide World of Sports. This is not always the case, so it would be good to contact the Dolphin with your specific dates of your trip, or check with your travel agent.

      • Sherry – ESPN the bar/restaurant is located on the Boardwalk connected to the Dolphin Resort. However, it’s been closed, so look on the MDE to see if they are open when you are going to be there.

    • No you weren’t. You were charged a “resort fee” which Marriott slaps on many properties (including most of their hotels in NYC). This includes stuff like free water and what not. But whether you used the buses or not, you would have paid it anyway.

  • It was easy for WDW to be a generous host when the economy was rolling along. The Disney Company is bleeding billions, with no end in sight. Any company would cut losses and frills everywhere it possibly can. So don’t be surprised when WDW demands proof you’re a WDW resort guest (via encoded MagicBands!) before boarding. The fine print has always stated as such.
    Cherish your memories. It will be years before everything gets close to “back to normal.”

    • What a shame..these busses probably don’t have that Disney feel to them either..we are going in December over New Years and staying at the Swan..we didn’t know this before we booked. Looks like we will have to catch the bus to the boardwalk and then walk the remaining distance instead.

  • Seems like it would be a pretty quick walk from Dolphin->Yacht Club bus stop and Swan->Boardwalk bus stop. I think I’d make that walk if I were going to MK.

  • I was told that only 10% of MEARS buses are accessible with a wheelchair lift. I think that would be important to note for wheelchair users and mobility scooter users at the S/D. Did Marriott’s S/D have to pay Disney a contract fee to have WDW buses use? Was this a money issue? Will this also affect the S/D Friendship boats which were seen yesterday running on Cresent Lake, but not boarding guests?

  • It means I’ll be hopping on a bus bound to/from Boardwalk/Beach Club/Yacht Club!

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