Disney Hilton Head Island Resort
One of the little known secrets of the Disney resorts are their two beach properties in the US, both located on the East Coast. The first one is located southeast of Walt Disney World in Vero Beach. The other is located on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I chose this resort to visit over the long Columbus Day weekend this past October. As a child living in Alabama it was an easy drive south on I-65 to the Gulf Coast beaches (Gulf Shores, Destin, etc.) so I never considered heading to the east coast.
We headed to Savannah for our first night and had a great evening walking along the river and eating seafood. The next morning we toured the railroad museum, ate a little lunch and headed 1 hour east to Hilton Head.
I didn’t really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by the entire experience. The resort is located across the street from the beach on its own private island and is monitored by a security gate. The style is low-country fish camp with a rustic feel. All the rooms are villas since it’s a part of the Disney Vacation Club so there are several buildings that house these villas. The main building with the front desk houses studios and 1 and 2 bedroom villas. This is the only building with an elevator so those with accessibility issues need to request this location. We were greeted with a warm Disney smile and sent on our way to our villa.
We stayed in a 2 bedroom villa and were assigned to the building the farthest away from the main entrance which afforded us uninterrupted views of the marshlands. Our villa had a master bedroom with a king bed, large bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, and a door to the deck. The kitchen and living room were located in the center with a door leading out to the deck. Down a small hallway was the 2nd bedroom with 2 queen beds and a nice size bathroom. There was also a laundry room located in the hallway.
The villa was stocked with all the essentials (minus food!) anyone would need for a week and included daily housekeeping. If you’re staying on DVC points then you get housekeeping every 3 days.
The grounds of the resort were very calming and serene and didn’t scream Disney. There are so many activities planned throughout the day that will keep you busy or you can just relax and do nothing. Each morning starts out with a nature walk on the beach followed by at least one craft per day. Every night (except Friday night) the resort has a campfire where the lifeguards sing songs, tell stories and roast marshmallows followed by a Disney movie shown by the river.
The pool is the highlight of the main resort with a water slide, baby pool, and Jacuzzi. Unless you want to hear loud music and kids screaming all day then I recommend asking for a villa away from the pool. You can also find a quick service restaurant next to the pool, community room, mercantile (Disney merchandise and Mickey bars!), workout room and bathrooms.
As for some of the other resort activities, you can rent bikes, take a kayak tour, shark fishing, rent fishing equipment, purchase crab nets, and many other activities.
The resort wouldn’t be complete without a beach club. Just 1.3 miles from the main resort is the beach club and you can walk, bike, take the shuttle, or drive there. You can find a pool (no lifeguard on duty), living room with couches and TVs, quick service restaurant (Dole whip!), and beach access with chair and umbrella rentals.
Our plan each day was to start at the beach club after breakfast (pools are heated), get a snack, and head back to the main resort for lunch. Afterwards we went to the mail pool for the rest of the afternoon.
I don’t think I’ve had a more relaxing weekend away with my family. Because it’s a Disney resort you can count on the service and hospitality to be spot-on with minimal Disney touches. We’re already planning our return trip next year!