Old Key West is the original DVC (Disney Vacation Club) resort and the resort many long-term Disney fans and owners call home. However, that’s not the only ‘Disney First’ this resort holds. Old Key West was also the first deluxe villa resort to be built at Walt Disney World. By this point, you’re probably thinking all these ‘firsts’ probably mean this resort is old and outdated – but that’s not the case.
We had the pleasure of spending nine nights in one of the newly refurbished two bedroom villas at Old Key West while celebrating our wedding with close family. We booked the villa as part of the free Disney Dining plan offer for 2019 (this came with the standard dining plan) alongside park tickets for five adults and one child at a cost of approx £6,600 ($8,300 at the time of purchase)
Old Key West is set in an idyllic location along the lake that leads to Disney Springs. The Walt Disney World park closest to the resort (aside from the waterpark Typhoon Lagoon) is Epcot which is around a 5-minute journey on one of the Disney buses, and furthest away is Animal Kingdom Lodge which is around a 15 – 20-minute drive on one of the Disney buses.
The closest Walmart to the resort is the newly opened (although it’s not that new anymore…) one in Celebration which is around a 10-minute drive. Any location on-site at Walt Disney World resort is a good location, after all, you’re already within the main gate and always just minutes away from the action and Old Key West is no exception.
We arrived via the complimentary Magical Express directly from MCO Airport at around 7.30pm local time. Tired from the long journey but highly excited for what was to come we were pleased to find only one party in front of us who was speaking to the staff at reception regarding a matter.
We were the only party checking-in and was promptly taken by an additional member of staff over to another counter to be checked-in. Here we received the complimentary Magic Bands that provided us with access to our room, access to the parks via our 14-day park tickets and access to the Disney Dining Plan.
The whole process took no longer than 15 minutes and from there we were able to leave our bags with the staff at the bell service counter who followed us up to our room that was a short 5-minute walk from the central resort area.
The room was on the first floor overlooking the car park and the balcony overlooked a small pool area. The room was spacious with a large entrance way into the apartment. The key to the door was controlled by your magic band which is helpful when it comes to having one less thing to carry around and worry about.
Immediately to the right-hand side was a closet with a high chair, vacuum and sweeping brush in. It had a rail for hanging clothes and a rack at the top for any luggage. As it is next to the door I wouldn’t leave anything valuable in there. Moving into the first bedroom where there was 2 double beds, a table and chairs, en-suite bathroom and 2 wardrobe rooms. This was a great size room and had plenty of space for storage. With 2 wardrobe spaces both with a rail, clothes hangers and a rack above and a large chest of drawers for more clothes we struggled to fill it.
The open plan living room/kitchen area was a great size for a family with the tv/storage unit breaking up the kitchen and living room. In the living room one of the sofas transformed into a double bed and the armchair also transformed into a bed, this gave the apartment much more sleeping space which was useful. We found the kids enjoyed bed hopping so this came in handy that they could change up the sleeping quarters.
The kitchen was equipped with everything you can think of needing. If like us you want a cup of tea before heading out to the park you may want to request a kettle from reception on checking in. There were pans and utensils for cooking, storage boxes to save food for the next day which was really useful. Like any American home, the fridge/freezer had ample space for everything we needed to keep cool. We had an oven and hob top which was great as our first night we bought a pizza from Walmart.
The second bedroom was the master which had a very large bath and free standing shower, queen size bed and a door out to the balcony. It had ample storage for clothes in the closet and chest of drawers along with an armchair in the corner and ottoman at the foot of the bed.
Each bathroom had towels, shampoo, body wash, face scrub and conditioner and a hairdryer. There were also tissues on the top along with replacement tissues and toilet rolls under the sink. The bathrooms were cleaned along with the rooms and towels were replaced. There is a notice to guests that if you are happy to reuse your towels again to simply place them on the towel racks. If you would like them replacing then place them on the floor or in the bathtub. This is to help keep washing down and help the environment.
The first bathroom is located in the double bedroom, it has a small area with a mirror, hairdryer and face wash and soap. This was a really useful area as we used this part to brush our teeth while someone else in the family could be using the bathroom. The bathroom had a large mirror with amenities, toilet roll and tissues on the worktop. The shower was a showerhead over a small bath which is suitable for children.
The second bathroom was located in the master bedroom, it was a little more open than the other bedroom. Within the first part of the bathroom was a large spa bath with shutters in a small window that opened to the bedroom. There was again a large mirror, hairdryer and plugs for shaving. Into the main part of the bathroom was a large standing shower with 2 shower heads, toilet, sink and vanity area.
There is complimentary WIFI within the hotel rooms. I didn’t actually get a chance to speed test this, but it is easily accessible with no password requirements etc.
We only required parking space for a couple of the days we were there. It was hassle free as we just let reception know upon check-in that we would have a car a couple of days. If you are driving there or hiring a car for your entire trip you can let reception know at check-in. To enter the resort by car the security will scan your band to check that you are a resort guest. The security is always very friendly on the gate and will always welcome you home. Each collection of apartments has a car park, it is open to the guests to use and has roughly 20 spaces. We were staying in room 1820 so the collection of apartments were 17-19, these would share a car park.
Our room was cleaned daily with fresh towels and bedding. Along with rubbish emptied and the dishwasher was filled and set going. This was unexpected as I thought we would be cleaned maybe every other day or so. If you are vacation club member cleaning is less frequent throughout your stay. Dishwasher salts, washing powder, sponges and washing up liquid were provided and were replenished every other day. These small additions were so handy to have and would definitely remember this for next time as I would use them more instead of buying our own.
The cleaning staff were great as nothing got moved from where it was left, they really did work around us and were respectful of our possessions. As we had lots of stuff out on the table for the kids to colour and play with it was often in the way for the cleaners, they were kind enough to tidy it to the middle and clean around the rest.
Every morning waiting for the park buses we were approached by housekeeping staff checking if they could get us any extras and would get those to you that day. We were able to order a kettle and green tea to the room for no extra charge. This happened every day and was so nice as we often needed an extra towel.
Park transportation was just as amazing as you might expect. With the resort not just having one bus stop but multiple to allow people to travel from their apartment to the nearest one rather than a central location. Being part of a large family, the park transportation allowed some of us to go to the parks while others followed later, or even visited another park with ease.
We found it easier and quicker to get on the stop nearest us and when coming home we would get off the first stop and walk back over the bridge. We were located in room 1820, we were roughly 5 minutes walk from the hospitality house. The first stop back from the parks was just over the bridge past the hospitality house.
At each bus stop, there was a screen with up to date times on when each park bus was due, if there was a problem with the Disney Springs bus it would say use ‘water transportation’. Buses were expected every 15 minutes to and from the parks. The buses would go to the following parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. If you were looking to go to one of the other resorts I would suggest going to Disney Springs and transferring to one of the resort buses there.
There was boat transportation that took you to Disney springs every 20 minutes. The boat was available for all guests and can be used for people with wheelchairs, electronic buggies and pushchairs. The D.V.C ferry is located at the back of the hospitality house near the swimming pool, Gurgling Suitcase bar and Olivia’s. There are steps down to the dock area or a slope for those with pushchairs and wheelchairs.
When returning from Disney Springs you will see that there are multiple ferry boats that dock there. These are used for many of the Disney Vacation Club Resorts. Each ferry boat has a different colour flag at the front, green is the colour for Old Key West Resort. When walking down to the dock stick to the right-hand side, the captain will check with guests in the queue which resort they are waiting for.
On the morning of check-out, we decided to indulge in breakfast at Olivia’s. This on-site restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We booked via smartphone using the Walt Disney World the evening before for 6 adults and 3 children at 8.10am.
Our waitress was lovely, friendly and so helpful which made the morning go by without a hitch. We ordered plenty of food and it came in good time. We had ordered hot tea and got to choose from a couple of selections of tea bags which was great, though we all stuck to an English breakfast tea. Many of us ordered the pancakes and Olivia’s Breakfast.
Here’s a look at Olivia’s breakfast menu for both adults and children (this is subject to change, and is based on our visit in April 2019)
Finally here’s a quick look at the pricing. You can see we used the remainder of our Disney Dining Plan sit-down meal credits for this meal. This was on our check-out day so while you can get better value for money, this was us just getting to the point of using them or them going to waste.
Good’s Food To Go
We ate here the night before we were due to get married and decided to sit on one of the benches overlooking the dock area. I chose the Turkey Ciabatta sandwich with fries and Cora had the BBQ pulled pork burger with fries. The food was packaged up in containers so you can eat in there on the picnic benches or take it back to your room. The food was fresh and tasted wonderful, the portion size was generous and could easily feed 2 for a small meal/snack.
While we were ordering it was quite quiet and the 2 young women who were serving us were talking to us and asked what we had planned for the next day. We explained it was our wedding day and this was our last meal together as an unmarried couple. They were so excited for us, congratulated us and rushed around to find us a wedding gift. They presented us with a cookie topped cupcake as a wedding gift and it was so lovely! It was such a sweet gesture and really made me feel so welcome and happy at the resort.
Somewhere we didn’t manage to venture inside during our stay at Old Key West was the Gurgling Suitcase. This is the small on-site bar that serves a range of alcoholic drinks including cocktails.
The general store was a great convenient add on, though we generally had food out in the parks or from Walmart it was handy for things such as medicines, plasters and a treat for the kids. There was a variety of medicines for both adults and children of different ages.
The general store had a couple of large fridges with drinks, frozen meals including pizza and ready meals along with fresh food to eat on the move. Of course, there were plenty of snacks like popcorn, chocolate and sweets to keep everyone happy.
There are also lots of little souvenirs that are personalised to Old Key West Resort such as pin badges, fridge magnets, clothing and artwork. There are also plenty of options to buy last minute gifts and toys for the children with any leftover pocket money. We found it a great place to find something for the kids to spend pocket money as the range was big enough they found something they liked without being distracted and spending hours in the shops.
Bikes can be hired from the community hall for a small fee. There’s a range of different bikes to suit family dynamics and cycling ability. Again, this is a service we didn’t have the chance to experience during our visit.
You’ll no doubt see plenty of the bikes outside, and around the resort area. These are ideal for exploring this beautiful and magnificent resort.
Located in community hall you could hire films to take back to the apartment for a cosy night in. Though we didn’t use this service this time, it was great to know it was available if you wanted it. This is great for families staying for longer stays and using some of the nights to rest up and dine in. I also think it is great for the children to come and choose a film and explore more of the resort.
Another part of the resort we didn’t get the chance to use was the exercise room. This features a range of equipment, however, there’s only one or two of the most popular machines so if you simply must get on the treadmill then be sure to get there early.
In conclusion, I can see why when arriving at Old Key West the staff say “Welcome Home” because whether you’re a DVC member or not, that’s exactly what it felt like – home. The service was impeccable, the staff simply couldn’t do enough to assist us – that included stopping while we were waiting for the bus to the parks to see if we needed any additional amenities bringing to our room as a part of the housekeeping.
Finally, when we took back our rental car we were able to use Ubers and Lyfts easily to get around. The drivers would be able to pick us up directly outside our apartments and take us exactly where we needed to go.
I would easily recommend staying at old key west due to the warm friendly atmosphere, soft pastel colours and scenery. It made you feel like you were having a relaxing summer holiday in the hustle of Disney. We had everything available to us that we could have possibly needed and could simply ask for anything else we were missing. As always, we’d love to know what you think of Old Key West, have you stayed here before? did you love it just as much as we did?
You can see why so many people love to call this resort home. It’s idilic location can deceive you into believing that you’re not at Disney World at all. The services and amenities are impeccable and the all-round experience is one that you’ll only ever find at a Disney property. If you’re looking for some Disney magic, it’s all right here.