I know I am late, but:
Exactly this. I feel 100% the same way both about the Epcot area and the magic of AKL.
The Swan is like any other nice large hotel you could stay at. It is ridiculously convienient to Epcot and HS, but that is it.
If you love animals you must try AKL. It made such a memorable trip for me and my family. I greated a baby zebra every morning. I could watch giraffes walk by (from my bed!) As I booked morning LL.
If you were going 2 nights, I might say Swan. But 6 nights with 4 park days plus party? You need to be at AKL.
Also, Christmas 2021, the buses ran like clockwork.