Review of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
by Bea Green
The BoardWalk at Walt Disney World is a deluxe resort in the Epcot community of resorts (this includes Beach and Yacht Club and both the Swan and Dolphin) that’s modeled after turn-of-the-century BoardWalks like Atlantic City and Coney Island. Think modern day Cape May if they had an entertaining BoardWalk. This resort is unique to other Disney reports because it operates a quarter-mile promenade that includes dining, shops, and nightlife, all situated along Crescent Lake and within walking distance of both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
This hotel is broken into two parts, the Inn side and the Villa side. The Villas are 1, 2, and 3 bedroom mini apartments equipped with full kitchens, either a balcony or a patio, and washers and dryers. We found that a lot of DVC (Disney Vacation Club) members use the villa side. For non-DVC members, there is the Inn side, where we stayed. Both sides are attached in a horseshoe shape with the lobby and front lawn (aka village green) in the center.
Most of the rooms on the Inn side hold 5 or more guests, with 2 beds and a daybed or a sleeper sofa. This could be 2 queen sized beds or 1 king bed and 2 queen beds depending on the room you choose. Views options include the gardens, the BoardWalk, the leisure pool, or the parking area.
Guests can also reserve a room in a garden room. The garden rooms are two story rooms that have club level access, extra amenities (like continental breakfasts) but they only accommodate 2 guests. Garden rooms would be perfect for guests wanting to a romantic, kid-free, Disney experience!
On this particular vacation we had a standard room with a balcony that overlooked the lake and the BoardWalk. It was a beautiful view and we even caught some fireworks at night! We were also able to watch the nightly entertainment on the BoardWalk from the comfort of our own balcony, without fighting the crowds that were surrounding the entertainers.
We found three pools on the property. The first pool was the leisure pool. We affectionately referred to this pool as the “quiet pool” because it’s primarily for adults and guests are met with a sign asking patrons of the pool to abstain from being loud. There aren’t any bells and whistles with this pool, it’s just a nice rectangular pool with a hot tub and an out building surrounded by lounge chairs in the middle of the garden area on the Inn side. This pool is open later at night than the main pool and doesn’t close until 11pm.
The second pool we found was the Luna Pool. Our kids really enjoyed this 184,217 gallon pool that’s designed to remind visitors of a 1920’s amusement park. Water squirting elephant statues surround the pool. There is also a 200 foot water slide that spits guests out through a laughing clowns mouth. You can be as loud as you want at this pool (probably why our kids were so happy here). The Leaping Horse Libations bar borders the pool in a merry-go-round like building. Parents can grab a drink while lounging in a shady spot in one of the many chairs outside of the pool as their kids play in the water. Lifeguards patrol this pool as well in case you doze off.
The third pool is another Leisure Pool, however it’s located on the Villa side of the resort. We didn’t visit this pool but we walked by it and noticed that the same courtesy for quiet guests applies to this pool as the “quiet pool” on the Inn side.
One final note about the pools at this resort. Don’t worry about bringing a beach towel, all of the pools are fully stocked with pool towels and a return slot for used towels.
Muscles and Bustles Fitness Club
We’ve visited many hotel gyms and we would rank this one as above average. The Muscles and Bustles Fitness club is located right outside of the Luna Pool, on the ground floor of the Villa side. Guests are offered a limited selection of Life Fitness equipment, dumbbells up to 50lbs, treadmills, and other cardio equipment. The club is reasonably sized for a hotel and includes a locker room with showers and toiletries for guests. It was exceptionally clean and included complimentary towels and a water cooler. Although the fitness club was moderately sized with limited equipment, patrons can still get a decent workout in for the day.
There are five gift shops in and around the BoardWalk. If you’re running on limited time, I suggest you visit the Screen Door General Store. This extra large gift shop has a little bit of everything and is located on the Villa side, on the BoardWalk, just past the village green. The General Store is connected to Thimbles & Threads and Disney’s Character Carnival. All three of these stores run consecutively together so that visitors don’t need to exit the shop. Other stores include Dundy’s Sundries (a small store inside of the hotel with DVC merchandise and toiletries) and the Wyland Art Galleries.
There are thirteen dining options on the BoardWalk property! Admittedly we did not have time to try all thirteen but we were able to visit five during our stay. On the actual BoardWalk we tried BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas. I had a strawberry margarita which was wonderful! We also tried Ample Hills Creamery and the BoardWalk Pizza Window.
One morning we grabbed breakfast at the BoardWalk Bakery. This moderately sized bakery takes baked goods to the maximum! They also serve croissants, bagels, cereal, and breakfast sandwiches. This is not a sit down restaurant but there are chairs outside along the water. We grabbed a table and a family of ducks visited us while we ate.
We also tried Trattoria al Forno, an Italian sit-down style restaurant. Although the portions weren’t massive, the food was delicious and was made right in front of us! Two of our kids love fettuccini alfredo but they didn’t have it on the menu. We asked our server and without hesitation she said that wouldn’t be a problem because everything is made from scratch here so special requests are honored. The food here was amazing!
This resort is packed full exceptional amenities including:
- Laundry service
- Exceptional maid service and turn-down at night
- Outside campfire
- Childcare services
- Movies under the stars
- Running trail
- Fishing ventures
- Bike and surrey rentals
- On-site conference center with a business center
- Complimentary wi-fi
- Tennis court
- Miniature golf located right across the street
- Complimentary standard parking
- Valet parking
So I’ll admit, previous to staying here the Beach and Yacht Club was my favorite Disney resort. When our Disney travel agent, Megan from Fairytale Concierge (highly recommend her by the way!!), gave us the option of staying at the BoardWalk I was excited, but only because of the proximity to Beach and Yacht. We live so close to the Jersey Shore and often visit there so paying for a deluxe resort at Disney to look at Jersey Shore décor wasn’t initially appealing to me. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how tastefully the resort was decorated! Staying here felt like we were turning back time inside of a whimsical Victorian beach mansion!
I have now had the pleasure of staying at five Disney hotels and the BoardWalk Inn is tied for my favorite (along with Beach and Yacht Club, of course). This resort is perfect when traveling with children or parties of 5 or more people. There’s so much to see and do on the property while continuing to stay relaxed but still involved in the Disney experience. It’s clean, safe, and the staff is phenomenal (like all Disney properties). There’s shopping and plenty of restaurants to choose from right on-site. Perhaps the location is the best part of all. Visitors can walk or ride the water taxi to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios! Not to mention the beauty of being right on Crescent Lake! Our family sincerely enjoyed our stay here and we highly recommend it for your next Disney vacation!