In Which Jenn Thinks The Swolphin Is…

Since I spent most of this WDW trip in a conference, I won’t be doing a traditional trip report, but I definitely still have a lot of stuff to tell you about that will be loosely collected under the July 2018 trip keyword. Read on!

I’m not really going to do a full review or overview of the Swan and Dolphin Resort. Lots of other websites have already done one, almost certainly better than I could’ve done and probably frequently updated, too. 

Instead, I’d like to discuss my impression of the hotel in the pantheon of Disney lodging options and why, even with its many advantages, it is probably not for me in the future.

But first, let us be objective: the Swolphin (as I and others generally refer to it) is a great hotel. It has tons of dining options, from full-service fancy-pants restaurants to grab-and-go coffee shops. The pool complex is extensive and includes a slide and hot tub (I am never warm enough). There’s even a gym!

My personal interactions with the staff were all excellent, and the rooms were nice – although being a Starwood Preferred member didn’t seem to garner me any special treatment as my view kinda sucked. Amenities were certainly a step up from a value resort, with free water and a coffee maker in-room. Views from the hotel’s general area were by contrast largely great, and of course the location – with easy walks to Epcot, the Studios, and the Boardwalk – can’t be beat.

Much is often made of the price; depending on the time of year the cost can be comparable to that of a Disney moderate resort. Of course, the Swolphin tacks on a resort fee and does not include the Magical Express, so you’ll have to pay to get yourself to the resort, too.

All the same, from a purely practical perspective, the Swolphin can’t be beat – except that it falls down, hard, in one key area.


What I love about Disney resorts – hell, you could argue what I love about Disney general – is its ability to create a sense of place. I love a good theme. I could sit in the village of Harambe or Serka Zong all day because they both evoke lands beyond. (Psst. DAK is the best park.)

This particular skill of the Imagineers extends to the resorts. For all our complaints about it, Port Orleans Riverside beautifully conjures the bayou. The Polynesian takes you away to a faraway island. Animal Kingdom Lodge has a freakin’ safari. Even the value resorts, with their colorful statues and terrible puns, create a sense of whimsy and irreverence.

The Swolphin’s theme is: a very nice hotel.


Much of what I love about Disney parks is that wonderful ability to rip me away from reality. Themed resorts are less showy than theme parks, but they too create a story that, when done well, weave me into the tale. While I can’t say for sure I’ll never stay at the Swolphin again, for now I’m content to pay a little extra for Disney to take me far away from the real world.

Have you stayed at the Swolphin? Am I overreacting or what?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Runs A Boardwalk 5K

Hello from Orlando International Airport! My flight took off three minutes ago. Haha, just kidding! It was supposed to take off three minutes ago. Now it takes off in two and a half hours.

Clearly I have some time to kill, so I’m going to tell you nice people about the conference 5k I ran.

This race is always a fun run with no chip times, just approximations, plus they don’t even promise it’ll be exactly 3.1 miles, but I like to participate every year anyway because hey, free race!

In this particular case there was the added incentive of running amok on Disney’s Boardwalk. It was enough of a draw to get me out of bed and hanging out at the Swan lap pool before 6:30am, 78 degrees and humid or not. Truly the magic of Disney conquers all.

The start was informal, and the pack set off with no real preamble or organization beyond: okay, go! The course matched the Swan & Dolphin’s suggested run route exactly, so we saw pretty much all there was to see of the Boardwalk.

First we set out across the bridge headed for the Yacht & Beach Club, curving around Seabreeze point where a breakfast buffet was being set up for a private event (an Epcot wedding, maybe?). Then we passed by the pirate ship – WDW Marathon deja vu! – and curved around to pass by the Boardwalk area proper, with ESPN and Ample Hills and Boardwalk Bakery and all that jazz.

From there we veered onto the path toward Disney’s Hollywood Studios – so, now in reverse of the marathon course. Luckily for my sense of cognitive dissonance, we were turned around at the top of path right before the bus stops and sent back down the trail, now in full accordance with marathon proceedings.

It was a blurry day.

After that it was one more loop of the Boardwalk before hitting in the finish, back where we started by the Swan. There was water and some Kind bars, plus plenty of cheering conference spectators. A couple of them were even cheering from swan paddle boats out on the lake!

As for my performance, it wasn’t too bad for all that. It was hot and muggy (aka Florida), and at the start I had to dodge around some slow people and a briefly narrow course, but I brought the whole thing in under a 9 minute average mile. All in all I wasn’t displeased.

Mostly I was just happy to be running at WDW again – and proceeded to do so twice more before I left. But that’s a story for later…

Have you ever run the Boardwalk? How do you feel about it?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review(ish): 7/18

HELLO! I have been hella busy at this magnificent conference IN THE FRIGGIN’ SWOLPHIN all week, and I scarcely even have time to write this post – hence the weird time and what, as you will see, will be a very truncated version. Rest assured I am doing it all in the name of amazing WDW exploration and will be coming at you with tons of new girl-on-the-scene updates over the next couple weeks.

So! I am – and prepare for possibly the greatest sentence I have ever written – I am literally about to run right out the door and straight into a private party at Epcot; thus, we’re gonna make this one short and sweet: we’re going to skip the week in review. Which means next week we’ll have three weeks to cover since I was at the beach last week, but don’t worry, I’ve been running. I even ran a race! (More on that coming shortly.)

Anyway! Here’s the roundup:

Just Me & My Running shoes runs on vacation. Me too!!
Disney Travel Babble shows off a craze-mazing Disney-themed apartment.
This Fairy Tale Life has the scoop on the new Play Disney app. (I’m gonna try it tonight!)
Kait Around The Kingdom shows off DAK’s famed Boma buffet.
A Pinch Of Pixie Dust tries WDW’s buzziest drinks.
The Disney Tourist Blog considers the WORST of WDW’s character meals.
Sparkly Ever After tries out that Disney After Hours hard ticket event.
Disney In Your Day hangs out in the Rainforest Room on DCL’s Magic.

And here’s a lovely video of me showing off all the latest Disney fashions while highlighting my rallying cry.

TTFN, ta ta for now!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Is Coming At You LIVE From The Swolphin

Hello! I am in Walt Disney World! RIGHT NOW!

I’m conferencing at the Swolphin, and it is going very well. I’ve walked on the Boardwalk, chilled in the hot tub, and seen the tippy-top of the IllumiNations fireworks over Crescent Lake. Can’t beat that.

I’m only halfway through the trip, and I know I’ll be mining this trip for lots of content (just WAIT until I hit Disney Springs, kids – I have cocktails in my sights and a shopping list in my head!). In the meantime, check these photos. Anything else you want to see? Let me know!

Have you ever stayed at the Swolphin? What do you think?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which FRoA Is 5 & WDW Is Imminent

Hey hey hey! Here’s a fun fact: as of yesterday, this blog is 5 years old! FIVE!

And to celebrate, I’m off to the beach with Pat’s family. PEACE.

Oh, but – as soon as I get back from the beach, I’m immediately heading to the airport for that convention in Orlando. That’s right; I’ll be coming at you LIVE from WDW. Hotcha! 

As is traditional, here is my pre-trip bucket list:
  • Go for some runs on the Boardwalk
  • Search out some of that rose gold stuff that I’m basic enough to want but am never fast enough to get at World of Disney
  • Perhaps try something from Amorette’s Patisserie? And/or the fancy chocolate shop?
  • Ponder some of the bar shampoos and conditioners offered at Basin (better for the environment!)
  • Buy Pat some more of those gummy worms he loves
  • Try some Boardwalk restaurants, including the Boardwalk Bakery and maybe Jellyrolls (or Flying Fish or Abracadabar? Recommendations, anyone?)
  • Poke my head in the Mandara Spa and see if they’re offering any specials (otherwise they’re way too expensive)
  • Investigate the Swolphin’s amenities, including the pool and gym
  • Check out the World Showplace and ride Soarin’ and Test Track several million times
  • Maybe see if they can fit one measly little person in the CA Grill bar for the fireworks?
Hang on, everybody – it’s gonna be one hell of a July!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 8/23

Ummmmmmm… hold on. Did anything interesting happen to me last week? Somebody tell me.

Training log, you got anything?

Sunday | ran 11.14 miles outside in 2:00

Monday | 2.14 mile walk outside in 35 minutes; 50 minute modern dance class

Tuesday | ran 5.68 miles outside in 60 minutes

Wednesday | walked 2.18 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute workout class
Nobody showed up for hip hop dance class except me, so the teacher and I just said the hell with it and did an, I don’t know, “body pump” kinda workout thing. Good for my arms and abs so I was down for it.

Thursday | ran 5.65 miles outside in 35 minutes

Friday | ran 5.6 miles outside in 60 minutes
SO HUMID, GUYS. (It’s kind of a thing lately and I’m not into it.)

Saturday | rest

When I first started running seriously, I was doing three 10 mile runs a week because I had lots of time and beginner’s enthusiasm. Once that was revealed for the insanity that it clearly is (enter: overuse injuries, serious boyfriend, generally doing things that aren’t running, did I mention overuse injuries?) I modified that schedule to two 10 milers and a 5 miler. Once I transitioned to doing most of my runs in the morning before work, I’ve gone from two long runs and a short to one long run and three short in the average week. Honestly I think it’s one of the smarter moves I’ve made – so far the injuries are at a minimum and I feel pretty good about my training. We’ll see how it all shakes out as the fall race season hits.

Hey, you know that conference I usually go to every summer? I run the 5K? I went to Universal that one time? Well, I wasn’t able to go this year, but NEXT year it’s… wait for it… IN ORLANDO again. Not only is it in Orlando, IT’S IN THE SWOLPHIN. Oh my God, guys… I could be a Crescent Lake snob. It’s a whole year away so there are no guarantees, but man that would be awesome.

Speaking of awesome, enjoy this roundup.

Elbowglitter volunteers at a triathlon.
Darling Rae preaches the gospel of CrossFit for runners. I’m not a joiner, but it definitely proves I really need to up my cross-training game…
Inside the Magic highlights my ABSOLUTELY ALL TIME FAVORITE Disney cartoons – Goofy’s instructional shorts.
Parkeology shares one last secret from the dearly departed Great Movie Ride.
easyWDW reviews Epcot’s Spice Road Table. Trying to decide if I want to take my mom there in December…
Disney In Your Day counts down WDW’s top 10 counter service restaurants.
This Fairy Tale Life shares what goes down in a Disneyland wedding brunch tasting.
Disney Nerds eats the famous Monte Cristo sandwich at Disneyland’s Cafe Orleans. I can’t believe I didn’t do this. Next time!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!