Swan Reserve Thoughts

Our family of 5 got back from a week-long WDW in early March. We stayed at the Swan Reserve and I wanted to share!

We did use the Marriott Transportation to/from the airport which was $300 round trip before tips. Pricey! But incredibly smooth. The driver was waiting at baggage and wheeled two or three bags to the car for us (which with 3 small children I don’t know how we would have done this). We were in the car 15 minutes after deplaning with 2 car seats already installed!! The way back was fine but pretty much the same experience as an Uber. If you don’t have small kids, a full car, or a lot of luggage, this wouldn’t be a necessary expense. We planned for an evening at Epcot on our arrival day, so didn’t want to be slowed down by a shuttle or long Uber Car seat wait. With 3 kids for only 2 adults, this trip was all about convenience.

We reserved a Signature Suite for the week. We got to the hotel early so took whatever view was available. I had stayed there for one night in a signature suite and had a fabulous view, and I couldn’t find a layout of room types online, so incorrectly assumed the S Suites would ensure a decent view. Nope. We got the bottom floor with a “pool view” but we could only see the roof. I did actually request a change after seeing the room but they could not accommodate. It wasn’t a huge deal but I would’ve called ahead with a room request had I known.

I cannot imagine the 5 of us fitting into a standard room for a full week, so getting the suite was the draw to stay here. The layout was great. The kids and I slept in the bedroom and my husband used the pullout couch. We could close off my toddler for naps and the rest of us not have to sit in the dark or get kicked out of the room (we did break every day from noon-5). The beds were really comfy. The table was bigger than we needed and they did not have any plates or cutlery, so if you are ordering groceries make sure to buy disposables. Overall, we really enjoyed the room!!!

I really thought the dining here was excellent. The hotel was pretty dead so there was never any wait for anything. We had a great meal at Amare for dinner one night and a few meals poolside from Tangerine (same menu items). I liked it all. We got breakfast vouchers for continental breakfast (cold items) with Marriott points and it was also great. We could upgrade to the full buffet for $15 per adult. Breakfast was definitely the busiest of meals here, but we could still get in and out quickly. They opened at 7 but we could get in and out before we had to leave for rope drops.

The buses are a mixed bag. Some of them were typical charter buses (which were great! We could wheel our double stroller in the underneath storage without folding it up) but others were typical Disney bus style. One MK morning we hauled over to Boardwalk bus stop. It’s not terribly convenient and we had a stroller we had to haul up stairs (the elevator was inside and it was so early you needed a key for access). But we happened to strike gold and get a bus there a minute or two after walking up. Our other MK day we asked the bellmen if buses were running and they assured us they were. I knew the rule of them running 45 minutes prior to opening but didn’t know if that meant gate open or official rope drop. After 2 AK buses came by I asked the driver if MK was running and he said yes! But the 4th AK driver stopped us and said yeah they don’t start for another 20 minutes! So it is in fact 45 minutes before official rope drop - an absolutely no go if you want to make it in time and have a good spot in line. We were able to Uber CarSeat and I requested drop off at the Contemporary. This made for an easy walk and no line through their private security/bag check line. Even with the delay, we made it there 40 minutes before drop. If you aren’t on a time crunch, I personally preferred taking the Reserve buses because we were doing so much other walking. I know many prefer to just use BW buses.

The location is great if you have mini golf lovers. We went twice!

The pool is good/fine. On our first pool attempt, we went over to Dolphin Grotto. It is so big that if you have to keep your eye on more than one child, it’s hard. The areas are sectioned off too much for that so we didn’t last long or end up ever going back. I liked the Reserve’s “tanning ledge” which was perfect for our toddler. Our older kids made friends and were content playing with the pool noodles and blow up ball provided by the hotel. It was more relaxing for me to have them all close together. It was fine, but we also didn’t spend a ton of time at the pool. Unlike other Disney pools, they do not have lifeguards.

As far as ambiance, the hotel is nice. As mentioned, it was very quiet and the public areas were never busy. It is not Disney themed, if that matters to you. While we were absolutely fine staying there as a family, outside of the room layout it is definitely more catered to adults and business professionals.

I really value locations and honestly, the location was just ok. The walks to HS and Epcot are still a haul (a good 15-20 minutes) so keep that in mind. It gets to be a lot if you’re coming back and forth to parks a few times each day like we did, and are lugging children. The boats also were broken down for one day. Staying at BW would’ve cut down some time and been better if you are prioritizing location. Like all Disney property, there is still going to be some hoops to jump through and no location is perfect for all 4 parks. Overall it was fine!

One other reason for staying here was for early entry and also the Extra Evening Hours. Awesome. We found it was actually much easier to show our room key for early entry. The Magic Bands slowed others down. It was a bummer that we couldn’t use our Magic Bands as a room key or in the parks for purchases. I don’t quite understand why they can’t make that work but I guess it is to entice people to stay on official property.

I’m trying to think of If you have questions, ask away! I’m sure I’m missing something!