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Disney's Vero Beach Archives

August 26, 2014

Recreation and Relaxation at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

Andrew Rossi

While Part One focused on an overview of Disney's Vero Beach Resort, we will now start to delve into all that the resort has to offer. The resort is really one that caters to all types of vacationers, from those who are looking to stay constantly active to those that just want to relax. It is the type of vacation destination that allows you to do as much (or as little) as you like.

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Enjoying the Sun and Surf on the Beach:
One of the most alluring aspects of Disney's Vero Beach Resort is its location on Florida's Atlantic coastline. No matter where you are at the resort, you are just a short walk away from the beach. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent, but resort guests are also allowed to bring their own chairs. For those looking to play on the waves, boogie boards, sailboats, jet skis, kayaks, and banana boats are all available for rent at the beach as well.

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Playing by the Pool:
For those that would rather spend their time by the pool than on the beach, the resort offers plenty of space to lounge and relax. The pool area has numerous lounge chairs available, but there is more to do here than just soak up the sun.

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Dominating the pool area is the "Pirate's Plunge," this 163-foot water slide spirals around the pool's signature lighthouse and can be enjoyed by all members of the family. Keep an eye out for the "Pool Games" on the recreation schedule because this is where, amongst other activities, children and adults alike can be timed coming down the slide to see who can get from top to bottom the fastest.

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Adjacent to the water slide is the Tiger Lily Play Area. This is a special splash zone for children where they can play on a pirate ship complete with water cannons and their own miniature water slide.

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For those kids that want to play out of the water, there is also a nearby playground.

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The kids can also keep themselves entertained in the air condition of the nearby Blinkers Arcade.

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In this same area, guests can also find Port Holes, a nine-hole miniature golf course themed to Peter Pan. While not up to the same quality as Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland at Disney World, this course is still fun and entertaining. Plus, a round of golf for non-DVC Members is just $2 and only $1 for DVC Members.

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As guests make their way around the course they have to navigate around ships wheels, treasure chests, and shark fins. A couple of the holes are actually quite challenging.

If you are looking for a little more activity in your day, the pool area is also where you can also find the Anchors A-Weigh fitness center, which features a good variety of exercise equipment.

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Rentals:
One final component of the pool area is Eb and Flo's Rentals. This is where guests can visit for any of their recreational needs. A good number of the rentals available are actually complimentary. Among these are shuffleboard (which can be played on the adjacent court), tennis racquets, basketballs and footballs, as well as bocce and croquet. These latter two can be played on the resort's beautiful sports lawn right in front of the Inn.

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This lawn is actually named Lasorda Field after former Dodger's manager Tommy Lasorda. It is yet another way the resort pays homage to the history of Vero Beach, which form many years served as the home of Dodger's Spring Training.

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Eb and Flo's is also where you can rent bicycles. At just $5 an hour for DVC Members and $7 for non-Members, bicycles are a great way of getting out and seeing some of the area surrounding the resort. There are actually a few bike trails that are located near the resort that take you along the Indian River and allow you to enjoy more of the natural beauty of the area.

Eb and Flo's also has a variety of board games available to rent. These are complimentary and can be brought back to the guest rooms to play. If you are looking for DVD and Blu-Ray rentals, these are available (and also complimentary) at the Island Grove Packing Co. in the resort's lobby.

The Lake Side:
Just across the street from the resort is additional recreational area for guests to enjoy. Situated around a beautiful lake, this area is accessible via a tunnel than runs beneath the street.

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With most guests enjoying the beach or the pool, this area may go unnoticed by many but actually has a lot to offer. This is where you will find the resort's tennis and basketball courts as well as areas for beach volleyball and soccer.

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Around the lake guests can also find the Treasure Trail. This is a quiet nature trail that allows guests to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Throughout the trail there are a number of signs that point out the various flora and fauna native to the area.

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The Spa:
If you want to pamper yourself while on vacation, then The Spa at Disney's Vero Beach Resort is the place for you. The spa is located right inside the Inn adjacent to the lobby. Featuring everything from messages and facials to manicures and pedicures, the spa takes relaxation to a whole new level.

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Organized Activities and Excursions:
Disney's Vero Beach Resort features a variety programs that are great for all members of the family. For kids, there are a number of organized activities just for them. Among these are the Disney Discovery Club, which is for children ages 4 to 12 and allows them to take part in scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, outdoor activities, and other fun programs. For older kids there is the Teen Geo Challenge, where teens ages 13 to 19 learn new skills on a resort-wide scavenger hunt using GPS technology. There are also TeeNightz where teens ages 13 to 19 gather for a night of sports, games, and trivia around the campfire.

For the entire family there are adventures that take place both at the resort and the surrounding areas. Fishing Fundamentals allows guests to learn the basics of fresh water fishing at the resort's private lake. The Lagoon Adventure takes guests to the nearby Environmental Learning Center at the Indian River Lagoon for a hands-on interactive experience. Here guests will have the opportunity to catch and release a number of different native fish and get up close encounters with other native wildlife. The Kayak Adventure also takes guests to the Indian River Lagoon for an afternoon paddling around the lagoon's waterways and small islands. There is also the Pelican Island Bike Tour that allows guests ages twelve and up to explore the nation's first wildlife refuge along with a naturalist who will help identifying the many plants and birds native to the area.

If you are visiting the resort from May to October there is also the Turtle Outing. This special excursion allows guests to learn more about sea turtles and get an up-close view of them during nesting season. Turtle Troop is a similar experience just for kids ages 7 to15 where they learn about sea turtles as they walk on the beach, identify tracks, and discuss nesting behaviors.

The resort's recreational offerings even continue into the night with a campfire every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evening. Ingredients for S'mores are available for purchase.

The Surrounding Area:
With so much to do at the resort many guests may just opt to stay there, but the surround area offers even more to see and do. Nature lovers can enjoy the beauty of Sebastian Inlet State Park, the Sebastian River Preserve, and the McKee Botanical Gardens. For those looking to do a little shopping there is the nearby Indian River Mall (which also features an AMC Movie Theater) as well as the Outlets at Vero Beach. The surrounding area also features a number of both private and public golf courses as well as a wide variety of restaurants.

With so many different activities and excursions available both at the resort and the surrounding areas, Disney's Vero Beach Resort offers something for everyone. Whether you are visiting the resort following a trip to Disney World and just need to relax and wind down or maybe a stay at Vero Beach is your vacation, there is more than enough to do that will keep all members of the family entertained. No matter what you do while visiting, one thing you can expect from Disney's Vero Beach Resort is that the service and quality are up to the high standards you would expect from any other Disney resort.

See past blog entries by guest blogger Andrew Rossi here.

August 24, 2014

Discover One of Disney’s Best Kept Secrets at the Vero Beach Resort

Andrew Rossi

We all know that vacationing at Walt Disney World may not always be the most relaxing experience. Waking up early in the morning to get to the parks for opening, running from attraction to attraction, dealing with the heat and the crowds, it can be a physically, mentally, and emotionally draining experience. Sometimes it may even feel like you need a vacation from your vacation. Wouldn't it be great if there was somewhere nearby that you could go to relax and unwind for a few days following all of this? Or maybe you are just looking for the kind of vacation where you can sit by the pool or at the beach without having to worry about running around from place to place? Fortunately, Disney has just the place and this hidden gem is located conveniently close to Walt Disney World. Disney's Vero Beach Resort is the perfect escape and a great way to end a Disney vacation or be a vacation unto itself.

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Location, Location, Location:
Even though it is located less than a two hour drive southeast of Walt Disney World, Disney's Vero Beach Resort feels like an entirely different world. It is close enough to Disney World and Orlando International Airport to be easily accessible to Guests travelling to the Orlando area and yet far enough removed that it offers an escape from the crowds and congestion.
Vero Beach is located right on the Atlantic Ocean in an area known as Florida's Treasure Coast. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Indian River on the other, the area features miles of beaches to enjoy in addition to the natural beauty of nearby botanical gardens, wildlife preserves, and state parks.

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The resort's location is certainly one of its main allures; every room is just steps away from the beach and a majority have views of the ocean. While here, you definitely do not want to miss the stunning views of the sunrise each morning.

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A Taste of Old Florida:
The resort's style is one that harkens back to a bygone age with an old-fashioned elegance and charm; it has an upscale feel that is at the same time warm and inviting. The resort celebrates the splendor of Old Florida with an architectural style reminiscent of the grand hotels found along Florida's northeastern seaboard at the turn of the 20th century. In addition, the resort's relatively small size (just 211 rooms) makes it more intimate, quiet, and far less crowded than the resorts at Disney World.

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The resort's rooms are split up between the main Inn, three Villa Buildings, and six Cottages. Located in the Inn, resort's lobby is certainly a sight to behold, with its high ceilings and numerous windows giving it a very open and airy feel.

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The lobby is also where you can find the Island Grove Packing Co., which is the resort's gift shop featuring an array of resort-specific merchandise in addition to many items that can be found at Disney World. The shop also offers an array of groceries.

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Throughout the resort, in both the common areas and Guest rooms, there are various design elements that pay tribute to the legacy of Old Florida. This theming helps set the tone for the resort and immerses Guests into the history of the region. Along the walls you will spot everything from black and white photographs and newspaper clippings to old postcards and paintings; it is really like stepping back to an earlier time. The three main themes that carry through the resort are citrus, treasure, and the environment.

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Citrus:
The number one industry in Indian River County is citrus. The area produces over ten varieties of oranges and grapefruits and is home to twelve packing houses. In fact, many of the local groves contributed authentic labels to the resort which are now displayed throughout the lobby. This theming also makes its way into the Guest rooms, which feature various citrus-inspired décor and motifs in their design.

Treasure:
Indian River County is one of three counties located on Florida's Treasure Coast. The area got its name due to all of the shipwrecks that occurred off of its shores and treasure continues to be found to this day. The region's history also includes a number of notorious pirates who would use the barrier islands as hiding places for the riches they plundered from European vessels. Throughout the resort there are a number of authentic pieces and replicas that help to document this part of the region's history.

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Environment:
Vero Beach was chosen as the site of Disney's first oceanfront resort due, in part, to the richness of its surroundings. Due to the uniqueness of its location, the Indian River Lagoon has one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the continental United States, supporting over 3,000 species of animals and plants. During the resort's construction, every effort was made to leave all the existing trees intact and those that had to be removed were relocated to a nearby environmental learning center.

With all the natural beauty of the area, it is not surprising that it plays a large role at the resort and it is sea turtles that take center stage. Disney's Vero Beach Resort shares space with the native nesting grounds of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. The Walt Disney Company has a long history of conservation efforts and the Vero Beach Resort continues that legacy. The beachfront resort was specifically designed to create minimal impact on the turtles' nesting patterns. In addition, since moonlight acts as a beacon to guide the hatchlings safely to the ocean, the resort's east-facing windows are tinted to diminish the impact of interior lighting, and no exterior lights face the ocean. The resort also offers a variety of educational programs for both children and families to learn more about sea turtles and their nesting habits.

In addition to this important conservation message, sea turtles feature prominently throughout the resort's décor. Most notably amongst these is the mosaic in the center of the lobby.

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Accommodations:
Disney's Vero Beach Resort is part of the Disney Vacation Club and, as such, its various accommodations are similar to those that you would find at other DVC resorts in Disney World. One unique element of Vero Beach, however, is it's Inn Rooms. These rooms are similar to a Studio but instead feature two queen beds rather than one bed and a pullout couch.

The resort also features One and Two Bedroom Villas, both of which have full-sized kitchens. These units are located in buildings adjacent to the main Inn.

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The most unique element of Disney's Vero Beach Resort, however, are its Beach Cottages. It was in one of these that I had the fortune of staying during my last visit to the resort. In all, there are six cottages that sit overlooking the beach and each has a name that pays tribute to sea turtles. For example, the particular cottage that I stayed in was "The Loggerhead Cottage."

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These cottages are perfect for a big family vacation as they can accommodate up to twelve people between three bedrooms and a pullout couch in the living room.

All of the bedrooms and bathrooms are located on the lower level of the cottage. Two of the bedrooms feature a pair of queen-sized beds while the third "master" bedroom features a king. This third bedroom also has a jacuzzi-style tub in its bathroom.

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Making your way to the upper level, it is clear to see that the cottages were constructed to maximize the incredible views. The most notable feature is its huge windows on all sides that allow in ample sunlight.

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The upper level of the beach house features a living room (with pullout couch) along with a full kitchen and dining room.

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There are also two balconies off the upper floor, one facing towards the Inn and the other towards the beach. The balconies feature tables, chairs, and lounges for those looking to catch some sun without having to walk to the pool or the beach. It is a great location for enjoying breakfast, lunch, or dinner with an ocean view.

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With all of its amenities, these cottages really are a home away from home.

Dining:
While not exactly a large resort, Disney's Vero Beach does offer a number of different dining options. The first dining location is Shutters, a casual restaurant with a nautical theme that is good for the entire family and open for breakfast and dinner. The menu specializes in fresh Florida seafood, but also features wood-fired rotisserie chicken, slow-roasted pot roast, and flatbreads prepared in their onstage wood-burning pizza ovens. If you are looking for character dining, Shutters is home to "Goofy's Beachfront Breakfast" on Saturdays . The restaurant also has a "Beachfront Sunday Brunch," which includes your choice of champagne, mimosa, or Bloody Mary.

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Sonya's offers a more adult-oriented, quiet, and intimate atmosphere with rich wooden décor. Sonya's specializes in wood-fired steaks, fresh Florida seafood, as well as other seasonal specialties.

Bleachers is the resorts quick service option located conveniently right by the pool. Open for lunch, this dining location is the place for hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, salads, ice cream, and an array of tropical ad specialty drinks.

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Finally, there is the Green Cabin Room. Interestingly enough, in the original planning of the resort, this space was first intended to be a library but was then converted into a bar. With spectacular ocean views and cushiony chairs this is a great place to relax in a quiet setting. Light lunch offerings and appetizers can be found on the menu alongside a number of cocktails and specialty coffee drinks. It's the perfect place to stop for cocktails before your meal or after-dinner drinks.

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Now that you have been familiarized with an overview of the resort, the Part Two will highlight the various (and numerous) recreational offerings that can be found at Disney's Vero Beach Resort. Whether you just want to relax or have a day full of activities, there is something for all members of the family.

See past blog entries by guest blogger Andrew Rossi here.

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About Disney's Vero Beach

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in the Disney's Vero Beach category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Aulani Villas is the previous category.

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