I hope each of you had a fun Easter and didn't eat too much chocolate last Sunday.
It's time for another Tip Tuesday, and this week I thought I'd share a REAL best kept secret at Walt Disney World. No, I'm not talking about the Disney Vacation Club, which has been using the tag line, "Disney's Best Kept Secret" for several years (and spawning the parody line as Disney's worst kept secret since they push DVC so much - don't get me wrong, I'd love to be a DVC member if I could find $20,000 in spare change).
No, I'm talking about a pair of somewhat overlooked resorts at Walt Disney World -- the Swan and the Dolphin.
They are located right next to Disney's Yacht and Beach Club resorts and offer excellent proximity to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Best of all, some guests can qualify for significant discounts that Disney doesn't offer at it's own resorts, while enjoying many of the same perks at guests at other Disney resorts (including Extra Magic Hours).
Disney rarely offers major discounts for certain parts of our society (like nurses and teachers). Disney does (sort of) offer big savings for members of the military through the Shades of Green Resort.
The Swan and Dolphin offer huge savings to these groups (teachers, nurses and military) as well as Florida residents.
For instance, the educator savings is incredible. Teachers (and education support staff) could stay at the Swan or Dolphin for as low as $129 a night (and a second room for as low as $99 a night). That's cheaper than a Disney moderate resort during value season! Rooms at this rate are limited.
This same rate is available for nurses and military members. For those in the military, though, the Swan and Dolphin sweeten the deal: how about discounts off food at Swan and Dolphin restaurants (including Shula's)! You could save up to 50% (depending on the restaurant).
Florida residents can stay for as low as $149 a night (and the $99 a night second room offer).
There are a few downsides to staying at the Swan and Dolphin. First, you are not eligible to purchase the Disney Dining Plan, which is unfortunate as I am a big fan of the Dining Plan. Second, the Swan and Dolphin are not part of Disney's Magical Express service, so if you're flying into Orlando International Airport, you will have to arrange alternate transportation.
All-in-all, this is a great way to spend some time at Walt Disney World without breaking the bank. Essentially, you get a deluxe resort for a moderate (or value) price, if you qualify for the discounts.
Next time you're planning a Disney trip, give the Swan and Dolphin a thought - especially if you can lock in one of those great rate discounts!
(EDIT: Links added 4/16/09)