Disney’s BoardWalk Inn review

Postcard Morning” by Chad Sparkes licensed under CC BY 2.0

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is one of three Deluxe hotels in the Epcot Resort Area. Its convenient location to Epcot’s International Gateway and Hollywood Studios makes it a popular resort option for many visitors looking to be close to the action. Drawing inspiration from the rich history of the famous Coney Island and Atlantic City boardwalks, this hotel features a light and whimsical color scheme, high arched ceilings, and vintage 1920s decor.

My personal favorite part of this hotel is the fully functioning boardwalk that sits just behind the resort and wraps around Cresent Lake. The Boardwalk is home to several shopping and dining options and is the perfect place to wind down after a long day at the parks. With so much to see and do at the Boardwalk Inn, the best place to start is in the lobby.

So let’s kick off this Disney Boardwalk Inn review with a breakdown of the hotel overiew.

BoardWalk Inn Overview

If you have chosen to take Disney’s Magical Express from the airport to the resort, you will be dropped off right outside of the lobby. The lobby itself is spacious and well designed to fit the turn of the century boardwalk theme. Guests should definitely take the time to explore the area, as there are a number of interesting artifacts placed about, such as a model of the first roller coaster to include inverted loops, and the ominous and almost haunted looking nanny chairs are placed by the fireplace.

Plaque cards are posted to explain these artifacts, which is an awesome perk for any history buff. Everything about the hotel is very uniquely themed without feeling over the top or cheesy and features all the amenities of a deluxe resort. Dundy’s Sundries is located just past the lobby and functions as the resorts gift shop. Here guests can also pick up a selection of vacation essentials as well as snacks and drinks.

Outside, guests will find plenty of quiet and peaceful courtyards to explore and relax in. The grounds are so peaceful that you almost forget that you’re mere minutes away from the non-stop action of Epcot. There is a beautiful running trail just under a mile in length that circles around the property. Taking a look around, guests will find plenty of fun and interesting things to do.

Walt Disney World Resorts are known for having some of the best pools around, and Boardwalk Inn is no exception. Luna Park Pool is themed around the fun of early 20th century carnivals and features fun carnival-style posters and decorations. Huge stone elephants are lined up by the pool, spraying water out of their trunks.

The main attraction of Luna Park Pool is the Keister Coaster, a 200-foot waterslide that plunges guests out of the mouth of a Luna Park-style clown head. Adults will enjoy the nearby hot tub and small children can play around in the kid’s pool. Leaping Horse Libations is the nearby snack bar which serves light refreshments and alcohol, built to resemble an old timey carousel. In addition to Luna Park Pool, there are also two leisure pools, both with hot tubs, located on resort property. These pools are often referred to as the quiet pools, as they are nowhere near as busy or noisy as Luna Park Pool.

There are a number of activities offered at the Boardwalk Inn, such as surrey bike rentals, an arcade, and nightly campfires and movies on the lawn. Be sure to check out the Ferris W. Eahler’s community hall, where fun craft projects are held daily. Here, you can find anything from ceramics painting to creating your own pair of Mickey ears to show off in the parks.

Most if not all of these activities cost a small fee to partake in but is a great way to bring home a customized Disney World souvenir. Here you can also rent tennis equipment for the tennis courts. Each night, the hotel offers a family-friendly campfire with a popular Disney movie playing on an outdoor screen. The movie schedule is posted just outside of the Community Hall, and the campfire and movies are free to attend and the perfect way to end a busy day at the parks.

Rooms and Amenities

Guests have the option to choose between rooms with a standard view, water view, or garden view. I would advise against a water view room if you plan on being in bed early. These rooms tend to get the most noise at night since they are in closest proximity to the nightlife of the Boardwalk.

The rooms are fairly standard in terms of Disney Deluxe resorts. Rooms come with either two queen beds or a king bed, depending on the preferences you select when booking, with the added option of a day bed. Each room can sleep up to five occupants.

The offered amenities are pretty standard as well, each room comes with a mini-refrigerator, coffee maker, full sized bathtub, and a personal safe. Microwaves are only available upon request. My favorite part about the rooms is the double sink and vanity area. There’s more than enough counter space for everyone to put their things and it makes getting everyone ready in the mornings a breeze. 

Starting around $100 extra per night, guests may also choose to book an Innkeeper’s Club room or suite and receive extra amenities such as nightly turndown services and access to the Club-Level only lounge. Refreshments are served periodically throughout the day, and even includes a continental breakfast each morning.

All guests have access to a number of other amenities as well, such as a 24-hour self-service laundry room, the Muscles and Bustles Fitness Center, childcare services, mail services, and merchandise pick-up.

There are two types of transportation to and from the parks that guests may utilize. Busses are available to take guests to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Guests have the option to ride the Friendship boats or walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Walking to Epcot takes about five minutes and is usually faster than taking the Friendship Boats. The walk to Hollywood Studios is a little longer, about twenty minutes. Both walk ways are well lit and well-traveled at night and do not feel sketchy to walk.

The BoardWalk

The immaculate theming from the Inn continues out on the Boardwalk. Looking out across the beautiful Cresent Lake, the Boardwalk is one of my favorite places on Disney Property. Similar to Disney Springs, the Boardwalk is free to visit and offers plenty of entertainment, shopping, and dining options. It usually isn’t too busy during the day and is a great place to take a break from the crowds in between parks.

The Screen Door General Store is always the first stop for my family whenever we stay by the Boardwalk. This store carries a variety of grocery items such as milk, sandwich meats, and alcohol. We always like to pick up a few breakfast and snack items for our room, and it’s so nice to have the General Store so conveniently located to our hotel.

The Boardwalk is usually pretty quiet during the day and doesn’t really start to wake up until the evening. Mimes and magicians and other street performers begin their shows, and the carnival games begin operating. As the sun sets, the Boardwalk truly comes to life. Some of the best nightlife entertainment around can be found at Jellyrolls. Grab a drink and enjoy the two live piano players as they take audience requests for songs of all genres.

Guests 21 and older can enjoy Jellyrolls for a small cover charge and is always a lively and humorous experience. The doors open at 7pm every night and fills up quickly, so get there as early as possible if you plan on enjoying this unique entertainment option. Shows are also different every night, which will have you coming back time and time again. Jellyrolls has become the must-do when it comes to Disney nightlife.

Guests over the age of 21 can also visit the Atlantic Dance Hall. Jam out to some of your favorite tunes new and old on the giant dancefloor of this always-popular nightclub.

Eating at the Boardwalk Inn

There are a number of decadent dining options available to guests staying at The Inn. Some of the best Disney restaurants are located nearby. A few of the most popular options are listed below

1. The Boardwalk Bakery is the best place to grab a fun Mickey-themed treat, in addition to soups, salads, and sandwiches.

2. Tratturia Al Forno is the only restaurant on the Boardwalk to offer Character Dining. Join some of your favorite Disney princes and Princesses for a fun Italian breakfast with offerings such as calzones, fennel sausages, and frittatas. If Italian isn’t your style, they also offer classics such as pancakes and bacon. The dinner menu consist of exquisite Italian dishes such as brick oven pizzas and handmade pastas.

3. Big River Grille and Brewing Works is a family-friendly micro-brewery with some of the best house made beers around. Ribs, pasta, burgers, and sandwiches pair perfectly with the beer list. There’s even a window that you can peek into and watch how the beers are made.

4. The ESPN Club has classic American-style bar food and will be an instant hit for any sports fan. Television screens are plastered from floor to ceiling, showing just about any game you could possibly imagine.

5. Flying Fish is the Boardwalk’s seafood fine dining option. Like all of Disney’s signature dining experiences, Flying Fish comes with a dress code, so park attire won’t cut it here. Some of the best seafood on property can be found here and is definitely worth checking out. The AbracadaBAR is nearby, carrying a wide range of alcoholic beverages to perfectly compliment your entree.

BoardWalk Inn Reservations: Should I Make One?

Rates for the Boardwalk Inn start at around $500 per night, which is about average for Disney Deluxe resorts. You’re mostly paying for the convenient location here, so if you plan on spending a good portion of your time at Epcot or Hollywood Studios, then I would highly recommend this resort.

If Animal Kingdom is your favorite park, I would suggest booking elsewhere, as Animal Kingdom is the furthest park away and takes almost half an hour by bus. This is also a great resort if you plan on taking advantage of all the nearby nightlife. There’s not much in the way of Disney characters or decor to be found here, so it might not be the best choice for young children.

I feel like this is one of the best Disney World hotels for adults, who would get the most enjoyment out of this resort. Take that into consideration before booking with young kids who may have more fun at a more Disney-themed hotel.

I would give this resort 4 out of 5 stars.

The entire resort is beautifully decorated, and the location is unbeatable. I deducted points because the themes between all the Epcot Resort Area hotels are very similar, especially Boardwalk and Beach Club. I would love to see a little more pizazz at the Boardwalk, something to encourage me to book there rather than at the Beach Club.

As it stands, the Beach Club offers the same great location, but they also have a lazy river. If I had to choose, I would probably book at the Beach Club rather than the Boardwalk, specifically because of that reason. Luna Park Pool is great in and of itself but lacks in comparison to Beach Club’s Storm-Along Bay.

I do love the added decorative touches at the Boardwalk, though. The nanny chairs in the lobby as well as the other era-appropriate touches are an added bonus and fits perfectly with the theme. The execution is amazing, there’s so many interesting things scattered all around the hotel without feeling over done or like a museum.

The Boardwalk itself offers a unique and relaxing location set away from the action of the parks. Since it’s often overlooked by visitors, it is the perfect chill spot to grab a quick meal in between park hopping. 

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