On Site Stay at Disney's Boardwalk Inn
There’s something about staying on property at a Walt Disney World Resort. The moment you pass through the iconic blue and gold Walt Disney World gates your worries wash away, and everything has the possibility of being fun!
Picture this: You pull into the drive of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. You stop and say hello to the cast member at the front gate, handing him your ID unable to contain your grin. It’s been a long day of travel with toddlers but pulling into this resort makes you instantly feel at home. Just to confirm it, the cast member waves you through with a smile and offers you a warm “Welcome home”.
I’d like to preface this post by admitting that Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is nostalgic for me. I stayed there as a kid with my family (magically in a Grand Villa - back before they became insanely popular) and it was some of the happiest memories I have of Disney. For that reason and more Disney’s Boardwalk Inn typically ranks as my favorite Walt Disney World Resort. Though I love to stay elsewhere, the Boardwalk has my heart. It’s for that reason I’m particularly elated to share my recent experiences as a guest at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn with our Be Our Guest Vacations family!
Arrival at Disney's Boardwalk Inn
My family pulled into the Boardwalk midday after a long morning of travel. For this vacation with just mom and two kiddos, I had made a room request based on our preferences (which your Be Our Guest Vacations travel professional can help with!). We were told when we arrived that our room was not quite ready, but they had received my requests and were happy they’d be able to accommodate them. Disney can’t guarantee all room requests of course, but they do their very best to take requests into consideration! From experience, we’ve found that making requests can sometimes mean you wait a little longer for your room to be ready, and I let them know we were fine with that and there was no rush. I grabbed the duffle bag I had slid into our large suitcase, which was filled with everything we needed for day one by the pool and left the rest of our items with bell services. We headed to the pool!
Luna Park Pool
If you plan a summer Walt Disney World vacation be sure to prepare for the heat! This means making sure your touring plans take the weather into account, and packing essentials to help keep the family comfortable (your Be Our Guest Vacations travel professional can recommend a few key items to pack that will make your trip so much easier!). For my family this trip our touring we prioritize time to cool off each day! Each afternoon during our week-long stay we made sure to hit the pool mid-day (when the parks get crowded and the weather was at its hottest) and even took a few nighttime swims before bed to cool down.
We thoroughly enjoyed Luna Park Pool! My kids loved the huge entry area with steps leading into the pool (which quickly became our home base) and poolside cast member led activities. As a mom, I appreciated the sightlines of this pool. I could see my kiddos from almost any part of the pool, and I was able to watch my daughter go up and down the slide while still swimming with my toddler below (as a solo parent on this trip this was ideal and superior to the flashy Stormalong Bay pool across Crescent Lake). There’s plenty of seating and a convenient single bathroom right next to the counter area of Leaping Horse Libations... Whoever planned that one is a parent of toddlers. Disney Resorts provide towels by the pool and life jackets in all sizes (even for littles under 30 pounds!).
Room tour and first impressions
At 3:00 pm we received a text message that our room was ready. We lucked out and had an incredible room in a convenient location! Our room on the 5th floor was just a few doors down from the elevator, with beautiful views of the courtyard, boardwalk, and Crescent Lake in the distance. From the room’s balcony I’d sit and sip my coffee each morning, and benefit from winding down in the evening watching the Friendship Boats glide by and nightly performers down on the boardwalk.
This is one of our must haves on a Disney vacation - with toddlers my husband and I love staying at a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa resort so our room has a balcony. That outdoor space gives you the privacy you sometimes need as a parent on vacation with littles, and it allows you to feel as though you have time together on vacation (trust me - we’ve spent too many trips whispering in dark rooms during naptime or working on our computers in the bathroom).
The rooms themselves at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn were just recently reimagined, and honestly, photos do not do them justice. Painted a sunny pale yellow, they emit a cheerful feeling that greets you the moment you enter. The turn-of-the-century Coney Island theming is subtle, but touches of Disney make the room fun. Mickey, Minnie and loveable Pluto can be found in the artwork on the walls, the backsplash in the coffee bar area as well as a few other hidden places around the room. Practically speaking, I love the amount of space in the rooms (standard rooms here are an average of 371 square feet - compared to an average 314 sq. ft. at moderate resorts and 260 sq. ft. at value resorts). We had loads of room for our double stroller, two large suitcases, floaties and more, with extra to space to spare. Large closets, elevated beds with storage underneath as well as a full size dresser meant it was easy to unpack and stay organized with a spot for everything. If I had to nitpick, the bathrooms are the only area where I felt the design slightly missed the mark. They are beautiful and feel upscale, but don’t echo the theming present in the rest of the room. That being said they are beautiful and offer great storage space as well as a double sink.
Most rooms at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn can accommodate up to five guests, with two queen beds and a daybed sleeper. The furnishings, beds, and bathroom felt upscale yet comfortable, and I noticed, in particular, the quality of the mattress as well as the large (and soft!) bath towels. Housekeeping was able to provide bedrails for each bed after a quick call down to guest services.
Dining Around Disney's Boardwalk Inn
If you’ve been a guest of other Walt Disney World Resort hotels, you may be accustomed to a quick service location for quick meals. One thing to note about Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is that it does not offer a traditional quick-service dining location. You can find similar items at the Boardwalk Deli though, and there are many spaces to enjoy your food on the boardwalk or by bringing it back to the hotel (that back verandah overlooking the boardwalk might be my favorite place on earth). Something to plan for though! I made sure to pack a coverup for the pool because we made trips down the boardwalk in our swim gear to grab lunch or dinner, then bring it back. We loved the food from the Boardwalk Deli (We tried the Warm Pastrami Reuben and the Chicken and Walnut Salad Wrap and were pleased with both). For convenience, we also ordered a few times from Leaping Horse Libations, the pool bar at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. The Power Bowl and Greek Salad Sandwich were both fresh and healthy options for mom, and the kids loved that we could order Mickey ice cream bars and a Mickey pretzel to enjoy poolside. (TIP: If traveling to Walt Disney World during the summer - only buy a Mickey ice cream bar by the pool. Do not buy them in the park honestly - they melt too fast. Stick to ice cream in a dish! Unless you enjoy chocolate covered kiddos). There's also a fantastic ice cream shop right on the boardwalk!
We also dined one evening at Big River Grille and Brewing Works, which is walk-up availability only. If you dine here I recommend an outdoor table for views of the boardwalk. The new Carousel Coffee was also a convenient stop just inside the lobby for an afternoon iced coffee (they also offer to-go breakfast items and coffee in the mornings of course!).
Staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn makes dining a breeze though as we had our pick of restaurants around Crescent Lake - Trattoria al Forno, Flying Fish, Ale and Compass, Cape May Cafe, Beaches & Cream, the Yachstman Steakhouse just to name a few in walking distance. You can also hop on the EPCOT Skyliner to explore or dine at Disney’s Riviera Resort or Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort - a great activity for a ‘rest’ day during your vacation!
Resort Activities and Boardwalk Entertainment
This resort is a full experience. The charm reverberates through the halls and courtyards, and you can’t help feeling at ease walking around. I always recommend my clients plan ‘down time’ during their Walt Disney World vacations so they don’t feel pressured and rushed, and this resort delivers on leisure for guests. Without trying (I actually forgot to check out the list of resort activities and times upon arrival) we stumbled upon boardwalk performers twice (jugglers, acrobatics and more) during our trip, as well as ‘Movies Under the Stars’ in the courtyard (complete with blankets and lanterns for each family), complimentary campfire marshmallows and hugs and autographs from Pluto and Donald in the resort lobby.
Proximity to the Walt Disney World Theme Parks
The beauty of staying on property at a Disney Resort? Your downtime is still magical. You need breaks, as do your kids. But at a Disney Resort every moment feels fun and lighthearted, which is just as it should be for a Walt Disney World vacation! And by staying at a Disney Resort in such close proximity to the parks, we were easily able to make Early Park Entry at EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, plus come back to our resort to refresh and cool off midday. As guests of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn you can actually walk to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios - such a convenient perk!
Planning your Walt Disney World Resort Stay
Our stay at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn was incredible! If you are considering a resort stay at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn here are a few quick tips and things to think about before getting in touch with Be Our Guest Vacations to book your stay!
What travel dates work best for your schedule? Need tips on best times to travel to Walt Disney World based on historic crowd levels, lower cost times to travel, or events that take place on site? One of our Be Our Guest Vacations travel professionals can provide recommendations!
What are your room preferences? Would your family enjoy views of the boardwalk? Or quiet garden views? Does a standard room with two queens and a daybed work for your travel group or would a one bedroom suite better suit your needs?
Would Club Level be a nice perk for your family? Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, along with select other deluxe and moderate resorts, has something called Club Level rooms which have access to a Club Level Lounge. With children or even a trip with multiple adults, Club Level can add value and ease to your vacation. Access to the lounge includes breakfast, snacks throughout the day, small plates and desserts in the evenings as well as complimentary drinks and alcoholic beverages. You also have access to concierge staff who are ready to assist with any questions during your trip, and the ability to book Minnie Van private transfer service to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO).
What theme parks do you plan on visiting? As I mentioned above, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is walking distance to two parks! Being so close to EPCOT (about a 4-6 minute walk) and Hollywood Studios (about a 12-14 minute walk) is incredible as a resort guest, particularly with Park Hopper tickets. Park Hopping and being just a few minutes away from two parks means it’s easy to pop in and out to return to your favorite things such as catching a few thrill rides at Hollywood Studios in the evening, or strolling the World Showcase in EPCOT at night.
Planning a Walt Disney World vacation in 2023 or 2024? Connect with Be Our Guest Vacations today to learn more about Disney’s Boardwalk Inn or explore other incredible resort options for your trip!