A Walk Around Crescent Lake at Disney World

We continue our journey of getting to know the resorts more in-depth with a walk around Crescent Lake at Disney World. You may remember that we recently started this series of articles with a walk around Barefoot Bay at Caribbean Beach.

Today, we’re headed out to one of the most popular lakes at Disney World. As we make our way around Crescent Lake, I’ll point out a few things like resorts, dining options, recreation, and shopping. Additionally, we’ll focus on dining options that don’t require a reservation.

During your visit, you might enjoy having a meal in the area or maybe even picking up a treat like an ice cream cone! You could even enjoy an evening stroll around the lake right around sunset. Whatever you decide, I can assure you, your visit will be all the more pleasant for spending a little time here.

For starters, the majority of Epcot resorts are centered around Crescent Lake. You can see Boardwalk Inn, Beach and Yacht Club, and the Swan and Dolphin at any point around the lake.

Additionally, the path around the lake is what you would take to access Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The International Gateway, Epcot’s back entrance to the World Showcase, is on the end closest to Beach Club. And the Boardwalk Inn is closest for walking to Hollywood Studios.

We’ll begin our leisurely walk at the Beach Club. This is where you’ll find Crescent Lake’s large white sand beach. There are a variety of lounge chairs and a few swings available for anyone to use.

The swings make for the perfect place to cool off in the evening after a hot day in the parks. I can’t tell you enough how nice it is to sit out here and enjoy the sunset at the end of the day.

Inside the Beach Club, there is a great dining option at Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a lounge that takes walk-ups. Martha’s Vineyard usually has a variety of appetizers along with several entrees.

Additionally, it has been my experience that the lounge’s at Disney World typically offer excellent food options. So don’t be afraid to try one because the word “lounge” makes you think more bar than a restaurant.

While at the Beach Club, you might enjoy browsing the Beach Club Marketplace. This resort gift shop doubles as a counter service dining location. Making it another alternative for a meal as we tour the Crescent Lake area.

If you were to happen to be touring the Beach Club during Christmas, you’ll definitely want to check out their lobby. In addition, we have a full guide to touring the Disney World Resorts at Christmas. So that review comes in handy if you are touring during Christmas. And it provides a few tips on how to go about seeing everything.

Related: A Review of Staying at Disney’s Beach Club

We arrive at Disney’s Yacht Club as we walk back out of the Beach Club and continue along Crescent Lake. Yacht Club, in all fairness, is connected to the Beach Club by an indoor/outdoor walkway. Therefore, technically, you don’t have to walk out to the path along the lake to access the resort.

If you do remain on the outer path, you’ll run into Hurricane Hanna’s. This option serves as the pool bar and counter service for both Beach and Yacht Club. However, they have a separate entrance that’s open to anyone with outdoor seating options.

Related: Renting a Cabana at Disney’s Beach Club

There’s a Pick-a-Pearl kiosk on the opposite side of the Crescent Lake walkway from Hurricane Hanna’s. Often, I enjoy stopping here to admire the pearls. They usually have a nice selection of black pearls.

The other option between the two resorts is Beaches and Cream Restaurant. This is a burger joint of sorts that has an exterior walk-up ice cream window. If you love ice cream treats, you’ll want to check out the offerings here. Make sure to have someone to share that Mickey’s Kitchen Sink with! The sundaes are huge!

Back at the Yacht Club, there is the option to stop in at one of their two lounges for a meal or cocktail. First, there’s the Ale and Compass Lounge, which sits next door to Ale and Compass restaurant. We have a breakfast review here.

Since to-go ordering has become a thing at several Disney restaurants this past year, I have a fun idea. In fact, I’ve done this myself, and it works out great.

As you walk along the lake, order to-go from Ale and Compass. When it’s time to pick up your food, take it next door to the lounge and enjoy it. Or you might find a nice patio table with chairs at one of the quiet pools. The Admiral pool at the Yacht Club is not far away.

Another good option is Crew’s Cup which is the lounge that adjoins Yachtsman Steakhouse. Yachtsman is signature dining and requires reservations.

Additionally, you can browse the Marketplace gift shop while you are there. They have a few grab-and-go items, but I don’t really recommend picking up pre-made food items.

However, I do enjoy browsing the gift shop here. It’s a nice size, and they always have everything displayed nicely.

Related: Disney’s Yacht Club Review

Before leaving the Yacht Club, we’ll walk out to the Friendship Boat dock where the large lighthouse sits. Instead of walking, you can take a boat across the lake if you prefer.

Our next stop along Crescent Lake will be at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort. These are the two large resorts with unique architecture resembling a swan and a large fish (it’s supposed to be a dolphin).

If you decide to stop in at one of the hotels, I’d recommend the Dolphin. You’ll want to cross the bridge over to the Dolphin. There are several scenic photo spots in the area.

The Dolphin will be the larger of the two hotels on the right-hand side.

The hotel’s entrance is underneath the large clamshell fountain. After that, you’ll head straight up the escalator to the resort’s tremendous lobby.

There are plenty of options for dining here and several stores to browse. If you prefer to have a meal inside, I would go with The Fountain. It’s a great spot to enjoy a table service meal, and they take walk-ups.

However, if the weather is nice enough, I would head out to the Cabana Bar and Beach Club by the pool. It is an excellent place to enjoy a casual, outdoor meal. And in case you’re not familiar, the pools at the Swan and Dolphin are fabulous.

This entire area is pretty impressive, and it’s nice to explore the grounds of the resort. And if you are really in the mood to do an activity, you’ll be right across the street from the entrance to Fantasia Gardens mini-golf course.

You’ll just walk straight out this paved walkway between the two resorts, and there’s a place to cross the street. Additionally, this is where the new Swan Reserve hotel is located.

Related: Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotel Review

As we continue our walk along Crescent Lake, we’ll head back across the bridge and over to Disney’s Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is actually a destination and a resort. The resort section is broken down into two sections. The first is Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and the other part is the Boardwalk Villas, which is a Disney Vacation Club Resort.

While at the Boardwalk, you might enjoy participating in a few carnival-style games. Or you could rent a Surrey bike and take it for a spin around Crescent Lake. Make sure you get a good go before you reach the bridge that returns to the Boardwalk. It’s a pretty tough hill on the bike.

There are plenty of dining options on the Boardwalk. One of our favorites that takes walk-ups is Big River Grille. You can pick up a decent sandwich or salad here. And when the weather is nice, we enjoy eating outside.

While you’re in the area, you might additionally like to browse a few shops. Anyone interested in art will love a walk through The Wyland art gallery. And The Screen Door store that sits on the Boardwalk is a sizable store with a variety of Disney merchandise.

In addition, The Screen Door has a candy display filled with bakery items, or you can stop in the Boardwalk Bakery for a treat as well.

Speaking of treats, the Boardwalk Ice Cream shop recently opened. They are offering a variety of different concoctions, from cones to extreme sundaes! If you were to get a cone, make sure to gobble it up quickly before it melts!

For more things to do, we have a review comparing the Boardwalk vs. Disney Springs. And there is a full review of staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.

This wraps up our tour of the area surrounding Disney’s Crescent Lake. Hopefully, this was able to give you a few ideas to incorporate into your next visit. For someone who visits Disney World often, I find that the times spent at areas like this are the ones that solidify my decision to return often.

My memories of spending time at Crescent Lake are abundant, and it is a place I tend to be homesick for when I’m away. Even when I’m visiting Epcot, I’ll often wander out at the International Gateway for a glimpse of this serene area.

Do you have a place at Disney that makes you feel this way? Have you ever spent any time on Crescent Lake? Please share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.

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