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Our Review of Disney World’s Old Key West Resort

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If you are looking to stay at a Deluxe Resort at Disney World for a slightly cheaper price, Disney’s Old Key West Resort might be a good option for you. On our trip to Disney World in November 2021, we rented Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points to stay at Old Key West, and here are our thoughts! We’ll cover the overall resort and amenities, and then at the end we’ll list out the pros and cons and give our review of Disney’s Old Key West Resort.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort was the first Disney Vacation Club property at Disney World. Now, of course, DVC is spread out though so many of Disney’s resorts and you don’t have to be a DVC member to stay at Old Key West. But this history does give Old Key West some unique features over other Disney World resorts.

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Old Key West Resort Property Layout

The first thing you should know about Disney’s Old Key West Resort is that it is an EXTREMELY spread out resort. These are not hotel rooms where you can easily just pop down to the lobby. Instead, this is a sprawling resort set on a golf course, and many people use their cars to get to different parts of the resort regularly.

The main section of this island themed resort (hence the name Old Key West) is called the Hospitality House. Here you’ll find the resort lobby, restaurants, shopping, and the main pool. Because this resort has a laid-back island vibe, there is a lot of use of outdoor space. All of the restaurants, the Conch Flats General Store, and the Hospitality House lobby connect outdoors.

The rest of the resort is spread out similar to a complex of condos, with many different buildings, all with parking nearby.

Because of the layout of the resort, if you aren’t driving to Disney World, Old Key West may be a trickier resort to navigate. There are buses that run to the lobby area (the theme park buses that run through the resort always stop at the lobby last) and many of the buildings are within walking distance. But if you are in one of the far back buildings, getting to the lobby without a car may feel inconvenient.

Old Key West Resort Rooms

The rooms at Disney’s Old Key West Resort are spacious and comfortable, even if awkwardly shaped (the studio rooms flow in almost a U-shape, with the bathroom at the back). And because this is a Deluxe resort, even the studio rooms have a small kitchenette area with a sink, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, and mini-fridge.

One reason people love staying at Disney’s Old Key West, though, is the variety of room sizes they offer that are great for larger families. In addition to the regular studio rooms (pictured below), Old Key West also offers one, two, and three bedroom villas. All this room variety (and Old Key West has a lot of non-studio rooms) make this a popular option for families with a lot of people.

Old Key West Resort Restaurants

Compared to some other resorts, especially Deluxe resorts, Old Key West is a bit limited in dining options. One reason for this may be the large number of multi-bedroom suites with full kitchens at this resort, as many people visiting choose to have meals in their room when they aren’t at the parks.

The main restaurant at Disney’s Old Key West is Olivia’s Café, a table service dining option that offers classic Southern dishes as well as seafood. They are especially known for their brunch in general, their conch fritters, and their fried chicken.

It’s a solid restaurant, and I know a lot of people call it a hidden gem at Disney World. But in all honesty, while I would definitely try to eat there if I was staying at Old Key West, I also wouldn’t go out of my way to make a trip there for this restaurant.

Next to Olivia’s is the Gurgling Suitcase where you can get cocktails and drinks. They also offer a quick service menu that is basically just a selection of some of the dishes from Olivia’s.

And next to The Gurgling Suitcase, there is Good’s Foods To Go, which offers quick service breakfast, lunch, dinner. They mostly have different sandwiches, including burgers and BBQ at lunch and dinner and breakfast sandwiches for breakfast.

If you are staying in one of the buildings near the Turtle Pool, there is also Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks, which offers things like pizza, chicken sandwiches, and nachos for lunch or a very early dinner (they close late afternoon).

Old Key West Resort Entertainment & Amenities

Old Key West is a Deluxe Resort with plenty of amenities and entertainment for your family.

Near the Hospitality House you’ll find the Sandcastle Pool (the main pool with a giant sandcastle waterslide), Community Hall (with games like foosball and pool), the Electric Eel Game Room (an arcade), and a fitness room.

Throughout the resort there are also other amenities for guests staying in buildings that are a bit further away. There are three additional, smaller pools spread throughout the resort and there is a second arcade by Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks.

There are also jogging trails, two tennis courts, a basketball court, a beach volleyball court, and several playgrounds for the kiddos.

You’ll also find entertainment at Old Key West, from Jimmy Buffet-like live music to campfire activities and Movies Under the Stars.

Old Key West also has a unique and fun offering: surrey bike rentals, which are multi-person car-like bikes.

Surrey Bikes at Old Key West

Old Key West Resort Transportation

The lack of transportation options at Disney’s Old Key West Resort is perhaps the biggest negative about staying there. Unless you brought your own car, you will be relying on buses to take you to all four of the Disney Parks. Meaning if there is an issue with the buses, you don’t have another transportation option to fall back on. And it also means that almost everyone is trying to use the same transportation option.

There are five bus stops within Old Key West Resort, beginning at Peninsular Road and ending at the Hospitality House. And it takes the buses at least 15 to 20 minutes to circle through the whole resort before heading to the parks.

One tip: If you are trying to catch a bus at the Hospitality House, you might want to walk down to Peninsular Road if it seems crowded. If the buses get too full they might not be able to pick up at Hospitality House. But going to Peninsular Road and getting on at the first stop means you’ll have room.

The exception to this limited transportation though is if you are going to Disney Springs. Disney’s Old Key West Resort does have a boat that can take you to Disney Springs that leaves from the docks behind The Hospitality House.


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Pros & Cons of Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Old Key West isn’t the most popular of resorts because it definitely has some drawbacks. But there are some definite pros to staying here too.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort Pros:

  • A Deluxe Resort that is generally less expensive than the other Deluxe Resorts
  • A fun island vibe
  • Spacious rooms, and villa options for bigger families

Disney’s Old Key West Resort Cons:

  • Spread out resort means it can be harder to get to the lobby area
  • Limited transportation options
  • Room noise (I was surprised at the noise I could hear in our room, although it wasn’t terrible. It’s better than Value Resorts but may not be as good as other Deluxe Resorts.)
  • Limited dining options

Our Experience at Disney’s Old Key West Resort

We rented DVC points to stay at Old Key West, making it more economical than many other options at Disney. And we had a generally good experience!

When we first got there and got checked in, we went to our room only to discover it had not been cleaned! And I don’t mean like I have some cleanliness standard it didn’t meet. I mean like, the beds were unmade and trash from the previous guests was still lying around.

We went straight back to the Hospitality House and they sorted it out for us. We ended up with a room much closer to the Hospitality House which was both good a bad. The good: it was easy to get to the main section of the resort so it was super convenient. The bad: we backed up to a road, and I was surprised by how much road noise we heard all night.

Our room was nice and spacious and clean. We enjoyed Olivia’s and the pool. It was all solid. But for me personally, it didn’t feel super “Disney.” I think perhaps because it felt very far away from everything else. (And if I’m being honest, it was a completely new resort to me so I wasn’t used to anything about it and that may have something to do with it.)

We definitely did run into transportation problems though. On our first morning we were trying to go to Epcot from Hospitality House at an extremely crowded bus stop. Unfortunately, buses kept skipping the last stop and it became a very frustrating situation. There were people who had been waiting for a bus for Hollywood Studios for at least 45 minutes!

We ended up walking to the Peninsular Road bus stop though, and got right on a bus. (It did eventually stop back at the Hospitality House, but I was happy to be away from the stressful crowd even if it meant riding the bus a little longer). After that, we got the bus at Peninsular Road each day we took the bus and it felt like a smoother experience.

So my general review of Old Key West: it was a solid stay. Did I like it and have a good time there? Yes. But would a rush back to stay there? No. We had a good room, good service, and liked the vibe. But overall, between transportation issues and the fact that it didn’t feel quite at magical as some of the other Disney properties, it wouldn’t be my first choice next time.

If you need the space and the price is right for you though, this is definitely a great option!


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