We just returned from a week at Disney World and stayed at Old Key West. My husband and myself, along with our 8 year old daughter traveled with my husband's brother and sister-in-law and their two sons (ages 8 and 5 1/2). My sister (age 48) also joined us on this trip. We booked a 2 bedroom Villa for all of the children and the couples and then my sister booked a Studio for herself. Before we left, I had requested that her Studio be as close to our Villa as possible. I knew they could not be right next door because the property is not set up that way. When we arrived though, we found out that my sister's Studio was on the other side of the property compared to where our Villa was. Thankfully the front desk woman was great in switching her Studio to a couple of streets away. Our 2 bedroom Villa was very nice and, for the most part clean. You could definitely tell that the place needed a bit of updating. My main two complaints were (1) the size of the property and how much walking you had to do to get to the hospitality area (general store, restaurants, etc.) Also, all of the Villas and suites look pretty much alike so it is very easy to get lost. There are, of course, room/suite numbers and signs located everywhere, but even they are a bit confusing. Finally, my last and biggest complaint was the bus service. One morning, we had to wait about 40 minutes at the Old Key West property for a bus to the Magic Kingdom. It was terrible. Every other bus was arriving (Epcot, Downtown Disney, Animal Kindgom), but not Magic Kingdom. We finally complained to the Manager and he told us if that ever happened, that we needed to come into the front desk and tell someone after we had been waiting about 30 minutes. Well, a bunch of us had already done that! Anyway, on the other side, we had to wait a couple of times at the parks for our bus to pick us up and take us back to our hotel. Prime Example: The last night we were there, Tuesday night, was Mickey's Very Merry Christmas, which is a very special exclusive event at Magic Kingdom. The park was open until Midnight. The line for the bus that night was the longest we had seen. Our hotel should have had at least two buses waiting for us when the party was over. That was not the case. We all had to wait at least 30 minutes in the cold (about 60-70people) for our 1 bus to arrive. In the meantime, all around us, all other hotel buses were picking up their guests and some of those hotels were coming back with 2 or 3 buses. It was ridiculous. Finally, when our 1 bus arrived, everyone cheered. Our party got on the first bus. They still had to leave a bunch of people in line for the next Key West bus to arrive. Those guests waiting in the cold that we left behind were not happy to say the least. My point is that you would think that Old Key West would have had at least 2 buses ready and waiting for their guests on a special night like that when they knew it would be crowded. Now I know that December is not the most crowded time of the year, but we are still paying pretty big money to stay in that resort, even in December.
Bottom line: I know that my family/sister will not be going back to Old Key West. We will be saving our money up next time (we will have to save up a lot of money for next time) and we will be staying at the Polynesian Hotel. We went there one night for dinner at The O'Hana Restaurant. We were on the basic dining plan (good idea and good way to save money but tons of food and too much of it). It was the best dinner we ever had on our entire trip and they entertained the children and it was such a fun family atmosphere and such a warm and friendly place. That is definitely our next destination.
Therefore, I would not recommend Old Key West. It suited our needs (with our large party). It worked out well enough. But the bus service was definitely way below average, the staff was just friendly enough but definitely not Disney friendly, and it was too much walking around to get to your destination (definitely not easy access to the general store/gift shop, restaurant, snack stand).
Last point/Warning: Regarding the dining plan: We were not warned about this. If you are with a party of 8, they automatically add a 18% gratuity to your meal, whereas if you are just sitting/having a meal with a party of less than 8, you can tip what you want. This certainly added to our cost for sure. We totally forgot about the tips when it came to our dining plans. I guess that was not smart on our part, but just a warning to everyone to remember that when you think you have paid for everything on your trip before you come, bring extra money or credit card, b/c you will have to pay for tips on meals.
Overall, we had a great trip at Disney. We did everything we wanted to do at all the Theme Parks, but we came home exhausted. We went for 5 nights and 6 days (and two of those days were mostly travel days) I think to not come home totally exhausted, you need to stay at Disney for 7 nights and 8 days. That way, you can do everything you need to do and be exhausted and then have a day or two to rest or just shop. The problem is it's so expensive to stay at Disney for that long.
Anyway, hope this long review helps.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.