Disney's Hilton Head Island
Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort is a very laid-back resort. Since
I've never been to the resort personally, I'm relying on third party
descriptions of the resort and accommodations. The information
below is based on trip reports provided by Bill Speicher (email@example.com),
Holly Franklin (MicknMin@aol.com), and Jim Kimball (J.Kimball@lmco.com)
and is based on their family's trips to the resort in 1996, 1996,
and 1998 respectively. Any similarity to the information that
these folks have written is entirely intentional.
Disney's Hilton Head Resort (Photo by Sue Holland)
Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort is located in South Carolina
about 360 miles (a good six hour drive) North and East of the Walt
Disney World Resort and just a few miles North and East of Savannah,
Georgia. Directions: I-4 East to I-95 North to Route 278 East
(Exit #8) to Shelter Cove Harbour (West) [see map to the right].
Alternatively, you can fly to Savannah Georgia International Airport
and then rent a car and drive the 30 miles to Hilton Head. The resort
is located in Shelter Cove Harbour on 278. You will have to drive
slow and look carefully since Hilton Head Island permits only a
standard format for signs. You won't see any familiar "golden
arches" or neon lights.
The resort is themed very much like a cross between Wilderness
Lodge and Dixie Landings. It has a Southern, rustic, cozy
feel without being too coarse. As always with Disney, there
are plenty of architectural details and a theme. At Hilton
Head Island Resort, the "story" is of Shadow, the resort's
golden retriever pet that lives onsite. You'll see several
dog houses on the property and paw prints in the sidewalks that
were the result of Shadow's antics during construction.
All in all, the resort provides the classis Disney Vacation Club
"Home-Away-From-Home" feeling that we're all so familiar
Shadow's house (Photo by Sue Holland)
The Beach House
The resort is not on the beach, but there is a Beach House located
1.2 miles away that can be reached by car, bike, or shuttle (which
runs every 30 minutes or so). The beach House has a small
pool, snack bar, sales shop, dressing/bath rooms, and lockers.
Inside the beach house (Photo by Sue Holland)
Tip: Don't forget your room key! You will need it to unlock
the gate to get back into the beach house.
The 12 mile beach at Hilton Head is a very clean, controlled access
beach. The life guards are the only vendors permitted and
they rent beach chairs, umbrellas, boggie boards, boats, etc.
There is no sit-down restaurant at the resort. One of the
attractions of Hilton Head Island is the local seafood restaurants,
Disney apparently thought most guests would prefer to sample the
local cuisine, so a full-service restaurant was not included in
the plans (probably a decision that DVC regrets now). "Signals",
a fast food bar with a menu consisting of burgers and salads, is
located by the beach house
At check in, you are supplied with a list of restaurants that will
give a discount for being a Disney guest. Several are just outside
the gate and are within walking distance.
Stripes is a local restaurant that gets consistently strong reviews.
Entrees run from $17 - $22 and are prepared by an award winning
chief. Another favorite is the Longhorn Steakhouse with huge
porterhouses, shrimp, and other entrees.
In the Vicinity
There are many shops and restaurants just outside the Disney property.
Within a mile is a Piggly Wiggly grocery store and a large Mall.
Also near by are Putt-Putt golf (which we did), golf courses, Wal-Mart,
Fuddruckers and others. A little bit father way are the Outlet Malls.
The accommodations options at Hilton Head Island, as at all of
the other DVC resorts, includes a studio, one-, two-, or three-bedroom
villa. The rooms are a tad smaller than Old Key West, but
not significantly so. There are 102 vacation villas on 15
acres of marshland. All units are raised on concrete stilts to avoid
high tide flooding. Handicapped-accessible villas are all located
in the check-in lodge called Live Oak Lodge (the only one with an
elevator). A first floor room means; up one flight of steps; second
floor up two; third up three. With only 4 units per building,
it was very quiet. Most parking is not very close to
the rooms, but carts are available in the parking area to get your
luggage to the room.
Live Oak Lodge (Photo by Sue Holland)
In the studio, there is the standard wet-bar area with a microwave,
refrigerator, and sink. The studios feature a single queen-sized
bed and a sleeper sofa. Both the bathroom and the deck were quite
large and there was plenty of room for the kids to store their bikes.
The studio deck has a small table and two rocking chairs.
The one- and two- bedroom vacation homes have the DVC's keystone
open kitchen with dining area, large patio, and master bathroom
with the huge hot tub. The decor in the rooms is focused on hunter
green, dark red and tans. We had 3 TVs, one in each bedroom and
a TV and VCR in the living room. The verandahs of the larger units
typically have rocking chairs and a picnic table. The kitchen,
of course, is stocked with dishes, utensils, coffee maker, coffee
supplies, pots and pans, etc.
I'm sure the activities list varies seasonally and is tweaked from
time to time, but there is generally a very good list of things
going on. In fact, Jim Kimball described the resort as a "mini
Disney Institute." At check in you are given a list of
activities for the week. MANY OF THESE ARE FOR-FEE
ACTIVITIES - BEWARE! Each day there are about ten
(sometimes a few more, some days a few less) activities planned.
- A Scavenger Hunt
- Art and Cooking Classes
- Tours of Savannah, Georgia
- Aqua Aerobics
- Resort Nature Walk
- Sunset Cruise
- Star Gazing/Campfire
- Beach House Bash
- Marsh Boat Adventures
- Bird Watching
- Disney Sea Turtle Program
- Dynamic Dolphin Discoveries
In addition to the planned activities, things to do on-site include
but not limited to: pool with slide, kid pool, shuffleboard, horseshoes,
nature walks, playground, pier, fishing (free use of poles), bikes
for rent (one price for your length of stay), and other activities.
The beach House has a TV room, large pool, play fountain, arcade,
Steamboat Willie boat, and, of course, a nice beach.
The pool at the beach house (Photo by Sue Holland)
The shuttle that runs between the main resort and the beach house
is a 20 passenger mini bus with padded seats and wheelchair lift.
It runs about once every thirty minutes or so on its' round-trip
By all reports you really must have a car here. With the
lack of restaurants on property and many of the local attractions
being several miles distant, it only makes sense.