During our last trip to Disney we spent quite a bit of time in the Boardwalk area. We stayed at the Boardwalk Villas, so it was very convenient to have lots of things close by. Some people may not realize how much there is to do, but Disney’s Boardwalk has a lot going on during the day and at night.
It doesn’t come close to the size of Downtown Disney, but they have shopping, dining, entertainment, and more. Here is list of things you can do while you are hanging out on Disney’s Boardwalk.
Sitting and Watching the Boats
Disney’s Boardwalk is a good place to grab a drink or a snack and just sit and watch. You can sit right by the water and watch as the boats make their way across the Crescent Lake. It’s fun to watch them dock. The bridge that you have to cross to get to Epcot is a good place to watch boats too.
In addition to the outdoor tables on Disney’s Boardwalk, there is also seating on an outdoor patio off the lobby of the Boardwalk Inn. There you will find comfy chairs to sit in and relax.
You can also people watch, which is always fun to do, and Disney is a good place for that. So grab a Pineapple Smoothie from Boardwalk Joe’s Marvelous Margarita’s, find a seat, and relax on the Boardwalk for a little bit. It’s quickly becoming my favorite spot in Disney.
Check out the Lobby of the Boardwalk Inn
The lobby of the Boardwalk Inn has lots of interesting pieces. The roller coaster model and the miniature working carousel model were pretty fun to see. I loved that the carousel actually moved!
They also have an interesting chandelier in the lobby. It hangs over the display of the miniature carousel and you can’t miss it.
There are other decorations in the lobby to check out as well, but two of them give most people the creeps. You will find them on either side of the fireplace and they are the creepiest chairs you will ever see. I’ve heard that they are called “Nanny Chairs,” but whatever they are called doesn’t make them less creepy. Though I don’t think the lobby would be the same without them. Take a look at the creepiness for yourself.
Get a Pressed Penny
Along Disney’s Boardwalk and also in the Boardwalk Inn they have pressed penny machines. This was one of the big souvenirs for my daughter this past trip. She loved finding different machines to see what pictures were available. The pressed penny machine on Disney’s Boardwalk has some cute designs to choose from and they go along with the theme of the hotel.
Watch Illuminations from the Bridge
One of the best parts of Disney’s Boardwalk is the location. It is such a short walk to Epcot, which means that you can view the fireworks without having to enter the park. There is a bridge that you cross as you head to Epcot that is a great place to see the fireworks without the crowd. You won’t get the full impact of the fireworks show, but it’s a good way to see them without the crowds.
On a side note, if you haven’t seen Illuminations yet I highly (highly) recommend making time for it. Wishes is a great show, but there is something about Illuminations that gives me goosebumps. I could watch it every night and never get bored.
If you are in a shopping mood you can check out the several shops along Disney’s Boardwalk. There are a bunch that are connected on the inside, like the Emporium and all the stores on that side of Main Street U.S.A. So that’s helpful on hot days.
There is also a really nice art store called Wyland Galleries. During one of our date nights, my husband and I wandered in and I’m so glad we did. The paintings are beautiful and the sculptures are very impressive. It’s a beautiful store and definitely worth visiting.
Whether it’s table service or quick service you are looking for, you can find it on the Boardwalk.
Here are the table service restaurants:
- Big River Grille and Brewing Works – This is a microbrewery that has things like burgers, nachos, sandwiches, meatloaf, steak, pasta, and more to choose from. There is indoor and outdoor seating.
- ESPN Club – If you are looking to watch some games as you dine, then this is the place for you. They have over 100 monitors in the restaurant!
- Flying Fish Cafe – This is a popular restaurant on the Boardwalk and it serves steak and seafood. This restaurant will be closing in February 2016 to undergo some refurbishments and will reopen in the fall of 2016.
- Trattoria al Forno – The newest restaurant on Disney’s Boardwalk. This is an Italian restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner.
Here are the quick service options:
- The Boardwalk Bakery – This is where people staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas get their refillable mugs and where we got breakfast most of the time when we were there. The breakfast waffle cone was really good, as were the pastries. The bread bowl soup was a favorite for some for dinner. Lots of good options at this location.
- Boardwalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas – This was one of our favorite places to stop for drinks and a quick snack. Of course they have margaritas and other alcoholic drinks, but my favorite was the Pineapple Smoothie and they will add alcohol to it if you ask. It was so good! They also have Mickey pretzels here, so that scored them some points too.
- Pizza Window – Looking for a quick slice of pizza? This is the place. You can order your slice right from the Boardwalk. Find the Pizza Window by Tratorria al Forno.
- Seashore Sweets’ – This is a good place to go for ice cream or other sweet treats. They also sell things from Minnie’s Bake Shop. We brought back some sprinkles in the shape of Mickey’s head from Seashore Sweets. The kids love them! There is also a big wall of candy and you can fill up bags as much as you want with an assortment of the candy (it is per pound and weighed at the checkout). That brought out the kid in the adults! The decor is fun too. It is themed after old fashioned sweet shops that would have been found along an Atlantic boardwalk.
- The To-Go Cart – This cart has everything from fries, to fried ravioli, to pulled pork sandwiches, and of course different kinds of hot dogs. There is a lot to choose from at this cart. So if you are looking for a quick service location with a wide variety of options, this is the cart for you.
- Funnel Cake Cart – How could we not get funnel cake when there is a Funnel Cake Cart? It was really good and made it feel like summertime at a festival or carnival. Not a bad deal to spend the evening by the water enjoying some funnel cake.
Games and Entertainment
In the evening there are games available to play. Games like Hoop Toss, where you have to make a basket, keep guests entertained. You can win prizes by playing the games. Also, if you like arcade games you can check out the arcade next to ESPN.
The evening is also the time when you can catch the Boardwalk performers. It’s fun to walk around Disney’s Boardwalk and catch their shows. You never know who you might see. There might be a magician or there might be a juggler, who knows! That’s the fun. They are big on audience participation, so just be prepared for that.
Check out the Model DVC Room
If you have been curious about Disney Vacation Club (DVC) then you should check out the model room that is open right off Disney’s Boardwalk. So while you are walking around enjoying the dining and the shopping you can make a quick stop in and see what a DVC room looks like. There are cast members there to answer any questions you may have and they can set up an appointment for you if you are interested in discussing buying DVC.
Disney’s Boardwalk has a pretty nice nightlife. Besides the performers, the dining, and the games, you can also go dancing at Atlantic Dance Hall. You will hear music from the 80s, 90s, and today at this dance hall.
This is an adults only venue that is located at the end of Disney’s Boardwalk. You can find it near Jellyrolls, which is another good entertainment spot. This is a dueling piano bar and the piano players take requests!
We saw these a lot while we were there. You can rent a single or a double bench surrey bike and ride them all around the lake. Disney’s Boardwalk connects with the Yacht and Beach Club and circles back around. They have bells on them that you can ring to signal people that you are coming down the path. We serious saw so many of these that I can still hear the bells from the bikes.
When we were there (September 2015) the cost of the surrey bike rental was $20 a half hour for a single bench bike and $22 a half hour for a double bench bike.
The Boardwalk Ballyhoo Tour
This is a guided tour that happens Wednesday to Saturday at 9 in the morning. The tour will take you to different points on Disney’s Boardwalk and will show you different artifacts and from the early 20th century. The guide will also talk about the inspiration the Imagineers had when creating this hotel.
The tour is free and you don’t need to sign up ahead of time. In order to join the tour, head to the Belle Vue Lounge 15 minutes before the tour starts. It usually lasts about an hour.
Hope you get to try some of these during your next trip!
Thanks for reading!