Everyone has different preferences for what they are looking for in a resort when they book their trip to Walt Disney World. Some may favor large rooms or dedication to the theme, while others desire proximity to a particular park, and for some, price is the sole motivator for selecting a resort.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is our favorite resort on Disney Property for five major reasons:
1) Close proximity to half the theme parks on property
The BoardWalk has the advantage of being near not one, but two parks! Epcot and Hollywood Studios are both walking distance from the resort, approximately less than 10 and 20 minutes, respectively. Epcot’s entrance at the International Gateway is a more relaxed gate entrance, rarely overcrowded, and puts you right between France and the United Kingdom. While the walk to Hollywood Studios is longer, it is a relaxing and scenic walk along the lake that puts you right at the entrance of the park. Technically, a third park is within walking distance by walking roughly 20 minutes through Epcot to catch the monorail to Magic Kingdom, which happens to be our favorite route upon arrival on a Disney vacation. Not being dependent on a bus increases flexibility to come and go as you please without the wait for a bus to arrive and the wait to drop off/pick up at other resorts.
Don’t want to walk? Take the boat! The Friendship fleet is a perfect way to relax while getting to your next destination. This relaxing ride gets you from Epcot to Hollywood Studios in about 45 minutes, with stops at all the resorts around Crescent Lake: The Yacht Club Resort, Beach Club Resort, and Swan and Dolphin Resorts.
Being this close to both parks makes nighttime viewing of the fireworks easy, sometimes without needing to enter the parks. If you would rather have a close up view for the show, the advantage of having a quick escape from the mayhem of people rushing to the park exit and buses is priceless.
As an added bonus, this direct access to Epcot is particularly favorable during the popular Epcot International Food and Wine Festival that takes place each fall.
2) Ambiance around the BoardWalk
Being from South Jersey, the BoardWalk feels like home and perfectly encapsulates the nostalgia of the shore. My favorite part is walking out onto the boardwalk for the first time on a Disney vacation, watching the sun glistening on the water, and hearing the horns of the Friendship Boats making their journey around Crescent Lake. It is a transportive, immersive environment, with all the hallmarks of Disney touches but also a welcome relief from Disney intellectual property.
3) Dining options galore
There are endless dining options if you find yourself hungry at the BoardWalk. The BoardWalk area alone has over ten options for nourishment:
Just steps away, guests have access to all the restaurants at the neighboring resorts as well! I will highlight just a few of the many options available without a park ticket:
Yacht Club: Yachtsman Steakhouse
Beach Club: Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
Don’t forget all the edible delights around World Showcase just minutes away!
4) Entertainment and activities
There are numerous activities to take advantage of at the BoardWalk during the day and at night. During the day, renting a Surrey Bike is a common sighting around the BoardWalk. Motorized Boats can also be rented at the Yacht Club across the way to be taken out onto the lake.
The BoardWalk becomes magical when the sun sets. Even if you are not staying at the Epcot area resorts, make a stop at the BoardWalk at night. There is always something going on as the carnival games open and the boardwalk lights illuminate. There are several street performers that rotate most nights: magicians, jugglers, musicians, card tricks, and others that elicit crowd participation and free entertainment.
4.5) Adults-only fare
There are several spots for adults-only fun that reside on the BoardWalk which, as vacationers without kids, are greatly appreciated. The newly open AbracadaBar is serving up specialty cocktails in this themed lounge. Around the corner of the boardwalk is Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar that is very entertaining. Next door, the Atlantic Dance Hall for dancing, with a screen playing 80’s and 90’s videos. ESPN Club has a sports bar with enough TV screens to keep any sports buff satisfied; especially fun during any playoff season. Oh, did I mention the margarita cart at Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas? Yep, a decent summer cocktail is never far away.
5) Running trails
I know exercise is not on everyone’s vacation list, but I certainly feel better about having ice cream twice a day when I do! What I love about staying at the BoardWalk is waking up early before the parks open and running laps around Crescent Lake. This loop measures in at 0.8 miles, while a round trip to Hollywood Studios is just over 2 miles. It is like having the entire area to yourself in the morning, and is so peaceful.
Don’t want to run? Walking is just as transformative and energizing! There is nothing that makes me feel more present than this ritual every morning, waking up with Disney.