A gold mine for wreckers and a sanctuary for public figures has become a thriving and exclusive tourist destination. Key West is a frequent stop for cruise ships from every line. It was the third stop on our seven-night Bahamian cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. By day, Key West is a beach town and relaxing haven bubbling with history, but by night, people spill out into the streets for parties galore.
Before leaving the ship, we were required to present ourselves to customs. We were given a time to go to the family lounge and show the United States officers our passports. After everyone on the boat had gone through this process, we were allowed to disembark. This was a new process since our previous cruises a year earlier.
Many cruisers enjoy the walkability and familiarity of the American island of Key West so much they decide not to book a Port Adventure through Disney. This time, we were those cruisers.
Our first stop on our unplanned Hathaway Port Adventure was The Hemingway House on Whitehead Street. We had passed the house before on previous port days in Key West, but we never paid much attention to it as it always seemed crowded and expensive. I’m so glad we decided to stop this time.
The Hemingway House was built in 1891 by Asa Tift, a wrecker, and didn’t become Ernest Hemingway’s home until 1931. A tour of the home costs $14 per an adult, and they only accept cash.
When you enter the grounds, you will be greeted by a beautiful pale white house with light green shutters and a wrap around porch. Sounds like a dream, right? The inside is just as beautiful and airy. Your guide will walk you through each room of the home with a display about a certain phase of Hemingway’s life. We found the history about the house, gardens and the cats so interesting!
The house grounds were beautiful and the cats were actually very friendly. After our tour, we were free to roam around the house, take pictures and ask any questions. The tour guides were very very knowledgeable. We had the best time just exploring this historic sliver of paradise tucked away off Whitehead Street.
Key West Key Lime Pie
It just so happens that our Key West port day landed on my birthday! I swear, every time we go on a Disney Cruise the Key West day lands on my birthday. And every time we stop by Key West Key Lime Pie Company for the very best key lime pie you’ve ever had, on a stick and dipped in dark chocolate! The kids also love the giant glass wall where you are able to watch all the bakers making hundreds of key lime pies for guests. We always get a mix of traditional slices and their pie on a stick. I’ll take anything dipped in dark chocolate!
Because of the large amount of cruise traffic the island gets, there are numerous cruise ports. On our last itinerary, we docked in Mallory Square. I’d say this is my favorite place to dock the ship because as soon as you step off the boat, you are greeted by the large, beautiful Margaritaville Resort as well as historic Mallory Square. It’s a lovely view with gorgeous sculptures by Seward Johnson. He has created so many beautiful pieces that have been on display here.
We love walking from place to place. Often times, on cruises, you aren’t docked in Key West for too long, so we tend to stay on the southern end of the island. I highly recommend walking to really take in the town and see things you maybe don’t have too much time to stop for.
Other Places We Love:
- Whitehead Street and Duval Street run parallel to each other. If you’re looking for a more family friendly experience, stay on Whitehead.
- The entire island is very walkable. There’s not need to Uber unless you want to take a trolley tour.
- There is really no need to do a Port Adventure UNLESS you are planning to go out on the water. The currency, language and transportation is all pretty easy.
- We have never gone snorkeling or boating in Key West, but I recommend you book water activities through Disney. If you are on a Port Adventure, Disney will help you return to the ship. If you miss the ship and you aren’t on a Disney Port Adventure, you’re on your own. Key West days are usually fairly short.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post. Go here to read my last post about our Nassau Port Adventure and look out for our final Port Adventure post, Disney’s Castaway Cay!