Welcome to the first of my articles about Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. This one will be an overview of the resort, but there is so much to see and do that I realized some things will need their own articles. Additionally, my fellow DIStracted author Danielle M. shared her thoughts and experiences of her Thanksgiving 2014 visit here and here.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resort which has studios, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom grand villas available to reserve with DVC points. There are also “regular” rooms, and all rooms and villas may be booked as a cash reservation if they are available. In other words, you do not need to be a DVC member to stay in any of the accommodations!
The resort is located on Florida’s east coast, approximately 2 hours north of Fort Lauderdale and 2 hours southeast of Walt Disney World Resort. It has a 5-mile stretch of private beach where sea turtles nest throughout the summer.
The resort’s main building is called The Inn, and it is where you will find Sonya’s Restaurant, Shutters Restaurant, The Green Cabin Room (the lounge), The Spa at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and the Island Grove Packing Co. (the gift shop/grocery).
The Inn is where the non-DVC rooms are located. The studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom DVC villas are located within one of 3 separate Villa Buildings, and the 3-bedroom Grand Villas are located on the resort property closest to the beach – and there are only six of them! We were in Villa Building 14, and we were able to park underneath the building and take the elevator up to our unit. Luggage carts were available in the garage. I will be doing a separate article about our accommodations, so stay tuned for that!
When checking in, you will be given a newsletter with a list of the week’s activities, information about where to sign up for the activities, the pool and slide hours, the Seabreeze Cabana Company hours (where you rent umbrellas, cabanas, jet skis, etc. for the beach), campfire information, and a map of the property.
At the north end of the resort is the campfire pit, and across the street from the resort (and accessed by a handy tunnel under A1A) are tennis and basketball courts, a nature trail, archery, horseshoes, a soccer field, and a lakeside pavilion.
The resort has a large pool with a lighthouse-themed water slide, a Tiger Lilly Pirate Ship water play area for little ones, and a playground area. There are also a 9-hole miniature golf course, ping-pong tables, and shuffleboard courts near the pool. Also located near the pool are Steamers Sauna, Blinker’s Arcade, and the Anchors A-Weigh Fitness Center. Visit Eb and Flo’s Rentals near the pool to get pool/beach towels. The towels are free, but you do need to show your room key to receive them, and you may change out wet ones for dry as many times per day as you wish. Eb and Flo’s is also where you get ping pong balls and paddles, rent golf clubs and balls, rent bikes, and sign up for some of the activities.
Also near the pool, there is a Community Hall that hosts different events throughout the day/week. While we were there, one could sign up for “Mickey Tye Dye”, “Sea Shell Bags”, “Umbrella Craft”, “Shark Tooth Necklaces”, “Tot Craft” (ages 5 and under), “Wine Glass Painting”, “Sea Turtle Presentation”, “Goofy Bingo”, “Tile Art”, or “Ceramic Art”.
In addition to the classes, the resort offers several other activities: an all-ages scavenger hunt, a tot scavenger hunt, chalk art, water slide races, a sunset kayak adventure, an adult pictionary challenge, a family glow golf tournament, paddle boarding, a behind the beach tour, star gazing, an adult trivia battle, a bike hike, surf school, fishing fundamentals, family soccer, a sand sculpture competition, pin trading, a nature walk, campfires, and a volleyball tournament.
And, if all that weren’t enough, there are various activities throughout the day at the pool: games, a DJ, an evening trivia and dance party, and a beach blast pool party.
DIStracted tip: Some of the activities require you to register beforehand and some require a fee, so check the weekly newsletter that you’re given at check in for all of the details and times.
One of the activities that is only available from April through October is the nighttime Turtle Walk. We were able to do that, and I will be writing a separate article about it. Advance booking is highly recommended. The cost is $35.00 per person, and there was a requirement that children be a minimum of 8 years old. Additionally, every morning at 7:00 a.m. on the beach, Guests may meet and talk with a sea turtle specialist, and on Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. in Community Hall, Guests may attend an hour-long interactive presentation about the sea turtles that nest on the resort’s beach.
At check in you will also receive a list with the weather forecast and tides for the week, and on the back it has the two nearest movie theaters and what is playing at each that week. The resort also thoughtfully provides a map to Vero Beach and the surrounding areas that includes a list of places of interest (grocery stores, pharmacies, medical centers, shopping areas, museums, parks, theaters, and golf courses), in case you want to go explore off property.
The resort has a few different dining options. The main “casual” restaurant is called Shutters, and it is located in the main resort building, which is called The Inn. Shutters offers breakfast from 7:30 to 11:00 a.m. and dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. On Sundays, Shutters offers brunch from 11:30 to 2:00, although when we were there the brunch was set up in Sonya’s.
Sonya’s is billed as the resort’s Signature Restaurant, although it was not operating when we were there, and the menu was not included in the paperwork that we received at check in that listed the menus for the other restaurants.
There are two Character Dining options available. On Saturday mornings, Donald Duck and Goofy are present in their beach attire at the buffet breakfast in Shutter’s from 7:30 to 11:00, and on Monday nights from March 28th – June 13th, Donald Duck and Goofy are present for the Pirate buffet dinner and dance party in the Seagrape Room at 5:00 and 7:30. The character breakfast is $20 for adults and $12 for children ages 3-9, and the dinner and dance party is $30 for adults and $17 for children ages 3-9. Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR’s) are highly recommended for the Character Dining experiences.
The bar, the Green Cabin Room, is also located upstairs in The Inn and has some tasty food choices. Two of the nights we were there we opted to order a few appetizers in the bar and share them as our dinner. It worked out well. The pretzel bread with cheese sauce was definitely a hit, as were the hummus plate and the popcorn. Additional selections available include a Wedge Salad, Caesar Salad, Flatbreads (Short Rib, Four Cheese, or BBQ Chicken), Meatball Parmesan, Sliders, and Shrimp Skewers. The Green Cabin Room is open from 12:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Near the pool, you can order lunch or snacks at Bleachers Bar and Grill. Hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets, and a tuna salad sandwich are offered for adults, as well as nachos, hummus and pita chips, tropical fruit with toasted coconut, and a couple of salads. Kids meals are also available. You can also purchase a resort-refillable mug, which we did and it was very handy to have. Soft drinks, iced tea, lemonade, coffee, and even hot chocolate are included as free refills.
The gift shop at The Inn and Shutters both offer a 10% DVC discount, although the Shutters brunch is not eligible, just regular meals. As we didn’t participate in either Character Dining option, I am not sure if the DVC discount would be honored for those events. DVC members do receive a discount when renting beach items and golf clubs.
We were only there for four nights, but there was more than enough to keep us busy. We also relaxed on the beach and at the pool quite a bit, so we didn’t avail ourselves of most of the activities that were offered. It was great to have a choice of so many things to do – or to do nothing.
All in all, I highly recommend Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. I am originally a Florida girl, and the resort and grounds reminded me of “old Florida”. We had such a great time that we are already talking about when we can go back.
Have you been to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort? What were your thoughts and experiences? Come by the Magical DIStractions Facebook group and let me know! Magical DIStractions can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ so please take a moment to follow us. You can also sign up for the Magical DIStractions newsletter and watch videos on our YouTube channel. We will keep you up-to-date on all of the latest news!