Welcome back to the second half of my report of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. If you missed it, check out Part One for my overview of the resort, rooms, and grounds. Today, we’ll explore some of the entertainment, restaurants, gift shop, and spa.
Before we dive in, I have one additional comment about the grounds. Not far from the pool area, you’ll find a tunnel that goes under State Road A1A and leads to a large recreational area surrounding a lake. It’s a great place to ride a bike, shoot some archery, picnic, fish, or play a game of basketball or tennis. The activity sheet provided at check-in will detail the numerous activities that take place in this area during your stay. And if you haven’t had enough exercise, or perhaps have indulged in too many Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars, there’s also a fitness room on-site.
Offered four nights per week, one of the most popular nighttime activities is the Sing-Along Campfire. It’s fun for the entire family with energetic Cast Members leading the charge. After a hearty round of Boom Chicka Boom, you can feast on complementary S’mores. If you want to beat the record of most S’mores eaten, you’ll have to eat 31 to earn that title. And no, it wasn’t me who set that record, thank you.
Speaking of the Cast Members, my report would be a failure if I didn’t take a moment to offer them kudos. During our visits here, we’ve been blown away by how helpful and friendly they’ve been to us. From the moment you check in to the meals and activities, they are right there ensuring you have a great stay. We’ve experienced outstanding Cast Members at Walt Disney World Resort, and I can say the ones at this resort are top notch.
The Cast Members host organized daily activities for guests ranging from games, to arts and crafts and sports. Some activities are free, while others require a nominal fee. Most activities require signing up in advance which can be done at Eb & Flo’s Rentals. On Thanksgiving morning, guests at the resort made their own turkey centerpieces out of carved pineapples. My child participated in an activity later that day in which she crafted a thankful tree.
A popular event for children four years and older is the Unbirthday Party. This free event takes place a few times per week and is held in the Community Hall. It’s solely for kids which provides parents with a precious hour to themselves. While some opted to enjoy the pool next door, we headed to The Green Cabin Room to have a cocktail.
Our daughter loved decorating her own cupcake and singing songs with the Cast Members. For those desiring up to three hours of child-free time during their stay, the Disney Discovery Club provides a supervised evening program for a fee and accepts children between the ages of four and twelve.
As I mentioned in Part One of this feature, The Inn is the resort’s main building and houses the lobby, restaurants, spa, and gift shop. The lobby is inviting and has some local touches: framed vintage art that is a nod to the nearby citrus groves and glass bowls filled with seashells that have been written on by guests. I’ve been told these special seashells have been a tradition since the resort opened in the 90s.
At Thanksgiving time, the lobby is beautifully decorated for the holidays. The Christmas tree is beach-themed and features sea turtle ornaments.
On Thanksgiving day, there is a Disney Meet and Greet with Donald Duck and Goofy in the lobby. Both years we’ve visited, I have been surprised by the lack of lines to meet them. This year, my daughter had Goofy all to herself for ten minutes and we posed for pictures next to the Christmas tree. I think it’s rare to have that experience at any other Disney property.
For the holiday, the resort offers a lovely buffet which draws many locals. I met several people who’ve made going to the resort a part of their holiday tradition. Both restaurants, Sonya’s and Shutters, share their space for the buffet which is displayed in an adjacent banquet room. In addition to the obvious offerings (turkey and trimmings), there’s a variety of salads, hot dishes (vegetarian, too!), a pasta station, seafood table (mussels, child salmon, and shrimp), and butternut squash soup. The dessert table was decadent with pie, mini cakes, cookies, and a make-your-own sundae bar featuring the ever popular Mickey-shaped sprinkles – another reason to visit that fitness room again.
DIStracted Tip: If you wish to enjoy the buffet on Thanksgiving, make an Advanced Dining Reservation by September. Per my own experience and hearing from Cast Members, the holiday buffet books up early. Buffets are also offered on other holidays such as Easter and Mother’s Day.
Aside from the quick service offerings at the poolside Bleachers Bar & Grill, there are three dining options inside The Inn. The Green Cabin Room is the resort’s bar and has a menu with casual food. Be sure to sit outside on the deck and enjoy the ocean views. Sonya’s is the signature dining restaurant (think steak & seafood), while next door at Shutters, you’ll find casual fare. Shutters hosts a Sunday breakfast buffet and there are two character meals with Donald Duck and Goofy, a Pirate Character Dinner on Mondays, and Goofy’s Beachfront Breakfast on Saturday mornings. We’ve done the character breakfast during both of our visits and have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of character interaction.
For those who wish to cook while at the resort, supermarkets are located nearby. And those looking to dine off-site can venture eight miles south to downtown Vero Beach. I recommend taking the drive, not only for more dining options, but to explore its quaint shops and parks. North of the resort is a town called Sebastian which has a variety of restaurants as well. When touring the area, be sure to visit the local orchards to enjoy the citrus which put this region of Florida on the map.
In The Inn, there’s The Spa at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. While I’m sad to say I didn’t partake in any of the spa treatments, I peeked at the extensive services offered. Perhaps I’ll treat myself to something special during a future visit. At the other end of the lobby, you’ll find the Island Grove Packing Company. This gift shop has a selection of resort-specific souvenirs, convenience foods, sundries, and DVDs available for DVC members. There’s also a pin trading board.
This wraps up my overview of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. As you can see, there are many entertaining and relaxing experiences that await guests at the resort. It’s just the right mix of Disney fun and charm, all in a place of paradise. I’d recommend at least a two-night stay if adding on to a Walt Disney World Resort or cruise vacation, but it’s also a great destination on its own.