Jim Kimball -- November 1998 -- Disney's Hilton Head Resort
The resort is about 360 miles from Walt Disney World, Took me about 6 hours with stops. Directions: I-4 East to I-95 North to Route 278 East (Exit #8) to Shelter Cove Harbour (West) . Not too difficult. The resort is not on the beach, but Disney has a Beach House located 1.2 miles away that can be reached by car or shuttle (or bike). 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.
Unlike Old Key West, the name of this resort has not changed. If there was a new name for it, it could be called Wilderness Lodge/Dixie Landing Cabins. WDW Wilderness Lodge is one of our favorite WDW resorts and after this weekend stay, the HHI DVC is right up there on the top of the list. The feel is rustic and cozy (especially the night the cold front came through). Lots and lots of trees and shrubs and reminded me of the Alligator Bayou area of WDW Dixie Landings. A quiet, peaceful and relaxing "home away from home". Disney, as always, is into details and youll notice paw prints in the sidewalks and in the tile in the room entryway. There is an underlining theme/story of "Shadow" the Golden Retriever that lives;) on-site. The dog has several dog houses on the property. Shadow is the resorts pet and was running all over the place during construction, hence the paw prints.
Like all DVC resorts, the points for the HHI DVC Resort will depend on the time of year with points ranging from 6 to 174 points. Like all the DVC Resorts, there are several lodging options to choose from ranging from a studio to 3 bedroom villa. As a DVC guest, I received the off-season rate AND an annual passholder discount on a 2 bedroom villa for $110 a night. Great deal. Same room without a discount and during peak season is $260. The same room at Old Key West during the spring 1999 will be $480. (Yes, I know HHI DVC does not have Space Mountain.) For Thanksgiving week, the CM said the resort was at 100% occupancy.
The layout of the room appears to be the same as Old Key West: Open kitchen, eat in dining area, large patio, and large bathroom with huge 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 patio had 2 rocking chairs and a large picnic table. Never heard noises or neighbors from the patio. Kitchen was stocked with plates, glasses, utensils, coffee maker, coffee supplies, pots and pans.
When you check in, they give you a choice of rooms. "Would you like courtyard, marsh or pool view?" The resort consists of just over 100 rooms in 22 buildings and the buildings are spread out (see resort map). Highly recommend building 27, second floor. With only 4 units per building, it was very quite and never heard people from other rooms or outside. Great view of the water/marsh area and the pier. Also, this building is adjacent to the activity center, campfire, store and pools. Most parking is not very close to the rooms. Carts are provided in the parking area to get your luggage to the room.
The resort does not have restaurants on site. Being a "small" resort (approx. 102 units), most of the rooms having a kitchen, and all the many nearby and established restaurants, I guess it would be hard to support an on-site restaurant. The beach house has "Signals" with a menu consisting of burgers and salads and has a nice view of the pool and beach. When you 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. The room and kitchen were so nice, we purposely went grocery shopping in order spend more time in the villa.
The activity program reminds me of a mini-Disney Institute. When you check-in, you are given a list of activities for the week. Each day will have 8-12 activities planned. Examples of activities are scavenger hunt, art classes, cooking class, tours of Savannah, Georgia. There are many golf courses in the area. We did the scavenger hunt with the 3 year-old, find 16 paper clues that take you all over the resort. Example of a clue: "Where would you go to play tic-tac-toe?" Then you go to the playground and find the next clue. The wife went to the cooking course ($15 charge) that was held in the 3 bedroom villa and learned how to make South Carolina "low-country" crab cakes. Refreshments were provided.
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.
Any downside? Lets see, the only thing was that the cream for the coffee was not refilled on the second day (but we had milk in the frig). That is about the worst thing that happened during the weekend. Well, that and the lack of time to stay longer. We had a great wonderful Disney fun stay and we look forward to going back in the spring and bringing friends. (Besides, its the only way I can stay in a Disney resort as I cant talk the wife into renting a room at WDW when we live 10 minutes away from there. Vero Beach DVC, here we come!)
For more information, the official HHI DVC site has a nice description and photos of the resort.