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A Less than Magical Experience at Old Key West Resort

A Less than Magical Experience at Old Key West Resort

What happens when your Disney stay is less than magical? Read on for an honest take of Disney’s Old Key West Resort.

Resort Overview

Credit: Maggie

Disney’s Old Key West resort is a deluxe resort at Walt Disney World and is the original Disney Vacation Club property. Known for its large rooms and relaxed vibe, Old Key West is a great place to stay for bigger families or for people looking for a slower pace after busy days in the parks.

Old Key West has many amenities and even has a delicious restaurant that I (Jaelyn) would go out of my way to eat at on a stay at a different resort. For more information about Old Key West, check out this review of Olivia’s Restaurant, accessible rooms at Old Key West, this review of a two bedroom villa, and my resort guide with all of the details to plan a stay.

My extended family and I stayed at Old Key West in the summer of 2019 in a two bedroom villa and had an exceptional time. We rented a car and drove to the parks every day except for days where we went to the Magic Kingdom. My family had a very magical stay and loved the relaxed atmosphere of the resort and the quiet pool located right by our room.

Most Recent Stay

Credit: Maggie

My most recent stay at Old Key West was a different story. We planned a very last minute trip and rented DVC points for the stay. I was able to get the room for one night for about the same price as one night at Pop Century.

Our room was a studio room in the “Near Hospitality House” booking category. We really did not plan to be at the resort for long at all. We simply planned to sleep in the room and then use the bus transportation the following day to arrive at the Magic Kingdom for Early Theme Park Entry for Resort Guests.

First Impressions of Old Key West: Bus Ride

Credit: Monica

After spending the day in the parks, we arrived to Old Key West late in the evening. Our luggage had been transferred from the Polynesian where we had stayed the night before. We rode the bus from Epcot back to our hotel.

Our first initial impression was that the bus system takes a LONG time to loop through Old Key West. This is a sprawling resort with several bus stops internally on its property. As we were within walking distance to the Hospitality House, or the main resort area, we were the last stop for drop off. Looping through the resort added an additional 20 or 30 minutes to our time before we could get to our room.

This is VERY different than staying at resorts on a direct line of transportation (i.e. the Polynesian) or even staying at resorts with one bus stop (Boardwalk, value resorts, etc.). After an already long day, riding the bus for another 30 minutes is not something that anyone really wants to do.

Studio Room Impressions

Credit: Susan

Once we finally arrived and picked up our luggage from bell services, we discovered that we were on the third floor of our building with no elevator. This was ok but a little challenging when balancing luggage, a stroller, and children. We entered our room which had two queen beds, a kitchenette, a small table, and a bathroom.

Credit: Jaelyn

Old Key West studios are the only studios with two complete queen beds. Many other studios have pull out couches, but many of the newly refurbished studios have murphy beds. Prior to the addition of murphy beds, I would have said that Old Key West has the advantage when it comes to sleeping configurations. Now, however, the murphy beds are just as nice as the standard queen beds and, in my opinion, this hurts Old Key West in a big way. I’d much rather stay at a studio at somewhere like the Polynesian or even Saratoga Springs with the murphy bed option.

The theming and decor honestly left a lot to be desired. If you are looking to stay in a resort that has immersive Disney theming, this is not the option for you. It was very much just a hotel room. For the same price with renting DVC and an even cheaper price when looking at the rack rates for both options, the value resorts all pack a better punch in regard to theming than Old Key West.

Credit: Marisol

The other major perk of the Old Key West resort is the size of the rooms. The studio here is the third largest on property, bested only by the Polynesian and Riviera studios. I am not sure if it was just the juxtaposition of transferring from the Polynesian to Old Key West, but the space in the Old Key West studio just seemed less functional.

At the Polynesian, studios have two bathroom spaces and a nice living/sleeping space. The Old Key West studio layout had a lot of “dead space” on the side of the room where a table was located. It just didn’t serve much purpose for our family.

Early Morning Bus Experience

Credit: Susan

The next morning, we dropped our luggage at Bell Services and waited at the bus stop to catch a bus to the Magic Kingdom for Early Theme Park Entry for resort guests. The park opened at 9 a.m. with an 8:30 a.m. park open for Early Theme Park Entry.

We went down to the bus stop at 7:30 a.m. The television at the bus stop did not report any next available times for a bus to any of the four parks. As we waited, a crowd started to form. We waited over a half hour with no bus in sight. Knowing our bus stop was the last stop, we started to worry that we wouldn’t be able to get on the bus because it would be full after looping all the way around the resort.

At a little after 8 a.m. with still no bus in sight and less than 30 minutes until the start of Early Theme Park Entry, I quickly booked an Uber ride. We were in our Uber by 8:10 and made it to the park, through security, and through the entry process by 8:45. This left us with really no benefit from the Early Theme Park Entry, which was disappointing because the crowds were particularly heavy on this day.

Overall Thoughts

Credit: Maggie

Prior to this trip, I would have wholeheartedly suggested Old Key West as an excellent resort for booking to any of my family and friends. However, after this experience, I do not think Old Key West is a great fit for most travel groups. I would recommend the resort for guests looking for large spaces in larger room categories (i.e. the two bedroom villas or three bedroom grand villas) or guests who are bringing their own car to property.

I would not recommend this resort to anyone looking for immersive Disney theming or for anyone hoping to utilize Disney transportation. While I will head back to Old Key West to eat at Olivia’s, I will likely not head back to the resort to stay again.

What are your thoughts about the Old Key West resort? Have you had any negative (or positive!) experiences with Disney transportation to and from your resort hotel? Continue the conversation below or on the Kenny the Pirate Facebook page. I would love to hear from you!


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Rus Lowe

Friday 19th of August 2022

For the reasons you didn't like OKW we love it. It is Not All Disney All the Time. It is Key West themed. It is laid back. 2 queen sized beds a huge plus for us in studio. No elevator, it is only 2 floors max to walk up, have bell services bring your luggage up. Rent a car and get breakfast reservations at Contemporary, MK day solved.


Monday 1st of August 2022

We stayed just as guests on our honeymoon back in December. We waited 30+ minutes for help with our luggage and just gave up. The room was actually pretty dirty. The staff asked what was in our luggage several times. There ended up being a sewage leak we could smell so we had to get a different room. We ended up taking an Uber instead of waiting for the transportation as well.


Tuesday 19th of July 2022

We’ve been DVC since 1996. Old Key West is one of our favorite places when we travel as a family (8 of us). Plenty of space for all of us. And it’s also nice if you are a party of two couples. The two bedroom is excellent. That being said, the studios at OKW are less convenient because of the two queen configuration. But doing a bit of research will give you that type of info. And it sounds like you didn’t take into consideration the size and number of bus stops. Saratoga is the same with several distinct areas and bus transportation is much the same as OKW. May I suggest that if your trip is short, you look into those resorts that keep you close to the action. Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach let you walk to both EPCOT and Studios. And now with the addition of the Skyliner you have even more options for transport to those two parks. The resort monorail is an great choice if Magic Kingdom is your park of choice on a short trip. We have learned over the years that the times for bus transportation is at the mercy of traffic situations. Heavy traffic or a minor fender bender on the roads, necessitates a change in bus routes. And if you are really on a tight schedule, an Uber or a car might be what you need to opt for to ease the stressfulness.


Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Exactly! We were so surprised there was NO dresser or storage space for clothes. Very disappointing


Tuesday 19th of July 2022

We are dvc members at Old Key West since 2019 and love it. The one bedroom villa is enormous and it's one of the quietest and peaceful resorts at Disney. We've looked at the studios and would gladly stay in them, love the fact there are two actual beds rather than the sometimes uncomfortable Murphy beds. This past June we stayed in a dvc studio room at the Polynesian and we were very unimpressed, the room was cramped even for two people. Using alot of the room space to create a second 'shower room' seemed very unnecessary. We would rather stay in a regular room the Polynesian which we used to do years ago.

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