Friday, September 17, 2010

Disney's Vero Beach, a comprehensive trip report (part one)

Note: This is a companion article to my Examiner article. Click here if you haven't read it already.

My husband and I have discussed visiting Disney's Vero Beach ever since we moved to Florida. For those who are not familiar with it, it's a 211-room Disney Vacation Club resort on the Atlantic Ocean about two hours away from Disney World. It's not near theme parks, nor much of anything else, so it's the perfect place for some rest, relaxation, swimming and sand castle building. There are restaurants and activities for kids and families, like a pool with a water slide, bike rentals, and miniature golf, spa, and music in the Green Cabin Room lounge in the evenings. We thought it would be a neat place to spend a weekend, so we were very excited when Disney invited us to check it out.

There are several ways to get to Vero Beach from the Disney area (192, 528/95 and the Florida Turnpike). We chose the turnpike on a friend's advice, even though it takes you a bit out of yoour way and racks up tolls. It was worth it, as the two-hour drive was smooth sailing. We were greeted by a familiar Disney Vacation Club sign at the entrance:

Below is the check-in area. We arrived on Friday afternoon around 4 p.m. and there were a few people, but no line. Things did get busier at the desk on Saturday, although never unreasonble. Our room was ready (check-in time is actually 3) so we were able to park in the garage below the building and head right upstairs.

Our room was in the main building on the second floor, right by the elevators. The good part is that it was extremely convenient. We didn't need to use the elevator because there is a nearby staircase down to the main level from that floor, and the Green Cabin Room was on our level for easy access in the evenings. I was worried about hallway traffic because of the elevator, but I didn't really notice much. I always travel with a while noise machine, which helps a lot. The cute towel animal that was waiting to greet us is pictured below. The bad part was that we could hear our next door neighbors through the wall. Thankfully they were not wild late-night partiers. There was also a wedding on our second night, and I could hear the DJ and music in our room. I think they cleared out around 11 p.m. tho' so it didn't disrupt our rest.

Below is the cute towel animal that was waiting for us in our room:

There are DVC villas with separate bedrooms in other parts of the resort, including three bedroom freestanding cottages that reminded me of the treehouses at Saratoga Springs, but ours was a standard room with two beds. Size-wise it was equivalent to the deluxe resorts at Disney World It also had DVC amenities like a small refrigerator, microwave oven, paper plates, plastic cutlery, a toaster and coffee maker. You can see the beds below:

We also had a table and two chairs, which would be handy for eating in the room (although we stuck with the on-site restaurants):

There was a flat screen television with a DVD player. The radio by the beds has a docking station for iPods and MP3 players too, and the electrical outlet is well positioned for plugging in computers, cell phones, etc. DVC members get free wireless internet, or you can purchase it:

Below is the bathroom area, which has a toilet and tub that can be closed off from the sink. The hairdryer is hanging on the wall:

Below is the kitchenette area:

There are towels you can use at the pool or out at the beach:

All of the rooms have balconies. Ours overlooked the parking area and was tucked into the roof line so it had a solid wall, but most of the others have see-through railings. That's especially nice if you have an ocean view room:

Here is an example of the artwork in the lobby areas:

Here is the view just outside our room, looking at the staircase and Green Cabin Room, which faces the ocean:

There are many little sitting areas and alcoves around the hotel:

Here is our first view of the beach:

The pool has a neat little water slide and is kept warm and comfy. There is also a nearby hot tub, which we used in the evening. You can get food, rent bikes and play miniature golf in this area too. The pool is a very popular spot:

More beach shots. You can rent chairs and umbrellas:

The water was stirred up by Hurricane Igor during our visit:

Some made a sand castle earlier in the day:

More beach views:

Here are the various rental rates:

There is also a sign listing beach conditions and warnings:

We had a very full experience as we tried to do as much as possible in our brief weekend visit. The next parts of this trip report will cover the on-site restaurants, including Sunday brunch and a character meal; the spa; and fun activities, including miniature golf and the evening campfire (smores...mmmm!).

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