Vero Beach Resort Review
I want to tell you about our recent trip to Disney's Vero Beach Resort. My wife suggested that it might be a good idea for me to be familiar with this property "for the business" but she is known for using any excuse to get to the beach...any beach. As such, we might not be Dr. Beach but we have refined our beach bumming to an impressive level. You're familiar with the "designated driver" (DD) concept, right? We have a different kind of DD "designated date keeper" for our beach endeavors - one person who is responsible for keeping track of the day of the week and telling the others when we have to go home.
So, how does the Disney Vero Beach Resort rate? We were very impressed. The resort is an easy 2 hour drive from the Orlando area. This hotel has not only earned a high spot on our Favorite Beach Vacations list but it has also carved a niche for itself on our Favorite Disney Hotels list. We give the beach and the water at Vero Beach a "nearly perfect" rating. The beach is a little narrow but extremely clean. The beautifully blue water also seemed very clean and was a wonderful 81 degrees - perfect for cooling off on a warm, humid Florida day in June. So perfect that we neglected to re-apply sunscreen and fried ourselves to a crisp. The water is shallow near the shore but becomes deeper - you can quickly and easily get out to shoulder deep water. This probably helps avoid the too warm, stagnant feel you sometimes experience along the Florida coast. The surf was not strong during our visit and we had no issues with rip tides. There are riptide warnings every where so it must be an issue at times.
The beach is a bit grainy - not the powdered sugar fine sand you find in some places – but still pleasant for walking and playing on. The kids were delighted with all the little shells available. Disney provides beach chairs and, although the resort had a fairly high occupancy, we were always able to find a chair. Sea kayaks, boogy boards and other beach type items are available for rent at reasonable prices. Our boogie board was $9 for a full day's use.
As for the resort - everything about it is designed to give you that relaxed, classic beach holiday feel. It is Disney so everything is very clean but it is not fussy or pretentious, even though this is a deluxe level resort. The staff is friendly and readily available but not intrusive. The buildings are very nice with a beach retreat feel and extra touches like hammocks, rocking chairs, and porch swings. Although the resort is right by the ocean, guests in first and second story rooms might be surprised to find that they cannot see the sea. Disney is deeply committed to protecting the area sea turtle breeding grounds and has put up a high hedge of sea grapes to keep the resort's artificial lights from confusing young turtles and they make their way to the ocean after hatching. The landscaping is, as expected, very well done and does not detract from the experience. We had a room on the third floor which granted a wonderful view of both the landscaping and the ocean.
The swimming pool is a loosely formed Hidden Mickey shape with a fun lighthouse styled waterslide. The water was heated to a comfortable temperature and was kept clean with plenty of pool towels and deck chairs available. Our kids loved the “Dive-In Movie” that was offered on one evening of our visit. An animated Disney movie was projected on to a large poolside screen just after sunset – the lights were dimmed so the atmosphere was subdued while we bobbed in the pool and watched the movie.
Where Walt Disney World keeps you hopping with all kinds of visual and auditory stimuli, Disney's Vero Beach is engineered to help you relax and just enjoy the day. Amenities like mini-golf, board games, bicycle rentals, a play area, and the pool encourage family togetherness and relaxation. We'd just come from nine full days of theme park research so our girls recharged their batteries by spending all of one morning watching old episodes of "Walker, Texas Ranger." One of the staff told us that many guest come for a break of a day or two in the middle of their theme park vacation but end up canceling the rest of their time in Orlando in favor of more beach days. It is easy to see why.
Don’t worry that all this relaxation might be just a bit too sedate - there is a daily list of scheduled activities flake nature talks, kayak excursions, campfire sing-alongs, and crafts for the kids to keep you busy. Some of these activities are limited to a certain number of guests (sign up on a first-come-first-served basis) or have an extra fee associated with it. The fees seemed reasonable - for example, one craft activity was $3 per person, for supplies.
The resort features a couple of restaurants – including character meals on the weekends – and a little store that featured basic grocery items, magazines, and Disney souvenirs. The nearby towns of Sebastian and Vero Beach offer more dining and shopping opportunities. We purchased the refillable mug for $11.99 and were a little surprised to find that Vero Beach is already selling a standardized “Walt Disney World” mug, rather than one specific to Vero Beach. We stayed at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort following our time at Vero Beach and found that they too are using the same mug.
The resort features Deluxe Inn Rooms and studio units that can accommodate up to four people and have kitchenettes. The one and two bedroom “Vacation Homes” have full kitchens. There are a few Three Bedroom Beach Cottages that can accommodate up to 12 people but these are expensive and reservations can be hard to get. We stayed in a one-bedroom unit that fit our needs perfectly. There was a full kitchen, living room area with a nice sleeper sofa, 1.5 bathrooms, a balcony, and a washer & dryer. My wife was favorably impressed with the quality of the kitchen items: Homer Laughlin Fiesta ware dishes, Farberware pans, Pyrex items, and enough utensils that we didn't have to wash dishes every time someone used a spoon. We've stayed in enough condos with peeling Teflon pans and mis-matched kitchen items to really notice the difference.
Was everything perfect? Close, but not entirely. My understanding is that they are renovating the rooms and, although our room was very clean and comfortable, the furniture was a bit faded. The handle fell off of our microwave while we were there. Neither of these things detracted from our overall experience, I just mention them to give you a fair and complete view of the property.
This is a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property and features all the standard DVC Home-Away-From-Home amenities. But you do not need to be a Disney Vacation Club member to stay here; the resort also accepts regular reservations. Just contact me and we'll be happy to set up a reservation for you. We will compare prices to see whether it a better deal to book a conventional reservation or if renting DVC points will save some money.
We took a lot of pictures so be sure to check those out.