The Boardwalk Inn is the centerpiece of Disney’s Boardwalk area, a quarter-mile promenade featuring unique shops, dining and entertainment, set on the shores of Crescent Lake, between Hollywood Studios and Epcot. As a luxury hotel, the Boardwalk Inn is one of Disney’s true gems, reminiscent of the boardwalk inns in the many seaside communities around the country at the turn-of-the-century.
Like the other resort hotels, the Boardwalk Inn offers all of the conveniences that are unique to Disney hotels, such as access to Disney resort transportation and Disney’s Magical Express, complimentary package delivery, onsite airline check-in, extra magic hours and complimentary self-parking at all parks and resorts if you’re traveling by car. However, the Boardwalk Inn also offers many unique features that will make you want to make this your home base on one of your future trips! Here are the top 10 reasons you might want to consider the Boardwalk Inn for your next trip:
10. Fitness Center with Massage: The Muscles and Bustles Health Club is an on-site, state-of-the-art health club that is only available to guests of the Boardwalk Inn. There are numerous fitness machines and weight training options, as well as on-site massages and a sauna, which you won’t find at many of the other resorts. If fitness is a big part of your vacation, the Boardwalk Inn might be the resort for you!
9. Greater Access to Transportation: The Boardwalk Inn is set right on Crescent Lake, which gives you the option to travel to Epcot and Hollywood Studios by ferryboat, or to any of the parks and Disney Springs by bus. This is very attractive because the boats run about every 20 minutes and don’t really get tied up in traffic jams, so they’re more predictable than Disney buses in high season. If you’ve ever stood and watched a Disney bus fill up before you could get on after a long hot day in the park and then had to wait for the next one to come along, you’ll agree that the option to take a leisurely, breezy boat back to your hotel is a luxury! The Boardwalk Inn is also only a quick walk from the Swan and Dolphin hotels, which have their own dedicated Disney bus. This gives tired guests an extra option when they’ve run their hardest in the hot sun to catch their own resort bus, only to see the taillights pulling away!
8. Variety of Room Types: The Boardwalk Inn offers both traditional hotel rooms which sleep up to 5, as well as the Boardwalk Villas, which include studio rooms with kitchenette, which sleep up to 4, and 1 and 2 bedroom villas featuring a full kitchen and washer and dryer, which sleep up to 9. Club level access is also available in the main building and in unique 2-level condo-style rooms in the outer building. This variety is not available at all Disney resorts.
7. Jellyrolls and the Atlantic Dance Hall: Staying at the Boardwalk Inn means having access to the lively Jellyrolls piano bar, featuring dueling pianos, and the Atlantic Dance Hall where you can dance the night away to tunes from the 80’s, 90’s and today, only steps away from your hotel room! While there are plenty of restaurants, bars and nightclubs available at Disney Springs (and make no mistake, Disney Springs is a must-do destination on your trip as well), you will need to take a bus back to your resort afterward. If dancing till the wee hours is part of your plan, it’s a whole lot nicer to be able to walk back to your room in 5 minutes than to wait in line for a bus with a crowd of other people who had the same idea and just might beat you out for that last seat! Of course these locations are only available to those guests who are 21 or over.
6. Swimming Pools: The Boardwalk Inn boasts 3 unique swimming pools and one of them is sure to suit your taste! The Luna Park pool is the most notable, with its carnival-theme and 200-foot water slide, as well as a children’s splash area featuring clowns and circus elephants. There is a lot of fun to be had here! There’s a leisure pool located right nearby with a whirlpool spa, and another quiet leisure pool at the other end of the resort, away from all the hustle and bustle if that is more your speed.
5. View of the Fireworks at Epcot and Hollywood Studios (When Available): If you do choose the Boardwalk Inn for your next vacation, it’s worth reserving a room facing the Boardwalk so that you can enjoy a view of Epcot’s nightly fireworks. It was also possible to see the Star Wars fireworks from Hollywood Studios during Star Wars weekends, however, these weekends have been discontinued while the new Star Wars addition to Hollywood Studios is in development. Whether fireworks will be part of the new addition is not known at this time. This can be an excellent option for parents who would like to see the fireworks, but have small ones who drift off to Neverland early.
4. Unique Recreation: There is so much to do at the Boardwalk Inn, including many activities that will make you feel like you’re really vacationing seaside! Its waterside location makes it an ideal place to fish, rent a surrey bike or regular bicycle, or jog or stroll around the lake. There is also tennis available and it’s a very short walk to the Fantasia Gardens mini-golf course near the Swan and Dolphin. When the sun goes down, there are campfires and movies under the stars, which are only available at certain Disney resorts.
3. Atmosphere: Although you might think that a hotel that’s located right between two major theme parks would be loud and crowded, it’s exactly the opposite. Disney never misses a detail in designing its themes and you really feel that you’re stepping back to a slower, easier time when you stay at the Boardwalk Inn. It’s the perfect place to sit in a rocking chair on one of the large verandahs and enjoy a cocktail or glass of cool lemonade while taking in all of the activities on the Boardwalk, or play board games in the Bellevue Lounge, while listening to tunes from the 1930’s. When you’re ready, you only need to step out the hotel’s front door to enjoy the nightly music, rent a surrey bike, watch the buskers, or grab some saltwater taffy, corn dogs and funnel cake. While there’s lots of activity to enjoy here in the evening, a peaceful morning stroll or jog around the lake at sunrise is well worth it too!
2. Location, Location, Location: One of the best things about the Boardwalk Inn is its ideal location, right between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, within easy walking distance to each park. It’s a pleasant walk too! The paths to both parks are set right beside the water and both paths are well-lit and safe to walk at night. In fact, if you’re travelling with little ones in a stroller, it’s probably easiest to walk back and forth to the parks, rather than have to fold up your stroller on a bus or boat… and hold junior… and your bags… and your stroller… and try not to bang into anybody. The Boardwalk Inn is the ideal location for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, or for Star Wars weekends when you need to be in the park the second it opens!
1. Proximity to Unique Restaurants, Shopping and Entertainment: While it’s convenient to be so close to two major parks, one of the best aspects of the Boardwalk Inn is its close proximity to so many fabulous restaurants, shops, entertainment and other hotels with all of their unique perks.
On the Boardwalk, you will find everything from carnival-like food stands, a candy store, a bakery, to microbreweries, signature dining and the ESPN Club Zone where you can dine, watch sports and play video games to your heart’s content. It’s also an easy walk to Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s World Showcase, where you’ll find some of Disney’s finest restaurants. If that’s not enough to keep you busy, both the Yacht and Beach Club and the Swan and Dolphin hotels are a quick walk away with a whole other set of fabulous restaurants ranging from diners to high end restaurants. You’ll find several character dining experiences scattered between these locations as well.
Not to be overlooked, there’s an art gallery on the Boardwalk, a variety of shops and a full-service Mandara Spa at the Dolphin. It’s close enough that you might just manage to sneak in a massage while the little tykes are napping! With all of this at your immediate disposal, you can probably squeeze in activities you might not be able to if you stay elsewhere and you can save hours of bus-riding to restaurants and parks!
My family has stayed at the Boardwalk Inn a few times and we have always enjoyed its relaxing atmosphere. It’s also the perfect place to stay for a short visit because you can do so much, or if, for example, you’re lucky enough to be flying in for only a day before a Disney Cruise!
Note that the Boardwalk Inn is currently being refurbished so all room varieties and views might not be available at your time of travel. Enjoy your stay!
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Sandra Chu lives in the Midwest with her husband and two daughters. She is a Canadian lawyer, but became a stay-at-home Mom when she moved to the US in 2007. She fell in love with Disney World on her first trip in her late 20's and has since been back over 30 times. She loves helping people plan their Disney vacations and has been lucky enough to turn this into a career! She works as an independent agent with The Enchanted Traveler, helping people plan all types of magical dream vacations with Disney, including Disney cruises and Adventures By Disney vacations. She has been to Disney at all times of year, with kids of all ages, and has mastered the art of doing Disney with princesses! She is now exploring Disney with a tween. Every trip is a bit different, but always magical! You can find her on Facebook under The Enchanted Traveler.