This tale of The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts appears to be a common one told by bus drivers on Disney property.
According to many, the hotels were supposed to be the other way around, with the Swan being the larger hotel with the banana leaf decorations, and the Dolphin the smaller hotel with the wave pattern on the side. Unfortunately when workers lifted the large statues that stand at both ends of the resorts they mixed them up. The Swans were put on the smaller hotel and the Dolphins on the larger. Rather than spending money fixing the mistake, they just renamed the hotel and swapped everything else over.
Many have pointed out that this must be the case as why would their be dolphins on a hotel covered in plants and not the swans? Surely the Dolphins would feature on the hotel with the waves?
Yesterland carried out an interview with Disney Historian Jim Korkis who explained that there is a back story to the hotel which no one knows, which that is why they are decorated as they are.
The story of the Dolphin hotel is that of a huge island, covered in lush vegetation. The force with which the island rose out of the sea, caused two dolphins to be lifted from the water. The movement of the island caused waves to rush over entrancing two swans to stop swimming and watch the island, hence why the Swan hotel is covered in waves.
As for the strange black box in the centre of the Dolphin hotel, many have believed that this could be removed to allow a monorail to run through the centre. According to Korkis, the black box was initially intended on being circular, it is supposed to be the "heart of the island" with the water cascading down in fountain below.