Disney Outside the “World”: Visiting Disney’s Hilton Head Resort

A blissfully peaceful and beautiful beach vacation plus the “Disney difference” and you have one of my very favorite vacation destinations: Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. If you have never visited there, then come with me and let’s take a little tour today! :)

Disney’s Hilton Head resort offers three “sizes” of accommodations: studios (think large hotel room with mini-kitchenette), one bedroom (living/dining space, full kitchen, 1 bedroom and 1 ¾ shared bathroom space: double sink/whirlpool tub on one side, and sink, toilet and shower stall on the other) and two bedroom villas, which adds a second bedroom and full bath to the one bedroom. And if you need even more space than that, you can rent a grand villa.

There is also a small deck or patio with picnic table and two rocking chairs for spending time outside and enjoying the peacefulness of the resort. While we have typically visited in the summer when it was pretty darn hot , I have to say that the huge old oak trees and Spanish moss provide more than just a sense of picturesque stateliness: they provide lots of much-needed shade!

There are several things that make this a great place to relax. To start, the resort is actually located on a small island, between Shelter Cove harbor and marina and Broad Creek, a marshy area that is perfect for small boats, kayakers, crabbing, fishing…and dolphin watching.

There are also lots of bike/walking paths winding throughout the resort, as well as outside of Disney’s resort. We often bring bikes with us, but you can rent them too. Biking is a great way to get around on Hilton Head, and you will find that many folks use that as their main method of transportation while there.

Interestingly, this resort is not located on the beach, and many folks find that to be a negative…but I have to say that for us, it has not a problem at all. In fact, I kind of like the sense of being “away from it all”…and it is only a mile away, so it is easy to drive to (although you need to get there early to get a parking space), bike to, or take Disney’s convenient shuttle. The Disney property at the Hilton Head beach has a lovely beach house with a snack bar, game area, shower facilities and pool.

There is, of course, another pool at the main resort: with a slide, baby pool, and hot tub, this pool is a popular place for kids and adults. And of course, Disney offers a variety of events and games at the pool in true Disney fashion.

In fact, Disney, being Disney, has a lot going on every day! There are many choices offered for families and kids of all ages, so I have to say that there is no excuse for anyone to say they were bored at Disney’s Hilton Head resort. Campfires, s’mores, singalongs, ghost stories, tours, boat trips, kids night out, teens night out, beach parties, karaoke, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts….well you get the picture. :) The Cast Members in the recreation department do an awesome job of providing a wide variety of fun and family friendly activities. The main house (where you check in) even has a game room with a pool table, checkerboard and fireplace that would be awesome to experience if you visit during the cooler months.

One “special” castmember at Disney’s Hilton Head resort is Shadow, an elusive but much-loved dog that was adopted when the property was first being built. Apparently, the workers found themselves being visited every day by a stray that they named Shadow, and when the property was completed, Shadow became the official mascot. (Whether the Shadow in residence is the same Shadow as the “original” is hard to say, but I don’t know that children especially care….) Shadow is a permanent fixture at the resort now, and while he/she is not often around (hence the name Shadow), he/she does make special appearances throughout the week.

And if there is not enough for you to do at the resort, there are plenty of great activities all around Hilton Head Island. A special event each Tuesday night during the summer months is actually held in the Shelter Cove area right next to Disney’s property: Harborfest, where thousands arrive for great food, fun music and activities….and fireworks on Broad Creek, right behind Disney’s property. Since it is all literally right there, there is no driving or parking necessary, just set up your chairs and relax with a front row seat for the fireworks. (Important note: don’t expect Wishes…..but it is nice nevertheless :)  )

So briefly (OK, maybe not so briefly), these are some highlights of Disney’s Hilton Head resort. We have had the opportunity to visit several times now and I cannot tell you how much we all enjoy ourselves each time. It’s a very different experience from vacationing at Walt Disney World…which is part of what makes this place so special. That Disney “magic” is there too though, so you kind of get the best of both worlds….and Disney offers little “reminders” all around the resort, just in case you forget.

In fact, they make it perfectly clear, just in case you are wondering, exactly how close you are to your next Disney vacation.

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