The bundle of Florida’s Walt Disney World resorts includes the 372-room BoardWalk Inn, a resort featuring timeless snapshot of the 1930’s Atlantic Seaboard era. The focal point of the hotel and entertainment complex is a quarter-mile, wooden promenade edging Crescent Lake, channeling the turn-of-the-century boardwalks and hustle of the Atlantic coastal cities. The hotel continues the charm with elegant and whimsical furnishings of the Great Gatsby era.
When your accommodations are at a Disney resort, their transportation system is seamless. You have the option of tagging your checked bag for hands-free delivery to your room, although bag arrival can be as much as 3 hours. Since I was committed to TravelingMom.com business meetings, when I landed at Orlando International Airport, I opted to pick my bag up and then walk to the Disney area of the airport. My pre-mailed bus voucher was scanned, and I walked to the line for my hotel. Although some waits can be long (30+ minutes), I was lucky my bus began loading within 5 minutes, and the BoardWalk was the second stop.
Situated between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the BoardWalk Inn is all about location. You can literally walk to either of these theme parks or catch the bus to the other Disney parks.
Disney bell staff was literally at the bus, offering luggage assistance. I walked across the porte-cochere and was greeted at the entrance by the reception staff, an iPad in hand. Since I had pre-registered at MyDisneyExperience.com, I pulled up the app from my phone with the reservation number, allowing them to pull my information right there. They lead me to the reception desk and gave the front desk receptionist my information from the iPad.
From there, registration went quickly – all they required was a credit card for incidentals – and then I was “armed” with my Magic Band, a Disney souvenir that electronically unlocks my hotel room, allows me to charge to my room (with a PIN #), and also contained my 4-day Disney theme park passes. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/bands-cards/ Although my room was available immediately, others in my group had to wait. The cool part of the Magic Band is that the hotel will text the guest when the room is ready, and there’s no need to go back to the front desk to get keys as the Magic Band will be activated!
The lobby was grand and inviting with chandeliers and hardwood floors, bright colored decor. Outside the lobby, chairs were scattered on the deck perfect for relaxing and people watching.
My BoardWalk Inn accomomdation was on the main floor (2nd), behind the Bellevue Lounge down the hallway from the elevator. Since I had many TravelingMom meetings, the room location worked perfectly for me as I only had a few minute walk to the BoardWalk’s conference center.
My room was spacious with 2 queen beds and a workspace in the corner next to the sliding glass door, which opened onto a small balcony overlooking manicured grounds. Other categories offer views of gardens, walkways and pools. The Water View overlooks Crescent Lake and the BoardWalk, a bit more lively at night. An armoire housed the flat screen TV with drawer space underneath. A mini-refrigerator and coffee maker are also included.
Other rooms opened onto the boardwalk and Crescent Lake. The bathroom was also large, including a toilet/bath/shower combination and a separate vanity area with 2 sinks, plenty of counter room, perfect for families sharing a room.
WiFi throughout the Disney resort was complimentary, and my smart phone tagged back and forth off the room and the public space WiFi. I did use the WiFi frequently and always had a strong signal.
Dining and Entertainment
Although the BoardWalk Inn does not offer on-site dining, you are minutes from stepping onto the wood planked, quarter-mile promenade with multiple dining and entertainment options. Classic midway games line the boardwalk.
I had traveled all day, so as soon as I dropped my luggage off, I met up with friends and walked to the only microbrewer in Disney, the Big River Grille & Brewing Works, featuring typical pub fare and brews. Other nearby restaurants include Flying Fish Café, Kouzzina by Cat Cora (celebrity chef), ESPN Club (sports bar), Atlantic Dance nightclub, Jellyrolls dueling piano bar, and Seashore Sweets Bakery.
You’re also close to shopping, children’s activity center, health club, tennis courts, themed pool and a 20,000-square-foot conference center. I didn’t have enough free time to take advantage of the themed pool, but for families, the Luna Park would be another highlight of your Disney vacation.
Epcot is a 5 minute walk from BoardWalk Inn, or you can catch the Friendship boat on the dock right outside the resort, with stops at the Yacht and Beach Club and Swan & and Dolphin Dock before continuing on to Hollywood Studios. The boat runs about every 20 minutes. Buses directly in front of the hotel take you to the other Disney theme parks.
The BoardWalk Inn is now my favorite Disney resort hotel. It feels more “grown up” then the other resorts, with its water-front promenade featuring dining and entertainment within walking distance. I love the Gatsby feel of the décor, and the service at this property is Disney magical.