©Disney
©Disney

Welcome back to the latest news about our big October eventTouringPlans #Everywhere. As a recap, during Columbus Day weekend, TouringPlans is sending our staff far and wide (some far-er and wider than others) to Disney destinations throughout the world to collect content, meet our subscribers, maybe have some fun while we’re at it.

Speaking of people who aren’t traveling very far, I will be visiting the Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, a Disney Vacation Club property. This is roughly 5 hours from my home in North Carolina, and I drive past Hilton Head, SC, every time I’m on my way down I-95 heading to Florida. I’ve always felt a little guilty about never stopping by because I’m a DVC member and believe I should experience all the resorts. (After October, Vero Beach and Aulani will be the only ones left.)

Not only have I never been to this resort, I’ve never been to Hilton Head. Or even Charleston for that matter. The closest I’ve gotten is Savannah, GA.

The pool at Hilton Head Resort
Disney’s Hilton Head Resort has a pool for those who prefer their water chlorinated. Photo ©Disney

Because I’m a DVC member, I was able to book the 3-night visit with points. That is the good news. The bad news was that even booking a studio (and I hate studios), I spent 60 points for the three nights. As a comparison, Vero Beach in a one bedroom for two nights for the same dates only cost me 50 points; and Aulani for six nights in a standard hotel room for the same time was 86 points. For some reason September and October are only less than the middle of summer (premier season) at Hilton Head. At Walt Disney World, the same dates are the second lowest points period of the year.

During the trip, I’m looking forward to renting a bike to ride to the beach (the resort is not directly on the beach, but does have a beach house there for recreation) and some of the naturalist-lead (aside, I always have to look up “naturalist” vs. “naturist” – that’s a mistake you only make once). Sadly, the loggerhead turtles only lay their eggs on the beach in the middle of the summer, so I’ll miss that.

Most of the dining at Hilton Head is listed as seasonal on Disney’s web site, but without the dates to explain what that means. I’m under the impression that most guests venture into town to eat at the local restaurants rather than staying onsite to dine. I’m busily reading trip reports at Mouseowners (my favorite DVC resource on the web) to get ideas for things to do there.

My expectation is that this trip will be very low-key, but have all the great service I’m used to from Disney. How about you? Have you been to Hilton Head? What are my must-dos? What should I avoid? Talk about it in the comments. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter with #Everywhere in October to get live reporting from all the places we’re going. And say hi if you’re in the area!

Ed., as a DVC member, I was able to book this trip with my own DVC points. If you’re not a member, or are short on points, we use and recommend DVCRequest.com (also known as David’s DVC Rentals) for Hilton Head or any other DVC Villa resort you’d like to book.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Laurel! I just stopped by Hilton Head less than a week ago on a quick getaway to Savannah/Hilton Head. (We were in the vicinity for less than 48 hours.)

    So, I can tell you about dining there. They do not have any sit-down meals available, (with the exception, I believe on the weekends, and I believe even that may be seasonal.) I know this because we went during the middle of the week to the resort with the idea to dine there. Much to my surprise, at 5:00 p.m., everything (including the snack shop window) was closed! The snack shop window serves breakfast and lunch.

    There is a boardwalk area across the way from the main building, where guests can dine and shop. We ate a place called Scott’s, which was good, and serves up seafood dishes. It was also mentioned to me from the concierge about about Mexican restaurant that was wonderful, but I can’t think of the name off-hand. (Oh and keep in mind that at a lot of these restaurants, if you show your room key, you’ll get a discount off your meal.)

    They do have a gift shop that sells some snacks and microwavable meals, but that’s it. (I ended up getting a Mickey bar which made me very happy!) There is also a RapidFill refillable mug station that’s located outside the gift shop area as well.

    I didn’t get to check out the beach or beach house, but was thoroughly impressed with the portion that I did see.

    The resort is beautiful and very relaxing. There seemed to be a ton to do to keep families entertained. Our favorite area was the hammocks, which are scattered everywhere; it was great to just lay in one at night with the stars twinkling above.

    My hubby and I actually can’t wait to go back (likely during the fall/winter) for a real trip to Hilton Head.

    • We were there the first week of July and had a great trip. The boardwalk area is Shelter Cove and has a family night over the summer on Tuesdays (and Friday July 4th), complete with fireworks in the marsh behind Disney. On those night’s Disney has a BBQ poolside for dinner but that is the only time there is food after 5 PM.

    • I’m a local and in my opinion Lowcountry Backyard is the best restaurant on the island. I’m just ready for the offseason to kick in so we can head back there without an insane wait.

    • Laurel, if you venture into the North Forest Beach area of HHI (about a five minute drive), Skillets in Coligny Plaza is a great place to eat. Breakfast there is fantastic.

  2. We just got back from a week there, and it was wonderful! We first went in 2009, then last year, and again this July . The recreation staff is amazing – especially if you have young children. They are your lifeguards, your crafts instructors, and your campfire hosts. Our kids knew all of their names, and they knew our kids, which is especially surprising given that the resort was at capacity!

    You should definitely go to a campfire – it’s a time of silly songs and ends with s’mores. Also, the Pirate Party on Tuesdays is a must!

    It has several classic Disney touches, like: answering daily trivia question inside the Merchantile (and earning smarties for it), the Mickey ice cream bars and sandwiches sold both at both pool restaurants (Dole Whips at the beach pool), and the Mickey waffles that are served all day at Tide Me Over.

    But, as a side note, we are not DVC owners, and wound-up paying cash for our stay. Renting points turned out to be more expensive!

    Have a great time!

  3. We own at HHI and just finished out first trip a few weeks ago. We have 3 boys age 5 and under. We had a blast. I would do a Dolphin tour – make it a flat bottom, smaller boat. Much more fun and guaranteed to get closer.

    Bring/rent a bike. The bike ride to the beach is easy and should be done if you don’t have a ton of beach equipment. Renting umbrellas is pricey but renting for the week will save money. Food is standard quick service but limited on site.

    Remember your DVC card most restaurants that you can walk to offer 10% DVC discount. I would do some of the tours they offer – we didn’t get a chance.

    We had a 2-bedroom villa – which was recently refurbished and loved it. We are very happy this will be a resort for us for years to come.

  4. Just a little heads up from one Mouseowner reader to another (and from a touring plans subscriber), DVC offers a 25% discount on cash rooms and there is now a special offer from Disney for 30% off rooms at Vero Beach and Hilton Head to Annual Pass holders. The rack rate in Sept/Oct is $215 for a studio, $266 for a one bedroom and $ 307 for a two bedroom. So you can get those weekend nights booked in a studio for $161.25 + tax vs 23 points a night, subject to availability as a DVC member. If I was booking the three day weekend trip I would book cash for Friday and Saturday and use points for Sunday for I just don’t think using points on weekends in September at Hilton Head is a great use of points. By booking cash Friday and Saturday, you also get daily housekeeping throughout your trip.

    I love Disney Hilton Head and have visited three of the last four Summers (I was just there the first week of July). It is a very special place, perfect for some R & R. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and will allow you to spend some time at the beach house (which is beautiful) and the pool. Also don’t forget to book tours early where the resort provides transportation and a guided tour to Pinckey Island, a Beach Tour and Honey Horn Plantation. TJ the tour guide is amazing so try to hit one of these three offsite tours which are included free with your stay.

    Have a great trip.

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