Top 8 Pro Tips For A Stay At Old Key West At Walt Disney World

Old Key West Resort
Disney's Old Key West Resort (Credit: Disney)

Old Key West resort is sometimes one of those overlooked resorts that not everyone considers for their Walt Disney World Vacation, unless they are Disney Vacation Club Members.  I will admit that for my family’s vacations I’ve always had it on the list, but was lured away by more popular resorts with promises of amazing views, spectacular pools and great locations.  But, on our most recent vacation I decided it was time to give Old Key West a try and we were so happy that we did!  You do not have to be a Disney Vacation Club Member to stay here, non-members can reserve a villa here just like any other Walt Disney World resort.  And if you do, here are some pro tips to enhance your stay at Old Key West:

8. Getting around

Old Key West is Walt Disney World’s original “home away from home”: resort and as such it consists of multiple free standing buildings spread around the resort property.  It ambles around a golf course, the Sassagoula River and multiple lakes—it is a pretty large property to navigate.  If you are trying to get from your room to the main building you can utilize internal bus routes if you do not feel like walking (although the walking paths are very pretty through the resort).  Or, you may want to consider renting a car if you fly down.  Old Key West is nice because you park literally right outside your room.  The larger villas have full kitchens so you could use your car to purchase groceries and save on meals, you could drive to the parks directly since parking is free for onsite guests, or you may just use it for internal transportation to visit the main pool if you are in a more remote location.

7. Location!

Old Key West is in a great location within the whole of Walt Disney World resort.  It is very close to Disney Springs with multiple methods of transportation to get there.  But it is also centrally located so that the transportation time to the theme parks is also relatively short.  If you decide to get the rental car, or if you drive down anyway, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can be at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  And if you are traveling to Magic Kingdom or the Magic Kingdom area resorts?  Just turn down to go by Golden Oak and Fort Wilderness and you’ll be there in a hurry.  Even relying on bus transportation you’ll be surprise at how short the transportation time is  . . . once you leave the resort.

6. Dining Options

If you are staying at Old Key West consider dining at the resort.  A nice relaxing afternoon at the pool followed by dinner at Olivia’s is a great way to finish out a half day in the parks.  Olivia’s serves up some great dishes with a Key West influence true to the resort’s theme . . . and be sure to check out all of the photos lining the walls of happy families on vacation at Walt Disney World going back for 20+ years.  The Gurgling Suitcase is the resort lounge that has an open air vibe very much like the Keys.  It is located by the pool and offers up a lot of charm with signature drinks like the Turtle Krawl.  A visit here will definitely make your time at the resort more fun.

5. Recreation

When you are staying at Old Key West you will notice a different feeling to the resort compared to other Walt Disney World properties.  Maybe it is the theme, but it feels very laid back and relaxed, and truly does feel like a home away from home.  As a Disney Vacation Club property you’ll notice a lot of recreation opportunities from the pools to the tennis courts, ping pong, playgrounds, and organized recreation activities you can participate in with the staff.  You’ll want to take a look at the schedule when you arrive and take advantage of all the resort has to offer.

4. Pack light!

Old Key West has different levels of villa accommodations, and with the 1, 2 & 3 bedroom options you will have a full size washer and dryer right there in your villa.  Take advantage of this to be able to pack light and wash clothes while you travel.  During our trip our routine was to place a load in the wash as we got up in the morning & were getting ready—then we would throw that one in the dryer as we left for the parks and put the second load in the wash.  When we returned in the afternoon we switched it out.  I cannot tell you what a luxury it was to come home with only 1 day’s worth of dirty clothes!  Plus I didn’t have to pack nearly as much as I usually do.

3. Disney Springs

One huge advantage of Old Key West is its proximity to Disney Springs.  With so many delicious dining options and fantastic shopping it has become a destination for your Walt Disney World Vacation—sometimes warranting multiple trips.  Old Key West offers a great boat service to Disney Springs that drops you off right in the heart of the action.  If you are looking to get in some exercise before you eat (or after) there is a walking trail you can take.  It begins around the quiet pool area near building 55 and winds around the Sassagoula River, through the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, and comes in around the West End at Disney Springs.  It is not a short walk and I wouldn’t recommend it for very hot days or if there is a chance of storms, but it is a nice, scenic route to take.  It is open during daylight hours only, and also makes for a great jogging path.

For a no obligation, FREE Quote with new bookings contact our sponsor Magical Vacation Planner by calling: 1(407)442-0289 Or for a free no obligation quote with new bookings you can fill out the form by Clicking HERE!

2. Research before your trip

Location at Old Key West can be very important—especially if you do not have a car.  Before your vacation take a look at a resort map online and decide what is going to be important to you on your vacation.  Quiet location?  Near a Bus Stop?  Near the Hospitality House/Main Pool?  Close to a Quiet Pool?  Great view?  The map will help you figure out which buildings may best suit your needs as it shows the bus stop locations, the pools, the features like the golf course, ponds, lakes, and river, and the location of the hospitality house.  Talk to your travel agent or contact Disney directly if you booked on your own, and ask them to attach that building request to your reservation.  Requests are not guaranteed, but it never hurts to let Disney know what you would prefer for your vacation.  And if you can give them 2-3 top choices that helps too.

1. Plan resort time

As I’ve mentioned in several of the other tips, Old Key West really epitomizes the Home Away from Home feeling.  Schedule some time in your vacation to hang out at the resort—rest and recharge from the parks, but also take advantage of everything it has to offer.  Enjoy the pool, play tennis, drink a Turtle Krawl, fix a leisurely lunch in your villa, or just sit on your (large) verandah and enjoy the surroundings.  We had a beautiful view of the Sassagoula River from our verandah where we could enjoy the peacefulness, the “natural” Florida surroundings, wildlife, and the occasional boat coming through going to & from Disney Springs.  It was really a nice place to take a break.
Have you stayed at Old Key West?  What are your top tips for getting the most out of the resort?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).