I always thought the Boardwalk would be a cool place to stay from the moment I knew it existed. On our honeymoon we stopped over at the Boardwalk for dinner (back when Kouzzina was there) and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere. Plus the location can’t be beat, since it’s walking distance to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. On this past trip we stayed in a DVC studio villa, and the Boardwalk ended up being everything I hoped it would be. It quickly became my second favorite Disney resort, right after Animal Kingdom Lodge.
This resort is themed to be like, well… a boardwalk! It has an vintage boardwalk Atlantic City sort of feel to it, with the resort being built on an actual Boardwalk around Crescent Lake. The hotel rooms are above or behind a number of shops and restaurants.
It really does have the atmosphere of a fun, busy Boardwalk. You can rent a surrey bike to ride around. There are stands selling things like margaritas and cotton candy. And performers are out and about as well, usually at night. Expect to see comedians and magicians performing trips as you take a stroll around the Boardwalk.
The lobby of the Boardwalk is decorated with fun touches like old photos of amusement park rides and carousel horses. The pool area has a giant clown slide and the pool bar looks like a circus tent. The resort also had other activities offered throughout the week. Most nights there was a movie on a big screen, and a couple of times they offered an outdoor yoga session in the morning, which I took part in one time.
We stayed in the DVC portion of the resort, so we had a studio villa. I loved the light, airy feeling of the room. It was the perfect size for the two of us and what we needed. We had all of the basics, including a fridge and microwave. The bed was comfy and it was a great room.
I loved our balcony. It was wonderful to sit right out on the balcony in the morning and drink my coffee and blog. Our room looked right out over the main courtyard area in the front of the resort. In the evening you could hear music and the sounds of the performers, while the morning was amazingly peaceful and quiet. Until they started playing the chicken dance around 9am. I love the fact that it could be so vibrant and fun and night, and calm in the morning. The perfect vacation atmosphere for me.
There are so many great food choices on the Boardwalk. If you’re looking for a quick service meal you’ve got the Boardwalk Bakery. They have some sandwiches and salads for lunch and dinner. There are also tons of pastries and cupcakes that make great snacks (or breakfast). There is a pizza window open seasonally as well.
For fine dining and seafood lovers, you don’t want to pass up the chance to visit the Flying Fish Cafe. We had our anniversary dinner here, and it was delicious. It’s a signature restaurant so the prices are high, but we really enjoyed everything we had here. It was high quality, delicious food, and the scallops and pasta dish I had was pretty incredible.
Trattoria al Forno is another favorite on the Boardwalk. At night you can get some really tasty Italian food. In the morning they are host to the Bon Voyage breakfast, where you can meet Rapunzel and Flynn, as well as Ariel and Prince Eric. I’ve had both breakfast and dinner here and enjoyed them both.
Big River Grille and Brewing Works is a place I haven’t had to try yet, but it’s got lots of good typical American food and a variety of craft beers. And if it’s a sports bar you’re after, the ESPN Club provides a similar style of cuisine.
If you need a snack on a hot day, the Boardwalk is now also home to Ample Hills Creamery. This ice cream shop has some unique and interesting flavors like Malty Salty Pretzel, Sally Sells Seashells (an orange marshmallow ice cream with dark chocolate shells), and chocolate milk and cookies. And if you can’t decide, they offer an ice cream sampler, so you can try up to 6 flavors at once!
In case all this isn’t enough for you, Epcot’s World Showcase is packed full of awesome restaurants and is only a short walk away.
Still looking for something to do once the parks close? The Boardwalk may very well be my favorite spot to spend an evening. Probably the highlight of our time there was spent at Jellyrolls, the Dueling Piano bar. There’s a $12 cover charge to get in (the only bar in Disney) but it’s worth it for the entertainment. They have some specialty mixed drinks and bottled beers, but what makes it all worth it is the piano players and singers. They are not only supremely musically talented, they are hilarious too. They take requests and their repertoire is incredible. There’s not much better than sitting with people you can have a good time with for hours (in this case, my husband), drinking, laughing, and singing along.
For a cozy, fun, and well themed placed to have a drink, I absolutely love AbracadaBAR. It’s small but a fitting place on the Boardwalk, as it’s filled with memorabilia of magicians from an earlier era. There are a lot of classic drinks here, like a whiskey sour, an old fashioned, and a manhattan. But there are some sweeter drinks as well. We sampled quite a number of them!
The Boardwalk is also home to Atlantic Dance Hall, which has a DJ playing tunes every night and does not have a cover charge. We haven’t actually been in there when it’s open, but we attended two weddings which had the receptions there and it’s a beautiful space.
The location of the Boardwalk is pretty fabulous. It’s walking distance to Epcot’s World Showcase (in fact, if you’re not familiar with the area there’s a separate entrance in between the UK and France for people coming from this area). We could easily walk to Epcot and back to our room for a break.
It’s also not far to Hollywood Studios. There is a walking trail to Hollywood Studios, I think it was probably a little less than a mile. I went for a run one morning and it took me about 8 or so minutes to run to Hollywood Studios. Walking took us about 15 minutes. And if you do enough walking in the parks, there is a boat that leaves right from the Boardwalk and stops at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Check out my reviews of other Disney resorts here:
- All-Star Sports
- All-Star Music review
- Pop Century review
- Animal Kingdom Lodge review
- Art of Animation review
- DVC villas at the Grand Floridian review
Have you ever stayed at the Boardwalk resort? What do you think about this resort?