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Sue Holland

Disney's Vero Beach Resort – Disney's Version of a Beach Vacation

Friday, August 24, 2001
Text and images by Sue Holland, MousePlanet staff writer

A welcome sight for weary travelers (photo by Sue Holland)
A welcome sight for weary travelers

Do your Disney vacations leave you exhausted from a week of running from one attraction to the next, from early morning until late at night? Do you love vacationing at the ocean but are tired of second-rate motels and overly crowded beaches? If so, Disney's Vero Beach Resort may be just for you.

Located just a two-hour drive from Walt Disney World, this resort is a wonderful place to spend a couple of nights relaxing before heading home. But Vero Beach Resort can also be a destination in and of itself.

Located in Indian River County in a section of Florida's east coast known as the Treasure Coast, this is the second Disney Vacation Club resort that Disney built, and the first to be built outside of Walt Disney World.

This section is known as Florida's Treasure Coast because of the number of shipwrecks just offshore. Indian River County is world-famous for its grapefruit and other citrus and is home to 20 different packing houses.

The resort was designed to look as if it was built a century ago, in the architectural style of the grand hotels found on the northeastern seaboard. There is no commercial development in the area, with the resort surrounded by undeveloped land and private homes. the resort is technically not in Vero Beach at all, but is located several miles to the north. If you venture south into Vero Beach itself, that is where you will find the tourist shops and motels.

View of the Inn Building (photo by Sue Holland)
View of the Inn Building

The pedestrian walk along the back of the Inn (photo by Sue Holland)
The pedestrian walk along the back of the Inn

The resort is small, with only 172 rooms. Most of the rooms -- 112 -- are located in the Inn, with 54 rooms located in three smaller buildings, and six in individual beach cottages. The Inn is the center of the resort, and contains both ocean view and garden view rooms. Each room features two queen-size beds, TV set with VCR (with movies available to check out) along with a mini-kitchenette area containing a microwave, refrigerator, sink and coffee maker. The inn also houses two restaurants, a cocktail lounge, and small meeting rooms.

The kitchen in the Inn rooms (photo by Sue Holland)
The kitchen in the Inn rooms

The three smaller buildings contain a mixture of studios, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom villas. A studio and a 1-bedroom can be combined to create a 2-bedroom villa. The units are similar to the units at Disney's Old Key West Resort, but are are quite a bit smaller although brighter. They are however, still larger than the units at Disney's Boardwalk Villas Resort or the Villas at Wilderness Lodge Resort..

A guest building at Vero Beach Resort (photo by Sue Holland)
A guest building at Vero Beach Resort

The theme of seashells and sea turtles is carried through into the tile and decor, making the units very attractive. These buildings are three stories tall, with elevators and underground parking, and are a short walk from the Inn and the pool area. As at the other DVC resorts, the studios and one-bedroom villas house up to four guests, while the villa can house up to eight guests (Note that most of these units have a very attractive view of the resort, but do not have an ocean view.) The beach area is protected by a fairly high dune, so only a few units facing the beach on the top floor have an ocean view.

One of the cottages (photo by Sue Holland)
One of the cottages

By far the most impressive (and expensive) lodging would be the Beach Cottages Each of the six cottages is a free-standing vacation home with decks on the front and back, and even a bench swing hanging from the front porch. The bottom floor houses three bedrooms and three bathrooms, while the kitchen, living and dining room area are upstairs.

The allowable capacity of 12 people is far too crowded for one of these cottages, in my opinion. For example, the living room consists of a couch, love seat and one chair. Twelve people will not fit there unless some guests sit on the floor or at the dining room table.

In addition, you are unlikely to be able to book one of these cottages unless you are a DVC member with enough points at Vero Beach, Those who are considering a cash rental or even DVC members with points from other DVC resorts are probably out of luck.

You can however, visit one of these beach cottages when it opens for a couple of hours at least twice a week. Guests can get some coffee, see the cottage, and chat with other members and guests. When the resort becomes fully sold out to DVC members though, that usually stops, as the cottage will not be held as unsold.

The resort porches are well equipped for leisure time (photo by Sue Holland)
The resort porches are well equipped for leisure time

Scattered throughout the resort are several hammocks, rocking chairs, and signs explaining certain trees and plants. It is very pleasant to wander around, and it is common to find many rabbits happily munching on the lush green grass. As is typical, this DVC resort has the obligatory sign pointing out the distances to the other DVC resorts.

As Steven Wright says, "Everything is within walking distance if you have the time." (photo by Sue Holland)
As Steven Wright says, "Everything is within walking distance if you have the time."

Since the resort is somewhat isolated, there are two full-service restaurants on-site. There are many restaurants within a short drive, but none within walking distance. Shutters is the more casual eatery, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is also home to a character breakfast each Saturday with Goofy and his son Max. Sonya's is the more upscale restaurant, open only for dinner and a Sunday brunch. Resort casual attire is appropriate at both locations.

Bleachers Snacks (photo by Sue Holland)
Bleachers Snacks

Guests who do not want to change from their swimsuits to eat can obtain counter service food from the poolside Bleacher's Bar & Grill The chicken tenders are especially good, and other options include burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, salads, and a few specialty drinks. The Green Cabin Room serves appetizers and cocktails from 11:30 until 10:00 p.m., with seating indoors or out on the deck. Live entertainment is often available in the bar in the evening.

Vero Beach at low tide (photo by Sue Holland)
Vero Beach at low tide

During the day, most guests head to either the beach or the pool. The beach is not particularly wide or attractive, as seen in the picture above, taken at low tide. It is unfortunately typical of all the beaches along this section of the coast. Rental chairs, umbrellas, body boards, and some watercraft are available on the beach, although guests can bring their own chairs, umbrellas and body boards.

The resort's main pool (photo by Sue Holland)
The resort's main pool

The Mickey head-shaped pool is a popular gathering spot. Although there are many pool chairs on the large deck, guests stake their claim to particular chairs very early - typically before 9 a.m.! The pool's focal point is the waterslide themed as a lighthouse. In addition, there is a small spa and a separate play area for young children. Cast members circulate the pool deck taking orders for food and drink, and on weekends a disc jockey will usually play music from under the gazebo all afternoon.

Currently it is pretty easy for guests who are not DVC members to reserve rooms here, but that will most likely change (at least for the peak seasons) once the resort is sold out. Until then, give it a try and you might find yourself deciding to become a member so you can return again and again.

Although you can relax and do nothing, if that sounds too boring then there are also plenty of activities to choose from! In the next article, I share some of the many activities and things to do at the resort.

The DVC motto, prominently displayed (photo by Sue Holland)
The DVC motto, prominently displayed


Contact Sue at sue.holland@mouseplanet.com.

MORE INFO

MousePlanet's Disney Vacation Club Trip Planning guide has information on the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) and how it works.

Information on Disney's Vero Beach Resort to plan your own trip.

See how many DVC points it takes for DVC members to stay at the resort by using this chart.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.

After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.

She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.

Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.

You can contact Sue here.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”

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MousePlanet® is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at www.disney.com. This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary, editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change. Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.