Perhaps you’re 4 days into your Disney vacation and DONE with character visits. Perhaps you’re sick of the rides, the mickey ice cream, and the stroller parking. But you don’t have to be fed up with your Disney vacation to escape to The Boardwalk right next to Epcot. Heck, you don’t even have to be going to the parks to enjoy the Disney Boardwalk! You could just go there because it’s amazing.
What is the Disney Boardwalk?
Whether you’re hunting down amazing cupcakes, trying to get a closer look at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, or just trying to avoid the busing between Epcot and Hollywood Studios you’ll be happy you took some time to discover the Boardwalk at Walt Disney World. Stepping into an old seaside picture postcard from the 1920s, The Boardwalk is one of our favorite parts of an Adult Vacation at Walt Disney World. Because it’s simply the quintessential way to get away from it all.
Is the Disney Boardwalk Free?
Yes. The Disney Boardwalk is FREE. It also doesn’t require that you have a ticket for anywhere! So if you’re visiting Orlando, Florida, and want a little Disney in your day, but don’t want to pay for the tickets, this is a great option. You can park at the overflow lot near the Boardwalk Resorts just go in and explore. Or even park at Hollywood Studios and walk over via the walking path from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT.
How to get to Disney’s Boardwalk?
If coming through Epcot, the Boardwalk is right outside of Epcot at the back, accessible on the walkway between the UK and France. This is officially called the International Gateway entrance. This is our Epcot entrance of choice for several reasons: smaller security lines, fewer people, and it gets us close to France for early morning breakfast plans.
Last year the Boardwalk was a great way for us to get away from the crazy Epcot Food and Wine crowds and see some fun street shows. But now we visit the boardwalk every time we go to Disney because it’s one of our favorite places. Check out our top 7 Things to do on the Disney Boardwalk. Once you arrive you’ll notice there are a few places you simply must visit!
Disney Boardwalk Restaurants
Boardwalk Deli | Boardwalk Inn
It’s no secret we love cupcakes and the Boardwalk Deli offers up some of the best! Both classic and seasonal, if you’re in need of a dessert break, head here and grab a treat. Some cupcakes are approved on the Disney Dining Plan and big enough to share. You can also grab deli sandwiches, bagels and deluxe sandwiches here. Plus, if you have a Disney Refillable Mug, you can refill your mug here too!
Trattoria al Forno | Baoardwalk Inn
A fancy Italian Pizza Place is always welcome and at Trattoria al Forno if you’re not up for a table-service meal, you can grab a wonderful large pizza from the walk-up window. We love Trattoria al Forno for breakfast! With some amazing avocado toast, omelets, and the best-iced coffee, you will want to stop here on your next vacation. You can even just walk up to the counter to check availability.
Pizza Window | Boardwalk Inn
This pizza is by far some of the best we’ve had at Disney. It’s a large pie with tons of flavor at an OK cost. Note: You will not get eh same pizza at Trattoria al Forno if you go inside as those are mostly small flatbread/wood-fired pizzas. For the best stuff, in a to-go box, order from the Pizza Window and enjoy it on the boardwalk.
Crew’s Cup Lounge | Yacht Club
This place has a slightly more budget-friendly and kid-friendly atmosphere as a table service lounge and mock-tails to boot! You can grab rib sliders, cheese dip, and a “yacht dog”! Check out the menu to pick your favorites ahead of time.
Yachtsman’s Steakhouse | Yacht Club
Considered THE place to get a good steak at Walt Disney World, be prepared to pay a little more. This is your typical steak and fish-type table service restaurant. Not really a vegetarian option here. That said there are delectable sides, desserts, and drinks to add a little flair to your surf and turf meal. Choose your favorites on the menu.
Ale and Compass | Yacht Club
This is by far the poshest new bar we’ve found. The Lounge of Ale and Compass has an excellent atmosphere with gorgeous blue decor, consider this your grown-up escape. If you long for days gone past where you could sit in a velvet chair in front of a servant-cleaned fireplace and sip your favorite scotch, then you’ve found heaven. The menu is budget-friendly with options in the lowest price bracket of 14.99-34.99. You can grab salads, flat breads and heartier dishes too. Read our review of Ale and Compass.
Cape May Cafe | Beach Club
Cape May is a casual dining experience in a seaside-like atmosphere. You can get all three meals of the day here but be aware it is a seafood-heavy buffet dining experience. Check out the menu.
Beaches and Cream Soda Shop | Beach Club
Beaches and Cream is one of those hidden gem restaurants that only the locals seem to know about. Hidden behind the pool at the Yacht Club this ice cream shop serves your typical burgers and fries lunch, and shakes and has a to-go option too. Check out the menu.
Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill | Beach Club
This is a fine option for a quick lunch on the go. As a quick-service restaurant, you can grab salads, sandwiches, and fries here. With views of the boardwalk. Check out the menu.
Shopping at Disney Boardwalk
Thimbles and Threads
Done up in the retro style of the Boardwalk this little shop has items you can’t find anywhere else. Apparel, pins, toys, mugs, everything. We love this shop, particularly because it’s a wonderful browsing shop and we don’t have to contend with the crowds. It’s also an amazing escape from the heat.
The Boardwalk Area Resorts
The Beach Club, The Yacht Club, and the Disney Boardwalk Inn and Villas are the resorts you will find at the Boardwalk. Given Epcot’s sky-high standing because of easy monorail access, these resorts are Deluxe Resorts. Meaning they’re in the highest pricing tier before you reach villa standing. So what do you get at these Deluxe Resorts? Beaches, Ferry Access to Hollywood Studios, Skyliner Access, Monorail Access to Magic Kingdom, Walking distance to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and Bus service to everywhere else you need to go. Truly, you are paying for access and convenience. We also love that no matter what Disney resort you are staying at you can still visit these resorts for a Movie Night under the stars or Campfire and S’mores.
Right outside the Boardwalk entrance, you can also find the Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve Hotels. Here you can visit the Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf course, watch the palm trees light up with colors and music, or visit one of the award-winning restaurants inside the resorts. If you stay here you also get access to a 3-acre pool, complete with hot tubs, caves, and slides. The Swan and Dolphin Hotels share all amenities, so staying at any one of the resorts gets you access to everything.
Disney Boardwalk Entertainment
In the late afternoons, and evenings, you’ll see magicians, illusionists, and comedians perfect for the little ones. The Disney Boardwalk is wonderful at night and if you’re looking for an alternate route to get home, you can beat the crowds by taking the ferry at the Boardwalk to take you to the Hollywood Studios entrance.
Adult Things to Do at Disney Boardwalk
Walt Disney World is filled with things to do for Adults. From the Best Disney Lounges to fancy restaurants, the Disney Boardwalk has it all. Here are a few things to consider for your Boardwalk Night out!
- Jellyrolls: Dueling Piano Bar and Sing-Along happen Nightly at 7 pm with entertainment until 2 am. There is an 8-dollar cover charge.
- Atlantic Dance Hall: 9 pm-2 am. Dance Music from the 70’s – present. Must be 21 and over to enter.
- Belle Vue Lounge: Classic Radio Shows playing at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. If you’re up for something classic and indoors, stop in and soak up the nostalgia. Check out Belle Vue Lounge.
- Ale and Compass Lounge: Located in the Yacht Club, this lounge combines class, and low lights for an easy atmosphere, offering up classic drinks. Check out Ale and Compass Restaurant.
Disney Boardwalk Day Trip
So whatever you’re up for on your next Disney Vacation keep the Disney Boardwalk in mind. It’s full of little gems and a culture that’s laid back, fun, and removed from everything else. Whether it’s discovering the rocking chairs at the Yacht Club or that you’re super good at the funfair games on the Boardwalk. There is always something to do. Check out even more in our Disney Boardwalk Guide. Let us know what you love about the Boardwalk!