For my thoughts on the re-opening of Walt Disney World, see this.


By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Theming and Accommodations at Disney’s Old Key West Resort



By Dave Shute

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Old Key West Resort, see this.)

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S OLD KEY WEST RESORT

Disney’s Old Key West Resort is one of many Disney Vacation Club options at Walt Disney World. These resorts are available not only to DVC members, but also to everyone else, just like any other Disney World offering, through the regular Walt Disney World website or resort reservations phone number at 407-939-7675.

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can also book them for you. See the form near the bottom of this page for how to contact her.

The DVC resorts like Old Key West also are sometimes available to the general public at a discount through renting points from a Disney Vacation Club member or point broker. Check, however, the cancellation terms of such a rental very carefully.

Because the two sets of options at the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Saratoga Springs are so different, for review purposes I count thirteen options among the Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World.

The overall ranking among them for first time family visitors is as follows:

  1. Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows (studios only)
  2. Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  3. Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Jambo House
  5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas–Kidani Village
  6. Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  7. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  8. Disney’s Riviera Resort
  9. Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  10. Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
  11. Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  12. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, main resort
  13. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, Treehouse Villas

The next DVC offering to open perhaps will be Reflections, located on grounds that were formerly part of Fort Wilderness, although COVID-19 has created uncertainty about this.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort comes in near the bottom based on my criteria of kid appeal and transportation convenience.  That said, its One and Two Bedroom Villas in buildings numbered 30 and higher have a lot going for them, and the theming can be quite appealing to adults.

THE THEMING OF DISNEY’S OLD KEY WEST RESORT

At Disney’s Old Key West Resort, according to Disney’s website, you will

“experience the romance of the Florida Keys at this tranquil community of Conch Flats—a sprawling island hamlet with shimmering waterways, swaying palm trees and manicured golf-course fairways. Delight in sun-soaked pools, casual dining and such amenities as fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. A peaceful tropical paradise, Disney’s Old Key West Resort is also just a boat ride away from the excitement of Disney Springs.”

This is mostly true–Disney’s Old Key West Resort is tranquil, sprawling, and does feature absolutely lovely landscaping and views.

But other than some names, some menu items, and the pool lighthouse, it has absolutely nothing to do with, nor is it at all reminiscent of, Key West, young or old. The original name of this property was “The Disney Vacation Club Resort,” a name which went away after there was more than one of these.  The changes that map to the Old Key West name are slender.

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS AT DISNEY’S OLD KEY WEST RESORT

All Disney Vacation Club resorts except the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows have studio rooms, One Bedroom Villas, and Two Bedroom Villas.

Most have Grand Villas as well.

Old Key West has all four types, with a couple of significant variants among the One Bedroom Villas, and no less than four variants among the Two Bedroom Villas.

At Old Key West, Studios sleep 4 and include a kitchenette with a microwave and a mini-fridge. Most DVC Studios come with a queen and a fold-out sofa or a fold-down bed behind the sofa; at Old Key West, all have two queens. Most will find two queens more comfortable to sleep on; many will miss the living flexibility created by the couch that you will find in other studios in place of the second queen.

They are the third largest Studios at Disney World, with only those at Riviera and the Polynesian larger. However, there is–other than the two queens–nothing special about these studios. In particular the extra interior space compared to many other DVC studios does not translate into any extra livability.

See this page of this review for multiple photos of a Studio/second bedroom of a Two-Bedroom Villa.

Old Key West One-Bedroom Villas come in two types. The more common type, shown above, includes a doorway from the laundry room into the full bath. This type is found in all buildings numbered greater than 29.

The second type, in buildings 11-29, has no such door. Its absent presence is marked by the red circle.

What this means is that folks not in the master bedroom must walk into the master bedroom, and then past the soaker tub, in order to access the full bath.

Your family likely is quite different than mine; in mine, this would be a problem. One Bedroom Villas in buildings 30 and higher don’t have this problem, as the door through the laundry room avoids the master bedroom and soaker tub areas.

All Old Key West One Bedroom Villas of either bath access type sleep 5, including three on fold-out beds in a full kitchen/dining/living space. The living/kitchen/dining area of One and Two Bedroom Villas at Old Key West is by far the most livable and homelike among the DVC resorts. I’ll comment more on this when we get to Two Bedroom Villas, below.

They also have large porch or balcony, and a separate master bedroom.

See this for more images of the master bedroom, and this for more images of the combined kitchen/living/dining space.

Two-Bedroom Villas add a second four-person bedroom to the amenities of a One-Bedroom, and sleep 9. This second bedroom may be a simply a Studio accessed through a connecting door, in which case it is called a “lockoff”–shown above–or it may be part of an integrated design, in which case it is called a “dedicated” Two Bedroom Villa, the floor plan for which is shown below.

Dedicated Two Bedrooms differ from lock-off Studios in three ways:

  • They don’t have a patio or balcony off the second bedroom
  • They don’t have a separate entry to outside, putting a second closet here instead
  • They don’t have the microwave or minifridge outside their bath

In each case, the full bath by the master bedroom may or may not have the door through the laundry room. As with One Bedroom Villas, buildings numbered 30 and higher have it, and those lower than thirty don’t.

Both One and Two Bedroom Villas have much more livable living/dining/kitchen spaces than most such villas at other DVC resorts. For example, the living area comfortably seats six on the couch, love seat, and easy chair…

…and the dining table comfortably seats four, and you can either seat four more on the balcony table or grab a couple of chairs from it and squeeze in six at this table.

Neither of these matches the nine person capacity of a Two Bedroom Villa, but you will find plenty of DVC One and Two Bedroom Villas where the living room seats only three or four, and the dining table as few as two.

See this for more images of the kitchen/living/dining space in both One and Two Bedroom Villas at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.

Grand Villas at Old Key West sleep 12 in almost twice the space of a Two-Bedroom Villa, in three bedrooms plus sleeper sofas. At Old Key West, Grand Villas are two-story spaces.

Grand Villas hold three more people in space almost twice as big as the 9-person Two-Bedroom Villas. The extra space downstairs comes from doubling the already commodious size of the kitchen/dining/living area, and moving the second bedroom to the upper level–where it is joined by a third bedroom, also sleeping four.

These spaces are also about twice as expensive as Two-Bedroom Villas…

That said, from a floor plan point of view, many other DVC Grand Villas are more livable. Most don’t waste the space of the two story living room, and many have more seating options in their living areas.  The virtues of Grand Villas at Disney’s Old Key West Resort appear to be price and availability–there’s more than two dozen of them–not livability.

(To each of the capacity figures above, you can add one more kid under 3 at time of check in who sleeps in a crib.)

STUDIOS/SECOND BEDROOMS AT DISNEY’S OLD KEY WEST RESORT

This review continues here.

 

MATERIAL IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S OLD KEY WEST RESORT

 

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My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2020 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.