We were invited to an event last week to check out the new Walt Disney World Dolphin lobby that includes the Phins lobby bar and Fuel dining location. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has completed a $140 million three-year transformation that also included guest rooms and meeting space, and the resort now has a much more modern feel to it. The billowy circus tent look to the Dolphin ceiling is gone, in are a fountain and elegant chandelier.
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has been a longtime favorite of mine. Situated in an excellent location that is a 10-15 minute walk from either Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios – or a Friendship Boat ride, though I rarely take it – the resort hotels are not owned by Walt Disney World but they are nestled among Walt Disney World deluxe resorts around the Walt Disney World Boardwalk. I spent six years as a Disney specialized travel agent many years ago, and often would book guests into these two fantastic properties (they are Starwood hotels, owned by Sheraton and Westin). Even with the resort and parking fees, there are a variety of discounts that can make this location a very attractive option. Being a very popular convention site, certain times of year can get booked up as well – October is always a prime convention month. In addition, the end of October always offers my favorite food and wine event, the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Food and Wine Classic. The resort has some highly rated dining options including Shula’s Steakhouse and Todd English’s Bluezoo, and the Classic offers tastes from all the restaurants plus wine and beer. It is always a great time!
We will have a video of the lobby and Fuel this week, and a segment on our Mousesteps Weekly YouTube show soon. When those are up, I will add them to the article.
Here is a look at the new Walt Disney World Dolphin lobby, with Phins lobby bar and the great addition of Fuel – which is hard to pin down, it’s like a coffee shop with grab and go, from sandwiches to frozen yogurt and fancy desserts by two-time World Championship Pastry Chef, Laurent Branlard (we have interviewed him several times, his pastries are always excellent!)
Michael Graves designed the buildings and the resort has been here for almost 30 years now.
This was the first view I had of the new lobby. The chandelier in particular is stunning.
The redesigned lobby has about double the seating of the former one.
The chandelier actually reminds me of the descent of Spaceship Earth at Epcot. From the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin: The new Dolphin Resort lobby, designed by ICRAVE, features a contemporary look with a new geometric ceiling, enhanced lighting and more than double the amount of guest seating. The centerpiece of the new lobby is a grand chandelier stretching 20 feet from the ceiling with nearly 1,000 strands and about 10,000 individual crystals suspended above the Dolphin fountain
Looking up at the chandelier.
I found it hard to photograph the whole chandlelier, it is large and keeps going up into the ceiling alcove.
Here is a look at the new tile at the center of the lobby.
Phins is a new lobby bar. From the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin release: Phins, a new bar centrally located in the Dolphin lobby and seating up to 150 guests, offers wines, beers and cocktails along with appetizers perfect for sharing. Signature offerings include the resort’s own craft brew Phins & Feathers, wine on tap and creative cocktails. On Sunday mornings, Phins offers brunch-themed beverages including a variety of bloody marys and sparkling options.
The Smoke N’Roses is the most impressive drink, served in a smoke box. (see below for the menu with ingredients)
The Smoke N’Roses drink includes Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Bliss Maple Syrup, Amarena Cherry Juice and Fresh Lemon.
Here is the Smoke N’Roses on the menu.
Other drinks include bottled beer, draft beer, wines and mixed drinks and more. I am not posting all the menu pages, but a few of them.
There are snacks available to purchase including a Bavarian Style Warm Pretzel, Hummus Trio and Street Tacos.
We tried a couple of different cocktails while we were there. Everything we saw was nicely presented and I enjoyed this 1565 Tiki drink that includes St. Augustine Rum, Malibu, orange juice, pineapple juice and vanilla syrup.
We also sampled some of the menu in smaller portions than usual, including the Pork Belly Bao. I don’t know what the usual portion size is for the items, but they were all tasty.
Anthony Porcellini is the Director of Food & Beverage at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, and said a few words.
He then got up on the bar to celebrate the opening of Phins and the new lobby.
The Dolphin fountain is pretty, there hasn’t been one here before – unlike the Swan Hotel.
Phins is to the left, and seating can be found around the fountain.
Looking toward Phins.
Phins & Feathers is the craft beer of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, Jeff really likes it (I don’t drink beer).
After the lobby ceremony, we went to Fuel. From the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin press release: For the first time since its opening, the resort has built a completely new dining venue. Located in the Dolphin lobby, fuel offers high-quality quick service and grab-and-go food and drink options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast options include pastries from world-champion pastry chef Laurent Branlard, muffins, breakfast sandwiches and wraps and a variety of coffee, tea and espresso options. Lunch and dinner options include sandwiches and salads. Those with a sweet tooth will find Branlard’s signature desserts and chocolates as well as frozen yogurt and a wide assortment of candy.
This was a much needed location, and it is pretty large.
Guests can purchase a variety of beverages here.
There is also a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine in this corner.
Phins & Feathers can be purchased by the 6-pack here.
Other beers can also be found, including Jai Alai beer from Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing.
Here are prices on a variety of items, including coffee and desserts.
Prices are pretty much in line with the parks, resorts and coffee shops around Walt Disney World property.
There are sandwiches as well as salads to go.
Here is a look at sandwiches in the case.
The Tomo sandwich.
Here is a look at the sandwich case – there are quite a few options!
There are also sweet and savory muffins in the case, including Blueberry Cheesecake and the Ham & Swiss Muffin.
And the pastries from Chef Brandlard look incredible. We didn’t try them this time, but I definitely plan to. There are also boxed sweets that can be purchased to take home.
I am not sure what this is, but I was intrigued by it (another pastry item!)
And there are cold sandwich and salad options.
A couple of Pastry Chef Branlard’s sugar creations are here for display.
This is a look at the counter with employees making coffee.
Frozen yogurt is also for sale here, with a decent variety of toppings available nearby.
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin has a nice lighting package, upgraded a few years ago outside. It is a nice location to take a walk to.
I mentioned the Friendship Boats – they do pick up at the dock at the Dolphin. But walking is generally quicker and I enjoy the views along the way.
Check out the redesign numbers and more information below about the refurbishment from the press release.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Redesign By the Numbers:
- $140 million – cost in dollars of the entire project
- 3 – length in years of the project
- 6 – phases of room renovations to keep the resort open to guests throughout the project
- 2 – new food & beverage venues introduced: the grab-and-go Fuel and bar Phins
- 2,267 – number of guest rooms redesigned and upgraded
- 86 – number of meeting rooms redesigned or added
- 9,890 – total number of individual crystals in new Dolphin lobby chandelier
- 6 – number of new pool cabanas at the resort
- All 2,267 guest rooms were completely transformed to a new look which reflects the resort’s water-themed architecture. Noted interior design and architecture firm Garcia Stromberg/GS4 Studios designed the rooms, drawing inspiration from the resort’s original designer, the renowned late Michael Graves. The new rooms offer guests a relaxing oasis featuring hues of white, blue and gray, sleek multi-functional furniture and all new bathrooms featuring vanities with backlit mirrors on iridescent glass tiles
- Technology upgrades include the addition of more outlets and USB ports for charging devices and new high-definition TVs. The resort will also soon introduce new interactive TV software, allowing guests the ability to check out from their room and cast their own video streaming services from their personal tablets and mobile devices to their in-room TV
- Coming soon will be new private poolside cabanas furnished with lounge seating, tables, fans, refrigerators and television for rental. Each cabana will include full food and beverage service
- A new 2,800-square-foot meeting and event space, Lake View, offers scenic outdoor views of the resort’s private lake and picturesque Dolphin Resort
- All of the resort’s 332,000 square feet of meeting space has been transformed with an updated appearance
- New technology includes electronic reader boards throughout the meeting space and the latest in high-density Wi-Fi offering high-speed, uninterrupted internet to groups as large as 15,000 people
About the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
In the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, the award-winning Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort resides amongst the greatest theme parks and attractions in Central Florida. The resort recently completed a $140 million transformation, the largest in its history. It is located between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and nearby Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and Magic Kingdom Park. Guests can discover 18 world-class restaurants and lounges, sophisticated guest rooms with Westin Heavenly Beds and the luxurious Mandara Spa. The resort features five pools, two health clubs, tennis, nearby golf, complimentary transportation throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, the extended park hours benefit, where each day, one of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks is open extra time for guests to enjoy select attractions (Valid Theme Park admission and Resort ID required) and Disney FastPass+ service, where guests can reserve up to 3 select theme park experiences up to 60 days in advance of their visit. The resort can be reached at 800-227-1500. For more information, visit www.swandolphin.com and connect with the resort via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.