When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Or in my case, when life hands you a Dole Whip, you eat it. My latest trip to Walt Disney World Resort had some mishaps and typically followed Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. But I just kept making the best of it, despite it all (including a three day stomach bug for both myself and my 3 year old). The biggest mishap, besides being sick, included accommodations, or a mix-up in accommodations, that seemed to set the mode for the trip from day one. But listen, the bottom line is I was in Disney! My most favorite place in the world!
We are DVC members (since 2012) and Old Key West is our home resort. This was actually our first time staying here. We’ve previously stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village as DVC members, and several other Disney resorts prior to joining DVC. I was looking forward to staying at Old Key West, in particular, because we are big fans of the Florida Keys, especially Key West. However, there was a little disappointment heading into the trip because we had waitlisted Boardwalk Villas at the seven-month mark and didn’t get it. But hey, we’re going to Disney so stop your whining!
Upon arrival, I could definitely feel the Florida Keys vibe going on. It was very peaceful and serene. However, upon check in (an hour long process), we found out that DVC had mixed up our reservations and mistakenly downgraded our room from a Deluxe Studio near the Hospitality House (the main area where the front desk, main restaurant, bar, store and main pool are located) to a Deluxe Studio. We ended up in a room about as far away from the Hospitality House as possible (a 15 minute walk). They offered to change our room the next day but the room was just as far as the one we were in on the opposite side.
Here’s the thing about Old Key West Resort. It’s huge. I had no idea it was this big. If we were near the Hospitality House, I think our trip would have been different. We would have been hanging out a lot more near the main areas which we didn’t get back to until our last day.
Old Key West is a beautiful, serene resort despite it’s massive size. The pastel hues of the building do remind me of the Florida Keys. It definitely gives off that vibe. However, I did feel that it lacked that magical Disney feeling I’ve felt at other resorts. The theming was pretty but lacked some pixie dust.
Our room was definitely a nice size for a Studio equipped with two beds, a table with chairs, little kitchenette area and bathroom. Note that there are no elevators at Old Key West and some buildings have three floors. We were on the second and after a long day at the parks, carrying a tired 3 year old, diaper bag and stroller up the stairs was not exactly fun. Although we were a 15 minute walk from everything, our room did have one great advantage. From our balcony we had a somewhat obstructed view of Illuminations! It was awesome!
Onto the rest of the resort. The main pool boosts a sandcastle themed slide, very cool. The kiddie area had a sandy ground with more sandcastle sculptures which my 3 year old loved. The pool near ours was smaller, no theming but did have a counter service (which had shorter hours) and a playground.
I didn’t get the chance to dine at Olivia’s because of my illness, but my family did for breakfast and dinner. They enjoyed it but they thought it wouldn’t be worth a trip if you were not staying on this property. Counter service had typical grub, suitable when you are looking for a quick bite.
Bus service was ok. We never waited more than ten minutes for a bus but because of the size of the resort, there were often up to four stops before we even got on our way. The best part was how close we were to everything. Only Animal Kingdom was a ride. All of the other parks were probably 10 minutes away.
Overall, Old Key West is a beautiful resort, I think very appealing for those looking for some rest and relaxation, however, we probably wouldn’t stay here again because of the lack of theming and size of resort. My goal is to stay everywhere and I have a lot more resorts to check out!