Disney’s Vero Beach Resort embraces the beach lifestyle while embodying a true Disney experience

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In 1993, when Disney Vacation Club announced plans to build a timeshare resort in Vero Beach, Florida, about 100 miles southeast of the Walt Disney World resort, the question on many people’s minds was:

Why would Disney build a resort so far from its central Florida theme parks?

The Port Holes mini-golf course, pool and part of The Inn at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort in Florida. [AllEars.Net/Chuck Schmidt]

After spending a few days at DVC’s idyllic property just steps from the Atlantic Ocean, it became clear why this decision was made.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, which opened on October 1, 1995, stands out among Disney Vacation Club properties in that it embraces the beach lifestyle without getting too caught up in the commercial aspect so prevalent in many seaside towns.

If you’re looking for a true Disney experience, without having to brave crowds, long lines, or the hassle of logging into Genie+, you should check out Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

During my first stroll through the beautifully manicured grounds, features from several other Disney properties caught my eye.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is part of Old Key West [colorful south Florida-style architecture]Polynesian Villas section [exotic foliage abounds]part of Kidani village [garage-style parking under many of the main buildings is available] and part of Castaway Cay [the beach is a short stroll away].

In reality, it’s EVERYTHING Disney.

The entrance to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. [AllEars.Net/Chuck Schmidt]

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is located on State Route A1A, a stretch of scenic highway that hugs Florida’s Atlantic Ocean coast for 538 miles. Indeed, some sections of A1A are dominated by million-dollar mansions and equally opulent yachts.

At Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, a more relaxed and laid-back vibe permeates the area.

What you get at Disney’s Vero Beach is tastefully manicured landscaping; family amenities [loved the pirate-themed Port Holes Mini Golf course]; an inviting swimming pool; comfortable and spacious rooms; the proximity to the beach and friendly and competent actors.

The crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean are an integral part of Vero Beach’s appeal. The same goes for Disney’s commitment to the environment.

Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings head for the ocean. [Courtesy of Tybee Island]

The resort shares space with the nesting sites of the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle. In fact, the Florida coast is the main turtle nesting area for the entire northern hemisphere.

Given The Walt Disney Company’s decades-long commitment to conservation, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort takes its partnership with turtles seriously and is committed to having the least possible impact on them.

When a turtle lays her eggs on the beach, Disney employees rope up to help protect the nesting area from human intervention.

Additionally, the resort’s east-facing windows are tinted to lessen the impact of interior lighting, and no exterior lights face the ocean. There are also tall shrubs that shield the shoreline from any other ambient lighting.

The reason? After the young turtles hatch, they instinctively use moonlight and stars to guide them to the ocean.

Vero Beach’s main building, called The Inn, has a large, welcoming lobby. Inside the building are a grill, bar, lounge, gift shop, market, and spa.

This exhibit features memorabilia from the Brooklyn Dodgers, who until 2008 used Vero Beach as their spring training headquarters. [AllEars.Net/Chuck Schmidt]

Planners also set up a tribute to Vero Beach decades ago. There’s an area where memorabilia is displayed, from beach photos to classic exhibits featuring the Brooklyn [later Los Angeles] Dodgers, who used nearby Holman Field and its Dodgertown complex in Vero Beach for spring training from 1948 to 2008.

I found one aspect of Disney’s Vero Beach fascinating. It’s called the Breezeway Tunnel.

The underground walkway digs under A1A and allows guests to walk to another section of Disney’s Vero Beach property, a place where the great outdoors abound.

The entrance to the Breezeway Tunnel on the grounds of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. [AllEars.Net/Chuck Schmidt]

The tunnel sports a Peter Pan theme, with murals of the film’s main characters featuring prominently throughout. Music from the classic film can be heard as you weave your way under and through.

Once you reach the other side, you’ll find walking and nature trails, tennis and basketball courts, soccer and volleyball courts, and lakeside picnic areas. During one of our visits, we observed a group of adults playing pickleball on the tennis court.

With no theme parks to run to, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort was designed to provide guests with a laid back and relaxing vacation experience.

And on this point, the station keeps its promises.

Chuck Schmidt is an award-winning journalist who has covered all things Disney since 1984, both in print and online. He is the author or co-author of seven Disney books, including his Disney’s Animal Kingdom: An Unofficial Story, for Theme Park Press. He also wrote a regular blog for AllEars.Net, called Always crazy about Disney, since 2015.

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