Not Disney's Best Kept Secret

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Meggysmum on January 14, 2013

We stayed 4 nights at Old Key West in a 1bedroom villa. It is one of the Disney Vaction Club Resorts which is sold with the tagline Disneys Best Kept Secret. In fact OKW was the original DVC resort.

We checked in at 8am to collect our keys to The World as we had the Dining plan and were told we had a room in block 50 but they couldn’t call us when it was ready as we were using a UK mobile. I felt this was ridiculous, I am sure WDW have many International travellers and I didn’t think I should be inconvenienced just because I was not a US resident. We were given a number to phone at about 3pm as we were told our room would probably be ready by then and it would definitely be ready by 4pm.

We left our luggage with bellhop and went off to the parks for the day. At about 4.30 we were leaving Animal Kingdom and phoned the number we were given only to find our room was not ready. Not terribly impressed we made our way back to the hotel and to reception. Once again we were told our room wasn’t ready but when I pointed out that we had checked in hours ago the cast member agreed that it want acceptable and started making phone calls on our behalf. I have no idea what happened to our original room but we ended up being allocated a room in block 52 instead but this wasn’t all sorted out until nearly 6pm so I was not very happy.

Our room was on the 2nd floor (1st floor to the Brits). We have stayed in 1beds before but the first thing that struck me about the Old Key West room was the space. We had a large hallway opening in to an enormous living area with wooden floors, a patio door leading to the balcony and huge windows with aspects to the rear and the side. This area house two sofas and a chair (one sofa was a sofa bed and the chair was a sleeper chair). A dining room table with 4 chairs and a large, fully fitted kitchen. The main bedroom was also large with an enormous bed and had a huge cupboard housing a TV and also had access to the balcony. There was a laundry area with a washing machine and tumble dryer.

The bathroom arrangement was a bit odd. The first room contained a shower, sink and toilet and could be accessed from the laundry room and the additional bathroom. The additional bathroom contained a spa bath, sink and wardrobe but no toilet and no door to the master bedroom either! It seems the older blocks at OKW only have toilet access through the master bedroom and not through the laundry area. We actually found this bathroom arrangement worked fine for us as long as everyone remembered to lock and unlock both doors whenever they used the toilet!

The furnishings in OKW have all been refurbished and they were mainly shades of green with checks and stripes which were very peaceful and added to the New England feel.

We had an issue with housekeeping on the first night when we realised we only had one sheet to make up two pull-out beds and even that was dirty! It took 3 phone calls and nearly 2 hours before clean sheets arrived with no apology.

We didn’t like the location of our block at all. OKW is a somewhat linear resort and we were quite a way from Hospitality House where we could fill up our drinks mugs, there was a refill station at the Turtle Pool which was a few minutes’ walk away but that closed early. The walk was along the main entry road to HH and we found it a bit tedious, especially since the weather was cold. This is also where the themed pool was which looked nice but we didn’t get to try it.

The worst thing about the location was the fact that the car park at the front on the villas is actually used as a bus turn around. I felt this was unsafe as there was no warning that the buses would be turning in and if I had small children I would have been shocked as normally the car park was quiet. The buses were noisy which could be heard clearly in the living area at night and since it was holiday season they were still running at 2am which got to be really annoying.

Old Key West Villas have about the biggest balconies on WDW property. Ours was lovely and square with a table and four chairs so was a great place for breakfast. Unfortunately there was a lot of foliage which meant there wasn’t much sun and we overlooked a stagnant pond which I imagine would be a haven for mosquitos in the warmer months.

We tended to take our car up to hospitality House as the walk was long and cold. We had a similar length walk when at Saratoga Springs last year but the walk was twisting paths around the fountains and it just seemed more pleasant than along the road with the laundry carts and the buses. We were obviously not the pony ones as parking up there was often quite difficult.

Hospitality house contains the Conch Flats general store which we used to buy a couple of gifts as well as a couple of grocery supplies. It was well stocked and we found all the staff in there was lovely.

We filled our drinks mugs up at the Goods to Go quick service place. Unfortunately this is basically a kiosk, not a restaurant so you have to take your food back to your villa (remember that long walk?) or sit at the outside tables overlooking the dock. We found the staff here were definitely missing the Disney magic!

The tables have a lovely position on a nice day and you can watch the boats going to Downtown Disney or you can rent a boat or a bike yourself at the rentals window.

We used the boat to DTD, it takes about 15 minutes and is really nice and peaceful and takes you to almost outside Paradiso 37 which is convenient for many of the restaurants.

When you arrive at OKW it looks like a nice spacious resort, rather like Saratoga Springs resort but unfortunately most of OJW is actually made up of gold fairways so you cannot walk around and sit down on benches and enjoy the peace and quiet as there is no access to most green areas. There are various pools dotted around the site and the ones we looked at all seemed well maintained.

The villas at Old Key West are beautiful and spacious and they may entice us back at some point but only if we can be sure we will be close to Hospitality House. We felt quite isolated and even felt that the end of the resort we were in was not being maintained as well as other parts. Unfortunately the tardy nature of housekeeping didn’t help our general feel about the resort either.
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830

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