In addition to the more famous accommodations that make up the scene of various Disney theme park locations around the world, you will find a host of Disney hotel options well beyond the Parks. Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii is perhaps one of the best-known examples of a Disney Resort that stands out independently, completely unattached to an affiliated nearby Disney Park. But there are many others as well. For instance, some folks who opt for Florida’s pristine beaches more so than the ever-popular Walt Disney World Resort find Disney’s Vero Beach Resort to be the best option befitting them.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort isn’t the only Atlantic Coast suggestion where beach-oriented Disney fans can still experience Disney Magic away from the hustle and bustle of the Parks, though. There is another option a little more to the north, based in South Carolina. And that hidden gem is Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.
Even if you’re a contested Disney fan, it’s quite possible that you may have never even heard of Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort before. Not surprisingly, this quaint and peaceful East Coast oasis of sorts often gets overshadowed by more popular Disney Destinations, like those to the aforementioned Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort in California, or even sailing via the Disney Cruise Line. But the scene at Hilton Head Island truly is a secret treasure worth exploring, particularly for those seeking out an option to mix the Magic of Disney with the enchantment of a charming coastal village.
Facts About the Resort
Nestled unassumingly within the quaint community of South Carolina’s historic Hilton Head Island, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort embraces a 1940s gaming lodge motif with a family-friendly focus on outdoor pursuits. The Resort is actually divided into two distinct components. First, there is the main Resort, which is situated on picturesque Longview Island. Then there’s Disney’s Beach House, which sits directly on the Atlantic Coast shore, spanning miles and miles of vast stretching beaches.
At the main Resort, check-ins are done at Live Oak Lodge. One of the biggest callouts is the friendly and familiar topiary of Mickey Mouse right outside, warmly greeting you as you enter. The interior of Live Oak Lodge is admittedly far smaller than the main buildings at most other Disney Resorts, as it does not contain the usual spacious lobby with seating and shops and dining all in one housing. Instead, there is a smaller gathering room off of the main entry with modest activity areas, a pool table, and chairs. There’s also a balcony leading out to the back of the building, overlooking the scenic surrounding marshes. Here it’s all about celebrating serenity, and the simple pleasures of life, which is why the tranquil appeal is so prevalent.
Like most other Disney Vacation Club Resort properties, the rooming options at Disney’s Hilton Head range in various designations. Boasting more than 120 rooms, options include standard studios, both one- and two-bedroom dwellings, and even some very impressive three-bedroom grand villas.
Spanning around 375 square feet, standard studios generally sleep up to four adults plus one crib and include a queen-size bed and a double sleeper sofa. One-bedroom accommodations average around 800 square feet and can comfortably sleep up to five adults, plus one crib. These dwellings include a master suite, bathroom, living room, private porch or balcony, and fully equipped kitchen.
Two-bedroom lodgings are of course larger, averaging 1,255 square feet and containing the same features and furnishings as their one-bedroom counterparts. Some two-bedrooms are actually referred to as lockouts, which means that they are actually one-bedroom and studio combinations.
Then there are the three-bedroom grand villas. Able to house up to 12 adults, plus one crib, these most spacious of all accommodations average 2,125 square feet and are presented as two-level dwellings. The first level is where you will find the master suite, a bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen. The two additional bedrooms are upstairs and boast two queen-size beds along with two full baths. Grand villas also come with two private porches, one of which includes a picnic table and two rocking chairs.
Amenities Worth Mentioning
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort retains a peaceful tranquility that invites relaxation at just about every turn. In fact, you will even find numerous quiet, restful spots all around the premises, including multiple benches and even hammocks that anyone can choose to lounge around in whenever they feel like it. There are also complimentary grills Guests are welcome to use for enjoying a nice outdoor cookout.
While there are many awesome callouts all around the grounds, two of the more interesting sights worth noting are the beautiful butterfly garden and the scenic outdoor chapel setup with seating and chairs. This is where special ceremonies and events like weddings take place.
Guests will enjoy a wide range of many other amenities during their stay, including free Internet, complimentary parking, laundry services, and much more. It’s also worth noting that upon check-in, every party receives a Portable Perks book offering of various area discounts to take advantage of in the greater surrounding Hilton Head Island community.
While there are plenty of activities all around the grounds to help you stay in shape and get adequate exercise, for Guests looking to break a sweat with a hearty and impacting workout, there is the Bend and Stretch Exercise Room to check out. Available to use 24 hours a day with a keycard, this miniature fitness center may be enjoyed by any Guest aged 14 and over. Do note, however, that any Guest under 17 must be accompanied by an adult.
Shopping and Dining
Need to pick something up from the store? Not a problem, for there is a great general store located right onsite known as the Broad Creek Mercantile. It’s here where you can find all those necessary items you may only just now realize you still need. From toiletries and other essentials to snacks, sundries, and even limited grocery items it’s all here. And like any great Disney Resort store, you can also get Disney-themed gifts, games, and other merchandise as well.
While there are no table service restaurants on location at Disney’s Hilton Head, the main Resort is home to a nice quick-service ordering spot known as Tide Me Over. Located close to Broad Creek Mercantile, it’s here you will find plenty of delightful quick eats, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more. They also present a versatile range of lite-bite snacks, including Disney’s famed Dole Whip. Additional counter service venues can be found over at Disney’s Beach House on the coastal side. These include Signals and Surfman’s Sand Bar (for libations).
There’s plenty to do around both the immediate Resort grounds as well as on the coastal front. Because the community of Hilton Head Island is big on biking, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of different bikes you can rent out on location, as well as helmets, locks/chains, and other essentials. There’s even a 1.25-mile bike trail leading right over to Disney’s Beach House for those who are up for the ride.
In tying into the whole wilderness sporting theme, fishing is an excellent family-friendly pastime to pursue on location here as well. And best of all, the Resort has everything you need right onsite, including fishing poles, crab nets, and other equipment available to rent. You can even buy bait. The surrounding marshes with accessible piers make such pursuits pleasant and accessible.
As a Resort that’s in line with being a low-key, secluded getaway spot in the middle of nature, it should come as no surprise to find that there are many simple pleasures to take delight in, as far as activities go. From horseshoe pits to cornhole, a mini golf putting green, and a host of gaming tables and other recreations, rest assured that you will never be bored.
As is the case with most other Disney Resorts, swimming is pretty popular. And while the beach is an obvious choice, do take note that the main Resort features two resident pools. First, there is the 72,000-gallon heated pool known as the Big Dipper, which also includes a water tower slide and spa. Then there is the more docile Little Dipper Pool, which is perfect for younger Guests and even has fun water features.
Additional fun-for-the-whole-family activities and events take place frequently on the grounds of the main Resort. Most are free, although some extras do require an additional fee.
The Beach and Shuttle Services
Because Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort is a little more than a mile away from the Disney Beach House area and its expansive beachfront on the Atlantic Coast, complimentary shuttle services run throughout the day, roughly every half hour (during operational hours). Beachside fun includes many of the obvious delights, like tanning, splashing around in the waves, or even riding the waves via surf or boogie board.
For those looking to get off the sand for a bit, that’s where Disney’s Beach House facility comes in. Created for the sole use of Resort Guests, the Beach House contains restrooms, changing rooms with showers, recreational areas, refreshments, an arcade, television, sundeck, and even a refreshing swimming pool.
Beyond the Resort
Despite the secluded feeling you get when vacationing at this Disney Resort, Hilton Head Island in general is an undeniably quaint and compact community. So, you’re never really too far removed from the charming small town surrounding the Resort. It’s great, really, as there are just so many extra endeavors to consider checking out while visiting. From world-class golf courses to the impressive Shelter Cove Harbor and its standout marina, novelty boutique shops to various fine dining spots; you’ll also delight in various art galleries, discovery museums, and vastly more while you’re at it. And remember, as a Resort Guest you have that handy Portable Perks book on hand offering all those additional discounts for those in-town pursuits you’re going to want to check out!
At first, the magic and enchantment that emanates from this remote Disney Resort may appear to be somewhat different than what is most often regarded as Disney Magic. But when you take time to embrace the fresh novelty of nature and natural beauty, it cannot be denied that staying here truly is the stuff of fairytales and dreams coming true.