Work has commenced on extensive refurbishments to Disney's Vero Beach Resort, a project budgeted at more than $3.8 million.
Disney's Vero Beach Resort
The Vero Beach Press Journal reports that work is under way to renovate guest room interiors at Disney's Vero Beach Resort.
Of the nearly $4 million earmarked for this renovation, the Press Journal cites figures of $2.7 million for the main inn building, $936,000 for renovations to Building 12 which houses Disney Vacation Club villa rooms and $113,000 for the beach cabins. Most aspects of resort guest rooms will be updated including flooring, appliances, fabrics and furniture.
Vero Beach Refurb concept (subject to change)
The resort originally opened in October 1995. This is the most extensive renovation project in its 20-year history.
The project is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Vero Beach is one of several Disney Vacation Club properties scheduled for refurbishment in 2016. Renovations are currently under way at Disney's Beach Club Villas and Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas. Work will begin later this spring at Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Guest rooms at Disney's BoardWalk Villas were updated throughout 2015 and into early 2016.
The new operation is a big step down. Wind and Waves Grill, the revamped dining room, no longer is open to the outside, but rather a glass enclosed claustrophobic eatery using Shutters old open kitchen. It gives me the chills just to see the place. The menu is a departure from traditional Disney menus where the expense of items is offset by the size of portions. In W&W Grill the portions are small and prices high. VB is a real high end community and I'm not sure if DVC is targeting locals, but for a family of four on vacation it seems to be. The fact that Disney uses 'fusion' in its description of the Grill's menu seems to be a hint that pretentiousness is the theme.
The W&W outside bar is nice, but it is by the pool, so a quiet linch or dinner is not likely to occur. The W&W market is an odd set up - it does serve Dole Whips which is a big plus, but no DVC discounts on these. Everything else is steam table or prepared food. There are few places to eat here so it looks like the object is to take food back to your unit. If cafeteria style food works for you, this is ok, although the way some items qualify for the DVC discount and some don't is irksome. I'd rather get no discount then discover that the item I want doesn't qualify.
Finally, the GCR is now closed until 5:00 PM. This defies logic, especially in the winter months. The GCR balcony was always a hit at lunch, or early evening with its wonderful views and small eatery ambiance. In winter, after 5:00 PM the balcony is worthless because its dark and often too cold. The menu is weak as well. I suspect that the GCR was too popular and Disney thought taking too much business from Shutters.
As a DVC member since 92, a VB member as well and a VB neighbor for much of the year, it seems that Disney has always struggled with dining at its non park resorts. VB with the Inn is especially problematic because of its traditional hotel style environment and the reality that the best lodgings in the resort are the top floors of the Inn - it's a beach resort, and the best accommodations with a beach view are in the Inn. I've always thought that a beach front hotel should provide a good place for breakfast (who wants to start the day of a vacation cooking?) a nice place for lunch and a fun place for dinner. I also think that people on beach vacations like casual lunches and dinners where casual clothes are the standard dress. In other words we're on vacation, at the beach, lets have some fun. The W&W Grill misses that mark by a mile and the new GCR hours do as well.
What was the GCR like before the construction started on the restaurants and pool bar?
Hurricane Matthew and a recent storm did some damage to the beach, but for DVC VB is was actually a good thing as the lower walkway is once again free of sand, at least partially - Years ago it was buried by another hurricane, but mother nature has returned at least some of it. Also Disney and the town of VB have done a fabulous job of restoring the beach - it is better than i've seen in 15 years. We love DVC VB, so don't take my comments about the dining changes as a criticism of the entire resort. Along with OKW, we think it is the best resort in the entire DVC universe (haven't been to Aulani, so that's an exception). I'm sure your stay will be as much fun as ever.
Seriously, it was always a nice gathering place. We've lived in VB, across the street from the resort for five years, and going to GCR for lunch was always fun - nice food, really nice wait staff and bar tenders. It was just a friendly place. The recent change in hours and menu is the most dramatic and we'll just have to see how it works out. After DST returns we might start going back for early dinners, especially if the menu improves, but there are so many great places to do lunch nearby that its off our list for now.