Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas is in the Deluxe category.

Overview of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

They say when choosing a place to stay there are three important criteria to bear in mind, location, location and location!  That being the case, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn must rank as one of the top hotels on property.  Of course, when it comes to staying on property in Disney World, we all know that there are other amenities guests  look for when selecting their resort.  Price, theme, the hospitality offer, facilities and  transportation links all factor,  Boardwalk Inn ranks pretty high in all of these, it’s what you might call an all-rounder.

Location

Let’s look at location first. Boardwalk Inn is located in the Epcot Resort area, it sits within the Boardwalk which is made up of shops, restaurants, food stalls and entertainment attractions.  The theme of the resort is 1920’s Atlantic City, it’s a resort within a resort.   From the Boardwalk it’s a 5 to 10 minute walk to Epcot’s International Gateway and 10 to 12 minutes walking will get you to Hollywood Studios.   If even that is too much walking there are friendship boats which will take you from the hotel to either park.  Getting to, and more importantly from, the parks without having to rely on buses, boats or monorail is particularly useful at park closing.  There is something pretty sweet about being able to stroll back to your hotel room whilst others queue for transport. The downside of this resort is many guests complain about the longer than average transport times to other parks in particular Magic Kingdom.  If Hollywood Studios and Epcot, particularly during the  Food and Wine Festival,  are your focus, then this is THE place.   In the coming years, with the addition of Toy Story and Star Wars Lands at Hollywood Studios, such accessibility will no doubt command a higher premium.

Boardwalk Inn
photo credit: CL Photographs Welcome to the Boardwalk! via photopin (license)

Theme

Boardwalk is based on the idea that we have gone back to a simpler time, to an Atlantic City resort in the 1920’s, all painted wood, carousels and salt water taffy (taffy is an American sweet, a cross between fruit chews and toffee) The hotel has, like most of the resorts great theming, from the massive chandelier of four Hippocampus in the lobby to the bar and pool areas, all are done with flair and authenticity.  Well, as authentic as a Disney resort built in 1996, can be.  Some feel that the hotel is better suited to adults and families with teenagers, families with younger children may see more appeal in Beach Club, located close by.  On the positive side Boardwalk Inn might be considered the better, by some, because it doesn’t have as much of a young family vibe.

The resort is widely recommended for its high levels of service.  It is clearly well Managed and is noted for its cleanliness and upkeep standards.

Facilities

The hotel has a main pool, surrounded by old time theme park attractions, there is a water slide which recreates an old wooden rollercoaster, models of elephants and a pool bar, Leaping Libations, which resembles a carousel.  Warning, for those adults who have enjoyed being terrified at Universals Halloween Horror nights before coming to the Boardwalk Inn, the water slide may resemble Pennywise, Stephen Kings Clown creation, a little too closely for comfort.  You have been warned!  There are also two quiet pools, one for the Inn and the other for the DVC rooms.

Boardwalk Inn pool
photo credit: Photomatt28 Clown Waterslide via photopin (license)

Dining

The Boardwalk Inn’s dining options are varied and extensive.  The immediate Boardwalk area surrounding the hotel has a signature Restaurant, The Flying Fish, which consistently gets great reviews.  Table service is covered by ESPN, a sports bar/diner and Trattoria al Forno.  Boardwalk Bakery is the quick service option, particularly for Breakfast, and there is a pizza window.  The Boardwalk area also has a number of kiosk’s for ‘fast food’.

A new bar was recently added, Abracadabra, based, yes you’ve guessed it, on a magician theme, it is primarily a cocktail bar.

One of the drawbacks of this resort is the lack of dining within the actual hotel itself, there’s a pool bar and The Belle Vue Lounge, both serve a small food selection alongside drinks.  However, If you want a full meal, or refill your resort mug, you have to leave the hotel and go to the Boardwalk Bakery or to one of the external restaurants.  For most guests though this is more than made up for by the dining choices which are in close proximity at Beach and Yacht Club, Swan and Dolphin and of course Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

The Boardwalk doesn’t seem to feature at the top of a lot of UK visitor lists, but it really should.  Check out all the US Disney experts and bloggers and they put it consistently in their top 3.  The resorts’ value, for a deluxe, and location is hard to beat.  It’s my top recommendation for those travelling without children, and if you are going in October during the Wine and Food Festival it’s a must.

My Top Tips

For honeymooners or couples celebrating an anniversary book one of the Garden Rooms.  These quaint rooms are actually little terraced houses.   Accessed through a sweet front garden surrounded by a picket fence these  ‘little houses’ are unique at Disney World.   They have a sitting room and small kitchenette on the ground level and a mezzanine floor with bedroom and bathroom upstairs.  They also enjoy club level services.

If it’s raining spend some ‘chillax’ time in The Belle Vue Lounge playing  Disney versions of famous board games like monopoly and scrabble.