I’ll admit, there has always been a little part of even me–a radically hard core Disney fan–that has been skeptical of being in a Disney Resort not IN Disney. I truly love the Walt Disney World resort hotels I have stayed in, but let’s face it–when I am staying in one, it’s for the purpose of going to the parks… How “Disney” could a hotel over a five hour drive FROM Walt Disney World be? As it turns out, Disney’s Hilton Head Island incorporates many classically Disney touches that remind you of the magic of our favorite place. Check out these Disney shout outs in this South Carolina Island:
Character Topiaries! Found just outside the Live Oak Lodge at check in, Bambi and Thumper welcome guests in a cute photo opportunity. Admittedly, these are the only two, but they are an immediate reminder when you arrive at the resort that the Disney magic is sprinkled generously throughout the property.
Mickey and Minnie!!!! This is my absolute favorite Disney reference within all of Disney’s Hilton Head Island. I’m not going to say where it is found, as I want other Disney fans to have the joy of discovering it, but the Disney Nerd in me may have squealed when I found it!
WALT! Okay, who am I kidding… I loved this little shout out, too!
WALT!, Part 2 Inside the Live Oak Lodge, in Murggie’s Den, you will find many decorations and paintings to set the story of an old fishing lodge. This photo of Walt in Disneyland is among a number of non-Disney photos on the wall, just waiting to be discovered. Happy happy.
DVC! Disney’s Hilton Head Island IS a part of the Disney Vacation Club. This little reminder of the other Disney Vacation Club properties made me smile each time I passed by.
Cast Members Make no mistake, but when you are at this resort, you are still part of the Disney “show,” and everyone who works there is a part of the cast!
Donald!! Our favorite foul-tempered fowl is represented in the Community Hall, and contributes to the fishing village theme as well.
Hidden Mickeys! Steve Barrett will be delighted to know our hidden mouse is in many places a guest can seek out. You can ask at check in and you will be provided with a Hidden Mickey Hunt.
Resort TV Much like the resort television in WDW, this internal channel is set up to convey information about the Disney property. One nice touch, made possible I imagine by it’s much smaller size, was the acknowledgement of occasions that guests were celebrating while on their stay. I saw birthdays and anniversaries listed each day we were there.
Mickey Shaped Food! It wouldn’t be Disney if you couldn’t consume something edible in the shape of a mouse! In addition to Mickey ice cream sandwiches and Mickey pops, there also are Mickey waffles at Tide Me Over. (Yeah, they’re on the kids menu…. So? I’m a kid inside.)
Pin Trading Guests were welcome to trade Disney pins at various locations on the resort property. Pins are for sale at the Mercantile, but little guests can easily earn others. Prizes were given at pool party games, and children also can earn pins daily by participating in Disney Tic Tac Toe at the Live Oak Lodge.
Pressed Pennies Not to be outdone by the pin traders, the pressed penny fans also can grow their collections at Disney’s Hilton Head Island.
Celebration Buttons! I happily earned my first ever “First Visit” button, but other buttons to mark your celebration also were apparent.
Rapid Fill The relatively new WDW resort mug policy which had embedded chips to identify your length of stay also was in place at HHI.
These Disney touches are in addition to the overall Disney Imagineering of the resort at large. I will relate that story in a future post!