Not only were we new to the Disney Vacation Club, we had never been to Hilton Head Island. In all honesty, we were not impressed with HHI, as it is more tourist driven than we like when we vacation, especially when it's just the two of us relaxing as a couple. I had read many reviews on this particular resort and was prepared for lots of kids, which I would expect from all things Disney; we just hoped that the area didn't seem so much like an upscale version of Myrtle Beach. This has no bearing on my review and I understand why Disney would want to bring a resort to this area.
We stayed in a deluxe studio, knowing we would not need much space and that we would be eating out. Prior to check-in we were asked if we wanted a marsh view or an island view. If you just look at the picture provided on the website, you only see the marsh view and did not see the true arrangements of the buildings. Unless you don't care about sharing a common area when you sit out on your deck, request the marsh view. When we arrived, we buzzed the front desk so we could get through the gate and were greeted at the top of the steps by a welcoming cast member. We were provided our room key and plenty of planning materials. Our first floor room was clean, but overlooked a common area, which we would have preferred not having. The walls are relatively this and you can hear people above you walking around; at one point, someone above us was bouncing a ball. The bed was comfortable for sleeping, but they left a blanket between the sheet and the bed cover that made us quite hot, even with the AC cranked up. We were provided with plastic cutlery, paper plates and bowls, glasses, and ceramic mugs, which was all we needed since we were not fixing meals in our room. The bathroom had a pedestal sink with a small shelf above it, and a small cabinet over the commode held the majority of our toiletries. If you're bringing lots of grooming products, you're staying in the wrong setting. This particular resort is certainly set up as a hunting/fishing lodge and everything about it screams of the outdoors...a perfect place to kick back and unwind. We had a small deck with a round table and four benches that fit underneath, as well as two wonderful rocking chairs that we used every night. Even though we were on the commons area, it was mostly quiet in the evenings, which we appreciated.
Only being there for a long weekend, we wanted to take in as much as we could. We jogged to the beach and back along the bike trail close to the resort. This was safe off the roadway, but we were uncertain where we were going as we got closer to the beach and had to ask a passing runner if we were going in the right direction. What was supposed to have been 3 miles there and back ended up being closer to 5. After returning to the resort, we decided to go to the beach and took the shuttle to the Beach House. The area seemed clean and there was plenty of room for everyone at the pool and side areas. The shuttle drivers to and from were very friendly and knowledgeable about the area and interacted with us during the trips. At this point in the trip, we thought we probably would not come back because we didn't find the area to be all that special. That changed upon our return to the resort.
Upon our arrival, we were told of "Shadow," the resort's dog. Having a dog of my own (and missing her terribly), we stopped at the main lodge, knowing that Shadow was supposed to be making an appearance. That's when the magic began for us. The dog is not trained to perform tricks, she just lays there and takes in all the love and affection a Golden Retriever can from kids and kids at heart. While she's hanging out, a man interacts with guests and plays either a fiddle or ukele/banjo and singing songs. It's not that it's "spectacular," but it's one of those Disney touches that makes the experience special. The kid in me wanted to just sit down cross-legged and listen to the stories and guess which songs he was playing and what movies they were from.
The resort itself only has quick meals, but you can go across the marina and there is a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. It was kind of nice that all things Disney and kid-related were on one side of the resort, where more adult experiences (shopping and finer dining) were on the other. It was easy to navigate around the area and we had no problem getting to Harbourtown/South Beach or Savannah. One piece of advice I would give to anyone traveling anywhere: if you know of an area you want to visit, go to MapQuest and put the information in, print the map, and bring it with you; know where you're going before you get there.
Though we did not go on any excursions, we did walk the entire property, which is not horribly spread out. If you have kids, you should expect to get up and walk around anyway. We utilized the pool and hot tub, sat under an old oak tree in Adirondack chairs during sunset, and watched people fish and crab off the pier. We saw and heard birds we had only read about and truly appreciated the lengths to which Disney clearly wanted to maintain the wildlife and surroundings. By the time we departed, we had decided we would bring out our 12 year old during his school spring break next year. We're already perusing the information they provided us so we can plan for excursions at the resort and surrounding areas!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort is located on the picturesque coast of South Carolina, 5 hours from Walt Disney World Resort. This warm home-away-from-home-fashioned after a 1940's hunting and fishing lodge-combines local charm with simple pleasures and outdoor fun for the entire family. The resort features multi-roomed villas and many recreational activities, including 12 miles of heavenly beaches famous for clear blue waters. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Disney`s Hilton Head Island Hotel Hilton Head
- Disney Hilton Head Resort
- Disney Hilton Head Island Resort
- Disneys Hilton Head Island Resort
- Disneys Hilton Head Resort