Wayfinding TravelingMom Jennifer Kaufman and her family like beach vacations well enough, but she and her three kids are usually looking for something more to do after a couple of days as beach bums. Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort has fit the bill for years. Now she shares why it’s a must visit for Disney fans… and anyone looking for an awesome east coast getaway!
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Why We love Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
- The Backstory
- Excellent Theming & Details
- Activities & Amenities
- Cast Member Interactions
- Location, Location, Location
If you’ve been to Hilton Head, you may already be familiar with the location of the Disney Vacation Club property on the island, in the Shelter Cove Harbour area. It sits on Broad Creek, with a private beach (and beach house) approximately a mile away.
While it is actually a Disney Vacation Club property, non-members can book accommodations there. Guests can stay in studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units.
BACKSTORY OF DISNEY’S HILTON HEAD ISLAND RESORT
Whether guests notice them or not, most Disney attractions, parks, and resorts have great backstories built into their creation. The Disney resort on Hilton Head is no exception. Part of the backstory given to the resort by the Imagineers, as told on printed material given from the front desk upon request, states:
“Royce Edmund and his family first visited Hilton Head Island when he was a mere six months old. For generations, Royce and his family journeyed from their hometown in Augusta, GA. Royce’s Great Grandfather, Grandpa Thaddeus, chose Longview Island, SC – a 15-acre island nestled amongst 100 year old oak trees – as the picture perfect place to build a vacation home. In the late 1940’s Royce’s father commissioned the best architects in the south to design and build accommodations for the entire Edmunds family; little did anyone know that it would evolve into a world class resort.”
FISH AND PUP
You’ll also find legends of “Big Murggie,” an impossibly slick fish that evades fishermen and becomes the subject of many a fish tale. There’s even a large area at Live Oak Lodge dedicated to Big Murggie.
Around the resort you’ll see evidence that the resort belongs, at least in part, to a (real) dog named Shadow. Legend has it that when the resort was being built, a golden retriever hung around so much that she became a bit of a permanent fixture. According to resort storyteller and folklore expert B’Lou Crabbe, the pup earned the name Shadow not because of her color, “but because she was more underfoot than your own shadow.”
EXCELLENT THEMING & DETAILS
The resort is designed after a 1940s South Carolina lodge, but there’s nothing that feels antiquated about it. Behind a somewhat rustic facade are state-of-the-art fitness rooms, free wifi, and all the amenities of a deluxe hotel.
When you vacation (or live) in this area of the country, there is a certain ambiance, a rhythm that is pervasive throughout your days. Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort evokes everything there is to love about the lowcountry life. You won’t find another hotel themed like this in the area.
Much like on Disney Cruise line ships or at Aulani, the decor and atmosphere of this Hilton Head resort don’t scream Disney. If you are worried about running into characters, everything being shaped like Mickey Mouse, or stumbling across large, cartoonish icons throughout the property, you can stop.
Side note: there is one overtly “Mickey” thing you’ll probably want to find. I know we do, every time we’re in the area – even when we aren’t staying at the DVC resort —
ACTIVITIES & AMENITIES
As with most other Disney properties, there is no shortage of things to do. Planned activities take place throughout the day, most of which are included in your stay; activities that require an additional fee are very reasonably priced, and always very clear.
Whether you’re looking for excursions, crafts, games, or something entirely different, you’re bound to find something for everyone somewhere on property. In addition to the scheduled activities, the resort offers two themed pools, several playgrounds, shuffleboard, table tennis, bike rentals, fishing, and so much more.
At the beach house there is another pool, more outdoor games, and even a high-tech arcade. Commuity Hall – a DVC staple that wasn’t left out of the Hilton Head Resort plans – offers what members are accustomed to finding: games, crafts, bingo, coloring pages, toys, and (free) DVD rentals.
Nightly campfires include storytelling, singalong, and even s’mores. The Live Oak Lodge offers billiards, checkers, reading material, and board games.
CAST MEMBER INTERACTIONS
We’ve said it before: Disney Cast Members are the biggest reason we return to the parks and cruise line again and again. The interaction with Cast Members at the Hilton Head resort reminds us a bit of that on the cruises we’ve taken. While we don’t spend as much time with them as we do the Cruise Staff on DCL, it is a small resort – so many of the CMs get to know guests, and make each visit special.
Even if that’s not the case – whether you just stay a night or two, don’t spend much time at the resort, or simply don’t see the same people more than once or twice – you can expect Disney’s legendary service everywhere you go during your visit to the Hilton Head resort.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
A stay anywhere on Hilton Head Island puts you close to world-class golf and tennis, more than 12 miles of clean beaches, and unique shopping and dining experiences. Specifically though, we love the location of Disney’s Hilton Head Resort more than other options on the island.
One may argue that the only way to do a beach vacation is with a beachfront property. That makes perfect sense when you’re in an area like a number of Florida beaches, where your options are “beachfront” or “drive a few miles down congested roads, through concrete jungles and gift shops, to a hotel that feels like it could be anywhere in the country.” That’s not what you’ll find here… though I’m not sure my words will do the location justice.
THE BEACH HOUSE
At Disney’s Hilton Head resort you’re moments away from the incredible beach house and the Atlantic Ocean. When you’re there, you’ll have everything you need and won’t need to “run back to the hotel” for anything.
When you’re kind of tired of just sitting on the beach (which is a very real concern for many of us), you aren’t going to simply retire to your hotel and wonder what to do. Instead, when you return to the resort on the inside of the island, you escape to a gorgeous, secluded oasis.
The marshes and woodlands offer completely different scenery, wildlife, and recreation options than the beach. Large barbecue areas offer fun dining experiences as well as hammocks, etc in which to relax. It’s truly the best of both worlds.
DISNEY MAGIC, SERVICE, AND ATMOSPHERE, NESTLED IN SOUTH CAROLINA’S LOWCOUNTRY = A PERFECT COMBINATION.