It shouldn’t come as a surprise to followers of Central Florida’s slick tourism infrastructure, but one of the stars of the #MLSisBack tournament being staged at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World this month has been the hotel where all the teams have been staying.
By Susan & Simon Veness
In creating a COVID-19 ‘bubble’ for all the teams to inhabit during the unique soccer tourney that has brought sport back to our TV screens this month, one of the essential requirements was safe, secure — and comfortable — accommodation for all 24 teams.
Step forward the Swan and Dolphin Resort, one of the most distinguished independent hotels within Disney’s own ‘bubble.’
Not only has the resort been home to some 1,200 Major League Soccer players and staff since the end of June, it has had to be adept enough to provide up to 5,000 meals a day for a bunch of hungry, high-calorie-intake sportsmen.
The fact it has done so with considerable aplomb has caught the eye of the sportswriters of ESPN, who wrote a detailed article on how well the hotel has handled its taxing assignment under nationwide scrutiny.
Variety, consistency and reliability have been the key watchwords for the Swan and Dolphin’s catering staff, and the statistics alone have been remarkable — more than 14,000 pounds of chicken, nearly 7,000 pounds of seafood and nearly 2,500 pounds of bacon have been consumed in the first three weeks alone.
It is a great success story in its own right within the confines of a sporting event, and it is worth reading in full here.
Now comes the good part for our Central Florida visitors: with the soccer tourney coming to a close in the next two weeks, the resort will re-open to the public once more on Wednesday (July 29), and bookings are now being taken online.
“With the Disney parks now reopened, we are thrilled to open our doors again,” said newly-appointed general manager, Sean Verney. “We are committed to providing a relaxing and revitalizing experience but doing so in a responsible manner.”
In preparation for reopening, the property has implemented “Our Commitment to Clean,” a new set of policies and procedures for cast members and guests to address the unique challenges presented by the current pandemic.
The new procedures were developed in conjunction with medical and public health experts, and include cleaning protocols throughout each step of the guest’s journey and through every physical space in the hotel. The key components include:
- Enhanced Cleaning – cleaning efforts will be increased across all areas of the hotel, with special attention paid to high-traffic spaces and high-touch surfaces.
- Physical Distancing – restaurants, meeting spaces and other public areas will have reduced seating capacities; signage and stanchions throughout the property will assist with proper distancing in lines.
- Use of Personal Protective Equipment – face coverings will be required for all cast members and required for all guests in public spaces
A full overview can be found at SwanDolphin.com/ImportantInfo.
“We’re ready!” said Verney. “While much of the world has changed, our goal remains the same — to deliver a magical experience for our guests. And that’s what we plan to do.”
Editor’s Note: Susan & Simon Veness freelance write for a number of publications, ours included. But here they write on behalf of the Central Florida Tourism Collective, a group they formed, and in which we are a part of, that aims to give visitors a reassuring message of life in the heart of the Sunshine State during these unprecedented times.