Patti Pozella -- December 1998 -- Disney's Hilton Head Resort
Hi everyone! My first attempt at a trip report!
We just returned from HH this evening and had a great visit even though the weather wasn't always cooperative.
3rd visit to HH (all cash), arrived 12/29 and departed 1/3; drove personal car from Chapel Hill, NC (5hrs). Prior to arriving, we were sent a draft activity schedule and we pre-arranged 2 activites for the little P before we left home.
Spent the night at the Hilton Hotel across the street from DVC. We tried to change our ressies to include this night, but they were sold out. The Hilton was OK, but it was mobbed by folks attending the Clinton's Renaissance Weekend being held at the hotel. We just missed the arrival of the first family--we were too interested in getiing over to DVC to start our fun! LOL!! That night we ate at Shuckers--a well publicized sea food restaurant--it was really awful. Food, service, everything. The only redeeming factor is that on Tues nights they have buy one entree, get the second free. It only lessed the pain a bit.
BTW, the purpose of the addition of this night was to give us 4 full days on HH.
Day 1, Dec 30
We went across the street for early check-in at DVC (9:30am). We reserved a 1br villa, non-smoking, for $101/night. Room wasn't ready yet--didn't expect it to be, but wanted to get a key and a pass to the beach club so that we could enjoy the day. The temp was about 60 degrees, but very windy. Turns out the the draft activity schedule was really a draft after all--the first activity we had scheduled was Sebastian's sea shells and it never made it to the final schedule (no big deal). We headed over to the Disney outlet store, but it was pretty low on inventory and we didn't end up buying anything. We called the resort before heading back (noon) and our room was ready (building 12, right next to Live Oak Lodge). We stopped at Publix and Sam's to pick up some food. The pecan danish and key lime pies made at Publix are really good. At Sam's we picked up ready-to-eat cocktail shrimp (31-ct, 2lbs, approx $15), lobster tails (2-8 oz tails, approx $17) and jumbo king crab legs ($6.99lb). We also bought cheese cubes, pepperoni and crackers for snacking. This ended up saving us alot of $$. We had planned to eat out every night, but decided to eat in some after our first dining experience this trip. We had some pretty great seafood meals right in our villa! Had lunch at Fuddruckers near DVC. Burgers, fries and malts. Pretty good food (and burger fixin's bar) for a reasonable price. They serve beer and wine for those interested.
After putting our things away, we went on the resort nature walk (free) with Jim Bittler, the DVC naturalist (he was named 1998 naturalist of the year in SC)--he's a great guy. In fact, their entire recreation staff is terrific! Later in the afternoon we went to the first ever meeting of "Rosemary Basil's Garden Club Social" in Community Hall (1hr, free, with some goodies served). Rosemary Basil is one of the characters at HH. It was a hoot and we got to meet lots of members. They raffled off some small prizes at this event. The campfire was cancelled that night due to the high winds.
Day 2, Dec. 31
Weather was much better today! Low 60's, sunny and no wind! Started out with Beach Prints, a kids activity where they make Mickey and Minnie shaped paperweights out of sand, shells and plaster of paris. Lots of fun, great results, lasted about 45 min ($3members). We spent the afternoon at the beach club and walking the beach and looking for shells. Lots of folks were riding their bikes around the resort and on the beach. Found lots of (little) nice, intact shells on the beach. Looked around for the pesidential entourage, but didn't see anyone. It was a glorious day to be on the beach. We celebrated New Year's Eve with an early dinner at the Santa Fe Cafe (almost right across the street from the entrance to DVC)--they have upscale southwestern food. We have had some very good meals here in the past (but pretty pricy) and NY'sE was no exception. Our server wasn't too good though, I felt like she was doing everything she could to hurry us up. It was also kinda dark in there--we couldn't read the menu! Trust us--if you decide to try this place do not order a special without finding out the price first! The food is great, but the prices on the specials can be outrageous. We consider this a splurge or special occasion restaurant. We capped the evening in our room drinking bubbly and watching videos we brought from home. The did offer a children's (3-12 yo) NYE party from 6-11:30 pm ($35members) and a Beach bash for teens from 9-12:30am ($20members).
Day 3, January 1
Great weather! Mid-60's, sunny, no wind! Started out the day with a member exclusive "Behind the Ears Tour of Disney's HHI Resort" given by Jim Bittler (see above). It was fun and very interesting tour (free). Jim has been at HH since construction and shares alot of stories about the building and evolution of the resort over the past 3 years. It was a short walking tour that lasted about 1 hr (as Sue noted in her report, the resort is smaller than it looks on paper). Afterward we were given the opportunity to see a grand villa (2 floors, fireplace)--truly wonderful! But the best part of the day was that we went on a dolphin discovery cruise at the resort ($21pp members). We left at 3 pm and were out about 1.5 hours. Jeremy was our captain and he was great! He has been giving tours for 8 years and really knows the dolphins and the island. We saw probably 30-40 dolphins during our cruise, some came up right next to the boat. We also saw lots of marsh wildlife and birds. It ws chilly, but we bundled up and Jeremy had a big duffle full of coats in case we got cold. BTW, we did give him a tip when we were leaving the boat. It was a beautiful day and a fun trip. Lil'P said this was her favorite part of the trip for her. They added a special member social (1hr, free) at 5 pm with "Annie McDermott O'Donnell" AKA "The Turtle Girl", another of HH characters. Again, we had alot of fun, met alot of members, had some nice snacks and didn't win a raffle prize;) We finished the day at Goofy Bingo (free)--it was really packed with people and great fun! We got a chance to meet alot of people and talk to some who were interested in knowing more about DVC (lucky for them it was almost lil'P's bedtime! LOL!). Ended with some videos in our room.
Day 4, January 2
Yucky weather, boo hoo. Low 60's, rain, rain, rain and wind. But lots of resort activities. We did "Shadow's Doggone Adventure" scavenger hunt (1 hr, free). Shadow is a dog who is part of the Disney theming. He has houses, beds, and even a hammock around the resort, but no one ever sees him! This was our chance! We were paired up with another family (not members, but considering joining--of course, they too were lucky that the activity was only an hour long! LOL!! Seriously, they had never talked with a "real" member and had lots of important questions and concerns--things that we talk about here all the time). It was lots of fun, easy even for little kids (5+), and gives you a great way to learn about all of the nooks and crannys of the resort. Everyone got a prize at the end. There were several walking tours scheduled that day that were cancelled because of the weather. Jim Bittler did do an island discovery slide show instead of the walks. We went to the Heritage Grill at the Harbour Town Golf Club in Sea Pines for lunch. It is run by the same people, who until recently, ran one of our favorite restaurants on HH (Rick's Place). The menu was very limited because of the weather and time of year, but we'll go back and try it again in June). Lil P and I did Gyotaku (ghee-O-Tok-ooo)--which translates into the ancient Japanese art form of fish printing. You use a raw fish (yes, you have to touch it--no, it wasn't too bad) to paint on a t-shirt. It turned out to be lots of fun and results were great (1 hr, $10 members including the shirt). Mark did "Cooking with Matilda", a resort event for adults only (1hr, $12member). It is held in a grand villa and a guest chef prepares a treat for you. They also serve wine. It is hosted by a Disney character, "Ms. Peyton Beauchamp". Mark said she was really funny and he had a great time. He wasn't too impressed by the food (he is a gourmet cook), but said the experience was worth the $. There was a round of Disney Trivia at 7pm that we skipped to cuddle up and watch movies.
Day 5, January 3
Packed and headed for home.
We have made ressies to spend Thanksgiving (Tues-Sun) at HH in 1999. We have booked a 2 br villa (member price $116). The 1br is $74/night member price. And last, but not least--we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on Dec. 26 with the purchase of 100 points at Hilton Head!! We love it there!
Hope you find this helpful, please e-mail me if you have questions.