Disney Food for Families: The DVC Villa Kitchens, Part 1

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster begins this DVC Villas Kitchens series with a look at what you’ll find in your villa kitchen!

My family has been a member of the Disney Vacation Club since 2001. Because of this, we often stay in DVC villa-style rooms when visiting Walt Disney World, which we pay for using our DVC points. While villa rooms are most often used by DVC members, anyone may rent them. And one of the best parts about a villa is the inclusion of a kitchenette in studio villas and a full kitchen in one-bedroom and larger villas!

Over the next few posts, I’m going to discuss the villa kitchens. What do they include? What is easily available to cook in the kitchens? Is is possible to save money by cooking in your villa? Will the villa kitchen save you any time?

A statue of Ariel greets guests at the Beach Club Villas

Here are a few more details about DVC Villas: There are villa rooms at seven Walt Disney World resort hotels — Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bay Lake Tower (Contemporary), Beach Club, Boardwalk, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and Wilderness Lodge.

  • Villas are available in studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom versions.
  • Studio villas are like regular hotel rooms, with the addition of a small kitchenette area. The kitchenette includes a sink, a dorm-sized refrigerator, a microwave oven, a coffee-maker and a toaster.
  • One, two, and three-bedroom villas are like apartments. They include a the requisite number of bedrooms, often several bathrooms, a washer and dryer, plus a living room area and a full kitchen.

Bay Lake Tower (Contemporary) two-bedroom villa kitchen

The villas are a terrific option for guests with larger families or larger traveling parties, multi-generational families, families where the parents don’t want to sleep in the same room as the children, or for families who want, or need, a kitchen.

The larger space and multiple bathrooms make vacationing with my mirror-loving daughters a breeze — that alone makes the villas worth it for my family. But I must confess that I have a real love/hate relationship with the villa kitchens. Obviously, having a kitchen can be a godsend for guests who need to prepare food for an allergic or special needs family member. But what is the value of the kitchen for the average family? What is the value of the kitchen for the average mom, like me, who finds that one of the best aspects of vacation time is not having to cook?

As a first step in the Villa Kitchen series, I’ll show you what exactly you can expect to find in a Disney Vacation Club Villa kitchen at [Read more…]

Guest Review: Disney World’s Top of the World Lounge

Thanks to Christopher Ripley of The English Disney Blog for putting together this great review of the new Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower in Walt Disney World!

Bay Lake Tower

Top of the World Lounge is located aptly on top of the recent Disney Vacation Club (DVC) addition of the Bay Lake Tower resort. The tower and the lounge were both opened on August 4th, 2009. The lounge opens at 5pm daily for the exclusive use of DVC members staying at the tower using their DVC points. Apart from members staying in the grand villas on the sixteenth floor, all other members must access the lounge via [Read more…]

Disney’s Aulani Resort Restaurants and Dining Details

Thanks to Werner Weiss at Yesterland for the heads up on this great news. Here are all the details on Disney dining at Aulani Resort, Disney’s newest Vacation Club property at Ko Olina on Oahu, Hawai’i. Details can be found at DVCMember.com for those with log-ins and passwords.

Makahiki Buffet Restaurant

This restaurant will have an open-air dining room featuring murals created by local artists depicting the story of Makahiki, the Hawaiian harvest festival. This location will be on the Main Building’s lower level, and will offer character breakfasts and casual dinner buffets with cuisine reflecting local favorites. These will include fresh, line-caught sustainable seafood and chef-inspired dishes.

The ‘Olelo Room

This will be a fun, interactive lounge serving tropical beverages, Continental breakfast, traditional Afternoon Tea, and cocktail service. You’ll find it adjacent to the Makahiki Buffet.

‘AMA’AMA Beachside Restaurant

Ah, yes! The beautiful Aulani beachside restaurant we speculated about so many months ago! Seating will be inside hale (beachside houses) and will serve traditional and locally-inspired meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll be able to get omelets, bakery items, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, seasonal and sustainable seafood, steak, duck and vegetarian selections, and other menu selections.

'AMA'AMA Beachside Restaurant concept art

Beachside Lounge/Pool Bar

Right next to the ‘AMA’AMA Beachside Restaurant, this lounge will serve favorites like the Mai Tai, Pina Colada, Blue Hawai’i and Long Island Iced Tea. Of course, you’ll be able to get anything from the full bar, such as margaritas, sangria, sparkling cocktails, wine, and local beer. Be sure to ask about the ‘Ike Mua, the discovery drink of [Read more…]

Hawaii Disney Vacation Club Restaurant: Artist Rendering

Just wanted to share a quick view of the artist rendering for one of Aulani’s new table-service restaurants. This looks like it will be a true beach-side paradise. Still not sure on names, or the location of the other table-service restaurant in the resort. Looking forward to details if you’ve got ‘em!:

Disney Hawaii Restaurant concept art

It looks like this table-service space will take up the lower right-hand corner of the map we speculated about earlier:

Map of Aulani with beachside Restaurant marked

Seems like this will be just the place to relax after a long day of surfing! I hope I get the chance to check out the place someday!

Olivia’s at Old Key West Resort

Tucked into the beautiful dock-side Turtle Krawl district at Disney World’s Old Key West Resort is Olivia’s restaurant. This relaxed table-service spot is probably one of the more underrated dining spots in Disney World.

One of the Photo Walls at Olivia's

One of the Photo Walls at Olivia's

The atmosphere is right-off-the-beach — casual and classic Florida keys. The walls are covered with memorabilia, including sections dedicated to the Old Key West Resort’s Disney Vacation Club family album. After all, Old Key West was Disney’s premier Vacation Club property and has quite a family tree by now!

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can stroll in anytime for a bite. And although you can make advanced dining reservations for Olivia’s, you may not need them during less busy seasons at Disney World.

Dining Table and Photo Wall

Dining Table and Photo Wall

Olivia's Has a Relaxed, Casual Atmosphere

Olivia's Has a Relaxed, Casual Atmosphere

Olivia's Menu

Olivia's Menu

The menu is just as casual as the decor, and there are some delicious options to try. For breakfast, consider the Banana Bread French Toast with Bahamian Banana Rum Butter Sauce and Vanilla Whipped Cream; for lunch, consider the Key West Salmon Salad; and for dinner, try the crab cakes and pork chop with barbecue sauce and cheddar grits!

Crab Cake Appetizer

Crab Cake Appetizer

Mixed Greens Salad

Mixed Greens Salad

Grilled Pork Chop with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce and Smoked Cheddar Grits

Grilled Pork Chop with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce and Smoked Cheddar Grits

Finish off your meal with a yummy dessert. My mom’s favorite is the Key Lime Tart!

Key Lime Tart

Key Lime Tart

Key Lime Tart on the Inside

Key Lime Tart on the Inside

And, after your meal, take a few minutes to wander around the grounds of this beautiful resort, or jump on the next boat for Downtown Disney — the Disney Transportation boat will bring you to Disney World’s shopping and entertainment district in no time! Have a great time!