Since so many of you enjoyed last week’s tour of the Magic Kingdom monorail hotels, for this edition of Best Week Ever we’re strapping on the sandals for a walk around the other Epcot lagoon. I’ll try to keep the commentary to a minimum this time and just let the pictures do the talking, as we take a tour of the Epcot resort hotels.
My morning started at the Boardwalk Inn, which (unlike some of the monorail resorts) is receptive to allowing off-site guests to park in their lot. A quick walk across the bridge and I’m back in the Atlantic City of the early 20th century!
The Boardwalk Inn’s public areas are full of lovely thematic details.
Refurbishments in progress on the Boardwalk Inn lobby exterior:
Another look around the hotel’s landscaping:
The gorgeous views across the Epcot resort lagoon could really fool you into thinking you’re at a northeastern seaside resort…if it wasn’t for the humidity, of course.
Most guests are in the theme parks at this time of day, but keep your eyes open for joggers while strolling along the Boardwalk or you might get bowled over (as I nearly did).
I poked my head into the ESPN Club restaurant for the first time in ages. As a young girl I overheard exclaimed, “I’ve never seen so many TVs in one place!”
They are currently refurbishing their kitchen, so only a small selection of food is currently available. It’s interesting to see how they’ve set up a temporary kitchen in part of the bar, shielding it from view with large black walls.
Heading away from the Boardwalk Inn towards the Yacht and Beach Clubs, I took a moment to take in the view from this quiet deck.
Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
Compared to the sedate Boardwalk, the Yacht and Beach Club resorts were a beehive of activity during my walk-through. Let’s begin with the Beach Club.
This squirrel outside the pool complex paused his nut gathering long enough to pose for me:
An overview of the Beach Club’s lobby:
There’s tons of artwork all over the Yacht and Beach Club resorts, including this uncredited sculpture of a girl with a turtle.
The best part about the Yacht and Beach is by far the Stormalong Bay pool complex, which is high on my bucket list of “WDW pools to sneak into” (if we condoned that sort of activity, which we certainly don’t).
Some more refurbishment is in progress just outside the Stormalong Bay pool.
Here’s the Yacht and Beach Club running trail map for all you exercise fans:
There’s also a decent arcade here, though some of the games are quite dated: “Star Wars Trilogy” is from the era when there was only one Star Wars trilogy…
The Yacht Club lobby feels a little more upscale than the Beach’s, though it’s still warm and welcoming.
The Yacht Club’s main entry facade, which most guests only see when arriving and departing, isn’t quite as glamorous as the pool-facing side.
Continuing around the lagoon towards the Swan and Dolphin, I passed by the marina and bicycle rental.
Here are the rental prices, in case you are thinking of taking one out for a spin:
One last look from the FriendShip boat dock outside the Yacht Club. I just can’t resist taking panoramic pics of this view!
Swan and Dolphin Hotels
Though they lack some of the pixie-dust of the Disney-owned hotels, the Starwood-operated Swan and Dolphin feature some of the best values on WDW property, along with some ambitious (if controversial) architectural elements.
True to their animal nomenclature, the Swan and Dolphin were home to several flocks of fauna that crossed my path.
The Dolphin’s lobby and convention hall are nearly Vegas-like in scale and style.
Don’t miss this tiny candy store in the Dolphin’s lobby. It has to be the sweetest shop per square foot in any WDW hotel.
On the Dolphin’s ground floor, you’ll find this model of the twin hotels:
Tucked into a back corridor on the Dolphin’s ground floor, I discovered one of the resort’s great underrated eateries. Picabu is a 24-hour cafeteria, but it has a style (and pricing) more like an independent neighborhood joint than a resort hotel restaurant.
I had three made-to-order soft tacos, which were well worth the $10 posted price. All the ingredients tasted fresh, and the filling was seasoned just enough to let the meat and fish’s natural flavor shine through. My only gripe is that the mandatory “service charge” seems odd for a restaurant where you carry your own tray.
Crossing from the Dolphin to the Swan, I stopped to look at the hotel’s namesake statuary (yes, they look more like fish than dolphins, because they are dolphinfish, not the popular mammal) and iconic facade (no, they can’t just stick a monorail station where the black windows are).
The Swan’s exterior seems more subdued in comparison…
…as does it’s lobby…
…but both hotels have more than their shares of attractive aesthetic touches.
The Swan and Dolphin also share an extensive pool area. Even if it doesn’t outdo the one at Yacht and Beach, it’s still one of the better sunbathing spots on property.
Sand Seal Selfie:
Finally, would you believe it if I told you a torrential rainstorm started as soon as I began walking back to my car? If you’ve been reading my last few columns, you probably would have bet your mortgage on it. I leave you with one last panoramic picture of the Epcot resort hotels, this time with a little extra water:
What’s your favorite part of the Epcot resort hotel area? Let us know in the comments below!