The Swan/Dolphin is a luxurious, clean, comfortable resort. My family experienced an unfortunate problem when a theft occurred from our room. As a customer, I understand that bad things are going to happen sometimes. It’s uncontrollable. When it happens, I do expect the staff to do what they can do to make it right. Tommy and the rest of his security staff were very professional and caring. They helped me recover my stolen property and made up for the ordeal with a three night vacation that my family will never forget. I would recommend it and do intend to return one day to the Swan/Dolphin.
If you’re interested in the (lengthy) complete details of my experience, keep reading.
My review of the Swan/Dolphin is going to span two trips. I will explain why in a bit. The first trip was in February, 2013 and the second was in March, 2014. Both times I was travelling with my wife and two daughters, aged 9 and 7 as of the first stay in 2013. We are Disney enthusiasts and have all been numerous times and stayed both on Disney property and offsite.
In 2013, we booked two nights at The Dolphin in a standard two queen bed room for a short “on grounds” experience. We arrived late on a Friday night after a long drive from Louisiana. In the lobby, we were immediately impressed by The Dolphin’s appearance and grandeur. At the front desk, we were told that the room we booked with the two queen beds was not available, so we had been upgraded to a suite with a king bed and a sleeper sofa. That was not a problem as far as we were concerned. When we got to the suite, it was certainly much bigger than the standard room. We enjoyed the extra space, the view of The Boardwalk, and the king-sized bed. If I had to criticize something, I would say the color scheme and furniture were a bit dated. But otherwise, the room was very clean and comfortable. The kids complained about the sleeper sofa, but because of their age and the fact that they seemed to sleep well, my wife and I were not very sympathetic!
On Saturday Morning, my family visited Animal Kingdom. We returned to our room at The Dolphin at approximately 2:00 pm. I found it odd that the room had not yet been made up by housekeeping. I removed my gold (men’s) wedding band and placed it in the drawer of the nightstand, as is my practice whenever I visit a hotel. I did place our electronics (iPad, iPods, etc.) in the safe, but I did not think much about the wedding band. We then went down to enjoy the pool area, which is fantastic. The grotto pool is beautiful, and there is a sand beach area with hammocks and volleyball court. After a very relaxing pool experience, we returned to the hotel room to get ready for dinner. That is when I noticed that my wedding ring was missing. We turned the room upside down looking for it to no avail. The room had now been made up, so the housekeeping staff had entered while we were at the pool. I was coming to the conclusion that someone, housekeeping or otherwise, had stolen the ring from our room. We left for dinner and returned later in the evening. We searched some more but still could not find it.
My wife encouraged me to report the incident to the hotel security staff. I was reluctant. I didn’t believe they would take me seriously, or that they would tell me that I should have locked valuables in the safe. Plus, there was still a shred of doubt in my mind as to whether or not I believed my own story, or if I was mistaken and just lost it. However, I complied and contacted security. I was met in the lobby by two gentlemen who took down the details. They said they were going to run a scan on the door locks to see who entered my room. They were very professional and courteous. I have to admit, I was still thinking that they were putting on a good show and that they couldn’t possibly care about my ring. So we checked out with lots of apologies and a promise that I would be contacted with any information that they find from their investigation. I was not optimistic.
A few days after our vacation, I was contacted by a hotel security investigator named “Tommy,” who strongly encouraged me to file a police report with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OSCO). He said that he had some leads, but couldn’t go any further unless I filed a report. Again, I’m thinking, “Wow, like the Sheriff is going to send out the CSI unit to get to the bottom of this stolen wedding ring.” But again, I complied. Sure enough, soon after I filed the report I was contacted by a detective from OSCO. He informed me that a ring meeting the description I gave was located at a pawn shop in Orlando. I eventually identified the ring as my own and had a friend who was travelling to the Orlando area retrieve it for me. I was angry that, based on Florida’s laws, I had to pay the pawn shop the amount they paid the thief in order to retrieve my stolen property. I always thought that pawns shops operated at their own risk and would be responsible for the loss whenever they dealt stolen property, but apparently that’s not how it works in Florida!
So, although I was grateful to Tommy and the OSCO for all their work to retrieve my ring, I was still out a couple hundred dollars and many hours of my time spent on the phone with the hotel, the sheriff, the pawn shop, filling out paperwork, etc. So I contacted Tommy one more time to ask him if there was anything he could do to compensate me for my time loss. He was in fact able to give me a gift certificate for three free nights in the hotel. He wished me well and told me to reach out to him when we get there.
Flash forward to March, 2014. That’s when we decided to cash in our 3 free nights. This time, we chose a room with two queen beds in the Swan. We checked in on a Tuesday morning. Being the loving husband and father that I am, I handled the check in duties while my family visited the Magic Kingdom. I was pleasantly surprised that my room was ready even though I was there several hours before check-in time. The bellboys were friendly and eager to help me with my bags, but I preferred to handle them myself. The room was a standard one with two queen beds, as expected. Obviously, it was much smaller than the suite we had in The Dolphin. But it had a desk, a chair and small coffee table, and a refrigerator. The size was more than adequate for my family of 4. I would describe it as extremely clean and much more modern than the room at The Dolphin. The bathroom area had one lavatory inside the bathroom and another one just outside the door. This came in handy when three women were trying to get ready. There was an awesome rain type shower head in the tub/shower. The beds were very comfortable.
As requested, I looked up Tommy to tell him we had arrived for our 3 free nights. He welcomed me and told me he was going to get a free breakfast for me and my family. When he contacted me the next morning, he had not 1, but 3 certificates for free breakfasts at the Garden Grove for my entire family! So for 3 mornings, we ate the breakfast buffet. The buffet featured hot and cold cereal, bacon, eggs, sausage, potatoes, fruit, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, an omelet station, and many other items that I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention. Everything was delicious and my family really enjoyed it. Sadly, after our three days were up it was time to check out and return home to reality. When my final bill was emailed to me, I noticed that they also comped my daily parking charges, which was another unexpected surprise. So after a stay of three nights and breakfast each morning, I owed literally zero. My family certainly left the Swan/Dolphin with a good feeling and a strong desire to return.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.