What DVC Members Love about Old Key West
When the Disney Vacation Club debuted in 1991, Disney initially operated only one resort for potential members. And that was more than enough because the Disney Vacation Club Resort delighted guests from day one. Here’s what DVC members love about Disney’s Old Key West Resort, the original DVC property.
DVC turned 30 in 2021, and its original plans evolved over those three decades. As such, the rooms at Old Key West come from a different era. That’s a good thing, especially in terms of room size.
Disney’s earliest villas provide much more square footage than most of the more recent offerings. A Studio at Old Key West covers 390 square feet of space and somehow seems that much roomier.
The angular nature of the Studio’s design stretches the space in the kitchenette, bathroom, and closet sections.
Also, the outdoor patios possess much more of a sitting area. You’ll appreciate the difference by watching this video from DVCFan’s Amy Krieger:
Old Key West includes nearly 50 buildings. So, your view may vary, but the video underscores the splendid patio. You can sip a cup of coffee and admire the gorgeous grounds whenever you want.
Note that some of the rooms have tighter indoor sitting areas. They’re terrific for couples but a bit small for larger traveling parties.
As for the room, Disney has outfitted them with a coffeemaker, toaster, microwave, plates, and utensils. However, you’ll gain substantially more by choosing a villa instead.
Here’s where DVC’s initial plans become clear. The one-bedroom villas cover a massive 942 square feet. The villas are probably bigger than some places where you’ve lived.
These rooms contain full-sized, fully stocked kitchens, a washer/dryer unit, and a corner bathtub. They also sleep five as opposed to the four allowed in Studios. In terms of bang for the buck, I consider them among the best DVC options overall.
The two-bedroom villas cover 1,395 square feet and sleep nine comfortably. You’ll find a king bed plus two queen beds. Meanwhile, the comically large Grand Villas sleep 12 in a hotel room with 2,375 square feet of space. For a large family or friendly gathering, it’s an ideal option. Then again, so is the two-bedroom villa.
The Old Key West campus proves challenging to conceptualize until you have visited. Disney has divided the campus into multiple sections like Miller’s Road and Old Turtle Pond.
Thankfully, Disney has centralized the main dining and store options near the hotel lobby. Old Key West calls this area the Hospitality House section. Importantly, you can book a room in this convenient area for a few more DVC Points per night.
From a dining perspective, that’s not necessary, though. The internal bus route leads to the Hospitality House. There, you can eat at one of DVC’s most beloved restaurants, Olivia’s Café.
This place emphasizes comfort food, and its theming pairs well with its best dish. The conceit of Olivia’s involves a woman who loved cooking for her neighbors so much that her home kitchen became a de facto restaurant. All her guests love her prized recipe, Southernmost Buttermilk Chicken.
Since the earliest days, DVC has inexorably linked Olivia’s Café with its members. You’ll even discover family photos of previous DVC trips populating the restaurant’s walls!
Alas, when you stay far from the Hospitality House, you won’t always want to walk/ride there. In those instances, you should try Gurgling Suitcase Libations & Spirits, a hidden gem of DVC. It’s a bar and lounge that also serves menu items from Olivia’s Café!
Good’s Food To Go and Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks also provide Quick Service menus. Good’s resides close to the hotel lobby as well as the boat dock. So, it’s a terrific option when you’re returning to the resort and want a quick bite. The pool shack will be your best friend when you’re staying at/near Turtle Pond Road.
You can stock up on supplies at Conch Flats General Store, which resides in the Hospitality House section near the hotel lobby. The sign above the entrance says Cargo & Provisions, which establishes the tone for what to expect.
This spacious shop seems more open-ended than most Disney locales. You won’t feel claustrophobic as you explore the aisles, which had been a problem under a previous design here.
Meanwhile, the Sandcastle Pool plays decidedly un-Disney but thematic Jimmy Buffett music. This fact alone explains why it was my original Home Resort.
This pool area includes a lighthouse and dry sauna that justify a visit during your stay. DVC guests booked at other parts of the resort may prefer one of the convenient Quiet Pools at Miller’s Road, Old Turtle Pond, and South Point, though.
While Old Key West caters to everyone, it’s particularly appealing to duffers. Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course wraps around parts of the resort. Some hotel rooms come with direct patio views of the PGA Tour-approved course, a stunning amenity.
Finally, a Disney Friendship Boat transports guests to and from Disney Springs. It’s not just a convenient way of reaching the entertainment district but also the most scenic method. My favorite part is when the boat sails past the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.
Management emphasizes the Key West theme at the resort. Many outdoor activities will entertain your traveling party, no matter its size.
For example, you can rent Surrey Bikes to drive around the resort. Currently, Disney offers two-person and four-person bikes, and you can rent more than one if needed!
This resort hosts campfire activities and Movies Under the Stars as well. You can also rent fishing equipment or play sports here. You’ll find basketball, pickleball, tennis, and volleyball courts at Old Key West. Old Key West is an ideal resort for travelers seeking a more active lifestyle during a DVC vacation.