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Disney's Boardwalk
Disney's Boardwalk

Disney’s Boardwalk 101 – Fabulous Fun Without A Park Ticket!

Have you heard of Disney’s Boardwalk, but haven’t made it a priority to go exploring? In some ways, Disney’s Boardwalk is similar Downtown Disney, but on a much smaller scale. There’s a bit of shopping, several dining options, some nightlife, and entertainment along the quarter-mile boardwalk. This article will provide you with a quick run-down of what Disney’s Boardwalk has to offer.

7. Getting Around

The Disney Boardwalk is located near the Epcot area resorts, which include Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Boardwalk Resort, as well as the Swan and Dolphin. The boardwalk itself runs along the edge of a lake, and is part of the path from the Swan and Dolphin to the International Gateway entrance (back entrance) of Epcot. You can access the Disney boardwalk by travelling to any of the aforementioned resorts, or on foot from Epcot or Hollywood Studios (although this walk is a bit longer). You can also access the Boardwalk via the Friendship boats, which run between Epcot, the Epcot area resorts, and Hollywood Studios. The boardwalk itself is only a quarter-mile long, so you can travel the entire length on foot easily.

6. Food, Glorious Food

There seems to be no such thing as a Disney location without delicious dining options. The Disney Boardwalk is no exception. For casual dining, there are a few options. You might consider the Boardwalk Bakery, which, in addition to selling sweets, also has a selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches. The ESPN club (detailed more thoroughly in the “nightlight” section) is a table-service restaurant that serves traditional American fare as well. Big River Grille & Brewing Works, Disney’s family-friendly microbrewery and casual dining restaurant, serves up favorites such as nachos, chicken, steak, and seafood dishes. They also have a variety of wines and craft beers on the menu.

In the mood for a quick bite while you walk? Grab a funnel cake, hot dog, pulled-pork sandwich, or chicken fingers from a to-go cart, or choose a delicious slice of pizza from the pizza window. There are tables outside along the boardwalk as well if you prefer to sit for a few minutes and enjoy your snack. If you’re looking for more of a signature dining experience, the Flying Fish Café may be right up your alley. Serving a variety of food, but specializing in seafood, the Flying Fish Café offers both a breakfast menu (sans seafood) and a dinner menu. The restaurant does have a dress code, which is important to note since you may be walking the boardwalk in a swimsuit and cover-up. It doesn’t require formal attire, but cutoff shorts and swimsuits are not allowed. Looking for a cure for your sweet tooth? Make a stop in Seashore Sweets for some fudge, ice cream, or saltwater taffy, or the Boardwalk Bakery for some delicious cupcakes.

Nightlife

5. Atlantic Dance Hall

This nightclub features songs from the 80’s to the present as well as a huge screen that plays music videos. Atlantic Dance Hall is only for guests who are over 21 and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9pm-2am. Atlantic Dance Hall seems to be hit or miss- in the off season (and even sometimes during the busy season) it is said to be pretty empty (and not in a good way). The dance hall also sometimes hosts wedding receptions and other private events, so call before you head over. Atlantic Dance Hall closes by 2am, so make sure you have your transportation back to the resort figured out, since the Disney buses generally stop running by then.

4. Jellyrolls

Jellyrolls is another 21 and over venue on Disney’s Boardwalk. This dueling piano bar is located just a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Dance Hall. Jellyrolls tends to be more popular, and not surprisingly, usually charges a cover. While there isn’t necessarily room for dancing, that doesn’t stop people from having a great time at their seats. The pianists take requests and can play a wide variety of tunes. Word to the wise- don’t attempt to record anything in here. My poor husband tried to record a video clip of a favorite song and the security person in the bar not only reprimanded him like a child, but stood over his shoulder while he proved that he was deleting it. To think of the money we could have made if we were able to sell that rare piece of footage (sarcasm intended)! Despite the slightly too-serious bouncer, we had a great time and would return again.

3. ESPN Club

The ESPN Club is many things rolled into one. It’s a restaurant, serving American fare for lunch and dinner. It also functions as a bar, where guests can chat with the nightly sports hosts. With over 100 TV screens, the ESPN club is also a great place to catch a game. There’s even a shop and an arcade. Occasionally, you might be able to catch a radio broadcaster or sports star doing a live broadcast from the on-site facility.



2. Shopping

There are a few shops located on Disney’s Boardwalk, including a gallery which is home to art and collectibles. Other shops include a general store and other shops reminiscent of a beachside community, selling mostly clothing and accessories. Of course, you’ll always find Disney souvenirs stocked on the shelves!

1. Family Fun

In addition to nightlight, Disney’s Boardwalk also offers some fun family entertainment. There is an arcade that everyone in the family can enjoy. Families might also be interested in renting surrey bikes. There’s nothing more fun than cramming your entire family onto one bicycle! You might also catch jugglers and other acts on busy nights at the Boardwalk.

Disney’s Boardwalk is a nice, relaxing location to explore, especially for people staying at Epcot area resorts. If you have some time, travel over to the boardwalk and enjoy a slower pace and some entertainment. If you’re visiting Epcot or Hollywood Studios, remember that you can take a stroll to the boardwalk or travel there via Friendship boat.

About Meredith Smisek

Meredith Smisek is a kid at heart and works as an elementary school guidance counselor. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, dog, and parrot. Meredith's hobbies include cooking, playing ukulele, and "talking Disney" with anyone she knows who is planning a trip to Disney or has just returned.