As much as we love Walt Disney World, sometimes we prefer to take a different kind of trip, especially during the summer. Hot summer days call for relaxing at the beach. Four years ago, we discovered Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and we fell in love. This Disney Vacation Club resort is the perfect beach retreat for families who want to relax, but still crave a little Disney magic.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is located southeast of Orlando on Florida’s East Coast. The resort is only about a two hour drive from Walt Disney World, which makes it a great option for a split stay. That’s what we did in 2013. We hit WDW and the theme parks and then spent the weekend at Vero Beach relaxing before heading home. We loved it so much, we did it again the next summer.
As soon as you drive up, you’ll feel as if you may have gone north instead of south. The structure of the resort is reminiscent of the type of hotel you may see on the Northeastern coastline of the United States. But once you hit the lobby you’ll soon be reminded that you are in fact in Florida. It smells like oranges!
The atmosphere is a blend of fun and comfort. Whether you are looking for relaxation or adventure, the lobby lets you know you came to the right place. The bright and elegant area will also give you your first glimpse of Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Accommodations consist of Inn rooms (located in the main building), deluxe studios, 1 and 2 bedroom villas and 3 bedroom beachfront cottages. During both our visits we stayed in an Inn room with an ocean view. The resort’s definition of “ocean view” includes rooms that may have only a partial view of the ocean.
We found the rooms to be comfortable and quite spacious. Our youngest was a toddler at the time. There was plenty of room to set up a pack and play without having to climb over other furniture. Our room also had a small kitchenette which was very convenient with small children.
Rooms can be booked with cash (with the exception of the beachfront cottages) or Disney Vacation Club points. We are DVC members, so we used our points.
When we were there, the area we felt the resort was lacking was the food. With only 2 table service restaurants, a lounge and the pool quick service, the choices were limited. Over a short weekend getaway, we felt like we had exhausted all the resort’s dining options. We had a car, so we went in search of other places to eat outside of the resort on occasion. We even tried the in-room pizza delivery. What we felt was sorely missing was a convenient grocery store for guests to stock up on supplies to make use of their kitchens and barbecue areas.
Late last year, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort went through a major refurbishment. We were happy to see that their dining options were a part of the changes. The addition of a grab-and-go market within the resort should lessen the need to venture off-property in search of food.
Guests who are looking for Disney magic will want to make reservations for Goofy’s Beachside Character Breakfast.
The main attractions at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort are the beach/ocean and the pool. We enjoyed both, and alternated between enjoying one and then the other during our stay.
During the summer, we found the waters of the Atlantic Ocean to be warm and calm. The sand is soft and clean. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent, or you can bring your own. We were perfectly happy to lounge on the beach and take a dip in the ocean, but if you want a little more action, you can rent boogie boards, sailboats, jet skis, kayaks or banana boats right at the beach.
At sunset, the beach is perfect for strolling and looking for seashells.
While the beach was relaxing, the pool had a lot more going on. There were many activities being run by Cast Members to go along with guests enjoying pool side treats and kids of all ages taking on the 163-foot water slide.
There’s also a pirate ship themed splash area for the kids. There are complimentary life jackets and games available. For an additional fee, you can play a 9-hole round of miniature golf or rent a bicycle to explore the Peter Pan trail. The resort also has supervised activities it its Discovery Club.
Being Florida, you can expect your day to sometimes be interrupted by showers or thunderstorms. When this happens, Cast Members bring the fun and games inside the main lobby to help keep the kids entertained.
An unexpected highlight of our stay was the campfire sing-a-long. On certain evenings, the Cast Members lead guests in singing fun songs around a fire pit before inviting everyone to roast their own marshmallows over the fire. When we were there, they even provided chocolate and graham crackers to make s’mores.
Tour de Turtle
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort shares its beach with some interesting guests. Loggerhead Sea Turtles use the Florida coast as nesting grounds from March to October. During nesting season, you can see Disney’s dedication to working with the environment and conserving ecosystems first-hand. The beach is open to guests to enjoy during the day, but at night, it belongs to the turtles. Each morning, cast members patrol the beach and mark new nests that were made during the night. The nests are roped off so guests won’t trample over them by accident. Guided tours are run on select nights for guests to learn more about these amazing creatures.
Or, if you’re extremely lucky, you might catch a nest hatching while it’s still light out. That happened to us. We walked down to the beach after dinner and noticed a crowd of people who were all looking at the ground. A nest was hatching! We were able to see dozens of baby sea turtles making their way across the sand and into the ocean. It was amazing!! Check out the video:
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort also hosts a Tour de Turtles event each year. Rescued sea turtles are released into ocean, with tracking devices to help study their migration habits. It’s a cool thing to see if your stay happens to coincide with this annual release, usually at the end of July.
It’s been a few years since our last visit to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and we’ve been itching to get back. It was such a great change of pace from our usual Disney vacations. We hope to find time to visit again real soon!
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