Today we take a look at Disney’s first Vacation Club, the Old Key West Resort, a resort I still think is one of the most beautiful properties at Walt Disney World.
The resort is huge, with 49 (three-story) villas reminiscent of the Florida Keys. It is the least Disney-esque of all Disney properties. The buildings with pastel facades, white trim, and shuttered windows are arranged in small neighborhood-like clusters around a golf course and along Bonnet Creek.
The registration area is in Conch Flats Community Hall, along with a modest fitness center, marina, and sundries shop. Olivia’s Cafe is the resort’s main eatery. Here, too, the decor is Key West, with pastels, mosaic-tile floors, potted palms, and tropical trees in the center of the room. There is some outside seating, which looks out over the waterway. Service at Olivia’s is friendly, and the kitchen turns out tasty casual fare.
Each cluster of accommodations has a quiet pool; a larger pool is at the community hall. A waterslide in the shape of a giant sand castle highlights the main pool at Old Key West. There is also a hot tub, a kiddie pool, a water play area, and a free sauna inside the idyllic lighthouse.
The buildings are a mix of studios and multi-room villas. The resort offers some of the roomiest accommodations at Walt Disney World, with all rooms having been refurbished in 2010. Studios are 376 square feet; one-bedroom villas, 942; and two-bedroom villas, 1,333. Studios contain two queen-size beds, a table and two chairs, and an extra vanity outside the bathroom.
One-bedroom villas have a king-size bed in the master bedroom, a queen-size sleeper sofa in the living room, a laundry room, and a full kitchen with coffeemaker. Two-bedroom villas feature a king-size bed in the master bedroom, a queen-size sleeper sofa and fold-out chair in the living room, and two queen beds in the second bedroom.
All villas have enough closet space to contain your entire wardrobe. Studios and villas are tastefully decorated with leather and upholstered furniture in neutral tan or green color schemes. The wood kitchen table and chairs are painted white. One-bedroom and larger villas have wood flooring instead of carpet. Each villa has a private balcony that opens to views of the golf course, the landscape, or a waterway.
Transportation to other Disney World destinations is by bus. Walking time to transportation loading areas from the most remote rooms is about 6 minutes.
Views are nice from almost all villas; all multiroom villas and some studios have a large balcony furnished with a table and chairs. Though nice vistas are easy to come by, quiet is more elusive. Because the resort is bordered by busy Bonnet Creek Parkway and even busier Buena Vista Drive, the best villas are those as far from the highway noise as possible.
BUILDINGS WITH THE BEST VIEWS AT OLD KEY WEST
For a lake and golf-course view away from road noise but closest to restaurants, recreation, the marina, the main swimming complex, and shopping, ask for Building 13. Nearby, Buildings 12 and 11 are likewise quiet and convenient but offer primarily golf-course views. Next-best choices are Buildings 32 and 34. Building 32 looks out onto a lake with the golf course in the background, while 34 faces the golf course with tennis courts to the left and a lake to the right. None of the buildings recommended is more than a 2- to 5-minute walk to the nearest bus stop or pool. Avoid Buildings 19–22, 38 and 39, 41 and 42, and 49–54, which border Bonnet Creek Parkway and Buena Vista Drive.
GOOD TO KNOW
If you scored a Disney Resort hotel reservation, remember it does not guarantee theme park access, which you will have to request separately. When it comes to the parks, openings are scheduled as follows: July 11 for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15.
If you landed both a resort reservation and park admission, note that there will be no FastPass+ service, no Extra Magic Hours, and no park hopping for now. Private dining and in-room delivery will not be offered during the initial reopening window. Be aware that face coverings will be required for each guest age 2 and up; they must be worn in all public areas, except while swimming or seated for dining. There won’t be any fireworks, parades, or character meet-and-greets for the foreseeable future.
Some hotel amenities and experiences will be unavailable, including: arcades, campfires, marina rentals, pin trading, playgrounds, spas, in-room child services, and special events. For more information check out the Walt Disney World Resorts website.
For all COVID-19 related information, read our updates.
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World; to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2020. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.