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Evenlyn Brewer -- August 2003 -- Disney's Vero Beach Resort


Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
August 17-21, 2003

Participants

  • Mark, 44, computer programmer, has lived in Orlando for over 20 years, married to Evelyn for 6 years.
  • Evelyn, 39, (your narrator) homemaker, former teacher (14 years), former cast member (summer of 94, Magic Kingdom.)
  • Bethany, 2 1/2, fairly calm for a little one in the ‘terrible two’s’, loves her family, enjoys swimming, is one of the great, great blessings of our lives.

Introduction

Mark and I spent our wedding night at the Wilderness Lodge. It was the perfect start to our 2 week honeymoon, the rest of which was spent in the Smoky Mountains. However, we didn’t anticipate ever staying in a Disney resort again . . . after all, we live in Orlando. Why would we spend money to stay there when we lived 40 minutes away?

6 years later we decided to splurge and spend our anniversary weekend at the Yacht Club and visit Epcot. Just shortly after arriving and checking in, Mark commented that he felt like we were really AWAY. We loved the fact that everything we needed (including the park) was within walking distance. Our experience was so positive that we made an appointment to learn about the Disney Vacation Club and signed up before returning home.

As we joined so late in the year, and as we already had other vacations planned (including a 3 night Disney Cruise in September), we decided to bank half our points. We used the other half to book 3 nights at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort in August and 4 nights at the Old Key West Resort in January.

The primary purpose of this trip was to try out the whole DVC experience. Also, we had had a busy summer, so we looked forward to having some uninterrupted time with each other and Bethany.

Sunday, August 17
The plan was to go to church, lunch at home, load the car and leave. We’d hoped to arrive at the resort by 3, but we wound up not leaving our home until 3: 30. The drive took 1 ½ hours from our home in east Orlando.

Our check in at 5 p.m. was very smooth. Mark handled check in while Bethany and I waited in the car. I asked him if he got a “welcome home”— he did. We loved the convenience of the parking garage. It only took a few minutes for us to find a luggage cart, unload, and make our way to our room. I managed to drop our Welcome Home folder on the way to the room . . . so Mark and Bethany went on to 2215 while I went back to look for it. Folder in hand, I walked into our room to find that Mark had already phoned the front desk about our room.

We expected an ocean view room (facing the ocean); what we had was a room facing the pool. The cast member assured Mark that as long as you could see the ocean from your room, it was indeed an ocean view room. We actually had a wonderful view . . . we could see everything that was going on in the pool area and could also look over to the left and see the ocean. We just had an expectation that our room would face the ocean and had to make a little mental adjustment when it did not. It turned out that there were advantages to this view as we could see when the pool was open or closed due to the weather. It was also fun to take pictures from our balcony of the rest of our group in the pool below, and to see the planned activities going on.

By the time we got our things settled, we were hungry. After a brief discussion we decided to eat, then have a look around the rest of the resort. Thanks to the info in our DVC book and all the information on line (many thanks to each and every person who has sent in trip reports on this resort!!!) I was already familiar with our on site options for dinner.

We decided on Shutters. We went down about 6 p.m. Bethany was given stickers at the door (always a treat for her), and we were seated quickly. I was very pleased that our server asked Bethany’s name when she came to get our drink orders, and thereafter referred to her as “Miss Bethany”. (A nice touch from this mommy’s point of view.)

There were some great entrée’s on the menu, but we kept it simple with a prime rib sandwich for Mark, a club croissant for me, and chicken tenders for Bethany. I also had a cup of black bean soup which was the highlight of my meal; very flavorful. I thought the highlight of Bethany’s would have been her “worms and dirt” dessert; (anything chocolate is usually my favorite), but I think she most enjoyed the rolls that were brought out first.

We left around 7 and enjoyed a walk around the resort. We went first to the pool area, which is extremely spacious. We took note of the toddler play areas; a little playground and a little water play area. The big slide into the main pool looked like a lot of fun, too.

The beach was a short walk from the pool. The beach is narrow, even when the tide is out, but we did see a lot of shells. We also noticed kind of a fishy smell. But it was better by the next day and after that we didn’t notice it at all. We walked on the beach for a few minutes and took some pictures before going to check out the store. Now that I’ve discovered the Disney Stores at the outlet malls, I have a hard time purchasing clothing from resorts and parks.

It was after 8:30 by the time we finished looking around. We went up to our room and tried to get Bethany settled in the Pack & Play, but to no avail. As is normal on the first night of vacation, she was wired. Also, we could see she was so tall that she really needed to be in the bed. So Mark tucked her into the other queen bed, put pillows all around her and we turned in too.

Monday, August 18
We decided the night before that we would sleep in. We managed to sleep almost till 9 and got up to make coffee. We brought our own coffee but neglected to bring filters. Mark improvised with a paper towel, which worked pretty well. We had muffins with our coffee, then spent some time tidying up the room while our breakfast settled.

After pulling the room together we headed down to find some poolside chairs. We got our towels, put all our stuff down, and let Bethany spend some time in the tot lot. The little ship area didn’t have very many children in it, but Bethany was hesitant to climb up onto the ship and use the slide. Finally, the hour went by and we got into the pool. Bethany has had lessons the last 2 summers through the Infant Swimming Research program. She is much more confident this year but I did wonder how she would react to such a large pool with so many people. She didn’t mind the people at all. She really enjoyed herself. By the end of the trip, Mark had her jumping into the water from the edge of the pool. At home, Bethany is a bit of a mommy’s girl, but she wholeheartedly preferred her daddy in the pool. It gave them some fun-time together and gave me a chance to go over and sit in a chair. That may not sound like much but the chair time was a real treat for me.

We decided to stroll down to the beach for a few minutes, but shortly after getting down there, the rain started and we headed back to the room. The rain came at a good time . . . we all showered, had a light lunch and watched Alice in Wonderland. We were in the room for 2 or 3 hours. We really appreciated our view at this point as we could see when the pool was reopened. About 3:30, we headed back down, this time going to the beach.

Mark was the only one of us who actually goes in the water at the beach . . . Bethany and I are waders. He got in, which was entertaining for us, as the water was apparently pretty cold (74 degrees, we heard). We found a few shells and Bethany dug in the sand. We were there for 30-45 minutes before going back to the pool . . . (I hope nobody is nodding off at this point . . . this is pretty much the whole three days; pool, beach, room, eat, showers, sleep . . . )

We liked the convenience of the showers between the beach and the pool. Bethany quickly got the idea and rinsed off her own little feet. We still had to scoop her up and do lots of rinsing to get the sand off the rest of her. In the pool, lots more swimming for Bethany. We took breaks by watching Mark come down the slide and taking Bethany to the tot lot. We were ready to go in by 5.

Back upstairs for more showers, then headed to the Green Cabin for an early supper. This was probably my favorite meal as we ate outside and had a pretty view to enjoy. I was a little apprehensive about Bethany. This place has more of an adult only atmosphere, although children are allowed. I was relieved that she was very quiet and well behaved. We ordered the Spinach Artichoke dip & chips, and 2 pizzas to share between the three of us. The dip was good; my favorite was the 4 cheese pizza. We usually skip dessert, but “Ultimate Chocolate Cake” was on the menu, so we got that, also to share. It had raspberry filling; we all thought it was fabulous. The temperature was nice, we could see the ocean but not the waves (though we could hear them), really a great setting for an evening meal.

Mark went down to get a couple of videos; back to the room for the night.

Tuesday, August 19
We decided today that we’d get an earlier start and get in some pool time before breakfast. We still slept in a bit and got down to the pool area at 9:30. All the front row chairs were taken by then, but the 2nd row was fine. The water was colder than yesterday. We were in for a half hour then went back upstairs where coffee and muffins were waiting. We ate outside on our small terrace.

Today we wanted more time on the beach. So we packed up towels, sunscreen, water, cameras, and our lounge chairs from home. We were on the beach by 11. We did pretty well keeping Bethany protected with sunscreen. I had on enough sunscreen, but I should have worn a hat. I have thick hair, but my scalp was sore at the part for a few days. We spent about 2 hours on the beach. The weather was a bit hot (high 80’s, I think) so we cooled off periodically in the waves. We did a lot of walking, shell hunting, and digging in the sand with Bethany. We were relaxed and content when we heard the first clap of thunder, so in we went.

We rinsed off outside but still all took showers once we were upstairs. Again, this break came at just the right time . . . the showers felt great and we needed a lunch break anyway. It rained for the usual 2 to 3 hours and gradually cleared up. As soon as it cleared, we headed back to the pool.

We had looked forward to spending most of the day with our friends (also from Orlando), Darrell and Teresa and their boys, Joshua, 7, and Hudson, almost 2. Due to a number of unfortunate circumstances, they did not arrive until 4:30. I took them up to our room where they got changed into their suits. Then we joined Mark and Bethany at the pool area. We spent about 45 minutes there. Everyone that wanted to (that’s everybody except me, Bethany, and Hudson), went down the slide multiple times. We also walked down to the beach, where the water was extremely calm. There were very few people on the beach, so things were pretty quiet. We spent this time walking, looking at shells, digging (Bethany and Hudson), and running in and out of waves (Joshua). This was really one of my favorite moments of our 3 days. It was so peaceful, almost other-worldly.

By 7:30 we were all hungry. We got take-out from Shutters which was later listed on our bill as ‘room service’. I suppose that’s technically what it was. We all had sandwiches. By the time we got the food, it was dusk. This is very significant at the beach, in the summertime. It is significant because it is after dusk that the “no see-em's” come out. Actually, you can see ‘em, but mainly, you feel ‘em. I sat Bethany in a chair and wrapped her legs in a towel (she looked like a mermaid), so she didn’t suffer as much as the rest of us. Those little things really came after us, but we went on visiting and talking, not realizing that we would pay for it later. (For two weeks afterward, those tiny little bites drove me batty. I woke up scratching every morning. It took me a while to figure out what they were. As the worst of the itching started after we got home, I thought we were having a flea epidemic and started checking the dogs. But, no, it was us. Next time, insect repellent!) Besides really enjoying our friends’ company, we were also able to trade off watching the kids and making use of the hot tub.

After our meal, we went up to our room to shower off and get dressed. Our company visited a little longer and went home around 9. We watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade before going to sleep.

Wednesday, August 20
Our morning started with the only negative experience of the trip . . . noisy children next door. One has to wonder . . . did the parents leave the room? Or are they actually in the room allowing all of the screaming? Not only were these children screaming but they were actually knocking on the wall. (Our headboard wall.) I couldn’t believe it. I know that sometimes kids do things unexpectedly, or while parents are in the shower or something, but this went on for 30 minutes or so.

So, we were up a little earlier than planned. We had our usual coffee and muffins, got our stuff packed, and also packed a day bag. Mark took all of our things down to the car except what we needed for the rest of the day. We telephoned downstairs shortly before 11 to let them know we were checking out of our room and went back to the pool.

We enjoyed the pool for an hour or so, then got a meal from Bleachers. Mark and I both had popcorn shrimp with fries (pretty good), Bethany had P & J, with grapes (5 grapes. I read about this in another report but had forgotten about it. Bethany practically inhaled them . . . she is accustomed to eating them by the bunch.). It was sprinkling by the time we got our lunch so we moved all of our stuff to a table under the pavilion. I finished most of my shrimp and about half of my fries and felt stuffed.

After our meal we went over for putt-putt golf. Wednesday was Members Day, so we played for free. Bethany swings her club like a hockey stick and is very serious about getting the ball in the hole. She does, too, even if it means placing the ball a few inches from the edge and knocking it in. It is a simple little course. If it hadn’t been free, we probably wouldn’t have bothered. But it was fun to do with Bethany, and a good way to dry off completely (the sprinkling had stopped) before getting in the car.

The last thing we did before leaving at 2 was to ask if we could view any lodgings besides an inn room. Of course we would have loved to have seen a three bedroom, but the only thing available was a one bedroom It was nice, but for the three of us, the inn room is fine. However, seeing the one bedroom got us really excited about our upcoming January trip to Old Key West Resort!

Observations

For our little family, three nights is about right. Although we really enjoyed ourselves, we were ready to come home on Wednesday.

Next time we’ll bring insect repellant, or stay indoors after dark. (which we don’t really want to do . . . the pool area is pretty at night.)

One of my favorite things about the resort is the convenience of everything. The beach, the pool, showers, the gift shop, restaurants . . . we could be anywhere in just a few minutes.

Our food plan worked out well. Next time not so many sweets, more lunch stuff. I definitely want to eat in both Shutters and the Green Room again. Next time maybe a character breakfast.

As you can tell, we really did the minimum on this trip; no excursions, no extra activities for Bethany (most everything was for 3 and up), no campfire. (I hope you were not bored to tears!) But we did what we wanted, and made a point of leaving some things for future visits, which we are definitely planning

We were very happy with the Cast Members. Everyone was courteous and helpful, especially when trying to find a room for us to view before we left.

Our room was clean, roomy, and attractive. I really loved having both the mini-fridge and microwave. Next time we are going to book further in advance and request a third floor room. I liked the pool view, but at some point we’d also like to face the ocean.

We’re still sorting out how we’ll use our points each year, but I think it’s safe to say we’ll be going back to DVB at least annually.

Thanks for reading,

Evelyn Brewer

evbrewer@hotmail.com


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