ResortsWalt Disney World (FL)

Boardwalk Inn

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My family spends every summer at the Jersey Shore (no, it’s nothing like the show) so I’ve always been curious to stay at the Boardwalk Inn.  I’ve strolled through the lobby and eaten at several of the resort’s restaurants in the past, but never had the chance to lay my head at this seaside resort.  I really enjoy the decor at this resort all year round since it reminds me of my summer home, but I was especially excited to stay here in December since I love the decorations in the Boardwalk’s lobby.

For those who aren’t familiar with this resort, the Boardwalk is meant to celebrate the heyday of seaside destinations like Atlantic City.  I imagineboardwalk the Boardwalk Inn resembles AC (as we call it in Jersey) when my grandparents and great grandparents strolled along the beach.  Hallways throughout the resort display photographs and objects from the Shore and the architecture is cozy like a beach house.  If you haven’t ventured to the Boardwalk before I encourage you to give it a try.  Even if a deluxe resort is out of your price range this one is more accessible to all Disney guests.  It is easy to walk over from Epcot’s International Gateway to enjoy the restaurant offerings, stroll the grounds, or maybe enjoy a night out either of the area’s night time hot spots.

For this trip I traveled with my friends Julie and Tom and we picked this resort for several reasons.  We have been trying out deluxe resorts lately in part because our group would like to experience as many resorts as possible and also because it is the most comfortable way to travel with three adults not wishing to share a bed.  We also have been wanting to stay in an Epcot area resort because of its proximity to the park as well as Disney’s Hollywood Studios.    Epcot is our group’s favorite park so the thought of being able to walk there has a lot of appeal.  We settled on the Boardwalk vs. one of other area resorts since we would love to stay at the Beach Club, but want to save it for a warm weather trip to make use of their fantastic pool.  Additionally, the Boardwalk was the resort with the biggest ratings improvement among Unofficial Guide readers this year.

We booked a standard view room since we wouldn’t be spending a ton of time in our room.  So we just looked out onto a courtyard, but it wasn’t a parking lot or a dumpster or anything.  The room includes too very comfy queen beds and a day bed which was ideal for our party of three.  There is also a flat screen TV, a desk (for blogging, of course), and several drawers.  The bathroom is split between a double sink in the main area and an enclosed space with the shower and toilet.  I thought the room with the shower and toilet was a bit tight, but overall it was nicely finished.  Tom volunteered for to take the day bed and said it was comfortable enough and he’s over 6 foot tall.  The queen beds Julie and I occupied were down right lovely.  The sheets and pillows were cozy and I passed right out every night after a long day of touring.

I think the best aspect of staying at this resort is its proximity to parks and attractions.  Guests can either walk or take a boat to both Epcot’s International Gateway and the main gate of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  In many instances (unless you are completely exhausted or have many small children in tow) it’s actually faster to hoof it to these parks than to wait around for the boat.  We opted not to rent a car since we figured we’d be spending most of our time in Epcot.  We could also take the monorail from Epcot to Magic Kingdom part way through the day if we wanted.  While I often prefer a rental car to the WDW complimentary transportation, I really didn’t miss having a car.  I suppose it also helped that some of my Disney geek friends had cars and carted us around from time to time.  Thanks guys!

Well, no resort is perfect so here my biggest complaint about this resort: the lack of a real counter service restaurant.  There is the bakery and Seaside Sweets, but there is no real quick place to grab a meal and be on your way as there are in most other resorts.  Seating is available outside on the boardwalk to service these locations, but if it is raining or just generally icky out those just won’t do.  Also, due to the lack of traditional resort counter service there is also nowhere to refill your resort mug on your own.  The morning we tried to use our mugs we had to show the CMs working behind the counter at the bakery that we had our mugs, request our beverage of choice, and then we were given paper cups with our coffee.  It made no sense.  Since we usually grab breakfast and coffee at our resort’s quick service restaurant, this was a disappointment for our group.  We also didn’t think it was worth the cost of mug here since we hardly used them on this trip.

So with all of that in mind what was my overall opinion on the Boardwalk?  I have to say it was one of my favorite Disney resorts.  I know many a Disney geek who say the Polynesian is their favorite resort, but I think the Boardwalk ranks about the same as the Polynesian in my book.  They each have things they do better than the other, but all in all they are neck in neck.  I would absolutely stay here again and hope to at some point.  Although I have the added bonus of feeling at home at the Boardwalk, I think just about anyone would enjoy the resort.

Have any of you stayed her recently?  Did you love it as much as I did?  Let me know what you thought about the Boardwalk!

Next week I’ll take a look at a newly reimagineered attraction I hold near and dear to my heart…

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Kristen Helmstetter

Kristen Helmstetter is an Unofficial Guide researcher who will share her 20-something perspective of all things Walt Disney World with blog readers. Kristen’s email address is You can also follow her on Twitter: @khelmstetter.

12 thoughts on “Boardwalk Inn

  • My wife and I stayed at the BoardWalk Villas on our honeymoon and fell in love with it. We managed to afford staying there only by way of renting DVC points, which puts it in just about anyone’s price range. I loved the atmosphere and decor, with the minor exception of the clown slide at the main pool. I can’t wait until we get to stay at the BoardWalk again.

  • We stayed at the Boardwalk a few weeks ago and loved it! Like others have said, the location can’t be beat. From our room we had a great view of Spaceship Earth and the Eiffel Tower and at night had a perfect view of Illuminations. Luna Pool was closed so our girls got to swim at Stormalong Bay so we feel that we got to stay at the Beach/Yacht Clubs as well. It was a little different not having a food court and I missed not being able to fill my cup on my own but was only a minor inconvenience.

    • Everyone talking about their wonderful views are swaying me to get a room with a view sometime soon! Thats an awesome added bonus that you and the kids got to use Stormalong Bay. I’m glad you had such a great stay. It seems to be the consensus that the lack of quick service food is the big draw back to this resort.

      Thanks for reading!

  • We’ve stayed at the Boardwalk twice. The first time we were offered it since Port Orleans French was full and we were only charged $40/night more. Of course when we arrived, the Boardwalk was undergoing repairs and painting and scafolding everywhere….we did love the location though!

    Our second time was this past July 4th. We stayed in concierge rooms so we had food available most all the time. Our kids are teenagers now and the Boardwalk area is really the only thing with activity after the parks close. For that reason, I would only recommend the Boardwalk with older kids who want to stay out late….catch desserts at EPSN at 10pm…that sort of thing. Even though it is close to Epcot and Studios, it is still quite a walk for young kids.

    • Thanks for the feedback! It’s an interesting perspective on older kids vs. little kids. I saw several kids running around the court yard and such later at night. And there are some activities for them on the Boardwalk in the evening. I know I’ve seen a magician and a few other acts in the area which kids seem to enjoy.

      For folks with smaller kids I’d probably steer them toward a monorail resort vs. an Epcot resort for ease of transportation especially since little guys generally want to be in MK the most.

  • i’ve stayed at boardwalk twice, first in a 2-bedroom villa in 2005 and then just last month in a studio. the 2-bedroom villa faced the swan and not much light came in the room, but last month i was actually over the boardwalk and had a magnificent view of yacht and beach across the way along with the big golf ball. that view alone put boardwalk up in my top 3 favorite places to stay, although like you said, one really can’t beat the location. i like stormalong bay as a pool better; the clown at boardwalk freaks me out a bit. the morning services were disappointing as you said with no real counter service unlike what’s available at beach and the store not opening until 8 am instead of 7 am at beach. still, i was impressed enough with boardwalk this time that when my sister has her conference at the dolphin in 2013, i’m going to have a hard time choosing between beach and boardwalk.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the Boardwalk! I’d love to try the DVC rooms there sometime. I can never justify springing for a nice view since I spend most of my time in the parks. Maybe some day we’ll go for it. I’m dying to try Stormalong Bay and my friends said the clown freaked them out too! It doesn’t bother me so much. Boardwalk is definitely at the top of my list too! Thanks for reading!

  • The Boardwalk Villas are our home resort with DVC and we love it there. Echoing Kristen’s blog post, the location is great. The density of nearby restaurants is great too for foodies. Don’t forget that the Yacht and Beach Clubs are both just across Cresent Lake, the Swan and Dolphin Resorts are right next door, and Epcot’s International Gateway is a ten minute walk max. From the boat dock at BW, you’re no more than 20 minutes from a good chunk of WDW’s best restaurants. In recent years I have stopped renting cars on our Disney trips because Boardwalk’s proximity to so much of WDW.

    I agree that the biggest downside is lack of a good counter service option. This fact only grows with me on repeated trips. There are a few options at the BW, though, not to mention similar options at the neighboring resorts. We went most recently in early 2009 and have a trip planned for later this year. From the photos I’ve seen, I think there is still a counter service pizza place at Koussina (left over from Spoodles). That place has been a life saver for our family in the past. Assuming it’s still there, I hope the current rendition of the pizza place is as good as it was previously – very tasty. But it’s tough to stomach a week’s worth of pizza on any trip. The Boardwalk Bakery has food that’s OK, but the layout in there is terrible, service is SLOW, and, frankly, the line you have to stand in isn’t worth the reward. The cabana at the pool (named something “Pony” related) has a quick selection, although it’s simpler fare like hot dogs, burgers, and pre-made subs.

    • Thanks for the feeback!

      I noticed the snack bar and bar at by the pool and it was huge. We just walked by and didnt try it out because it was a nasty day and it was December so we didn’t spend much time at the pool. It was the biggest pool bar I’ve seen!

      I think if I were going to do DVC I would highly consider making Boardwalk my home resort. I hope you continue to enjoy it for years to come!

  • Hi Heather! Its always nice to meet another Jersey girl Disney geek! I’m glad you enjoyed your stay as much as I enjoyed mine. Your view sounds great! I love hearing those kinds of stories from my mom and other relatives. My great grandparents used to take my mom down to Atlantic City when she was a little girl.

    Writing this entry with the impending snow storm made me long for July down the shore. Only a few more months til I’m laying on the beaches of Cape May which is about on par with walking around World Showcase in my book.

    Thanks for reading!

  • We were there the same time as you & I feel the same way! Lived the resort, the only downside we found was the lack of counter service (we normally stay at a moderate) & place to refill our mugs.

    We had a view of the Effiel Tower from our room, & it was amazing to watch Illuminations from our room several nights! Absolutely loved being able to walk so easyily to Epcot!

    We live in NJ & while walking on the boardwalk to Epcot, my mom told me stories of when she was a little girl going to AC & how everyone always dressed up (& my grandma’s heels always got caught in the boardwalk 😉


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