Walt Disney World hotels urban legend debunked

Even if you haven’t stayed at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, you have seen the convention hotel complex if you have visited EPCOT. The postmodern resort designed by American architect Michael Graves is visible from several places in the park.

The triangular hotel with leaves painted on it is the Dolphin, and the rounded one with waves is the Swan. Which seems to be the opposite of what they should be, right?

And thus, a Disney urban legend was born. It says that when the iconic sculptures on top of the two hotels were hoisted into place, they were put on the wrong buildings, and the names of the hotels had to be changed.

At Yesterland.com, Werner Weiss aims to put the urban legend to rest once and for all. Weiss recounts a conversation with Disney historian Jim Korkis, who has first-hand knowledge of Graves’ intent.

The real story, according to Korkis, is that the Dolphin hotel was raised up from the ocean bed by a volcano or earthquake, and the two dolphins on the roof were raised up with it. It’s an island now, which accounts for the leaves on the building. The swans on the companion building stopped to look at this phenomenon and were turned to stone.

Weiss has many more details, but among the other gems from the interview was the idea that Graves, who then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner handpicked to design the hotels, didn’t even like Disney. According to Korkis, Graves “freely admitted that seeing a four-foot mouse walking around in the parks was just ‘wrong’ as far as he was concerned.”%Gallery-86600%