Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Review

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is one of the most beautiful resorts at Walt Disney World. It’s located right between Epcot and Hollywood Studios and has a fun pool, an actual boardwalk, restaurants, and more!

In this review of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, we’ll look at the resort, rooms, dining, recreation, shopping, and other amenities at the resort. We’ll also discuss different transportation options like the Skyliner and Friendship Boats available to guests of the resort.

This review was updated on February 22, 2022.

Boardwalk Inn offers a unique appeal, mimicking a quaint New England seaside setting with carnivalesque theming.

During the day, you’ll see guests coming and going along the Boardwalk as they travel to and from the hotel. Then, as the day turns to dusk, the Boardwalk lights up with strands of tiny twinkling lights.

Visitors dressed to the nines being to appear. They are usually headed to a signature dining reservation. Excitement fills the air with the possibility of what an evening at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn might behold.

Maybe you’ll take a romantic stroll around Crescent Lake and stop in at Belle Vue Lounge for a cocktail. Or you might spend your evening at Epcot and pick up a late-night sweet treat at the Boardwalk Bakery on your way back.

I prefer to end my evenings at the Boardwalk Inn with a slice of fudge while watching the Disney cartoon channel in my room. Can life get any better than chocolate and cartoons?

However you decide to spend your vacation time, there are not too many better ways to end your evening than at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. Not at Disney anyway.

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Review

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn falls under the category of a deluxe resort. The Inn itself has 378 guest rooms and suites.

In addition, Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, a Disney Vacation Club Resort, contributes another 280 rooms to the hotel. The villa portion of the resort has rooms that will offer a few extras that you won’t find in a standard room.

Related: Disney World Villa Resorts

One of the primary reasons guests consider staying at Boardwalk Inn is its location. The resort is within walking distance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Staying at a hotel within short walking distance of a theme park is a significant benefit. Additionally, those stunning sunsets and picturesque views from the Boardwalk are icing on the cake.

Imagine waking up and indulging in these kinds of views at the start of your day. Maybe you’ll enjoy a cup of coffee from the balcony of your room? Or pick up breakfast at the Boardwalk Bakery and enjoy it out here?

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is fashioned after the turn-of-the-century Atlantic City. Inside the resort’s lobby, the charm continues.

The furnishings appear somewhat formal, but there’s an air of fun and mischief. For example, this chandelier in the lobby’s foyer is slightly different from what you might expect. It features horses that are part mermaid and cherubs.

A vibrant settee sits underneath the chandelier. Upon first glance, the look always feels very traditional.

But if you look closely, you’ll notice a miniature carousel sits on top of the piece.

Another favorite item in the Boardwalk’s lobby is this miniature wooden roller coaster. It’s set up in a glass display case on a sofa table.

And if you are near the Boardwalk during the Christmas holidays, you really must stop in for a visit. The decor here is pretty outrageous, and I mean that in the best way. Think bright reds, greens, circus elements, and then some.

Related: Top 10 Disney Resorts to Tour at Christmas

Inside the Boardwalk Inn’s main lobby, you’ll find a store that goes by the name of Dundy’s Sundries. This gift shop sells Disney-branded merchandise and offers a few items specific to the resort.

Related: The Gift Shops at Disney’s Boardwalk

To the right of the lobby, there’s a long hallway leading to most of the resort’s regular guest rooms. There are several lovely pieces of art on display.

Off the lobby, there’s an interior staircase down one floor to access the actual Boardwalk. Behind the stairs is the resort’s Belle Vue lounge.

One of the special touches at the Disney deluxe resorts is that they always provide towels for guests to dry off from the rain. You’ll find boxes like these in the picture below full of fresh towels. There’s a basket to drop them in after you tidy up.

These towels always seem to magically appear on rainy days. And you’ll be more than glad they are available if you’ve been out touring in the rain.

The Boardwalk Inn has a large, partially covered veranda off the lobby. The veranda has casual wicker furniture and offers that summertime front porch feeling. I highly recommend taking a few moments to sit out here and relax during your vacation.

With a view like this, you’ll be humming the tune, “All I wanna do when the day is through is linger here on the front porch with you.” If you get that Summer Magic reference, the Boardwalk Inn is probably a good choice for you.

Rooms

Like most other Disney resorts, you’ll find a variety of rooms at the Boardwalk Inn. For instance, you might elect to stay in a standard guest room or a suite.

The following rooms are available:

  • Standard Room
  • Standard Room Club Level
  • Deluxe Room Club Level
  • Two Bedroom Suite
  • Sonora VP Suite
  • Outer Building Garden Cottage Room

Additionally, some rooms offer the following views:

  • Water View
  • Standard View
  • Garden View

We cover the rooms in the villa portion of the resort in a separate article.

Related: Disney’s Boardwalk Villas Review

As for room views, you might consider upgrading to a water view if you would enjoy looking out to the Boardwalk from your balcony. However, I would only consider it if you plan to spend a decent amount of time in your room.

This is one of the few resorts where I think a view upgrade is warranted. For me, I think that a savanna view room at Animal Kingdom Lodge is a big deal.

Related: Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

And I love the water view room at the Yacht Club. However, I wouldn’t consider an upgrade at the Beach Club because the rooms are extremely limited.

Related: Disney’s Yacht Club Review

For the sake of this review, we’ll briefly compare a deluxe studio and a standard guest room. To clarify, a deluxe studio is the basic category of room in the Villas. Standard guest rooms are the basic room category of room on the Inn side.

Below we have a deluxe studio at the Boardwalk.

The room is a sage color with complementary pale reds and creams. I found the space relaxing and enjoyed staying here.

The great thing about the deluxe studio is that it sleeps up to five guests. Unfortunately, two of those guests will end up on a sleeper sofa. You may remember, from our stay at the Beach Club, that I found the sofa bed extremely uncomfortable.

Related: Deluxe Studio at Beach Club Villas

If you’re looking for a room that sleeps five with a better setup, there are a few options. Most of the newer studios have a pulldown Murphy bed. We preview those rooms in the following articles:

Next, we’ll look at the Boardwalk Inn’s standard rooms. Unfortunately, these rooms are fairly formal. They were last refurbished in 2014.

2022 Update: Standard rooms at the Boardwalk will undergo refurbishment in the near future. Check our list of Disney Resort refurbishments for details, we’ll add the dates when they become available.

Here’s a photo of the standard Boardwalk Inn room. From my last stay on this side of the resort, I can attest that what you see here is what you get.

Image Courtesy of Disney

The carpet is probably a little more themed in this instance than any of us would like. It’s been several years since I stayed in a standard room at the Boardwalk.

I remember feeling that I was visiting someone important and staying in their very formal quarters. And even though this style isn’t my taste, I found the room cozy and quaint. Maybe I would call it presidential.

Similar to the villas, some of the standard rooms at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn sleep up to five guests. The setup is two queen-size beds and one daybed.

Additionally, some rooms will offer two queen-size beds, and a few rooms are available with queen-size beds. Disney tends to assign rooms based on the size of your group.

For a real treat, you might also consider the deluxe club level suite. The deluxe suite sleeps up to six guests and is larger than a standard room. It has two queen beds and a queen-size sleeper sofa.

Boardwalk’s club level is called the Innkeeper’s Club. Guests staying on this concierge level floor will have access to a lounge that provides various food and drinks throughout the day.

Related: Club Level at Beach Club (Stone Harbor Club)

Recreation

The Boardwalk Inn is commonly referred to as the Disney resort with the clown pool. But the former clown pool theming is now a thing of the past. Mickey and Friends have taken over, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.

Here is the former clown pool for reference.

Since the Boardwalk is a deluxe resort, it has a water slide. All of the moderate and deluxe’s have water slides at their pools. The Boardwalk pool is designed to look like a wooden roller coaster.

Related: Disney Resorts with Water Slides

But I guarantee you, this slide doesn’t have anything on the pirate ship waterslide next door at Stormalong Bay.

The pool goes by the name of the Luna Park Pool. If you decide to spend time out by the pool, Leaping Horse Libations is the resort’s pool bar. It’s in the fun shape of a carousel. Thankfully, this one doesn’t spin.

Related: The Pools at Disney’s Boardwalk

Leaping Horse Libations, the pool bar, offers drinks, sandwiches, and snacks. You can view their menu here on Disney’s site.

Pool people might enjoy seeing where the Boardwalk pool ranks on our best pools at Disney World article. It’s definitely on the list. However, as far as pools go, there are a few I prefer over this one.

Additionally, you’ll find Boardwalk’s Community Hall pool at the resort. This pool is one of the resort’s quiet or leisure pools.

A whirlpool spa is available.

And there’s an additional leisure pool on the opposite side of the resort.

For those of you more interested in staying fit while practicing the Disney diet, you’ll be happy to know that the Boardwalk Inn has a wonderful fitness center.

Muscles and Bustles is located out close to the Luna Park Pool. There’s a covered walkway to get to it from inside the hotel if it’s raining.

The fitness center has a variety of equipment.

There’s also an excellent selection of free weights.

And several weight machines as well.

Related: Fitness Centers at the Disney Resorts

Those that prefer to jog or run will enjoy their time here. The running trail is posted at each resort, and you can break it up several different ways.

Related: Best Jogging Trails at Disney World

Dining

When it comes to dining options at Disney’s Boardwalk, I have mixed feelings. There are quite a few options, but the counter service locations are lacking.

First, there’s the infamous Flying Fish, a signature dining location at Disney. Reservations are required in advance, and a meal here is not likely to disappoint.

Next door to Flying Fish is Abracadabar, like Abracadabra, except with a bar at the end. I don’t have any experience here, but anyone interested in magic tricks and unusual elixirs (alcoholic beverages) might enjoy the location.

Trattoria al Forno is located on the Boardwalk just past Abracadabar. The restaurant serves a character breakfast in the morning and Italian cuisine in the evening.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to try the character dining meal here, but I plan to when it returns. If you are looking for a character breakfast, I recommend Topolino’s Terrace.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Character Dining at Disney World

Boardwalk has a pizza window that can be considered quick service. It’s called Pizza Window.

I have had okay pizza here (usually the specialty item) and not-so-great pizza. If you want pizza, you are much better off at Via Napoli in Epcot.

The Boardwalk Bakery is the resort’s main counter service. My issue here is that nearly everything on the menu is pre-made.

You can pick up some tasty bakery treats, but the sandwiches are not made to order, except for the grilled cheese.

Related: Boardwalk Bakery Review

On a positive note, Big River Grille is located on the Boardwalk. Here you’ll get decent food at lower than average Disney prices. Big River Grille is one of my hidden gem dining spots at Disney.

Down toward the very end is ESPN Club, where you can pick up a meal and enjoy your favorite game. Be warned. This place is usually packed on the weekends during college football season.

2022 Update–ESPN Club has permanently closed. A new restaurant, The Cake Bake Shop, will open in its place.

Related: Considerable Changes Coming to Disney’s Boardwalk

How dare your wife plan a trip to Disney during the SEC playoffs? Make sure you are at least staying at Boardwalk Inn so you can find a few fellow vacation football pals. You might even catch me there screaming, “War Eagle!” from the top of my lungs.

The Boardwalk is home to several walk-up kiosks like Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas in the picture below.

Additionally, there’s a funnel cake stand, and a To-Go cart that serves chicken fingers and a few similar items.

Related: Disney’s Boardwalk Restaurants Guide

On the Boardwalk

As someone who strolls Disney’s Boardwalk on a regular basis, I can tell you they have an excellent resort store.

This location is one massive store with three different names—kind of like the Emporium along Main Street at Magic Kingdom with all the separate entrances.

At Boardwalk, the first section is called the Screen Door store.

Then there’s Thimbles and Threads. So naturally, that portion of the store has clothing items and Disney-themed socks.

And Disney Character Carnival features houseware and novelty items. The store is a fun place to browse. Plus it offers a decent retreat if you find yourself on the Boardwalk in the middle of a pop-up rain shower.

Anyone interested in art will want to visit the Wyland Galleries. This location is my favorite art store in the entirety of Walt Disney World. It’s tucked around the corner from the Screen Door and looks out onto the large green lawn area.

It’s a rather sizable art gallery, and you could easily spend not only a little time here but money as well.

The Boardwalk offers a little bit of nightlife on the opposite end for adults. There’s Jellyrolls which usually has some form of entertainment.

And there’s the Atlantic Dance Hall.

I ran into a few ducks leaving the dance hall one evening. They said it wasn’t anything worth writing about.

Out on the Boardwalk, there are a few stand-alone carnival-style games.

Surrey bikes are available to rent.

You can have your picture made at the Novelty photo booth.

Collectors of pressed pennies will find a machine on the Boardwalk.

Lastly, Movies Under the Stars are held nightly out here on the big green lawn.

Make sure to pick up a recreation calendar for a list of movies and times on the week of your vacation.

Transportation

One of the biggest perks of staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is the proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Both Disney parks are within walking distance.

Right off the Boardwalk is the Promenade Pier. From here, you can set sail on Disney’s Friendship boats to either of the theme parks in the area or the other resorts nearby.

Bon Voyage!

Additionally, Disney bus service is provided to the following destinations:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Disney Springs
  • Blizzard Beach
  • Typhoon Lagoon

Lastly, you can walk over to the International Gateway or Hollywood Studios and take a ride on the Disney Skyliner. This ride would probably be more for leisure than anything.

In addition, you can take the Skyliner to get to the Riviera or Caribbean Beach Resort for a meal.

Related: Disney Skyliner Resorts with Travel Times

And the following resorts are within walking distance of the Boardwalk:

Those staying in the Epcot Resorts Area can easily walk between the resorts to enjoy dining and other amenities.

Final Thoughts: Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Review

If you’ve visited the site before, you may already know that Disney’s Beach Club is my favorite resort. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy staying at Boardwalk Inn.

Related: Disney’s Beach Club Review

Realistically, I’ve probably stayed at both resorts a pretty even amount of times over the years. And with the resorts in this area being so close in proximity, it’s really a matter of which room or pools you might enjoy more.

The main drawback at Boardwalk Inn is usually the price. Like the other deluxe resorts, this location often comes with a high price tag.

However, in my opinion, there’s no better location in all of Disney World. And that goes for anyone who will enjoy spending time outside in the evening. The entire area is extremely well lit and usually reasonably populated.

Additionally, I recommend staying in this area when traveling with teens and tweens. Since the resorts are close to two parks, it’s nice to give those responsible enough a little time to explore on their own.

When my son turned fourteen, he loved that I would let him walk over to Hollywood Studios by himself. Fourteen is the age you can enter the parks by yourself.

I forgot to mention that it can get a little hot directly on the boardwalk during the day due to the lack of shade. But there are plenty of places to retreat inside for a break.

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn has so many positives. I hope this review provided the information you need to decide whether this was the right resort for your next visit.

For more information, all of our articles related to Disney’s Boardwalk Inn are available here. Or you might enjoy the following articles:

Additionally, you may enjoy the following Disney World Resort Reviews:

And if these resorts are out of your budget, you might want to consider staying at a Disney moderate resort or one of the value resorts.

Those resorts might not have all of the bells and whistles. But I have a feeling you’ll still have a great time. It is Disney World, after all!

In the comments: What are your thoughts on this review of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn? Have you stayed here yet? Have any pros and cons of your own? Let us know below.

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