Disney’s Vero Beach Resort has been undergoing extensive renovations. And recently, Disney Food Blog was invited to see everything that’s happening there.
The resort is located on Florida’s East Coast, just south of the Cocoa Beach area. If you’re driving there after a stay at Walt Disney World, it will take you a little less than two hours to get there. When I arrived, I was surprised by the charming and relatively small size of the resort. I think I’ve grown accustomed to sprawling WDW resort complexes! The lobby, with its central courtyard and atrium, reminded me of a beachy Grand Floridian.
While we were waiting for lunch at the resort’s restaurant, Wind and Waves Grill, to begin, I decided to take a look around. Come along with me on the tour.
Many of the touches of the resort had that Disney charm, however. En route to the restaurant, I spied this kid-sized TV viewing area.
Family fun is the name of the game, as the resort also hosts a weekly Pirates Night, which includes a buffet-style all you care to enjoy barbecue spread, characters, photo opps, and games.
I ventured outside to take a look around and found lots of laid back beach charm. I instantly wished that I’d brought my swimsuit, big sunglasses, and a good book to read.
The Florida coast plays host to another important visitor — sea turtles. The beaches are the primary nesting ground for the Loggerhead Turtle, and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is committed to making their stretch of coastline welcoming for the famales who come ashore to lay their eggs.
Of course, the biggest draw of all is the beach, and guests were enjoying the sand and waves, even though it was February.
Wind and Waves Bar and Market
After a quick walk around the resort, we turned our attention to food and drink offerings. The Wind and Waves Bar is situated right beside the pool for walk-up convenience as guests enjoy a day of fun in the sun.
Around the corner, you’ll find the Wind and Waves Market, which offers counter service as well as grab and go items (including refillable mugs).
I was most excited to find many of my favorites from Walt Disney World here. Dole Whip, y’all!
The pastry case also provided some serious temptation.
Jumbo Cupcakes and Muffins were beautifully presented, and looked big enough to share.
Mickey-Shaped Cookie Sandwiches were almost too cute to eat. (Almost.)
And look what else we found — Mickey-Shaped Pretzels!
The Wind and Waves Market is also your stop for snack items and bottled drinks. We also found full bottles of chilled wine and beer, packaged snacks, refillable mugs, and souvenir cups.
As we concluded our tour of the Market, it was time to make our way to Wind and Waves Grill for lunch.
Wind and Waves Grill
The restaurant was recently overhauled, as the resort sought to create a more welcoming and relaxed dining experience for guests. While the staff takes great care to utilize local ingredients in imaginative ways, you won’t find a stuffy or formal atmosphere.
The small dining area — only 68 seats total — offers sweeping views of the enclosed sun porch and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
Seating is mixed, a combo of cozy booths and comfortable wooden chairs.
The exhibition kitchen allows guests to observe the kitchen staff as they prepare meals.
As we began our meal, I noted that we were provided with paper straws, a safety measure for the marine animals that share this area.
Each of our courses were paired with locally-brewed Craft Beer and Florida Fruit Wines.
Our lunch offered tasting portions of regular menu offerings. Our first course was the Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail. This cold take on a crab cake combined Avocado, Hearts of Palm, Herb Mayonnaise, Petite Greens, and Florida Citrus Vinaigrette in a refreshing starter that was both light and luxurious. I think I enjoyed this course most of all, given how warm it was on the day we visited.
Next, we moved onto Florida Gulf Shrimp and Grits. The familiar dish offered fresh, local flavors and featured Local Shrimp, Tomato Broth, Pickled Pepper Relish, Espellette and Corn Shoots atop Stone-Ground Grits. The bright tomato broth contrasted nicely with the creamy grits, and I appreciated the fact that the dish uses wild, locally-caught shrimp.
For our next course, the chef offered Grilled Pork Tenderloin served on a bed of Mushroom Risotto. The Black Truffle Butter, Port Wine Syrup, and Crispy Sage that garnished the dish added beautiful color and a terrific balance of flavor.
While the pork was well prepared, it was the combination of rich mushroom risotto and port wine Syrup that I especially liked here.
Our meal ended on a sweet note with Wind and Waves’ Signature Turtle Sundae, offering a combo of house-made Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Candied Pecan Brittle, and Chocolate Sauce.
The sweet little Chocolate Sea Turtle topping the sundae is also house-made, and was surprisingly delicious. (I skipped the pic of the perfectly tempered chocolate melting on my fingers.)
It was a great ending to a lovely meal.
This was my first visit to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, but I hope it won’t be my last. The resort is beautiful and offers guests a laid back, old-fashioned beach vacation experience, set in the heart of Florida’s Treasure Coast. It’s an easy distance from Orlando too, making it a great companion to a Disney World vacation.
You may think that the resort is just open to Disney Vacation Club (DVC) visitors, but it’s not. Anyone can book a room here.
Our lunch was delicious, but beyond that, I was also impressed with Chef Anthony’s commitment to using local ingredients. Seafood and produce are locally sourced whenever possible. And in addition to the dining options you’ve seen here, guests can also enjoy Goofy’s Beachside Character Breakfast, which takes place Saturday mornings from 7:30–11:00AM.
Have you been to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort? Let us know if you plan to make a visit soon!
Note: Disney Food Blog was invited to a luncheon at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort to tour the updated resort and to experience the new Wind and Waves Grill. While we were guests of Disney, we are under no obligation to report positively on the experience. Our opinions are our own. Read more about our disclosure policy here.