The theme of our last journey over the Atlantic was that it would not include a visit to a Disney theme park. I know of course that this is insanity, but after around a dozen visits in the past decade, each one centred around WDW, my long suffering wife Louise sort of insisted on something different.
So we toured Florida a little, from the Keys to Naples and yes Orlando. However, Disney still featured on our trip in the shape of a two night stay at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. We have been regulars here for a few years now, if you can be regulars once a year, and we love it. As my title suggests this place is Disney with a small d. You still get all the wonderful elements of full on Disney, with outstanding service, absolute quality and if you feel the need a character breakfast, but it is all done in a subtle way.
From the moment you pull into the entrance and receive the customary “Welcome Home” from the guard on the gate, you know you are being Disney-ed. After just over a week in the Keys and Naples, I cannot begin to describe the warm and fuzzy feeling we all felt at being back on home soil (Disney property). This warm and fuzzy feeling had nothing to do with the cocktails served in the Green Cabin, well, not until later that night anyway!
The focus of the resort, as you may well imagine, is the beach, closely followed by the outstanding pool area. As you lie on your sun bed, looking out to sea, there is something very calming and satisfying about seeing lots of nothing. Sea meets sky, and that, apart from the occasional boat, is that. The sea can be what I call, “sporty rough” on occasions which lends itself perfectly to a spot of boogie boarding, and if you do not want to get one of your own, you can rent one instead, along with jetskis and kayaks for those sportier than I.
I have incurred several injuries with this past time, but not as you may think from being mauled by some monstrous wave (although I have certainly have), but rather from laughing so hard at my wife trying to stand up in the bombardment of waves after being thrown from the boogie board unceremoniously!! My sides will never be the same again.
So after a long hard day alternating between beach and pool, the resort takes on a whole different feel of an evening. The resort insists on minimal lighting to avoid confusing the turtles who regularly use the beach for their laying of eggs, and this lends itself to a lovely calm atmosphere. Sitting out on the balcony of the Green Cabin, cocktail in hand, listening to the soothing lap of the waves on the beach below, is pretty close to an ideal evening in my book.
The on-site eating options are of typical Disney quality, and as long as your stay is nothing beyond a few nights, you should not need to venture out too far in search of an interesting menu. There are no all night dance venues, and this for someone of my advanced years is pretty much always a good thing. This is mainly because you need to be up early in the morning, as you’ll want to be awake in time to watch the sun rise over the ocean, which is frankly stunning and humbling in equal measure.
Vero Beach Resort may be on the outskirts of the World that is Walt Disney, but don’t forget about it, or dismiss it, as it holds a charm and character all of its own. It may be Disney with a small d, but it is also Wonderful with a capital W.