Disney Vacation Club Planning Guide
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Turtle Krawl, viewed from across the Trumbo Canal, at Disney's Old
Key West Resort (Photo by Brian Bennett)
Disney's Old Key West Resort is located just South of Port Orleans
Resort off of Bonnet Creek Parkway. The actual resort entrance
is on Community Drive which is a small one-lane road that runs between
Bonnet Creek and Buena Vista Drive. Old Key West is right in the
middle of Walt Disney World. The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney/MGM
Studios, Downtown Disney, and the other attractions of the resort
are all within a short drive or shuttle bus ride.
The theme at Old Key West Resort is themed to represent the flavor
of Key West during the romantic days that Earnest Hemingway lived
and wrote there. At night, a brightly burning lighthouse warns
passing vessels of the "shoals" around the area.
During the day, playful dolphins frolic in the salt waters of the
harbor. "Turtle Krawl" is a pier with a collection
of resort service facilities. Immediately in front of
the Krawl is "Trumbo Canal" and it's marina. Here you
can rent catamarans, paddle boats, and other craft for expeditions
down the canal. Incidentally, the canal connects up with the Sassagoula
River, that runs from Dixie Landings, past Port Orleans, and south
to the Disney Village Marketplace. A boat rented here at Disney's
Old Key West Resort marina can take you on a visit to the other
resorts or to the marketplace.
OKWR's restaurants and shops are located on Turtle Krawl (Photo
by Brian Bennett)
Along "Turtle Krawl", to the left as you walk from the
marina toward the sand volleyball court, you walk past the "Gurgling
Suitcase" pool bar, which serves pop, many specialty drinks,
and adult beverages. Opposite the Suitcase is the resort's
themed pool. It's not as extravagant as some WDW resort pools.
It does have a nice children's sand play area and a fountain with
dolphins for atmosphere. The exercise room is the next
facility on the Krawl. It is well equipped with Nordic track and
nautilus equipment for weight and resistance training. The volleyball
court, shuffleboard courts, and tennis courts are at the eastern
terminus of the Krawl.
Toward the land side of the Krawl is Hospitality House which contains
the check-in facilities, guest services, and the resort library
called "Papa's Den" (a small tribute to Mr. Hemingway).
Across a covered breezeway is the Conch Flats general store (a "Conch",
pronounced "konk", is the Key West term for a native Key
West resident). The store sells typical Disney store items, character
merchandise, some reading material, snacks, and a small selection
of grocery items (at exorbitant prices). Next to the store is "Olivia's",
the resort's sit-down restaurant which serves up sea food and other
specialties (including Key Lime pie, of course).
The approximately 700 rooms that grace the facilities are in many
buildings built around and through the Buena Vista Golf Course,
so it's not uncommon to see golfers "playing though" as
you stroll around the complex. In fact, as you turn off of
Community Drive to enter OKWR itself, you'll see one of the holes
of the course immediately to the right.
Olivia's is a good restaurant. Frankly it's nothing spectacular-the
themeing is quite plain, but the food is good. The main specialty
is sea food, although Olivia's is known to have some great specials
and wonderful pasta dishes, too. My own suggestion is to go
to Olivia's when it's convenient, and go where there is more atmosphere
are available at the Gurgling Suitcase (Photo by Brian Bennett)
The Gurgling Suitcase is a good choice for wetting your whistle.
Snacks are also available for purchase on Turtle Krawl.
There really aren't any bad buildings at OKWR. A lot of people
like buildings 11, 12, 13, and 14 because they're the closest ones
to the main pool. Just for reference, I would estimate that
from the farthest buildings (49 and 50) the walk to the big pool
is close to ten minutes long, assuming you're not power-walking.
Other people like 45 and 46 because they are have the most naturalistic
view. Personally, I like being close to a bus stop, so for me there
are plenty of choices. Buildings 18, 19, 20, 41, 42, 43, 54,
55, and 56 are all relatively close to smaller village pools that
are scattered about the resort. One other thing to keep in
mind is that the buildings at Disney's Old Key West Resort in which
smoking is allowed are 12, 19, 21, 25, 27, 41, 49 & 51.
buildings have a strong Key West flavor (Photo by Brian Bennett)
The issue of what floor to "live" on is really a matter
of preference. Personally, I like the first floor because there
is less walking...especially with a lot of luggage. Some people
that like the upper floors because they get a better view of the
area. Personally, I don't spend a lot of time looking out the window...I'm
either at the parks or too tired to move.
Accommodation layout might sway your building preference, too.
Disney's Old Key West Resort was built in three phases. Essentially,
the three phases are identical in floor plan, but two differences
exist that are worth noting:
- First, most, if not all, of the buildings in phase one (those
buildings that are closest to the Bonnet Creek Parkway and surround
the Hospitality house complex) include two-bedroom units that
have only one outside door. (Each unit, including the studios,
also has a second door that opens out to the unit's porch or balcony,
in addition to the "regular" outside doors I'm referring
to here.) In contrast, many of the phase two and three buildings
are "lock-offs" in which the second bedroom of the two-bedroom
unit is essentially a studio with a separate exterior door. The
advantage to Disney is that the rooms can be rented as either
studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom units. For the renter, this
second door can be convenient, but is not a major issue. The "lock-off",
though, is nice because the studio room has a small refrigerator,
microwave, and coffee machine. Again, these items are not critical
since you have them in the kitchen anyway.
- The second difference is that the one-bedroom units, in the
phase two and three buildings, have a door from the laundry area
to the master bedroom bath. The advantage, of course, is that
anyone sleeping in the living room on the sleeper sofa has access
to the bathroom without having to walk through the master bedroom.
Since OKWR is located in the middle of WDW, the theme parks, water
parks, village marketplace and other resorts are readily available.
Not surprisingly, golf is a common activity (you have to go down
the road to the Buena Vista Golf Course club house to play a round.)
Around Turtle Krawl you can find many activities:
- Olivia's restaurant is the site of the extremely popular Winnie-the-Pooh
- Catamarans, paddle boats, and other craft can be rented at the
marina for water expeditions down the canal.
- The exercise room is well equipped with Nordic track and nautilus
equipment for weight and resistance training and massages are
- Swimming, of course, is a popular activity. The themed pool
area also has a play area for the younger kids complete with an
elaborate sand box. A sauna is located inside the lighthouse.
- A small game room lies across from the main pool.
- Volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard, and tennis are all located
at the eastern end of the Krawl.
The resort boasts
four heated pools (Photo by Brian Bennett)
Buses and other transportation is provided to all of the WDW parks
and other destinations. Unfortunately, since there are fewer
people staying at OKWR than there are at the other resorts, there
are fewer OKWR buses scheduled...and OKWR visitors end up waiting
longer. Except for that fact, the bus system is convenient and typically
efficient. The drive to the MK from OKWR takes you up Bonnet
Creek drive (past Port Orleans and Dixie Landings) past Fort Wilderness,
Wilderness Lodge, and the Contemporary. It takes ten to fifteen
minutes to get to the MK via bus. It's a bit less time to EPCOT
and the Studios.
A water taxi runs from Turtle Krawl to the Downtown Disney village
marketplace. It's a nice, quiet change of pace.
Personally, I like to drive my own car when I go to Downtown Disney
or the water parks. The buses don't run to those locations as often...besides,
I don't like to have to wait for a bus when my arms are full or
I've just gotten out of the water.