Before being known for theme parks and other attractions, Florida was a vacation destination for enjoying warm weather, sandy beaches, and other beautiful scenery. Although Walt Disney World is the undisputed champion of having changed Florida’s tourism scene forever, Disney is responsible for a resort that honors and celebrates Florida; the Florida before Disney. Whenever I visit Disney’s Vero Beach Resort I am filled with Florida pride and become instantly relaxed. After five visits I have my own list of favorite activities and features of this resort, and I’d like to share my Disney’s Vero Beach Resort tips with you.
You do not have to be a DVC Member to stay here
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is primarily a Disney Vacation Club property. It is one of the very first DVC Resorts, offering villa style accommodations (studios all the way to three bedroom villas) as well as regular hotel rooms. As a DVC member you can use your vacation points to stay in any available accommodations, including hotel rooms. Non members can also book any available accommodations, based on availability.
All accommodations have Florida and nautical themed decor. All rooms are pretty well sized, offering a pleasing amount of space. All units, even the hotel rooms, have DVD players. As with all DVC resorts, DVDs are offered for rent from a fairly decent sized DVD library.
Stay at least three nights
Don’t get me wrong, if you can only stay a night or two, by all means do it! But if you can work out a little more time in your schedule, three nights is a great amount of time to really get into relaxation mode and allow time for exploring the local area. Vero Beach is not a hustling and bustling beach city. However, it is a nice community with a good variety of restaurants and other local businesses that are worth checking out.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort has a great collection of features and recreational activities. Certainly the resort does not have the endless amount of entertainment options found at Walt Disney World, but the amount of activities is unmatched in the area.
A beach vacation or getaway is supposed to be a whole lot of doing nothing. There is plenty of opportunity to do nothing here, and I have had great stays here of just sitting by the pool and sitting on the beach. However, it would be very difficult to become bored at this resort.
Recreational activities include:
- Bicycle rental
- Ping pong tables and foosball
- Arts and crafts
- Poolside trivia
- Wildlife spotting and classes
- Video game consoles
- Fireside songs, games, and marshmallow roasting
- Boogie board, sailboat, and wave runner rental
The pool is a destination itself. Its curvy design allows for lots of seating areas that feel comfortable and almost secluded, but seats do fill up fast during peak season. The slide is great for kids and kids at heart (the view at the top of the slide is superb). The beach itself takes a moment to get used to. There is a steep drop off on the shoreline due to the sea wall that has been built up over the years. Still, it is a beautiful beach.
I do recommend the mini-golf regardless of if you are traveling with kids or not. It is a fun little course that weaves wonderfully through the back part of the pool area. There is plenty of shade and cute, pirate themed props and obstacles. During my visits it has only cost about $3 for DVC Members, and just a little more for guests.
The bicycle rental is also a good choice, so long as the weather cooperates. There is a nice bike path just across the street from the resort, with both a convenient under the road tunnel and well marked crosswalks to get across the street. The bike path winds through a wooded, but developed area with very lovely quiet spots for taking a break and enjoying the view.
There are also scheduled activities, some with a nominal cost, that are offered throughout the week. Some of these activities take place inside Community Hall. These are great activities for families wanting to spend some time together creating a fun momento of their trip. I also recommend the campfire songs and marshmallow roast. The firepit is located on the far side of the resort, making for a nice stroll to get there. This feature would be enhanced with a clear view of the beach, but it is still a fun way to enjoy a beautiful Florida evening.
Dining at the Resort
There are four dining options at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. Bleacher’s is the resort’s counter service option. It is open around 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM (subject to change). You’ll find casual dining staples like burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and salads. This location also serves as the pool bar, but no sitting at the counter is available. This is also the only refillable soft drink station at the resort (using the same rapid refill system as Walt Disney World).
Shutter’s is a full service restaurant with a casual feel. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a Character Breakfast is available during select days. Sonya’s is located right next to Shutter’s and is only open for dinner, and Sunday brunch. The atmosphere is a little more elevated here. I highly recommend the Sunday Brunch. It is a very impressive buffet with a delectable variety of salads, meat, breakfast favorites including crepes and Mickey waffles, and so much more. Plus the $30+ price tag includes a mimosa, sparkling wine, or Bloody Mary.
Finally there is The Green Cabin Room. If this establishment was closer to Central Florida, I’d be in trouble. This lounge is very unique in that it is accessed via a staircase off the main lobby and is a self contained room. The decor is rich, with deep, dark wood, brass accents, and shelves with nautical props and books. A long bar awaits in the middle of the room with several tables and chairs flanked on either side. On the weekends you can usually enjoy live musicians strumming away. The crowning jewel on The Green Cabin Room is the balcony overlooking the ocean. You can sip a cocktail from their long menu (very similar to the one found in all WDW Resort lounges) as well as enjoy a delicious appetizer or two, all while taking in the view of Florida’s Treasure Coast. (Sadly on this stay I did not have an opportunity to pay The Green Cabin Room a visit, but it needs to be on your must-do list!)
Dining outside of the resort
This is just about the only Disney resort at which I encourage you to dine outside of. Not saying that you should not dine at the resort, the Sunday brunch at Sonya’s and a visit for drinks and appetizers at The Green Cabin Room are must-dos. Still, there are a variety of places to dine around Vero Beach that are worth venturing out for.
At the front desk there is a very helpful, small binder with a good, thorough list of local dining options. Some of my favorites include The Quilted Giraffe and Trattoria Dario, both restaurants offer a high quality, memorable dining experience. For something more casual, I recommend Captain Hiram’s – put your toes in the sand and enjoy some live tropical music. But there is one place that is a 30 minute drive that has won my heart, The Old Fish House. This waterfront dining is casual, but the food is elevated, without an elevated price tag.
Wrapping up the resort
The grounds are lovely, a tranquil tropical setting everywhere you turn. In the interior, it is Florida from top to bottom. Sea Turtles (including flipper imprints in the lobby floor), citrus, and spring training, all these details pay tribute to Vero Beach’s history and culture. The common areas, both outside and in invite you to relax and unwind. Of course there’s a great spa located on the premises too, if you want to take your relaxation to another level. Top all this off with some Disney pixie dust and you’ve got yourself a beach resort that is simply hard to beat.