The Dolphin in all aspects is treated as a Westin, except for the fact it includes smoking rooms so they keep the Sheraton brand name. It is the most non-disney hotel on Walt Disney World property. The rooms all feature the Westin Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Shower. If you are looking for a highly themed experience then you would probably be better off at either the Boardwalk or the Y&B as they offer the same premium location with the Disneyisch design.
If you are looking for a more sophisticated atmoshphere the Dolphin is your best bet
Best location in all of Walt Disney World, you are within walking distance to Epcot and Disney MGM Studios, you are adjacent to the Boardwalk entertainment district and across the street from Fantasia Gardens, of course you can also catch the Disney Resort busses to Magic Kingdom, DAK and Downtown Disney every few minutes
Really the only thing you lose by staying at the Dolphin is DME, DDP, and some would say the theming is not quite "Disney" having never stayed there (but planning on it for August), I can't tell you about that. But the location is ideal for Epcot and MGM, and it is easy to find discounted rates for the hotel.
Also just remembered that you can't charge to your hotel room at the S&D in the parks.
AND I think it has the sweet sleeper beds, WHICH ROCK!
As fantastic as the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed is and would put any bed in a Disney operated hotel to shame...you're actually getting a bit better than even that! As TarzanRocked99-06 correctly points out...at the Sheraton Dolphin...you're actually getting the same (and slightly better) Westin Heavenly Bed, just as they have at the Westin Swan.
This makes the Dolphin kinda of a unique fish in the world of Sheratons. But they did this one peculiarity simply as a matter of economics in that with this same bed type at both...they can share laundry, material, and other support services related to the bedding. After all...both the Swan (Westin) and Dolphin (Sheraton) are part of the same Starwood family of hotels and resorts.
Originally Posted by TarzanRocked99-06
If you are looking for a more sophisticated atmosphere the Dolphin is your best bet
Actually, I think the Swan is the more sophisticated of the two. The Dolphin is much bigger, more impersonal, more convention oriented, noisier...than the Swan, IMHO. Both are nice and very similar. But for a more sophisticated (and adult) experience...I'd pick the Swan.
The only thing I liked about my stay at the Dolphin was the proximity to Epcot and MGM and the beds. It felt very unDisney and I really did not like the service at the Front Desk or Room Service. The beds did rock though!!!