Let me start by saying this was quite possibly the best Disney vacation Mr. Photos From The Parks and I have had since the kids have arrived in our lives. I actually felt like I had a vacation. It's been a couple years since I could say that! Why was it so great? I think there were several things that made us wish we had bought into this resort at the beginning.
From our very arrival, we loved the atmosphere of this resort. Mr. Photos grew up vacationing on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and it immediately felt very much like home. As many of you know, I grew up vacationing in Fort Wilderness, before there was anything more than the Magic Kingdom & River Country (and eventually Epcot). This resort took me back to how it used to feel spending our days as a family at Fort Wilderness. There was lots of down time and plenty to do if you weren't in the parks. We did most of it then and loved it. Hilton Head brought all of that back for me.
The pace of this resort also made our stay wonderful. We are used to our Disney vacations being of the fast-paced, non-stop, I'll-sleep-when-I-get-home variety. It's just not possible to do that here. The pace on the island was easy. If we slept in, no matter. If we missed the storyteller, he'd be back in an hour. If we wanted to eat later, no ADRs to worry about. The kids did as they wished and no one bothered to worry about it. It was such a delight!
Additionally, this resort is small, roughly 15 acres. To give you are reference point, Disney's Boardwalk Inn Resort encompasses 45 acres. The entirety of the Hilton Head Island Resort has roughly the same footprint as both areas of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. That's it. There are only 31 cottages here (with extremely spacious units), one pool and central activities area, as well as a few things to do at the check-in area. It's incredibly walkable with plenty to do without ever leaving the resort. But it's also easy to walk all around the Shelter Cove area, visiting several shops and restaurants.
The units were undergoing a major rehab while we were there. The color schemes were all updated to much more soothing blue/taupe/white theme. We had all new appliances as well as a full-size washer and dryer. This is the view of our main living area in the 2-bedroom villa. We had plenty of room to spread out even with all our baby/kid paraphernalia! There were several full sized closets as well as a mudroom for all our jackets, shoes, hats and stroller! That alone was a selling point for me! And although we didn't need it, both of these sofas fold out into beds. We could have easily slept 4 more people in our villa. It was more than enough room for us.
Disney also has a beach house and private beach area that is quite easy to get to. We drove, but Disney offers transportation, and there is also a very nice bike path for access. We had cool weather while we were there, but it didn't keep us from enjoying the beach and the amenities at the beach house. With the arcade and the beach, we were happy to spend the afternoon playing.
So, should you stay at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort? I say absolutely! If you are looking for a relaxing place to get away from it all, this is just the place you are looking for. Less hustle and bustle but still all the comforts of Disney you've come to love and expect. And for those of you who like seeing it all in one place, I've created a PDF fact sheet for the resort. Enjoy!