In the third episode of our 2021 Old Key West Review Series, we discuss everything about the resort except the rooms. We cover food and beverage, recreation activities, pools, transportation, parking, and everything else you may need to know when you're considering a stay at Disney's Old Key West Resort
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Episode 168 Cast:
- Chad pennycuff
- Roxanne Roux-Steele
- Dave Kluver
- Danielle Voss
Here's a link to our Old Key West Resort Wiki: MyDVCPoints.com/resorts/Old-Key-West
The vibe of the Resort
Disney’s Old Key West Resort – the original Disney Vacation Club Resort, does not disappoint with its relaxed vibe, great resort activities, and excellent theming. Imagineers did a fantastic job with this location – it really does feel like you’re in Key West, Florida! It truly is a tropical oasis, allowing guests the ultimate relaxation, even when on vacation to Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Old Key West Resort is located in the Disney Springs Resort Area, not far from Saratoga Springs (share golf course) and near Port Orleans French Quarter/Riverside resorts. It remains somewhat “under-rated” and is not overly booked. It’s not nearly as difficult to book and luckily “off the radar” for many guests.
Activities & Amenities
Built with the idea of offering Disney Vacation Members more to do on their trips than visit the theme parks, the activities, and amenities at Disney’s Old Key West Resort are impressive and have something to offer for all family members!
As the original of the DVC Resorts, Old Key West Resort began the concept of the community hall – now a staple at many DVC resorts. Among the activities offered at Hank’s Rent-N-Return, DVD rentals, bikes, board games, ping-pong, and surrey bikes. Pontoon boats, canopy boats, pedal boats, and water bikes are all available for rental. You can make a craft, chill out in the TV area, or relax with a book.
Among the other activities offered at Disney’s Old Key West, you can participate in:
- The “Legend of Conch Flats Tour” – is a walking tour of the resorts (Wednesdays/Saturdays – just like the nature tour at Vero Beach)
- Golf – which is shared with Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
- Beach volleyball
- Three lighted tennis courts
- ping pong
- corn hole
- air hockey table
- There are three separate Playgrounds for younger kids near the pools
- A Resort fitness center
- General store = Conch Flats (town name it’s modeled after)
- Bike rentals (regular) & Surrey bike rentals (like Boardwalk) at Community Hall
- 1.37-mile-long jogging path along winding canals and golf fairways:
- There’s an excellent Fun Run for a small fee with a medal and water bottle earned after completion
- Two arcades
- Fishing excursions
- Outdoor BBQ area
- Concierge in lobby
- In-room babysitting
- Campfires with Smore’s and movies under the sky
Guests of Disney’s Old Key West are spoiled with four pools staggered throughout the resort. The Main Pool is a 149,000-gallon feature pool located near the Hospitality House. It has a Sand Castle Water Slide and is one of the fastest of the DVC Resorts. Adjacent to the slide, there is a dry sauna at the base of the lighthouse. The main pool area also has a whirlpool spa and beach, plus “dolphins” and an adjacent kiddie pool. The three leisure pools are in the resort’s Old Turtle Pond area, South Point, and Miller's Road section. Each leisure pool has a whirlpool spa.
Restaurants & Bars
As many DVC members can attest, Olivia’s Cafe is one of Walt Disney World’s best-kept dining secrets. Open for breakfast/lunch & dinner; their Fried Chicken is even rated better than Art Smith’s Homecoming (shhh – don’t tell anyone)! Along with this, their signature dish is the conch fritters and their shrimp ‘n grits. While serving primarily southern fare, breakfasts are also highly rated.
Fun fact: At Olivia’s, you’ll find actual DVC members’ photos lining the walls!!!
Next to Olivia’s Cafe is The Gurgling Suitcase Libations & Spirits bar. Serving Lunch and Dinner, this relaxing poolside establishment has incredibly friendly bartenders!
Good’s Food To Go is a counter service restaurant where you can order food by the main pool, and there’s also the Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks restaurant serving lunch in the Turtle Pond Pool area. Lastly, the resort offers In-room Dining and pizza delivery.
Transportation & Parking
Old Key West is serviced by an interior bus and busses to parks. Also available are the Pontoon boats to Disney Springs – a highlight of any trip!
However, one transportation downside is that Old Key West is not walkable to any four parks. And while Disney Springs is walkable – it’s a hike! The oversized campus gives the resort a lousy wrap transportation-wise.
With lots of bus stops throughout the resort, this can mean a long bus ride if you hopped on at an early stop, only to have to wait through u-turns and several other stops to get out of the resort. And, if you want to get on a bus to a park and staying near the Hospitality House, the bus may be full when it arrives. Practically, however, you can get on a bus in the back of the property and ride it to the Hospitality House if you wish. All the busses stop there last.
Pro Tip: If you are staying in a room near the Hospitality House, it is a short walk to the Peninsular Road bus stop, and get on there. It is located across the bridge and opposite the lighthouse. The bus stop order is – Peninsular Road, Old Turtle Pond Road, South Point, Miller’s Road, then the Hospitality House.
Overall Resort Pros & Cons
Point charts are a great deal at Old Key West Resort! These per-night point values allow many members a way to stretch their points.
“…You use 20% fewer points for a 20% larger room….” Andy Berry
Also, the current cost to buy direct is $170 per point for a direct 2057 expiration date, which is the best deal for buying points direct right now! And if you can find a contract via resale extended – grab it! They are a rare find on the resale market and don’t stay available for long. Even If you’re not crazy about staying there, you could still have points here as part of your portfolio as cheap “network points” to use at seven months (as at seven months a point, is a point)
Sometimes, Old Key West Resort can be seen as less desirable to rental companies, often looking for members with points at the “premium” resorts. Along with this, it is less accommodating to certain family types, as Studios can’t sleep five people, requiring them to splurge for a 1 Bedroom villa.
As one of the larger DVC Resorts – some guests won’t like how decentralized it is. Unless you’re lucky enough to book a room near Hospitality House, you could have a lengthy walk to get to dinner or the lobby. For this reason, Owners usually book up Hospitality House inventory before the 7-month mark. And, along with the massive, sprawling size of the resort comes another problem – the inefficiency of the bus transportation.
Whether you are a new or seasoned DVC member, every member should add a stay at the original Disney Vacation Club Resort to their DVC bucket list! Old Key West is a resort that once you stay here, the resort and the cast will work their magic on you, and you'll soon be calling yourself an Old Key West Superfan.
Episode 168 was produced by Sandy Symianick. Show notes by Sandy and today's cast. Audio editing by David Kluver. Audio mastering by Chad Pennycuff.
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