Disney Old Key West Resort Review: Mickey’s Most Underated Hotel

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Take a stroll through Disney’s first vacation club resort in our Disney Old Key West Resort review. Keep reading after the video for important specifics.

As the first Disney World Vacation Club (DVC) property to be built on the Florida soil, The Disney Old Key West Resort (OKW) stands out on Mickey’s list of premier accommodations for many reasons. Expansive sprawling grounds, large rooms and peaceful accommodations are just a few of the top advantages, but this hotel remains one of the most underrated by Disney guests.

If you aren’t familiar with the DVC villas, it’s Disney’s version of a timeshare, allowing die-hard travel fans the opportunity to buy a little piece of Mickey’s heaven. But unlike other timeshares, reserving a DVC villa isn’t restricted to owners. Nearly anyone can rent a room at Old Key West. What’s puzzling to us is why so few travelers actually do so.

Old Key West has been declining in popularity since it was built in 1991. While original owners of the resort still express their love and appreciation for the laid-back vibe and spacious rooms, the average vacation-goer seems to shun Old Key West in favor of the themed thrills to be found at properties such as Animal Kingdom Lodge or the economy of Port Orleans.

However, if you’re looking for middle ground, something between the extravagantly priced Grand Floridian and the amenities of the moderate resorts, Disney’s Old Key West packs plenty of up-scale feel into a value price—at least by Disney World standards.

In this Disney Old Key West Resort review, we’ll share photos, room details, amenities and what it’s like to stay at one of Disney’s first DVC villas.

What Is the Theme of Old Key West Resort?

Buildings and grounds of Disney's Old Key West
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Like all resorts at Disney World, Old Key West has a backstory and theme. Despite the fact that Disney’s first timeshare venture was originally named the Disney Vacation Club Resort, this expansive complex was designed to mirror the vibe of Old Key West, including architecture reminiscent of turn-of-the-century Victorian.

At Old Key West Resort Orlando, you’ll find plenty of the state’s southern charm watching palms sway above pastel shaded buildings. What stood out to us during our stay was how soothing and peaceful the ambiance was.

The best part of Disney’s first DVC resort is the thought that went into its design. Each building faces either the golf course, waterways or gardens. There are no parking lot views at Old Key west, so whether you stay at a deluxe suite or a three-bedroom grand villa, you’ll find be surround by the beauty of the keys. During our stay, it was easy to forget that the parking lot existed, and if we didn’t have to head out that way to reach the bus or walk up to the hospitality house or pool, we probably would have.

For certain, this isn’t the place to stay if you’re looking for an upbeat atmosphere with ample opportunities to party. As my adult kids pointed out, there weren’t too many people under 50 when we visited in 2020. However, if you’re looking for a quiet place to sleep off a day in the parks, this might be the place for you.

Where Is Disney Old Key West Resort?

Disney Old Key West resort has received a much maligned—and may we say it—mythical reputation for being out of the way and off the beaten track. We ourselves once fell prey to the same assumptions, when in reality, Old Key West is centrally located quite close to EPCOT. In fact, it’s only a hop, skip and jump to the employee parking lot of Disney’s once progressive park.

As such, travel time to EPCOT is relatively short. This resort is also spaced at fairly equal distance from Magic Kingdom and the southern parks, such as Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

If you’re traveling by Disney World bus, part of the Disney World complimentary transportation system, you’ll need to add in some extra time for traveling the property. There are 5 bus stops at Old Key West, and it can take time for people to load and unload, particularly if they’re bringing strollers, wheelchairs or ECVs.

During our visit in late 2022, buses were following the route below and making stops at the designated locations as indicated.

Stop 1: Peninsular Road Station

Stop 2: South Road Station

Stop 3: Turtle Pond Station

Stop 4: Miller’s Road Station

Stop 5: Hospitality House

If you plan to board the bus at any of the first three stations, you should plan to add an extra 5-10 minutes to your projected travel time. Once the bus leaves Old Key West, however, you can expect to reach EPCOT in less than 10 minutes. The same is true if you drive your own vehicle and park it in the EPCOT lot.

Travel time to other parks is as follows:

Old Key West to Magic Kingdom: 17 minutes to the bus drop off. If you are driving, you will park at the transportation ticket center and take the monorail or boat to the park. Plan on an 11-minute ride or drive.

Old Key West to Animal Kingdom: 15 minutes

Old Key West to Disney Hollywood Studios: 14 minutes

Another way to travel to EPCOT or any of the other theme parks is by hailing a ride with Uber, Lyft or Minnie Van. You can expect similar travel times as those listed above once your car has arrived.

To pinpoint the exact location of this DVC resort, you can use the

Old Key West Resort address listed below:

1510 North Cove Road

Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

Disney Old Key West Resort Map

Old Key West Resort Review map
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Disney Old Key West Resort Rooms

No Disney Old Key West Resort review would be complete without a detailed explanation of the available room types and the included amenities. Since OKW is a Disney Vacation Club resort, rooms are most commonly available in two configurations: deluxe studios and one-bedroom villas. However, two-bedroom and even 3-bedroom Grand Villas are available for larger parties.

Disney Old Key West Resort Deluxe Studio Rooms

Interior view of Disney Old Key West Deluxe Suite.

OKW deluxe studio rooms are the smallest of the room choices, coming in around 390 square feet. It’s enough space, however, to earn the resort a title for some of the largest studio rooms when compared to other DVC properties. In actuality, it’s ample space for the two queen beds included in the room.

Studios at OKW are unique among current DVC properties on the Disney World resorts list as they are the only ones to still include two regular beds. All other resorts have been converted to a queen bed, pullout sofa or murphy bed combo. 

The only drawback when comparing OKW studios to other DVC resorts is the lack of a pull-out chair or daybed. Without this feature, guests are limited to parties of 4 in OKW studios, while deluxe studio suites found at the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, Riviera, Boardwalk Villas, Beach Club Villas and Boulder Ridge can accommodate 5 guests.

Studio suites at Disney Old Key West include a small balcony or patio with room for two to three guests to enjoy the views beneath swaying palms. Rooms also include a bathroom with tub shower combo and a separate sink as part of the kitchenette outside of the main bathroom. With a full-length mirror on the outside of the bathroom door, this space can be used by those getting ready in the morning, even if the bathroom is in use.

We stayed in a deluxe suite in 2022 and found it spacious and accommodating for 3 adult guests. Two adults traveling with 2 children should also find these accommodations to be ample.

Disney Old Key West Resort One-Bedroom review

Interior shot of one-bedroom villa at Old Key West, a vacation villa on the Disney World resorts list
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We stayed in a one-bedroom suite on our 2020 trip to visit Mickey and his pals, so we are very familiar with the advantages and amenities. Coming in at 1005 square feet divided between bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and conjoined kitchen and living room, the space shouldn’t feel as large and as expansive as it does. We were delighted, however, with the amount of space we had to move around and get comfortable.

One-bedroom villas can accommodate up to 5 guests, and we met maximum capacity during our stay. The bedroom features a king size bed in a separate room containing dresser, two nightstands and television. The king bedroom is sectioned off from the large whirlpool tub and extra vanity area by a shuttered opening. Beyond this room is a large bathroom featuring shower, toilet and sink.

With two large vanity areas and bright lighting, our party of 5, including mom and 3 young adult women, found it easy to get ready each day without fighting for bathroom or mirror time.

This Disney Old Key West review finds a one-bedroom suite a great choice for a party of 5 as long as individuals don’t mind doubling up on bed space. We shared the king bed and pull-out sofa with a solo sleeper enjoying the pull-out chair. Although we brought air mattresses in case any of the pullouts weren’t up to snuff, there were no complaints, and everyone slept comfortably.

The biggest advantage to an Old Key West one-bedroom is having the additional living and kitchen area. While we didn’t cook in, there were ample utensils for doing so, and we took advantage of the full-sized fridge for stashing water bottles, soda and leftovers.

We did Door Dash a few meals, so having a table that easily sat our party was a benefit. Additionally, the connected balcony is large and easily accommodated our party for dinners al fresco or whenever we were in the mood to take in some fresh air.

One of the biggest benefits was having a sitting area that accommodated our party. Since we travelled during COVID restrictions, parks were commonly closed in the evenings, so it was nice to have a place to sit down together to watch a movie.

Disney Old Key West Resort Two-Bedroom Review

While we haven’t stayed in a two-bedroom at OKW, it’s easy to add a bit of personal experience to this section of our Disney Old Key West review because most two-bedroom suites combine a one-bedroom with a deluxe suite to create the larger unit, and we’ve stayed in both.

Similar to adjoining rooms at hotels, the one-bedroom unit is closed off from the deluxe suite by a locking door. Once the door is opened, however, you have a joined space that can accommodate up to 9 guests, with the additional benefit of a large living space, two balconies, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

We stayed at a two-bedroom suite at Saratoga Springs and found it a great way for a large party to split the cost of accommodations while also being able to share more time together.

For specifics on a two-bedroom suite at OKW, take a look at the sections above covering one-bedroom and deluxe studio rooms as both would be combined to create a 2-bedroom suite.

Disney Old Key West Resort Three-Bedroom Grand Villa

If you have a very large party or just want extra room to spread out and can afford the price of doing so, it would be hard to beat a three-bedroom grand villa at Old Key West. In addition to the beautiful park-like grounds, you’ll be staying in one of the largest of Disney World accommodations. At over 2,300 square feet, it’s like having your own home right on the grounds of the world’s greatest theme park.

Three-bedroom grand villas are separated into two floors. Similar to the one- and two-bedroom suites, the first floor features a kitchen and living area. However, in opposition, the two areas are slightly separated in a three-bedroom unit, offering more space in each for cooking or enjoying time together.

The first floor is also home to a master suite, featuring king bed, whirlpool tub and bathroom. Unlike the one-bedroom units, there is no access to a balcony from the master, but there is an additional half bath in the hall.


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Two additional bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms can be found on the second floor. Each includes a closet, but one has two double beds and a television, while the other larger room features two queen beds and a television.

Outside patio or balcony space in a three-bedroom is similar to what you’d find in a one-bedroom suite, so it won’t be possible to accommodate large parties in the outdoor living space.

Overall, a three-bedroom grand villa can accommodate up to twelve people if individuals don’t mind sharing bed space.

Disney Old Key West Resort Pools

Since elaborately themed pools are part of the Disney resort experience, it would be hard to leave them off of a Disney Old Key West Resort review. Fortunately, the swimming holes here are up to the same standards of other deluxe resorts and villas, offering plenty of chairs in both the shade and sun.

We visited two of the pools during our stay at Old Key West. The main pool, also known as the Sandcastle Pool, is located near the hospitality house. It’s home to the resort’s signature light house and even features a 125-foot-long waterside which exits through something resembling a sandcastle.

According to Disney, this pool holds nearly 150,000 gallons of water, sharing its bounty with spitting dolphins and a whirlpool spa. If you prefer a dry heat to ease those aching muscles, a nearby sauna should do the trick. This is one of only two pools offering a nearby restaurant for purchasing food and drinks. At the Sandcastle Poo,l beverages and food are available from Goods Food to Go or The Gurgling Suitcase (see below).

Sandcastle Pool at Disney Old Key West Resort
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Old Key West also offers 3 smaller pools that Disney refers to as leisure pools. This is where we spent most of our time as there was one conveniently located in the Miller Road area where we stayed. While the space is smaller, you’ll find ample lounge chairs, umbrellas for shade and even a few tables with side chairs for enjoying a beverage or two.

Leisure pools also offer a whirlpool spa with moderately heated water, enough to keep us warm on cooler days or evenings, and a bath house for changing. Towels are also provided poolside, so there is no reason to take them from your room, a major advantage since housekeeping only visits DVC guests at 4-day intervals.

If you’re staying in the Turtle Pond area of the resort, you’ll be closest to the Turtle Pond pool, the only other watering spot onsite to feature poolside eats and treats. The Turtle Shack Snack Bar will be happy to serve you up salads, sandwiches, beverages, and other pool side refreshments, making it possible to spend the day waterside if you wish.

Disney Old Key West Resort Review: Restaurants

Similar to other deluxe resorts at Disney World, Old Key West features limited dining. In fact, the lack of restaurants and the quality of take out food is one of the low points on our Disney Old Key West Resort review.

Old Key West features three restaurants all located in the Hospitality House complex. We made a few stops at Goods Food to Go following positive reviews from many OKW fans. Unfortunately, our experience didn’t meet the same level of satisfaction. We received mostly overcooked fried food.

In trying to order iced coffee, we were stymied again. Iced coffee at Goods consists of very hot coffee poured over ice until it melts and then served warm.

Dining at Olivia’s, the resort’s one-full-service sit down restaurant, has rave reviews from many OKW regulars, and in our experience, it didn’t disappoint. We stopped in for dinner one night and shared a bounty of prime rib, buttermilk fried chicketn and Cayo Hueso shrimp past. The food was delicios and the servie attentive and polite. However, Olivia’s brunch menu is where the restaurant really shines. Fluffy pancakes, a specialty omelet and shrimp and grits bring a tasty hint of southern cooking to a mid-morning meal.

Olivia's restaurant at Disney Old Key West Resort
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The one other establishment offering food and libations is the Gurgling Suitcase. We didn’t have time to visit here during our stay, but since the establishment peddles mainly in adult beverages, it would be hard to go wrong. The Gurgling Suitcase also offers a limited menu of appetizer treats.

Shrimp and grits, a specialty at Olivia's Cafe, located in Disney's Old Key West resort.
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Disney Old Key West Resort Pictures

The best way to sum up our Disney Old Key West Resort review is to say that we loved it. Some in our party even consider it our new go-to.

Larger than average sized rooms gave us plenty of space to spread out. As Disney World veterans, we don’t always spend all day and all night in the parks but prefer to take some rest stops during the most crowded portion of the day at our hotel.

The relaxing atmosphere, tropical vibes and friendly attitude of Old Key West made it an enjoyable place to recover a bit of equilibrium outside the theme parks. There is nothing better than hearing “Welcome Home,” as you come back to your Disney resort. And the fact that you can easily enjoy pleasant views of the grounds right from your room added to the inclusive feel of the experience.

While Disney’s Old Key West is often overlooked by the average traveler, we’d highly recommend giving it a try. And if the Old Key West resort review above doesn’t convince you, maybe the following pictures will.



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Kathleen Hesketh

Kathleen is a travel agent with Mickey World Travel, a platinum level Authorized Disney vacation planner, where she helps people discover the magic of a Disney vacation and other travel destinations. She is also the chief author and editor for Seconds to Go - a travel blog where she shares experiences from traveling the U.S. with her daughter, Ali.
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2 thoughts on “Disney Old Key West Resort Review: Mickey’s Most Underated Hotel”

  1. OKW does not have the largest studios plus it should be noted they are not the only studios with two real beds. Moreover they only have elevators in three of their buildings. Plus it can easily be a 20 min walk from some of the buildings to the Hospitality House. There is only one sit down – not common at most deluxe properties. It has no real counter service either. It does offer the best community hall though. And the one bedrooms are large although the tv and location of it could be improved. It’s a great resort featuring a golf condo feel but it doesn’t feel like Disney. Every other resort (besides tower studios at Riviera) make me think, THIS is my favorite resort, while staying. That thought doesn’t happen for me at OKW.

    Reply
    • I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. When we were younger and had small children, we did shy away from this resort because it didn’t exude the “Disney feel.” However, as metioned in the article, we absolutely love OKW, because it’s quiet, comfortable and makes for a very enjoyable experience when we’re away from the parks. Thanks for noting that the studios are no longer the largest rooms on DVC property. Now that the Polynesian and Riviera DVC resorts are in operation that title goes to them. We have updated the article. One bedroom suites, which is where we stayed, remain some of the largest. As for the only deluxe suite with two real beds, we’ll have to stand by that for now. Our research indicates that all other DVC resorts continue to offer one bed and one sleeper sofa or murphy bed. If you’re directly aware of a Disney World DVC resort where this is not the case, please do let us know. We love hearing first hand accounts from other travelers and sharing the information they provide as well as our own. Thanks for commenting and starting the conversation around Old Key West.

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