Yes, I said Old Key West. The resort most people overlook. The resort that people buy as their home resort because the price is right. The resort that seems so remote and far away from…well, everything. That’s the one. It’s my favorite, and here’s why!
If you’re looking for peace and quiet at the end of a busy day in the parks, Old Key West is for you. Every time we get off the bus, I feel my blood pressure drop twenty points. There’s something about being there…the relaxing music, the soothing pastel colors, the coconut scent…all of it combines for a laid back atmosphere that immediately reduces stress levels.
Also, it feels like home. Like a neighborhood. We’ve stayed in all the other Disney World DVC resorts and while they’re wonderful, many of them feel like a hotel with the energy level of a Las Vegas Casino. That’s fine for the times I want a high energy right in the middle of all the excitement vacation, but when I want to feel completely removed from the chaos, Old Key West is the DVC resort I crave.
The Cast Members
I cannot say enough good things about the staff at Old Key West. They are always so kind, helpful, and happy. On my last visit, my daughter and I got off Magical Express and before we’d even walked the distance of the “town center” we heard “Welcome Home” six times. Each one was accompanied by a wave and a smile which confirmed my theory that the cast members at Old Key West are among the friendliest on property.
They also go out of their way to help with any problem we’ve ever had. A cast member tracked down my daughter’s lost Magic Band and got it back to us within twenty-four hours. They drove us to our room in a golf cart after we’d stopped by Bell Services to pick up our Prime Now order and didn’t charge us the $6.00 delivery fee because we “came by to pick it up.” (Don’t worry, I tipped our driver.) They quickly responded to a maintenance call for an air conditioning issue and fixed it immediately. Best of all, everything was done with a smile.
That Neighborhood Feel
Because Old Key West was the first DVC resort built, it was planned and executed a bit differently than the resorts where DVC was added to an existing hotel property, or built in conjunction with one.
Old Key West is part of the “town” of Conch Flats. It’s a great bit of theming, and the signage at the resort from the trash cans to “Papa’s Den” in the main building (a nod to famous Key West resident, Ernest Hemmingway) reflect that.
The resort is organized around the town center, which includes the main pool area (featuring the lighthouse sauna), Olivia’s Cafe, the Conch Flats General Store, the Gurgling Suitcase bar, Good’s Food to Go, the community hall, the arcade, and the fitness center.
Everything is so picturesque, and designed to make you feel as though you are relaxing in your own quaint little town on Key West. I love spending time here because there’s so much to do. The pool area is well themed with plenty of tables and seating, and it never feels overcrowded. The pool itself is large, with a great slide (it’s faster than you think…my sinuses were completely irrigated when I hit the water on my last trip), plus the sauna. It’s a great place to camp out if you want a solid pool day.
The quick-service has genuinely good food. The pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw topping is amazing and I always get a key lime pie to eat while I’m poolside. Doesn’t get much better than that!
Olivia’s is the table service restaurant at Old Key West. It has such a homey feel and really delicious food. There is nothing better than having breakfast out on the patio when it’s fifteen degrees back in your home state and you’re listening to steel drum music, smelling coconuts and flowers, and eating their amazing Banana Bread French toast!
Like everything in Old Key West, Olivia’s has a back story. Take the time to read about it when you dine there. I love the fact that it feels like a family-owned restaurant where everybody knows your name and they’re happy to see you. I also love all the photos from the DVC owners at Old Key West that cover the walls. It truly makes for a charming, homey, restaurant. Plus, the fried chicken!!
Proximity to Disney Springs
While Old Key West isn’t close to anything else, it is close to Disney Springs…another of my favorite things. Plus, you ride a boat to get there. The ferry ride to Disney Springs is so relaxing and it sure beats another bus ride! The boat dock at Disney Springs is very centrally located in The Landing and boats travel frequently enough that I’ve never waited more than ten minutes to board one.
One of our favorite things to do while staying at Old Key West is to have a “resort day” where we eat breakfast at Olivia’s, hang out at the pool area until the afternoon, then head over to Disney Springs for dinner and an evening of shopping and fun. It’s perfect.
So in a nutshell, that’s why Old Key West is not only my home resort, but my favorite DVC resort as well. Not to mention, they have the biggest rooms on property for the least amount of points! We always book the first half of our Walt Disney World vacations at Old Key West. It starts us off in the right frame of mind, helps us to relax, and reminds us why we love our DVC!
The next time you head to Disney World, give Old Key West a try. I promise you won’t regret it!