Easter is perhaps one of the holiest days on the Christen calendar. It celebrates renewal, rebirth and for many, the start of spring. In addition to the religious significance, it is a time that most kids remember as a visit from the Easter Bunny who leaves us all those chocolate goodies, colored eggs and other treats. The Easter Bunny’s origins are from the German Lutherans, and in addition to bringing eggs to children, he was much like Santa Claus, who judged the behavior of children during the season. Here at the Swan and Dolphin, one of Disney’s premier resorts, the Easter season was always celebrated by visits from the Easter Bunny, Bunny Meet and Greets for the kids and candy for all. But for this year, the Holiday was amped up by the collaborated efforts of the Hotel’s Cast Members and many departments, making this year’s Easter celebration at the Swan and Dolphin countless families will remember forever.
So what is the story behind this year’s activities? I had a chance to speak to Justin Johnson, Director of Recreations here at the resort. In addition to being charged with internal team building for staff and corporate groups that stay at the Hotel, he is also responsible for designing activities for families and children staying at the resort. And they did it in a delicious way. All of us remember those tasty marshmallow treats called “Peeps” These candies in the form of little “Yellow” chicks have come a long way since their debut in 1953 by the “Just Born” candy company. Following the yellow chicks, many other colors and shapes have followed, but the little yellow chicks are what most of us remember.
`Justin stated…”We had partnered with “Peeps” for this Easter and our slogan is “Show your Peepsonality” We are encouraging our guests to utilize social media, such as Facebook Twitter and Instagram. We have a contest where you can win a free trip to the Swan and Dolphin by posting your own “Peeps” dessert creation. Coinciding with the contest, the Peeps Easter week here began on April 16th to the 23rd, and it involved the Disney tradition of Family Fun activities all week long, centering on those Peeps. Justin continues…”Peeps donated 16, 000 Peeps for use all around the property”. “They were used in culinary creations in the form of amazing and creative dessert treats made out of Peeps by Executive Chef Robert Ciborowski and his talented team of chefs at the resort” The Peeps were offered at the Hotel’s eateries for desserts along with the regular offerings. He continues…”In addition, the Peeps were given out at all the week-long activities, all the Easter Bunny appearances, and Meet and Greets. We have been inundating our guests with Peeps and they love it!”
I asked him what the guest reaction to the program and he stated…”Guest response was a little overwhelming. It was the first time we worked with “Peeps” and with the information getting out on
the internet and press releases, the guests have been checking in and asking…”Where are my Peeps?” The special treats that the culinary team have created are really something to see (Check out the Pics!) I asked Justin what restaurants were participating in the Peeps desserts, and he said…”All the restaurants are participating to some extent, but if you look in the Garden Grill, The Fountain or Fresh, you will see a gigantic Peeps chick made of White chocolate displayed” Special Peeps concoctions were also available; Peep Milkshake at The Fountain, Peep S’mores at Garden Grove, Chocolate Covered Peeps at Garden Grove and Fresh. Even at the Java Bar, you could order up a Toasted Peeps Marshmallow Latte. So the restaurants were offering these unique Peeps desserts and the pictures do them no justice!
Getting back to the Family Fun activities, there was plenty to do and the Easter themed activities included Easter egg races, arts and crafts, and Easter egg hunts, meet-and-greets with the Easter Bunny. There was also a DJ, a guitar player, a really nifty glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt and glow in the dark volleyball game. On Sunday, Easter morning, guests could order an Easter Basket, which included a plush, a multitude of candy and a solid milk chocolate bunny, all delivered to their room by the Easter Bunny. Guests could enjoy a special Easter dinner buffet at Garden Grove restaurant, showcasing Disney characters on Sunday. At 5:00pm, there was a family game night, a Bunny petting Zoo, and a poolside showing of the movie HOP. Justin added that…”Peeps” also gave us individual wrapped Peeps, making it easy to give out these treats to the kids and the adult Kids at heart! Due to the mammoth success of the first time “Peeps” Easter week, I asked if the Swan and Dolphin was planning on this becoming an annual event. Justin answered…” We hope to do this annually. When you think of Easter, most people think of “Peeps”. “And we are looking forward to working with Peeps again to do more events like this” More activities included…Create Your own Candy Art, Create your own Bouncy Ball, Poolside Scavenger Hunt, a Create your own Fleece Pillow and one of my favorites; A campfire on the beach with live music and S’mores! Hard to beat that!
I spent several days at the resort, taking pictures and checking out all the activities and getting caught up in the fun. Everyone just seemed to be having a whale of a time, and seeing all the kids and parents together enjoying their Easter week, making memories proved that the Swan and Dolphin have nailed Easter fun on the head. I certainly hope they continue this tradition, it is a definite hit!
If you want to be kept in the loop about future events and happenings here at the Swan and Dolphin, the hotel can be reached at 800-227-1500 or www.swandolphin.com. They are on Facebook at www.facebook.com/swananddolphin. In addition, stays at the Swan and Dolphin affords you complimentary transportation throughout the Walt Disney World Resort and the Extra Magic Hours. Enjoy the pics of Easter fun!
Please enjoy this gallery of pictures that Bill Iadonisi took around Swan and Dolphin’s Easter “Peeps” Week!