Disney Theme Parks Wiki
Walt Disney World Dolphin


June 1, 1990




Entertainment architecture


1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830


(407) 934-4000


Epcot Resort Area



The Walt Disney World Dolphin is a resort hotel designed by architect Michael Graves, located between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, next to Disney's BoardWalk Resort area. It opened on June 1, 1990 and is joined to its sister hotel, the Walt Disney World Swan (also designed by Graves) by a palm-tree lined covered walkway crossing a lagoon. The Dolphin Resort is owned and operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide under the Sheraton Hotels brand.

The Dolphin and Swan share similar elements, but each has a distinctive appearance. The Dolphin is composed of a 257-foot (78 m) tall triangular tower bisecting a 12-story rectangular mass with four 9-story wings on the Swan-side of the structure. The roof of each half of the main mass is adorned with a 56-foot (17 m) tall dolphin statue. On the main colored facade there is a turquoise banana-leaf pattern echoed by a similar wave pattern on the Swan.

The statues on top of the Dolphin hotel are not mammalian dolphins, but a stylized version of a nautical dolphin, a common symbol used on old world nautical maps. The design of the creatures is based on Triton Fountain in Rome.

In 2008, the Walt Disney Dolphin Resort was awarded a One Palm Designation through the Florida Green Lodging Program established by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary state initiative that provides the lodging industry with free technical assistance, encouraging hotels and motels to adopt cost-saving “green” practices that reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and improve the bottom line.


In the late 1980s, Disney saw that they were losing business to area hotels that catered to conventions and large meetings, so Michael Eisner decided to build a convention-oriented hotel near Epcot. The Tishman Group, the contractor who was hired to build Epcot and who also had hotels in the nearby Disney hotel zone, claimed that the Epcot deal gave them exclusive rights to operate convention hotels on the Disney property. So Disney partnered with Tishman to develop the Swan and Dolphin complex. Eisner had used Graves for other company projects and wanted to continue to build striking, unique buildings.

Tishman owns the buildings, but has a 99-year lease on the land from Disney. Disney also receives a share of the hotel's revenues, and has a say in any design or architecture changes to the interior or exterior of the buildings.

Current dining[]

  • Cabana Bar and Beach Club
  • The Fountain
  • Picabu
  • Splash Terrace
  • Todd English's BlueZoo
  • Shula

Past dining[]

Walt Disney World Privileges[]

Dolphin guests have full transportation to all Walt Disney World theme parks and attractions. Length-of-stay passes are available, as is package delivery from shops across the resort. Dolphin guests can use Extra Magic Hours at certain theme parks on certain days. However, room charging (using hotel key as a credit card at Walt Disney World) is not available and hotel restaurants do not participate in any Disney Dining Plans or discounts. Guests staying at the Dolphin have parking, boat, and bus privileges. The BoardWalk, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Epcot are all within walking distance and are also accessible by boat.

Sources & External Links[]