Thanks for all the well wishes for my mom, everyone! I really do appreciate it. The poor lady has had a rough time since retiring so I hope they can get things straightened out soon!
Okay on to the report!
[B]WHERE WE STAYED (Part One):[/B]
OLD KEY WEST (Saturday, October 22 through Tuesday, October 25) - We stayed in a Deluxe Studio. It was our first time staying at OKW and we were looking forward to it. Overall we enjoyed the resort but it wouldn’t make my list of favorites. Both rooms we stayed in (I will get to THAT later) were near the Hospitality House which was great.
[B]What we liked: [/B]
[B]Room layout[/B] - We loved the layout of the studio at OKW and that it had 2 beds ( I always get the pullout in the studios, so I especially appreciated that!) At first I thought the room shape was a bit odd but it actually really worked well. We missed the room layout when we moved to the Beach Club later in the trip.
[B]Landscaping/Atmosphere[/B] - The resort looked lovely and was very relaxing overall
[B]Bell Services[/B] - OKW had some of the best Bell Services CMs we have encountered at WDW. They were quick, helpful and very friendly. We had to use them more than we anticipated and they were fantastic.
[B]What we didn’t like[/B]
[B]Size/Transportation[/B] - I am generally not one to complain that a resort is too big and spread out. POR is one of my very favorite resorts. But OKW felt huge. We were near Hospitality House but it would have been miserable to be in one of the further away areas. I think the size wouldn’t have been such a big factor for a week long DVC trip where you get groceries delivered and spend a good amount of time in the room but we treated this more like a regular resort stay so we needed close access to the amenities and food. The bus rides to and from the parks felt very long (and again, I am used to and really like POR, a resort with multiple bus stops. I also didn’t like how much traffic you had to navigate while walking around. I think that was the main difference between the large size of POR and OKW. At POR, you have to walk down tree lined, beautifully landscaped paths and bridges to get to the main building. At OKW, we felt like we were always crossing streets and walking through parking lots.
[B]Food options[/B] - We did have breakfast at Olivia’s one morning and enjoyed that but the quick service location (Good’s to Go) was always super busy and super slow. Maybe because it was free dining time and lots of people were using their dining plan there? We had breakfast there one day and it was just okay. We had lunch there another day and it was again, just okay. Not a ton of choices and the CMs needed to get a little pep in their step. The Gurgling Suitcase was also very small and had only one bartender so service was slow. I prefer places where the resort has a dedicated pool bar (What can I say? I like a fruity drink while I sit by the pool).
[B]Lack of Elevators[/B] - This was not a huge deal for us but I could see it being a huge deal for someone with a stroller or someone with health or mobility issues. We were on the 2nd floor and had no elevator, something I hadn’t realized about OKW. Again, not a big deal for us, but it is nice to have the elevator option when moving all of your stuff.
[B]What was just okay[/B] - The location was fine. We were actually not far from most of the parks so the bus rides once we got out of OKW itself were not bad. I also enjoyed the boat to DTD.
The pool was again just fine. They had lots of kids activities which was nice but they kept moving all around the pool with the games and activities. We set up shop near the end opposite the games but at some point they switched sides and I had to get out of the pool to avoid having to play “Critter Catch” LOL I really do like the kids activities at the pools but wish they would keep it contained to one section of the pool. The activities also went on for the entire time we were there (several hours) so there was always loud music playing or someone on a microphone giving instructions. We probably should have headed to one of the quiet pools, but we wanted to be close enough to the Hospitality House to grab lunch and a drink. Also the day we were there, the pool was pretty crowded with lots of jockeying for chairs. It seemed a little small for the size of the resort.
[B]Overall thoughts[/B] - We liked OKW but didn’t love it. We had considered trying to stay there with our big family trip back in April because of the size of the villas but I was glad that we had stayed at Kidani instead after seeing how spread out the resort was. I often think of Saratoga and Old Key West as the same type of resort and if I had to choose between them, I would choose Saratoga. We kept saying how much we missed being able to walk to DTD from Saratoga. I would stay at OKW again but not as my first choice.