Priceline Express: More Dolphin Fun!
Hello everyone! It is time to swim back over to the Dolphin for some nice deals in September and October!
If you recall, way back in February 2020 (approximately eleventy-two months ago) we posted some Dolphin deals you could find in the $130 and above range. I now scoff at those prices! Scoff!
If you are in the market for some nice weekday deals early in September, or any weekend all the way to Halloween, then Priceline Express is offering rooms at the Dolphin as low as $93, but most in the $107 to $130 range.
An easy way to spot the Dolphin in Express Deal results is to look for a 4-star, 7-guest rated resort in Bonnet Creek with 700 reviews. It is the only resort with that combination of ratings and reviews. (In fact, right now the only other resort in Bonnet Creek that is 4-star, 7-guest rated is Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani. I would be flabbergasted–and might even scoff again–if someone told me they saw a deal for that resort at these prices.)
Before I post the calendar of deals (not ™ but maybe it should be), I need to post some additional info to help you find them. There are times that Priceline Express fails to include some deals in search results unless you jump through a few hoops. or maybe even hop a fence, in a friendly, non-trespassy kind of way. This is one of those times.
Here’s an example that should help you tease out these Dolphin deals without much fuss: I’m going to search Priceline Express for a deal on September 7. When looking for Disney or Swolphin resorts, you always want to limit your search to the Bonnet Creek and Disney Springs areas. Here’s a shot of some of the results.
If you look at the pair of 4-star resorts here, you’ll see that neither of these appear to be the Dolphin: the 7-guest rated resort is in Disney Springs and the other resort has an 8-guest rating. (Also, both have only 500 reviews.) What to do? Click the “Choose” button on the Bonnet Creek resort to open up that deal and you’ll find some additional deals pop up below it.
Now, that 4-star 7-guest looks like a good match for the Dolphin. BUT – We have another problem! Priceline is always making changes to their site and one of their recent updates broke the links on all those pop-up deals. If you try to use them right now, you’ll just get a blank web page. (They did the same thing last year and it took a few months for them to fix it.)
Luckily, there’s a way around that problem. Remember I asked you to open the 4-star Bonnet Creek resort deal – if you go the new new tab that opened, you can scroll to the bottom of that page and it will show you these same additional pop-up deals. (and maybe even a few more.)
If you open up that middle result, you’ll find it is indeed a Dolphin deal. One of the clues to look for when seeking the Dolphin are rooms with two double beds. You’ll also want to look for a mandatory (aka resort) fee – most often $30 lately, but Priceline does like to change that amount slightly sometimes to keep us on our toes.
My last tip: Don’t forget to try out any Priceline codes you see when you visit the site. The current code takes 10% off these deals – in this example you’d be getting the daily rate of about $85 (before adding on the resort fee, which annoys me no end I can tell you). That is the lowest rate I have recorded for the Dolphin in the 2 years I have been watching prices.
Now, you’re not likely going to see that low price on any of the other days below, but I think you’ll agree they are all still pretty nice deals for a 4-star resort. In comparison, if you booked this same night through the Swolphin’s own web site, you’d pay $156 (pre-resort fee) for a non-refundable pre-pay room. If you used the AAA rate, it drops to $140.
If you’ve taken advantage of any of these deals or have any questions, please let us know in the comments!
8 thoughts on “Priceline Express: More Dolphin Fun!”
That is truly brilliant JJT! TPs deals superstar!
JJT, thank you so much for your research and helpful posts! Snagged a P.E. mid-Oct 3-night stay at The Swan for $140/night (before resort fee). We were willing to pay just a little bit more for the queen beds at The Swan as opposed to the double beds at The Dolphin. We still think this is a fabulous deal & cannot wait. It will the first time we have stayed close enough to walk to both Hollywood Studios & EPCOT, which is very important right now during limited operational hours.
My pleasure! Glad you found yourself a nice deal. 🙂
I went through your steps to book the Dolphin for mid October. Everything lines up as you outlined. Thank you! However, I stopped from booking because off to the side Priceline states it is guaranteed to be a Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Hyatt, Sheraton or DoubleTree. On the website for Swan and Dolphin, it states it is a Marriott Property. I read that Sheraton is owned by Marriott.It is an amazing price! I just don’t want to have a nonrefundable room for the wrong place. We really want to be able to walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios this trip and not rely on buses/driving and parking.
Good job keeping your eye out for irregularities! The good news is that the Dolphin is actually a Sheraton brand. (Which is actually owned my Marriott along with several other well-known brands.)
To provide some more confidence in your decision: there are only two resorts in Bonnet Creek that are both 4* and 7-guest rated: Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani (currently 7.7-guest with 15 reviews), and the Dolphin (currently rated 7.9 with 760 reviews, although once in awhile it flips up to an 8.0-guest.)
The Dolphin is easy to spot between those two resorts: normally Kidani will be a good deal higher priced and is also rarer on Priceline Express. The Dolphin also uniquely has two double beds in room, plus the Dolphin should have a a mandatory (resort) fee in addition to taxes. Right now it would be $30, but sometimes that fee fluctuates in hidden deals, I believe to confuse people. Hasn’t happened much lately, but other possible resort fees may be: $33.75 or $31.50.
Hope that helps you decide whether to book! 🙂
Hey John! I noticed the Dolphin is back for summer bookings. I am getting nervous about booking one of these express deals on Priceline since we have 2 adults and 2 kids. Priceline only seems to book the adults and you can’t see prior to booking. I know it was said Disney will add the kids later after you call but any luck on these hotels? I want to make sure I am able to link us all up for Genie+ reservations and the 7am LL. Thanks!
I believe most of the rooms at Dolphin have two double beds, with a smattering of kings. (which is coincidentally the name of my new all ukulele/theramin Elvis Costello cover band.)
So, I’d expect you’d have the same experience adding kids to a Dolphin reservation – while I can’t be definitive about any resort’s handling of things, I’d be surprised if there was a major problem. In the years I’ve been researching these and talking with people, I have yet to hear any significant issues with either of the Swolphin resort bookings on Priceline.
Of course, there have been times with various bookings where it takes some work on Priceline chat and maybe a phone call or two to get things done. But, that’s par for the course, and a low chip shot of a par if you get a good hidden deal! 😉
So, I guess my overall answer is a qualified “you should be fine.”
But – just be a little careful when identifying resorts on Priceline Express these days: they are playing LOTS of games with review counts over there. As I track resorts, the reviews for some will jump by hundreds or even thousands overnight, which then changes the guest rating. A few weeks later, they’ll drop back to the previous numbers – AND the review count you see on deals may be significantly different than the one on the resort page.
That is the case for Dolphin right now: it shows up in non-hidden deals as a 4*, 8.2-guest rated resort with 2,622 reviews. However, the resort page lists 3,559 reviews. I have not seen any hidden deals for the Dolphin myself in awhile, but I may just happen to have checked dates where there aren’t deals. If I did see them, right now I’d expect the hidden deal to show as a 4*, 8-guest deal with 2,600 reviews.
If you decide to book one, let us know how you do!