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Disney Hilton Head Hotel South Carolina, South Carolina

Ideal place for children Lots of activities to do Children under 18 are free



This family-conscious resort is on a 15-acre island that rises above Hilton Head's widest estuary, Broad Creek. When it opened in 1996, it was the only U.S.-based Disney resort outside Florida and California. About 20 woodsy-looking buildings are arranged into a compound. Expect lots of pine trees and fallen pine needles, garlands of Spanish moss, plenty of families with children, and an ambience that's several notches less intense than that of hotels in Disney theme parks. Part of the fun, if you like this sort of thing in concentrated doses, are the many summer-camp-style activities. Public areas have outdoorsy colors (forest green and cranberry), stuffed game fish, and varnished pine. References are made to Shadow the Dog (a fictitious Golden Retriever that is the resort's mascot) and Mathilda (a maternal figure who conducts cooking lessons for children as part of the resort's planned activities). All accommodations contain mini-kitchens, suitable for feeding sandwiches and macaroni to the kids but hardly the kind of thing that a gourmet chef would enjoy, and wooden furniture that's consistent with the resort's vacation-home-in-the-forest theme. Children's activities usually last 90 to 120 minutes, giving parents a chance to be alone for a while. Programs include eco-tours with Disneyesque themes, arts and crafts, boat trips to look for dolphins, canoeing lessons, weenie roasts, marshmallow roasts with campfire songs, and "unbirthday" celebrations for any adult or child who doesn't happen to be celebrating a birthday that day. Baby-sitting can be arranged for an extra fee. On the property is a swimming pool with a giant water slide. The beach club (about a mile distant) includes direct access to the sands of Palmetto Cove, a second swimming pool, water sports, and a lunch-only snack bar. A shuttle bus makes frequent connections between the beach club and hotel daily between 8:30am and 5pm. One of Hilton Head's most beautiful fishing piers allows easy access to whatever bites underwater. A deli and general store sell provisions



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