Since the reopening of the parks and select resorts, I’ve seen the same question asked several times on the DISboards: “What’s open at the BoardWalk?” I know that it’s hard to get a feel from afar about how things are at Walt Disney World these days, so, in order to be able to give you a full picture regarding what’s open and what’s not, I figured that a field trip to the Boardwalk was in order. Ready for a virtual stroll? Here we go…
Atlantic Dance Hall
If you’re looking to cut a rug on your Disney vacation, you’ll need to do it in the comfort of your resort room. The doors of this nighttime establishment are closed for the time being. Insert joke here about it having been closed/deserted/needing to have been closed years prior here.
Unfortunately, the nighttime mecca for all things dueling pianos is currently closed. I know that Jellyrolls has its ardent fan following, but having people packed into the space for singing and general revelry just isn’t in the cards quite yet.
Big River Grille & Brewing Works
Big River, although it does sport a nice outdoor seating section, is currently closed. An aside: hang in there; we’ll get to something that’s open very soon. I promise. The restaurant stands at the ready to once again welcome guests, and, with that outdoor area, might stand a chance at faring better than others. Of note, however not indicative of something definitive happening, cast members were inside of the restaurant when I stopped by. UPDATE: Big River Grille & Brewing Works reopened on Sunday, February 21st! I’m glad to add to add this one to the “open” column.
Screen Door General Store, Thimbles & Threads and Disney’s Character Carnival
While technically listed by Disney as three separate stores, since there’s no actual physical separation between the shops, we’ll lump them together.
These spots are overflowing with merchandise for every member of the family. From the latest plushes and resort-branded t-shirts to trading pins and fine jewelry, you’ll find it all here.
If you’re staying at the BoardWalk Villas, Screen Door is also where you’ll find all of the food supplies you might need during your stay. Need a magazine or a juicy romance novel to read while poolside? Or a band aid or bottle of Tylenol? Screen Door’s got ’em. You’ll also find a limited range of Disney treats like rice krispie treats and cupcakes here.
The Wyland Galleries shop is closed, and their website offers no reopening dates or events at this time, although a sign on the door does state that the closure will not be permanent.
Guests who walk by the shop can look at the fine art on display, but, unfortunately, that’s all that can be done at Wyland at this time.
I personally wish this was a different answer, but Flying Fish is currently closed. I can’t wait to return to this fantastic dining location, and the day it reopens will be one to celebrate. My hubby swears that their Char-crusted New York Strip is the best steak on property. I personally love their Tasting of Artisan Cheeses. Give me fancy cheese and a bit of honeycomb, and I’m a happy camper.
AbracadaBar is holding down the nighttime scene these days at the BoardWalk. That being said, it’s only open until 10pm, so you’ll need to get your stop in early. The bar opens each day at 4pm, and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. If you’re looking for bar snacks, you’ll find three on the menu that are available from 5 to 9pm: Abra Fries ($11), a Margherita Flatbread ($19), and a Charcuterie Plate ($21) with “house-pulled mozzarella.” Yes, please.
Numerous handcrafted and featured cocktails are offered at the establishment, as well as a selection of wine and beer. And a shirt can be purchased in Screen Door General Store for $24.99.
Trattoria al Forno
I’ve come to discover that this restaurant and the cast members staffing it are a gold mine. I’ve had both breakfast and dinner here, and I highly recommend the chocolatey notes of the Trattoria al Forno Press Pot Coffee and the Poached Eggs with fennel sausage and polenta at breakfast, and their Lasagna al Forno at dinner. Their Sunday gravy is incredibly good.
If you’re someone who’s looking for outdoor dining options these days, it’s worth noting that Trattoria has an outdoor seating section. The pizza window is also open at this time.
Oh BoardWalk Bakery, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Thankfully, the bakery is open, and guests can either order via the mobile order function found in the My Disney Experience app or face-to-face in the bakery itself. I recently did a review of the BoardWalk Bakery’s most popular sandwich and dessert, and, spoiler alert, the meal was lovely. Click here to give it a watch.
The bakery also serves as the counter service location for guests staying at the BoardWalk Villas, and offers something for everyone, from breakfast right on through the rest of the day. Plenty of seating can be found right outside the bakery, as well as nearby under AbracadaBar’s covered seating (when the bar is closed, of course). Guests can also get their refillable mugs topped off here. Just follow the signs, and cast members will help get you squared away.
The spot that used to be Ample Hills
As we covered last year, Ample Hills Creamery declared bankruptcy in 2020. The spot that used to be filled with hustle and bustle and delicious – albeit expensive – ice cream stands empty. It’s sad to see, and I’m hoping that something will eventually arrive to breathe new life into the location.
ESPN Club, your home for all things sports is, at this time, dark. Wouldn’t it be great if this dining location were able to reopen before the start of the next NFL season? Fingers crossed. It’s definitely weird not having the energy of people gathering to watch live sports on the BoardWalk, and here’s hoping that the burgers and games return to the restaurant soon.
Speaking of energy and people gathering, as you might expect, the nighttime entertainment and recreation options that normally appear along the BoardWalk are not currently happening. It’s a somewhat strange and quiet feeling in the evenings along the boards, but it’s understandable. Can you imagine the excitement when it all returns? To have the BoardWalk hopping again will certainly be something to savor.
What’s your favorite stop along the BoardWalk? Is the BoardWalk a must-do for you?