Each of the DVC resorts at Walt Disney World are full of fantastic amenities, restaurants, entertainment, and themes; however, it always seems to me like some resort locations and features are talked about more than others.
As there are so many excellent resorts to explore, it can be easy to miss some of the magical offerings found at each one, so I thought it would be fun to share a list of 5 things I think are underrated or are Hidden Gems found at the Disney World DVC resorts!
Disney’s Boardwalk Villas is a nightlife hotspot at the Walt Disney World resort and is home to popular spots such as Jellyrolls and the Atlantic Dance Hall. Don’t get me wrong; I love Jellyrolls as much as the next gal; however, just a few steps down the Boardwalk, there is another lounge that has piqued my interest.
The curtain rose on Abracadabar in 2016, and since its opening, it’s been conjuring up cocktails in a setting that is both magical and mysterious!
The story goes that many years ago, illusionists, magicians, and their assistants would visit the lounge in order to share stories and tricks, yet on one evening, they all vanished into thin air and were never seen again. Now the lounge has re-opened to share its magic and signature drink menu with thirsty travelers. Personally, I recommend The Sour Assistant or the Hoodunit’s Punch!
Between the enchanting elixirs and mystical backstory, this cozy lounge brings another element of the carnival theme to life at the Boardwalk Villas. As I sit sipping on delicious drinks, taking in the curious trinkets and posters of the past performers, I can’t help but imagine I’ll walk back outside to find the gas lamps and big tops of the past to have magically appeared. A lounge that can serve up tasty libations and make the imagination soar definitely deserves some time in the spotlight!
Though the themes at the Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Boardwalk Villas, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and the Riviera Resort vary widely, there is something they all have in common: Community Halls!
If you’re looking for some fun downtime during your visit or if a rainy day changes your plans, look no further than the resort Community Hall! Crafts, movies, and a variety of games such as foosball, ping pong, and more can be found right here. Friendly Cast Members are more than happy to help guests rent DVDs or check-out books and will gladly guide you through the activities available. The offered activities can change from time to time and may vary at each resort location; however, on past visits, I’ve seen magnet-making, painting, pin-trading, tie-dye t-shirt making, and more!
Did I mention that most of the activities at the Community Halls are complimentary?! While some of the activities may require a fee, the majority of them are free to enjoy! Now that definitely sounds magical to me!
Cape May Café
Disney’s Beach Club Villas is definitely a highly sought-after and talked-about resort option, but it’s also home to a restaurant I don’t seem to hear about very often – Cape May Café! Whether you’re looking to fill up before heading out to the parks or satiate the appetite you’ve worked up after a busy day, this New England-style table service restaurant has got you covered.
While it was previously a buffet location, Cape May Café is now serving up its tasty meals in an all-you-care-to-eat family-style fashion. If you’re visiting for breakfast, prepare for a feast of classics, including Mickey and Minnie waffles, pastries, eggs and omelets, bacon, sausage, and more. Dinner time, however, is when this restaurant truly shines! If you’re a seafood fan, Cape May Café has got to be on your must-do list! You’ll find decadent lobster macaroni & cheese and a Seafood Boil filled with peel-n-eat shrimp, PEI mussels, clams, and more! Additional options such as steamed crab legs and whole Maine lobster are available if you’re looking for some extra vacation indulgence, and there’s also a Turf Platter with slow-roasted strip loin, chicken, and more. The menus also offer plant-based options upon request as well, so there’s truly something for everyone in your party.
The décor of the restaurant mimics a seaside eatery you’d find along the East Coast, with accents and colors that make you feel like you’re sitting right next to the ocean on a beachy getaway. It’s bright yet cozy, and I’ve always had great service when dining here. Be sure to try the Parker House Rolls that are made in-house; they’re also a scrumptious Hidden Gem found here!
When we think of Disney transportation, the first thing that probably springs to mind is images of the monorail and memories of waiting at bus stops, but did you know that many of the DVC resorts also offer water taxi transportation to select locations across Disney World property?
Personally, boat transportation at Disney World is my favorite way to get around, and I like to use it as often as possible. It effectively gets you from point A to point B, of course, but typically offers a more relaxing and scenic experience along the way!
Whether you’re heading across the Seven Seas Lagoon on your way to the Magic Kingdom or gliding over Crescent Lake towards Epcot or Hollywood Studios aboard one of the resort Friendship Boats, this mode of transportation definitely makes the phrase “getting there is half the fun” true! The boat captains are often some of the most charming and entertaining Cast Members you could hope to encounter and will ensure you get to your destination safely and smoothly!
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is my personal choice for the top underrated gem in the DVC family! I’ll be the first to admit, when I began learning about the Disney Vacation Club, Saratoga Springs wasn’t the first resort to catch my eye, but that all changed after I had the chance to see it for myself, and there are many reasons I ultimately fell in love with it!
When I’m on a Disney vacation, I’m often up early and out of my room quickly, not returning until well after the sun has set and the last firework has darkened in the sky. When staying at Saratoga Springs, however, the peaceful tranquility of the resort reminds me that I’m on vacation!
The first time I stayed here, it really surprised me how much more relaxed I was. I spent time walking the pretty pathways, taking in the scenery, and just enjoying the quiet ambiance. Not to mention, there are five pools to relax in, great dining, an acclaimed golf course, and other activities right on site. The DVC Studios, One, Two, and Three Bedroom Grand Villas have also undergone a recent refurbishment with new furniture and décor, brightening the rooms and making them feel even more deluxe than ever!
Another thing I love about Saratoga Springs is the close proximity to Disney Springs. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to shop, and having an abundance of boutiques, as well as tons of restaurants and entertainment so close by, is a dream come true! Just follow the walkway along the water, and you’ll find yourself at Disney Springs within minutes!
Saratoga Springs combines spaciousness, comfort, convenience, and magic to make a beautiful resort where you just can’t wait to hear the words “welcome home” during your stay!
As much as I love spending time in the parks, I’ve come to find that Disney’s resorts are also full of magic! These are just a few of the DVC resort features I think are underrated or Hidden Gems, but there are definitely many more to explore. If you have any recommendations on other resort features or amenities, be sure to let us know in the comments, as I’d love to check them out on my next trip!