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Liliane Opsomer, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids recently stayed a the newly renovated Dolphin resort and had a chance to ask Santa and Mrs. Claus about their favorite things to do during their annual stay a the resort.
After undergoing a major $140,00,000, 3-year renovation, transforming every guest room, the Swan and Dolphin resorts are ready for the Christmas season. A new tree is prominently on display in the newly renovated Dolphin lobby, and Santa and Mrs. Claus have arrived in their favorite resort for their annual vacation.
On select nights, Santa and Mrs. Claus will also mingle with guests. Mrs. Claus, with the help of one lucky family, will be in the lobby of the Dolphin at 6 p.m. to light the Christmas tree before leading guests out to the causeway linking the Dolphin and Swan resorts, where she’ll meet Santa by their special Florida tiki hut.
Over at the Florida tiki hut, Elf Kandy Cane, Santa, and Mrs. Claus will entertain guests from 6:15 p.m. until 8 p.m. Make sure to bring your camera for fun photo opportunities. The causeway is also home to the dancing lighted palms, which come alive nightly every 10 minutes to tunes of the season.
Santa and Mrs. Claus graciously agreed to an interview recently; when asked what they do on their vacation, they told me that they like to take a stroll over to Epcot and Hollywood Studios or ho-ho-ho-hop on the Disney shuttle buses to visit the other parks. Mrs. Claus and Santa also look forward all year long to the tasty on-site dining options. Shula’s steaks and double-baked potatoes are always on their nice list. They leave time to relax in advance of the big day, by lounging near one of the pools or the beach and taking a leisurely Swan paddle boat ride.
Santa told us that Mrs. Claus is stressed all year, helping him and managing elves, so she makes it a point to treat herself to a spa day at Mandara Spa. Mrs. Claus claims that the fire & ice mani-pedi is what gets her in the cookie-baking zone.
Most people don’t know this, but Santa LOVES to golf. At the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Santa is close to four different golf courses, and he even has his own specially outfitted golf cart that hotel guests might catch him riding around in at the resort.
Except for cookies and milk, Santa’s favorite meal is at The Fountain, where he indulges in a mighty special sandwich called the Ice Cream Panini. Now that the secret is out, Mrs. Santa may, however, have a talk with him about this.
The resorts offer lots of activities, such as holiday cookie decorating and arts and crafts. A complete list is available here. The restaurants at the Dolphin and Swan resorts also offer special holiday menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s. If you’re traveling with little tykes and wonder how Santa is going to be able to deliver presents, there is a magical solution. Stop by the Concierge desk and pick up a copy of Santa’s magic key to hang on your hotel room door on Christmas Eve. The key works for Santa only, of course!
Make sure to check out the giant Santa sculpture hand-crafted by two-time World Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard. The display is located near Il Mulino New York Trattoria at the Swan resort.
Another great treat for children is to invite one of Santa’s Elves into your room to read The Night Before Christmas story. This service is available on select nights in December and on Christmas Eve. The elves bring cookies and milk, an elves plush toy, and the magic key for Santa; the milk is served in a keepsake mug. Prices start at $35 for one child and go up to $59 for a Christmas Eve visit, plus taxes and fees. Call 407-934-4206 for more information, costs, details, and to make reservations.
The Swan and Dolphin are located on the shores of Crescent Lake, in walking distance from both Epcot’s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Rates for a room on Christmas Eve for a family of 4 start at $216, plus taxes and resort fee. The resort fee is $25 plus tax per day, per room. Daily parking is an additional $20/day ($28 for valet).
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