I hesitate as I write this, as I feel like I am about let the cat out of the bag and expose one of the most overlooked and underrated of the Disney Vacation Club properties: Disney's Vero Beach Resort. I hesitate because, currently, Vero Beach is one of those DVC resorts that most often seems to have availability for much of the calendar year, and the points per night are very reasonable. If I let too many people in on this little secret, am I about to cause an increase in interest? Will availability remain as favorable as it currently is? Luckily for you, that’s a chance I’m willing to take.
Vero Beach is located on Florida’s east coast, just over 2 hours from Walt Disney World Resort, and just 50 miles south of Port Canaveral. It makes for an ideal stay for a night or two if someone is flying into Orlando International Airport prior to departing on a cruise and is looking for somewhere to stay, but not necessarily on the grounds of Walt Disney World. However, if someone is planning a parks-only trip and utilizing only Disney transportation during their stay, it may prove difficult to make it over to Vero, as Disney does not offer transportation options from the parks to the resort. I suggest that it may be worthwhile to rent a car and add on a couple of nights at this hidden gem. Imagine: five days at the parks, thousands of steps trekked each day, early Extra Magic Hours, late night park hours, meeting characters, and consuming thousands of calories in Mickey bars and churros. Doesn’t a couple of nights at the end of the trip relaxing on the beach surrounded by touches of Disney sound magical?
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort opened in late 1995 and was the second Disney Vacation Club property built. The resort is part of the Treasure Coast area of Florida, with the Atlantic Ocean serving as its backyard. Upon entering the resort, it instantly feels like you have stepped right into the lobby of, say, Disney's Beach Club Resort or Disney's Boardwalk Inn Resort – somewhere you would find on Walt Disney World Resort property. There’s a certain Disney scent to it, the theming of nature throughout (and hidden Mickeys!), along with music piped into overhead speakers and Disney cartoons playing on nearby televisions. Don’t forget the Mickey hands located just above the elevator doors, to let you know what floor the elevator is currently sitting on. As you walk through the lobby and pass through the back doors and catch a glimpse of the ocean just beyond, you know that you are in for a treat.
As with the other DVC resorts, there are multiple rooms to choose from, based on size and location within the resort property. These include Deluxe Inn Rooms (Ocean and Standard Views - 360-375 sq ft) that accommodate four, one-bedroom villas (880 sq ft) that sleep five, two-bedroom villas (1255 sq ft) which sleep up to 9, and the amazing three-bedroom beach cottages (2125 sq ft) which sleep up to 12. The cottages are standalone structures, and each are two levels.
The beauty of staying at Disney's Vero Beach Resort is the fact that you can do as little as possible, enjoying the beautiful pool and hot tub area, or choose to walk down the short boardwalk leading directly to the beach and ocean. There are also a large number of activities available at the resort if relaxation is not your thing. The 9-hole mini golf course can be played at no charge for DVC members. Adjacent to the golf course are shuffle boards, bike rentals and a small playground and splash area for younger kids. There are poolside games throughout the day as well as ultra-competitive water slide races!
One of our favorite activities at the resort is the campfire singalong. These are held multiple evenings throughout the week, and there is no additional charge to attend. Guests are led by multiple cast members in a lively singalong (Baby Shark, anyone?!), followed by the distribution of marshmallows, roasting sticks, graham crackers and squares of chocolate. Maybe it’s because we are on Disney property, or it could be the sound of the waves crashing along the shore off in the distance, but the s'mores are hands down the best we’ve ever consumed.
As with most deluxe Walt Disney World resorts, there is a variety of dining options available. The Wind & Waves Market recently underwent refurbishment and now offers sandwiches, salads and burgers, in addition to sweet treats. There is not seating available within the market, but there are plenty of seating options available outside near the pool. Next to the Wind & Waves Market sits the Wind & Waves Bar, serving up various alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Much to our surprise, you can also purchase milkshakes or a dish of soft serve ice cream from the bar.
Inside the resort, the Wind & Waves Grill is located. I consider this the equivalent to a table service restaurant located on the grounds of Walt Disney World. It was also recently renovated, and we have not had the opportunity to dine there for a meal. The Green Cabin Room is located on the second floor of the resort, where one can relax on the deck and overlook the Atlantic Ocean while sipping on a cold beverage.
Did you know that there are character meals available at Vero Beach…and for a fraction of the cost as ones you might find at Walt Disney World? On Saturday mornings only, from 7:30-11:00am, Goofy’s Beachside Character Breakfast takes place just adjacent to the Wind & Waves Grill. While the offerings at this breakfast buffet are not nearly as vast as what is offered at Chef Mickey’s Buffet at Disney's Contemporary Resort, there is still plenty to choose from: scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, and Mickey waffles! The breakfast is currently $20 per adult and $12 for ages 3-9. Typically, there are just two characters that visit. During our breakfast, Goofy and Donald, dressed in their beach attire, came to see us!
If you plan your visit right, you can also enjoy a Pirate Night dinner at Seagrape Banquet Hall on select Monday nights! Not only can you dine on ribs, roasted chicken, corn on the cob and other tasty morsels in a family-style, all-you-care-to-enjoy feast, don’t be surprised if a couple of your favorite characters appear decked out in their finest pirate garb. Current pricing for the Pirate Night dinner is $37.50 for ages 10+ and $21.25 for ages 3-9.
Advanced dining reservations are strongly recommended for both experiences; reservations cannot be made through the My Disney Experience app. Call 407-939-3378 to reserve a date/time.
If you chose to visit Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, you will not be disappointed. There are enough activities available at the resort to keep you busy, and also definitely plenty of options to help you enjoy the tranquility of the beach. Do yourself a favor and book an ocean view, if possible. Enjoying the morning sunrise from the comfort of your own balcony is a great way to start the day!
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