One of the challenges when traveling with a large family is trying to find a hotel room that will accommodate your family that won’t end up costing you two months mortgage and your spleen to stay in for five days. I don’t have the biggest family in the world, there are only 7 of us, but you would think that we were bringing in a small football team to stay with how much some of these rooms cost.
Most hotels offer a suite that can accommodate anywhere from 7 to 12 people. Other hotels offer the chance to rent adjoining rooms but if you read the fine print, they will tell you that the rooms may not be located next to each other depending on availability. That’s just a chance I don’t like to take.
So obviously these were things I had to take into account when planning our annual vacation to Walt Disney World. Disney is known for being outrageously expensive when it comes to planning a vacation, luckily having the annual pass, I was able to receive a 35% discount on rooms for the spring time which opened up our options this year to include hotels beyond our go to budget friendly hotel All Star Music. Don’t get me wrong, the All Star hotels are great but I was in the mood for something a bit more luxe this go around and that discount helped me afford it.
After days and weeks of agonizing over the perfect hotel and date range for our vacation ( we were planning the days around Nadia’s 7th birthday) I was finally able to find the perfect hotel… Disney’s Old Key West!
If you are not familiar with the Old Key West (OKW as it will be known from this point forward) let me tell you a little bit about it. OKW is the original Disney Vacation Club Hotel. Originally named the Disney Vacation Club Resort (later renamed to Disney’s Old Key West Resort in January 1996) opened December 20, 1991 as a time-share property. It is a 761 room Deluxe resort (meaning it’s at the top of the charts in terms of pricing and that it will be a little bit nicer than some of the other hotels) consisting of Deluxe studios, 1 bedroom villas, 2 bedroom villas, and 3 bedroom grand villas.
There are 4 pools stationed around the property for you to choose from, along with a dry sauna, whirlpool spas, and kiddie pools. There is also a fitness center and activity center to keep you busy if you aren’t completely exhausted after your day at the parks.
OKW is conveniently located by epcot. So it makes traveling to Epcot a pretty quick trip. If you would like to use some of the resort transportation, you can head to one of the bus stops located throughout OKW resort that will take you to either Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom. You can also take either a bus or one of the ferry boats to Disney Springs.
Dining at the OKW is casual and vast. You have the option of enjoying some absolutely amazing fried chicken at Olivia’s Cafe (the sit down restaurant located at the main building) , or you can pick up some tasty sandwiches and drinks at the 3 quick service counters- The Gurgling Suitcase, Turtle Shack, or Good’s Food to Go.
If eating in is more your style or you’re just too tired to deal with going out, don’t worry, if you’re staying in one of the villas you have the option of cooking your own meals in your full size kitchen.
Let’s move on to the good stuff… the room. We ended up booking a 1,005 square foot 1 bedroom villa which was PERFECT for our family.
In this villa, you get 1 bedroom with a king bed, TV, Dresser, sitting area, and a door leading out to the patio.
There is a large attached bathroom with 2 vanities, a shower, and jacuzzi style tub. There is also a large closet in the bathroom which included extra pillows and blankets, a Graco pack n’ play for little ones that may be traveling with you, and more than enough hangers and storage space for your suitcases and clothing.
Utilities and entry
Located in the hallway between the bed/bathroom and the entryway is a utility room where you can find a full size washer and dryer and a broom and mop you can use to clean up as needed. I have to admit, when I first saw the washer and dryer I laughed. I mean.. Come on!!! I’m on vacation I’m not washing clothes. Then on night two of our vacation we ended up having an accident. At that point, I was so thankful to have a washer and dryer and detergent in the room so I could make an emergency wash of a blanket and pillow.
The entryway is nice sized and has a little shelf by the door with a mirror over it that you can place your keys and phone on so that you don’t lose them and it opens up into the combo living room, dining room, kitchen.
The living room
The living has a pretty comfortable sofa, loveseat, and armchair for you to relax in while you watch your favorite disney movie in the morning. There is also a nice size coffee table and a side table with a cute little lamp and a phone.
The sofa unfolds into a queen sized bed and the armchair can unfold into a twin sized bed. The loveseat does not unfold but there was plenty of room for one very sleepy seven year old to pass out on every night. She said the loveseat was actually very comfortable and that was where she wanted to sleep every night.
The dining room
The dining room sported a round table with 4 chairs and there was a highchair that was able to fit very comfortably at the table as well. Providing plenty of room for the kiddos to sit and have a home cooked meal.
For me and the hubby, we got to enjoy our meals sitting at the large round table on the covered patio outside. It was nice being able to watch the birds and animals running around the little wooded area beside our room while we talked and enjoyed our morning cup of Joffrey’s coffee.
We managed to save ourselves a bit of money by making our meals in the fully equipped kitchen in our villa. It had a full size refrigerator, a stove/oven, sink, and dishwasher. It also had mixing bowls, silverware, kitchen utensils, knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, and pretty much anything else that you could want. All you have to bring is the food. We made pretty much all of our meals in the room, with the exception of one character meal we went to for Nadia’s birthday. We even made her birthday cake in room.
Unfortunately not everything is perfect. We did have a couple of things that were minor inconveniences. But they honestly weren’t anything that the staff at OKW could do anything about. OKW is a HUGE property and the buses do tend to fill up very quickly. Because of this, it can take a while to catch a bus and we found that wait times could be kind of long. To avoid that, you could just drive your own vehicle or take a LYFT vehicle to the parks if you wanted to. Also, as a safety measure, the ovens do not go up past 400 degrees, so be prepared for meals to cook low and slow. If your pizza says to cook it at 425, you’re not going to be able to do that. You’ll just have to cook it at a lower temperature for a bit long. Also, the stoves heat up pretty slowly.
Our final “complaint” is that the walls are pretty thin. So you can hear things from the people around you. Toilet flushing and showers can be kind of loud throughout the night from your neighbors, so that’s something to be mindful of.
Overall, I was really happy with our stay at OKW. I feel like the room was more than big enough to comfortably accommodate my family of 7. The staff was absolutely amazing and everyone we talked to was super kind. I loved that we were able to cook in the room and not have to worry about eating out everyday while we were there. It was also nice having a bus stop right by our room so that we didn’t have to walk very far to find transportation.
I would definitely recommend Old Key West as being a large family friendly resort and if you have an annual pass, the prices are actually pretty affordable. It’s one of the nicest resorts I’ve had the chance to stay at and I am looking forward to my chance to stay there again in the near future.