Saturday SixTravel Destinations

The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Disney’s VERO BEACH Resort (the amenities, the dining, sea turtles and more!)

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We all know about the amazing on-site hotels at Walt Disney World including Pop Century, Port Orleans, and Wilderness Lodge, but many don’t realize that the Disney Vacation Club has one more resort in the state that sits by the ocean in Vero Beach, Florida.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. (photo by Scott Gustin)

Located about two hours from Orlando, Vero Beach is a part of Florida’s Treasure Coast and is much more serene and relaxing compared to the hustle and bustle you will find in Central Florida.

Tick-Tock the crocodile welcomes guests to Vero.

Today we’re going to look at some of our favorite parts of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, starting with…

# 6 – Turtle theming

Throughout the Vero Beach property you are going to see designs that incorporate turtles into the theming. This is because the east coast of Florida is where thousands of turtles come to lay their eggs, including at Vero Beach.

Turtle mosaic in lobby. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

I personally love the turtles “swimming” on the Vero Beach carpet in the hallways.

Carpet. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The room cards at Vero feature Crush from Pixar’s Finding Nemo.

Room Card. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

There is artwork featuring turtles…

…and even signage featuring turtles.

Wind & Waves bar menu. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The Pin Trading Board is also a turtle. This can be found at Vero Beach’s gift shop, which leads us to…

Pin trading board. Turtle. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The Merchandise

The Island Grove Packing Co. is the name of Vero Beach’s gift shop and you will encounter it immediately when walking through the front doors. It is a decent-sized gift shop filled with all the usual Disney-related items you see at any WDW gift shop (including MagicBands, pins, and t-shirts), along with a whole bunch of items specifically for Vero Beach.

Island Grove Packing Co. gift shop.

Duffy the Disney Bear’s friend ‘Olu Mel is a turtle. In the storyline, ‘Olu Mel is Duffy’s friend from Aulani, the Disney resort in Hawaii. For the most part, it is rare to find ‘Olu merchandise outside of Disney’s Asian parks (where Duffy is a phenomenon) and the gift shop at Aulani. Because so much of Vero Beach’s theming involves turtles, you can also find cute little ‘Olu here.

‘Olu Mel plush.
‘Olu Mel bags.

Another Disney turtle you will see represented more than usual is Crush.

Pin. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Squirt shirt. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

You’ll also find non-IP turtle designs on items as well.

Without four theme parks and two waterparks nearby, a stay at Vero Beach is more like a vacation to “Old Florida” with the highlights being relaxation and the beach.

Shirt. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Magnet. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

I loved this towel because I’m a sucker for directional signage merchandise. The towel features directions to various places at the resort, but also points out Walt Disney World is 108.4 miles (it’s a relatively easy drive as well.)

Towel. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Bag. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Vero Beach Merchandise. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

I personally love this Vero Beach logo.

Normally you have to be careful with what Disney puts on the back of t-shirts because sometimes it’s just too much, but I’m a HUGE fan of this design below.

As a pressed penny guy, I love the fact that Vero Beach has not only has its own penny machine, but also a great one featuring Crush on a pressed quarter.

Pressed penny machines. (photo by Courtney Guth)

# 5 – The Activities

Because there are no theme parks nearby, the Vero Beach Resort is LOADED with activities that you can partake in during your stay. You name it, Vero Beach has it: tennis, basketball, soccer, archery, volleyball, shuffleboard, cornhole, bocce ball, billiards, ping pong and more. There are group activities including various arts & crafts projects, bingo, treasure hunts, and games by the pool. Not only do you have the ocean to swim in, but you can also rent kayaks, jet skis, paddle boards, and banana boats. Want to rent a bike to take a leisurely ride around the property or neighboring Vero? Well, you can rent one at Eb & Flo’s (an E-Ticket pun).

Eb & Flo’s Activity Center. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Across the resort you’ll find some fun photo-ops, like this one featuring Eb and Flo.

Eb & Flows photo-op. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
SMILE! (photo by Professor Daniel Miller)
Shuffleboard and bike rentals. (photo by @HistoryatDisney)
Volleyball. Soccer. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Tennis courts. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Basketball court. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

One of my family’s favorite group activities is mini-golf, and Vero Beach is one of the only theme park resorts to have a mini-golf course onsite. The mini-golf course is complimentary, you just need to go to Eb & Flo’s to get golf clubs and golf balls for your game.

Mini-golf. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The course is minimally themed, but it is certainly better than a lot of other complimentary mini-golf I have played over the years.

Holes 1-3. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Holes 4-6. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Holes 7-9. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Mini-golf gator. (photo by Tom Bricker)
Enjoy s’mores at this campfire area at night. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Community Hall, a staple of DVC resorts. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Another great pun is used for Vero Beach’s gym.

Anchors Aweigh Gym. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Anchors Aweigh Gym. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Anchors Aweigh Gym. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

# 4 – Pool Area

The feature pool of Vero Beach is in the shape of Mickey Mouse and has an alleged theming of pirates. I couldn’t find many pirates, but there is plenty of seating and tables for guests nearby along with one of the most impressive pool slides that Disney offers.

Vero Beach pool (photo by Disney)

Every day of the week Vero Beach Resort Cast Members held pool-side games for kids and adults.

Pool area. (photo by Professor Daniel Miller)

Pirate’s Plunge Pool Slide: a 2-story, 163-foot spiral water slide.

Vero Beach. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Lots of seating and tables by the pool. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The Tiger Lily water play area nearby is based around a pirate ship and other nautical elements.

Tiger Lily water play area. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

# 3 – The Details

A walk around the Vero Beach property is as peaceful as you can get, with tons of wonderful details throughout the resort.

Guest Villas. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Hidden Mickeys on a fence. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

This stunning mural is essentially a tribute to Florida itself, but if you look on the far left you’ll see an old-timey photo of baseball players. That is paying tribute to Vero Beach being the original Dodger Town and the spring training home to the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers since 1948, years before Walt Disney looked at Florida and its “blessing of size.” Eventually the Dodgers moved their spring training facility to Arizona in 2008, but Dodger Town was – and is – an important part of Florida history.

Mural. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

In fact, if you look outside the main building at Vero Beach you’ll see this Home Plate dedication plaque covering the history of the Dodgers and the city of Vero.

Dedication Plaque. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

I told you I’m a sucker for directional signage, so you better believe I love this one that includes Disney DVC Resorts.

Directional signage. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

In the main building at Vero, the elevator has an old-school element that blew my mind. On the ground floor you will see a Mickey hand move back and forth with Mickey’s “finger” pointing to the current floor the elevator is on. I have absolutely no idea how the multi-million dollar new DVC resort at the Poly will turn out, but I bet you nothing in that giant eyesore will be as cool as this.

Mickey Hand. Elevator. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Across the property, you’ll also see a ton of old photographs paying homage to the history of Walt Disney and the state of Florida.

Artwork.  (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Another running theme at Vero is the animated classic Peter Pan. We saw the Tick-Tock topiary in the front of the main building, and across the property you’ll see other Pan references as well, including this piece of artwork below.

I’m sure there are a million Disney fans who can tell you exactly who these two guys are…unfortunately I’m not one of them. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

How can you not love this painting of Vero Beach Resort?!

Disney art. “The Inn (Late 1880’s) art by Cari Guerin. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Because the Vero Beach Resort is basically an homage to the state of Florida, you’ll see Oranges used in a lot of theming. I love this particular piece of artwork that combines a painting of a Florida orange grove as the background with a physical prop “truck” in front of it. Even better, looking through the window of the truck you see that Mickey is driving and his pal Pluto is riding shotgun. This is a level of detail and charm we just don’t see as much anymore as most hotels in this day and age seem to be in a race to see who can become the most sterile and generic place possible

Artwork. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

# 2 – The Food

Dining at Vero Beach is shockingly good because, quite frankly, Vero Beach has the most “trapped” guests of any Disney resort. No matter where you are staying in Walt Disney World, you are a quick bus ride, skyliner, boat ride, or monorail away from somewhere. At Vero Beach, you are two hours away from anything else Disney. However, instead of just saying “that’s good enough,” Vero has above-average dining at both its counter service and table service restaurants.

One thing to understand is that three venues at Vero Beach are named Wind & Waves, because they share the same kitchen. There is a Wind & Waves Grill that is Table Service. The Grill is available for breakfast and dinner only. There is a Wind & Waves Market that is Counter Service. The Market is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Market is the most like a traditional Disney hotel food court and is where you’ll find refillable mugs for your soda. Finally, there is a Wind & Waves Bar offering bar service and a limited dining menu next to the pool.

Wind & Waves. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

For table service, the Wind & Waves Grill is one of those that you want to go out of your way for, featuring a wonderful menu filled with dishes that are plated spectacularly.

Wind & Waves Grill. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Chocolate Chip Pancakes with a chocolate drizzle. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Breakfast options including the resort’s signature Key Lime Mickey Waffles.

Key Lime Mickey Waffles. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Fear not, there are traditional Mickey waffles available as well.

Mickey Waffle. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The dinner menu will have daily specials, along with a good variety of standard items including wood-fired pizza, bacon-crusted salmon, and their signature burger that is served in a bun meant to look like a turtle shell.

Vero Beach signature burger: signature-beef blend patty, sweet barbeque pork belly, bacon jam, sriracha coleslaw, beer-battered onion ring, and cheddar cheese in a unique “turtle” bun (photo by Scott Gustin)

What makes Wind & Waves Grill elevate into the upper echelon of Disney restaurants is the availability of Mickey Mouse pats of butter.

Themed Butter. (photo by @RideVine)

Wind & Waves Market is located near the pool, making it easy to grab a meal to take poolside.

Wind & Waves Market. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The Market offers a ton of grab-and-go items along with a grill area where you can order items such as breakfast burritos, sandwiches, burgers, mac & cheese, pizza, and chicken tenders.

Cinnamon rolls. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Wind & Waves Market. Chicken Strips and fries. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Wind & Waves Market. Create your own salad. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Even though there is no bus service to the theme parks, you can get a bit of the parks at Vero with Mickey pretzels and churros.

To be authentic WDW churros they have to be a least a day old. (photo by @historyatdisney)

Like the good ol’ days at Captain Cook’s in the Poly, the Wind & Waves Market also has a Dole whip machine. Here you can get the resort’s signature key lime dole whip along with the traditional pineapple or vanilla flavors. Even better, you can add rum to any Dole whip!

Key Lime Dole Whip with Graham Cracker Crumbles. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The Wind & Waves bar is also located next to the pool and has pretty much everything you could want from draft beers to cocktails.

Wind & Waves Bar. (photo by Professor Daniel Miller)
Wind & Waves Bar. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Jai Alai at the Wind & Waves bar. (photo by Professor Daniel Miller)

The Green Cabin Room is located on the second floor of the main building and is a lounge offering coffee, tea, pastries, and breakfast cocktails during morning hours (8-11 A.M. In the evening you’ll find light bites and a full bar (5-11 P.M.)

The Green Cabin Room. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
The Green Cabin Room. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
The Green Cabin Room. Outdoor seating. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

# 1 – The Beach

One of the main draws to Vero Beach Resort is the actual beach. Located steps away from the rest of the resort, the beach area at Vero is perfect to spend a day (or more) lounging by.

Beach. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The Green Cabin has rental loungers and umbrellas available (DVC members get a discounted price on both.)

Beach rentals. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Loungers and umbrellas. (photo by Scott Gustin)

As a person who comes from the Northeast where even the worst beaches are often packed during the limited time we can go there during the summer,  its always amazing to see beaches like the one in Vero be relatively quiet despite being so beautiful and enjoyable.

Vero Beach. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Vero Beach. (photo by Scott Gustin)

A key part of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, along with the city of Vero in general, is the message of sea turtle conservation.

Beach access. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

The turtle nesting season runs from early March to October 31, and during this time you will see Disney be vigilant in marking areas where turtles have been. During parts of the season, Disney offers a guided Sea Turtle Night Walk. I have done something similar to this in another city on the Treasure Coast and it was absolutely amazing. At night you can watch a turtle lay her eggs, cover the nest, and return to the sea. This is something that is indescribably beautiful to see in person and you won’t believe how fast these large turtle make their way back to the ocean after protecting their eggs! Once a nest has been identified it is marked to keep guests away from them.

Turtle nesting. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

Throughout the year you’ll also see researchers from the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Disney Conservation releasing sea turtles into the sea to either get data on how best to protect the species…

A turtle makes their way back into the ocean. (photo by Disney)
Almost there! (photo by Disney)

…or after they have been rehabilitated from an injury.

Releasing a turtle back into the ocean. (photo by @wdwbusdriver)

Have we talked about just how gorgeous being at the beach in Florida can be?

Sunset at Vero Beach. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Rainbow at Vero Beach. (photo by Courtney Guth)
Sunrise at Vero Beach. (photo by Scott Gustin)

Honorable Mention: Restroom Signage

Hats off to Vero Beach for not just this world-class pun for restroom signage…

Buoys & Gulls restrooms. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

…but also for the old-timey logos to identify the men’s and women’s bathroom areas! This is one of those “little things” that was once standard at both Universal and Disney but has slowly been removed and replaced with more generic signage.

Restroom signage. Men. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)
Restroom signage. Women. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Disney’s VERO BEACH RESORT! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

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SATURDAY SIX: Tribute to Josh easyWDW

SATURDAY SIX: Tribute to Ian Barritt

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world-famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

One more for Vero Beach. (photo by @HistoryAtDisney)

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2 thoughts on “The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Disney’s VERO BEACH Resort (the amenities, the dining, sea turtles and more!)

  • Great overview and thank you for including so many other photos that some people might not share – like community hall or the gym.

    I remember on our trip to Vero, kids meals at the Wind and the Waves included a green plastic bucket that you got to keep. A neat little extra at the time!

  • Vero Beach is the best. I don’t know if I should complain that nobody ever mentions the nature trail or if I should be grateful that it remains totally obscure but I love that trail, picnic area, random fountain in the middle of a lake, so much. And everything else about the resort.


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