Disney's Old Key West Resort
Price level: Deluxe
While it is hard to recommend as a casual visitor since it is very expensive, I highly recommend if you own a DVC or you can trade points via a timeshare exchange. That's what I did. I own a timeshare resort and I exchanged my current year points via RCI, an timeshare exchange. After I made the reservation, my Disney vacation planning went smoothly. I was charged an addition transaction fee (approx $200) and Disney tacked on a resort fee (approx $100). I guess the Disney resort fee covered the Magical Express bus and the MagicBands since I was not charged for these items. They came gratis.
With that out of the way, Disney's Old Key West Resort doesn't exactly stand out. I learned it is Disney's oldest original resort. The grounds are huge. It is quite large, but undistinctive. It is relaxing, but that's about it. The pools are huge and quite nice. I didn't eat at the restaurant near the hospitality house (reception hall) since I made many advanced reservations at the parks. I did use the quick service restaurant at the pool. It is adequate (barely average food). I liked the boat ride to Downtown Disney, which at the time (May 2014) was undergoing its major renovation. I visited Downtown Disney twice for dinner and shopping.
I got the one bedroom suite. They are typical timeshare quality rooms. This means it is much better than Disney's moderate rooms and below Disney's deluxe rooms. The advantage of time share rooms is a fully equiped kitchen with stove and full-sized refrigerator, in-room clothes washer and dryer, and spacious accomodations. Old Key West rooms are described as having larger rooms than other Disney's time share resort. I would agree they are spacious.
The rooms were recently renovated. This is a good thing, but I found the laminate wood flooring to be substandard quality. The edges were peeling at the molding. The appliances do not seem to be the best quality. The shower stall is not tiled (molded plastic). It seems a bit low rent. There are no elevators to the second and third floors. Beware if you need strollers.
The resort is huge. Therefore, ask for a room close to the hospitality house so you can walk to the restaurants and pool. Overall, I quite enjoyed myself there. Next time, I will try another resort, but I warn you, Disney's resorts are hard to get. They seems to quickly get booked as soon as they are listed in RCI.
TIPS: Try out the crafts center. Good if you have kids under 13 years old. Most crafts are free except for the ceramic kits (you must give yourself 24 hours for the ceramic kit to bake in the oven and dry). I didn't try it out until a few hours before (with time to kill) for the magical express to take us to the airport on the way home.
This is the resort I stay at most of the times I visit WDW. It has a centralized location and is fair with the use of DVC points. That being said, there are a few detractions. The first is that the central hub of the location does not have a covered patio by the snack shop / DVC activity area and the second is that there has been some small issues with my mother's scooter getting from the bus stations.
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