Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Review

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Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is a deluxe resort hotel and Disney Vacation Club villa at Walt Disney World, located within walking distance of Epcot on Crescent Lake. We first stayed at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn during our honeymoon in 2010. Since then, we’ve stayed at the BoardWalk Inn and BoardWalk Villas more than any other resort hotel at Walt Disney World. Our most recent visit was in early 2014, at which time we updated this review.

Disney describes the resort as capturing, “the charm, whimsy and elegance of 1940s Atlantic City.” This marketing lingo actually couldn’t be more accurate. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is a really charming resort featuring a “working” Boardwalk entertainment district complete with restaurants, night-time entertainment, and recreation. Perhaps most importantly, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is situated just a short walk from Epcot’s International Gateway entrance on Crescent lake (adjacent to the Swan & Dolphin Resorts and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts). BoardWalk Inn guests also receive MagicBands and can make FastPass+ reservations. Learn more about this in our MyMagic+ FAQ.

In addition to staying at the BoardWalk several times, we have also dined at Flying Fish Cafe and Big River Brewing Works, and partied at Jellyrolls and Atlantic Dance Hall. Thanks to those wonderful experiences on the Boardwalk (minus Atlantic Dance Hall!), we have fallen in love with the place.

disney-boardwalk-inn-entrance

As mentioned, we first stayed at the BoardWalk for our honeymoon. This came about after extensive time crunching the numbers. We determined that, all things considered (including yearly maintenance fees and the time value of money) that it would not be that much more expensive for us to purchase a small Disney Vacation Club contract on the resale market than it would be to book a room at the Polynesian. Obviously, a room at the Poly for our honeymoon would have no residual value whereas we would be able to use the Disney Vacation Club contract for years. Plus, it would save us ~$275 each year on Annual Passes! Since it’s sort of a tangent to this review, you can read more about our rationale for doing this in our Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide.

In our minds, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is INNcredible! (Yeah, I’m that lame.) I’ve read previously in Disney War that Michael Eisner spent a lot of time fussing over the details of the Crescent Lake resorts because they reminded him of summers in New England. This might explain why, ostensibly, the resorts are all very similar in theme. However, I think if you look a little deeper, there are substantial differences among the three resorts. It might be nicer if they were radically different from one another, but I think each are beautiful in their own right.

disney-boardwalk-inn-lobby

One of my favorite areas of the BoardWalk Inn is the lobby itself. While it doesn’t have a grand lobby like Wilderness Lodge or some other Deluxes, it has a ton of detail. From the miniature Boardwalk complete with rollercoaster to the beautiful light fixtures to the elephant statues and more. It is extremely well-appointed, and a great place to just sit and relax in the morning.

disney-boardwalk-inn-light

Despite having a relatively small footprint, resort itself actually has a lot of relaxing areas to escape the hustle and bustle of the BoardWalk entertainment area itself (not that there’s that much hustle and bustle in the first place). Beautiful gardens and out of the way benches can provide a relaxing reprieve for relaxing.

disney-boardwalk-inn-pool

Much adieu is made about Disney pools, and BoardWalk’s main pool does not disappoint in this regard. Themed to an old-time Atlantic circus, the pool is very cool, and its water slide, themed to look like a wooden rollercoaster and featuring an “interesting” clown at its end, is quite a hoot. It may not have a sand bottom or a lazy river, but it’s definitely one of the top Walt Disney World pools, in my opinion.

disney-boardwalk-inn-room

The rooms are also excellent. Keeping with the Atlantic Boardwalk theme, the rooms use a subdued and almost pastel color scheme, and feature beautiful paintings and fixtures (notice the Minnie Mouse lamp in the corner above) to convey the sense that you’re staying in a vacation room just minutes from an actual turn-of-the-century boardwalk. With the exception of the turn-of-the-century part, you are!

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The restrooms are on the average side. The shower and toilet in a different room than the double sinks, which is nice, but other Deluxes certainly have nicer/larger restroom-areas. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the set-up at the BoardWalk Inn, though. It’s just not praise-worthy.

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To us, these rooms capture the essence of the Victorian-era theme well, without making the room feel dated at all. This has long been our criticism of the Grand Floridian–that it didn’t feel elegant enough because the luxury accommodations stumbled over the theme. BoardWalk doesn’t aim for the same level of luxury as the Grand Floridian, but it arguably hits the mark much better than the Grand Floridian. In short, the rooms at the BoardWalk Inn and BoardWalk Villas balance luxury and theme very well.

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We found the resort to be exceptionally clean and maintenance to be impeccable. On occasions when we’ve dragged ourselves home at 4 am after Evening Extra Magic Hours in the Magic Kingdom, we have seen Cast Members painting hand rails and undertaking other improvements to the resort. It’s this kind of maintenance that establishes the BoardWalk as one of the premiere Walt Disney World resorts. It’s also nice to stay at the BoardWalk when there are Evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot, because the hotel is just a short walk from the park!

Follow Me To Disney's BoardWalk: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/disneys-boardwalk-inn-review/

We mentioned it above, but it bears repeating. BoardWalk’s location is awesome. It could have been one of the worst resorts at which we’d ever stayed (it was not, it was the best thus far), and that location would have still been wholly redeeming. Only 5 minutes from Epcot. Only a few minutes to Kouzzina, Flying Fish, and Big River Brewing Company. Only 10 minutes from Beaches & Cream and Cape May Cafe. Although I love the monorail resorts, I think the Epcot resorts might have them beat!

boardwalk-inn-flying-fish-cafe

Overall, we don’t have a single negative thing to say about Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. Its ambiance, entertainment offerings, and proximity to dining and Epcot are all huge selling points. The rooms are well-themed, combining nice accommodations with a sense of design that is distinctly Disney, but not over the top or garish. About the only conceivable negative, I guess, is that if you have small children the theme may not be so appealing to them (with the exception of the pool). The real negative, though, is that once you stay there you’ll be hooked, and it will cost you in the long run in the form of the cost of future stays!

Considering booking Disney’s BoardWalk Inn? Visit Expedia’s BoardWalk Inn page for for current promotions and discounted rates!

Not sure which Walt Disney World hotel is right for you? Check out our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page, which offers quick-hit capsule reviews of the strengths and weaknesses of every Walt Disney World hotel, plus links to our reviews and photo pages for every hotel we have reviewed.

Looking for comprehensive Walt Disney World vacation tips? Make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

Your Thoughts…

If you’ve stayed at BoardWalk, what do you think of it? Do you prefer its location to the monorail resorts? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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37 Responses to “Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Review”

  1. Kristi says:

    Very good trip report. We have not stayed there….it is on our to-do-list.

  2. Andrew Carrieri says:

    My family and I stood at Boardwalk during Christmas week 2008 and enjoyed it. We all enjoyed the brewpub, ESPN Club, and Spoodles-before it became Kouzzina. My only problem with it was the location. The walk to Epcot was short but Epcot is by far my least favorite Disney park so this did little for me. You can walk to DHS but that walk is much longer so you are more reliant on the boat. The bus transportation was awful-we had stops at the Yacht Club/Beach Club and Swan/Dolphin which made the trips very long. With that said, I would recommend Boardwalk if you want to spend a majority of your time at Epcot or the Studios. If you are going to AK/MK more often, however, the bus transportation can get annoying.

  3. Cherry says:

    Can’t wait to stay there for my annual Girls Weekend food and wine fest with my best friend. We usually stay at Beach but only Boardwalk had AP rates available.

    I have a quick question, did you get the refillable mug there? If so were the refill stations easy to get to like the other resorts or do you have to wait in line for the cast members to refill? Usually don’t drink it much but it’s probably worth getting since I’m staying for a week. :-)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Sorry, I didn’t get a refillable mug there so I can’t answer that!

    • Charles B says:

      I’ve never gotten the refillable mugs. But, in the past you had to get them refilled by the cashiers in the bakery. They are busy renovating that bakery so I think part of the plan is to provide better beverage stations along with more counter service food choices.

    • Barb says:

      Yes, you get a refillable mug and it can be refilled at the bakery AND the bar at the pool!! (But not with adult drinks–darn!)

  4. Katie says:

    Great review! We love staying at the Boardwalk–so much so that we’re returning for the third time in a row in December. We feel the ambiance compares favorably with both the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian, and the location (short walks to Epcot and Hollywood Studios) can’t be beat. The staff is also very friendly. The boardwalk itself its well done.

  5. anders98 says:

    Great review! We fell in love with the Boardwalk when we stayed there for our honeymoon back in 1998 and try to get back there as much as possible. And, we still kick ourselves for not buying into Boardwalk DVC while we were there in ’98 – it was so much cheaper back then :)

  6. Erica says:

    Now I am all excited. We, my mom, my best friend and I, are staying at the Boardwalk for the 1st time this Christmas. My mom I had done the Beach Club in 08′ for Christmas so we switched it up. We had such a great time there we thought we would try another EPCOT resort. Hearing all of your praise has me very excited to stay there. I was a tad worried that maybe we should have repeated our stay at the Beach Club, but I feel better about that decision now, thanks :)

  7. John B says:

    I stayed at BWI last Dec. The resort itself is beautiful and the rooms are bright and airy. It’s also wonderfully decorated for Christmas, and of course you can’t beat the location.

    My only complaint is that you have to go outside for everything: food, gift shop, package pickup, etc. Normally this might not be such a big deal, but I prefer the Deluxe’s that are entirely enclosed. When it’s like 25-30 degrees out, the last thing you want to do when you get back to the hotel at 10:30pm is have to go back outside to pick up your packages down the Boardwalk.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, that stinks, but I’m willing to deal with a few minutes in the cold when the payoff in execution is so great.

  8. Clancy N says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE BOARDWALK! Stayed here my on my honeymoon in 08′(1st trip to Disney at age 26) stayed in a Garden Suite, and we were so spoiled that when we came back the next year and stayed at POP we were like never again! We were prepared for the crowds and noise of a Value resort but once we stayed at the Boardwalk we never wanted to stay anywhere else!

  9. Chris R says:

    There are some Boardwalk nay-sayers out there (look at the Unofficial Guides ratings), but you got it right. The Boardwalk is a great location, is the only resort with as much night life and entertainment, and is well maintained. I’d say it’s definitely top 5.

  10. Jon Grant says:

    Got a good laugh after a closer look at the photo of the pool slide. Epic.

  11. flying shark says:

    You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I find this topic to be really one thing which I think I would never understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely broad for me. I am taking a look forward to your subsequent put up, I will attempt to get the hold of it!

  12. Christy says:

    I have been “on the boardwalk” and in the lobby a few times and that is enough to make me want to stay there. I love the non-traditional seahorse chandelier and your photo captures the exact vantage my daughter loves…right underneath it! It’s so whimsical!

  13. Sara says:

    Boardwalk is #1 on my dream WDW list. My budget’s more Pop Century…. but maybe one day.

    • Jodi says:

      You should look into “renting DVC points” there – that makes it more affordable & at the right time (less busy) would be only a little more than a value resort like POP :)

  14. Les says:

    Guilty of being hooked on the Boardwalk Resort! It is very hard for me to stay anywhere else. Even Yacht & Beach Club resorts don’t measure up. It truly feels like home, as they say.

  15. Kevin C. says:

    My wife and I are staying here for our 1-year anniversary! 4/26-4/29 We are looking forward to it :-) any Disney-must-do’s on the boardwalk?

    Also, Tom I’ve read this review a couple of times but this is the first time I noticed you in the slide with the double thumbs up looking like a kid on Christmas morning!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Flying Fish Cafe and Jellyrolls are must-dos. Same with breakfast cupcakes from Boardwalk Bakery!

      That photo took great timing, but we pulled it off! :)

    • P Malone says:

      We have been DVC members since 1999 (Boardwalk) and have ‘come home’ every year (sometimes more). It has defined our kids’ lives. They were 3,5 and 7 when we bought, and are now 17, 19 and 21, and still want to come back each year. I have no doubt there will be a wedding in our family (maybe more) at the Boardwalk. I highly recommend visiting the bar off the lobby (Bellevue Lounge). It is lovely, quiet and charming for a nice drink and/or a game of checkers.

  16. Debbie M says:

    How does one ‘rent’ DVC points?

  17. Aly says:

    It’s funny to read your report because you keep calling it the “Atlantic” boardwalk instead of “Atlantic City.” You’ll have to visit the real Jersey shore (and I’m not talking about Snooki)! I’m not a big fan of AC, but I’d highly recommend Ocean City, NJ, where I’m from. I also love that they pay homage to Lucy the Elephant in the lobby. She’s a real thing in Margate, NJ — she’s enormous, and you can walk around inside her. She used to be a library but now she’s just a museum.

    The Boardwalk is really a fantastic place to stay when you’re at Disney, especially if you have the vacation club. My parents are members at the Boardwalk and have been since the late 90s.

  18. Matt says:

    I likewise stayed at The BoardWalk on my honeymoon (and first adult trip), and it was a big part of the reason that I absolutely fell in love with Disney World. My problem now is that I can’t bring myself to try somewhere else (although I’m curious to see how the Polynesian DVC rooms turn out).

  19. Greg says:

    My family just returned from the Boardwalk and each one of us loved it! It is now our favorite hotel. I didn’t realize how easy the walk from Epcot would be, and even the walk from Hollywood was doable for a 10 and 11 year old. I can’t tell you how great the feeling was walking in the opposite direction of the masses following the end of IllumiNations! We loved that the hotel felt small- getting to the pool or boardwalk were both easily accessible yet there were plenty of areas to walk around Crescent Lake and enjoy the other resorts and dining options (and of course the Boardwalk). We loved Beaches and Cream at the end of the night, and we ate breakfast at Cape May. Kids loved the pool, daughter liked having ‘her own’ day bed I could go on and on…….

  20. Joy Alexa says:

    We are leaving on Monday March 31st for 1 week at the Boardwalk and I can not wait to get there! This will be our 3rd stay at the Boardwalk and I can’t imagine staying at any other Disney resort! Many years ago when my children were very young we stayed at the Carribean Beach resort. We now travel with our grown children and grandchildren. One reason we absolutely love the Boardwalk is they will accommodate 6 people in one room if you stay in the consieree deluxe rooms. They are beautiful spacious rooms with a bacolny and view of Crescent Lake and the Boardwalk. You also get complimentary breakfast, afternoon snack and evening cocktails and horsderves. All complimentary with the consieree room. This trip will be myself, my daughter and my 4 granddaughters! This is going to be so much fun. The girls are very exciting but I think I’m more excited about seeing their faces when they are having so much fun at Disney! The older girls remember the great pool at the Boardwalk from our last trip and they are looking forward to it again. The Keister Coaster slide was enjoyed by all of us! The nighttime entertainment is a great way to wind down the evening too. The little ones really enjoy watching all of the little shows the the street entertainers put on and they like to engage the kids in a lot of them also. The Surrey bikes are a lot of fun on the Boardwalk too! Almost forgot to mention the scrumptious Bakery!!! The best baked goods you will ever want to set your lips upon!

  21. Chris says:

    Staying there in 21 days. Haven’t been to WDW since 1995 and didn’t stay on site. Can’t wait.

  22. Dawn says:

    We are working on securing rental points for a Christmas trip to WDW and are having a difficult time deciding between Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Lodge. We’ve stayed at AKL and Beach Club. Love both resort areas, each with their own unique offerings. It’s hard to beat the location of Boardwalk/Beach & Yacht. Boat access to HS and World Showcase entrance into Epcot is so much nicer than the main entrance. Ugh!! Good thing is they’re both fantastic resorts. Decisions, decisions.

  23. Alex says:

    Looks great, do you know if they have adjoining rooms? When we go back our girls will be teenagers and I can’t see us all sharing!!

  24. Natalie says:

    My family loves the Boardwalk! We have stayed here for the past four years and we are looking forward to our upcoming trip in September. There is so much to do at the resort, we always stay one whole day enjoying the pool, the bikes, shopping and nightly entertainment. We absolutely love the magician Brian Staron when he performs at the Boardwalk. It is so wonderful to actually feel “at home” when you are on vacation. I know it may sound a little silly but I even love the smell of the Boardwalk. It is such a clean and well maintained resort…it is like being on vacation while on vacation. We love the slow pace and relaxation from the parks. Hands down…best WDW resort.

  25. Sarah says:

    We are hoping to rent DVC points and Boardwalk is our first choice for our early Dec ’14 trip. After reading your review I am going to be super disappointed if it doesn’t work out! Thanks for the review and love the pool pic! Talk about good timing!

  26. Jennifer says:

    Great review! My husband and I will be staying at the BoardWalk Inn (for the first time) on our Honeymoon this November. I first went to the BoardWalk on my last trip in 2010 and immediately fell in love and said I’ll be staying here on my next trip. This review just makes me even happier that we chose this resort!

  27. Summer says:

    We are traveling early next year. We are only staying 3 nights and will not be renting a car. We plan on visiting 3 parks. Debating on Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani 1 bedroom versus Boardwalk Villas 1 bedroom. Total of 4 adults and first trip to WDW. What would you recommend?

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