Nestled away among the moss draped live oaks of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina’s marshlands is a little piece of Disney magic—their Hilton Head Island Resort. This property is part of the Disney Vacation Club collection, and one of three resorts not located at a Disney theme park, but at a beach instead (the other two are Vero Beach, Florida and Aulani on Oahu). As a Disney Vacation Club resort the accommodations here are ideal for families—studios with kitchenettes or multi-room villas with full kitchens and washer/dryers. But, you don’t have to be a Disney Vacation Club Member to stay here, just like the Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World. While members can book the rooms using their point system, “regular” families (like mine) can book a room through their Travel Planner or Disney directly just as they would any hotel. My family has visited this resort twice, most recently to celebrate the New Year (which may now be a family tradition), and we enjoyed ourselves so much I wanted to share the top 10 reasons why we fell in love with this resort:
Walt Disney World and Disneyland may have Mickey Mouse as their mascot, but Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort has “Shadow.” Shadow is a golden retriever (an actual animal, not a character costume) who “lives” at the resort. There is evidence of Shadow all around: a doghouse out front, doggie footprints in the concrete, a doggie door and bowl by the recreation area. This is one lucky dog! On the schedule of recreation activities you will find times to meet her. Shadow, along with her handler “B’lou Crab” come out to tell stories, do fun informational walks around the property, and to meet guests. B’lou Crab also appears without her sometimes, like in the evenings to tell “ghost stories” of the island. The kids all love Shadow—who seems to be as popular as the mouse himself!
Did you know that you can buy Disney souvenirs on Hilton Head Island? Well, thanks to a small shop at the resort you can buy pins, magnets, t-shirts, mugs—all kinds of Disney souvenirs. And they have a nice selection of Hilton Head resort merchandise too. But the shopping extends far beyond that. Hilton Head has a great selection of boutiques, specialty shops and art shops for your shopping enjoyment. And just over the bridge going toward Bluffton (where you will also find some adorable local shops) is a Tanger Outlet complex with a nice variety of stores at discounted prices. You could dedicate a full day or more to shopping if you were willing to give up some of the other great activities on the island.
8. The Accommodations
As I mentioned, this is a Disney Vacation Club resort so the rooms available are similar to what you find at the Walt Disney World Deluxe Villa resorts:
- Studios with a queen size bed, a sleeper sofa and a kitchenette (sleeps up to 4)
- 1 Bedroom Villa that has a bedroom with a king size bed, one large divided bathroom, a living area with a sleeper sofa & chair (to sleep 5), a full kitchen and a washer/dryer.
- 2 Bedroom Villa which has everything the 1 bedroom has plus a second bedroom with 2 queen beds and 2nd bathroom (sleeping up to 9). Sometimes the 2 bedroom could be a 1 bedroom with connecting studio which is slightly different layout.
The layouts most closely resemble the villas at Old Key West. We were in a 1 bedroom villa and it was spacious and comfortable for our family of 5. I love staying in the Disney Vacation Club villas whenever I can with the space, the kitchen to prepare meals & the washer & dryer. I love coming home with clean clothes! The rooms match the theme of the resort as a fishing/hunting lodge on the island—the neutral colors have a bright, clean feel, granite countertops in the kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and touches of nature throughout on the pillows and lamps. It felt homey & elegant at the same time.
Continue Reading for #7 to #1: Top 10 Reasons Why We Love Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort