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 Epcot. Heck, you don’t even have to be going to the parks to enjoy the Disney Boardwalk! You could just go there, because its amazing.
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 bussing between Epcot and Hollywood Studios you’ll be happy you took some time to discover the The Boardwalk at Walt Disney World.
Stepping into an old seaside picture postcard from the 1920’s, The Boardwalk is the hangout for Adults at Disney ( as well as kids) and the quintessential way to get away from it all. Mind you we don’t know this will change once the gondola system is installed, but for right now, it’s a sleepy seaside atmosphere.
Free Disney Day at the Boardwalk
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.
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, less 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 its one of our favorite places.
Once you arrive you’ll notice there are a few places you simply must visit!
Food on the Disney Boardwalk
Ample Hills Creamery: You can watch ice cream being made at this Brooklyn Ice Cream Parlor then dive in to taste samples. With more than a dozen signature flavors we advise you try them all since the only other Ample Hills Creamery you’ll find is in New York. They recently introduced the Oooey Gooey Cake Ice Cream ( from Liberty Tavern Fame). Yummy.
Boardwalk Bakery: It’s no secret we love cupcakes and these could potentially rival the gigantic specialty cupcakes at Hollywood Studio’s Starring Rolls Cafe. Some cupcakes are approved on the Disney Dining Plan and big enough to share. You can also grab soup, salads and sandwiches here… but why?
Trattoria al Forno: A fancy Italian Pizza Place is always welcome. And you get yours to sit down with a glass of wine, or as a take out from the walk up window.
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 its 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 Walt Disney World 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, Monorail Access to Magic Kingdom, Walking distance to Epcot, 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 and Dolphin Hotels. Here you can get 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 resort. If you stay here you also get access to a 3 acre pool, complete with hot tubs, caves and slides.
In the late afternoons you’ll see magicians, illusionists, and comedians perfect for the little ones and in the evening you can grab a spot on one of the resort beaches to watch the Hollywood Studio’s new Star Wars Fireworks show.
The Boardwalk is wonderful at night and if you’re looking for an alternate route to get home, beat the crowds, catch one last drink at the ESPN Club or just want to catch Fantasmic or the Star Wars show at Hollywood Studios before the night is over you can count on the ferry at the Boardwalk to take you to the Hollywood Studios entrance.
So what Adult Stuff at Disney Boardwalk can you do?
Jellyrolls: Dueling Piano Bar and Sing Along happens Nightly at 7pm with entertainment until 2am. There is an 8 dollar cover charge.
Atlantic Dance Hall: 9pm-2am. Dance Music from the 70’s – present. Must be 21 and over to enter.
ESPN Club: 100 televisions. You’ll find that and more in this sports bar and restaurant catering to those who need to get away from the Disneymania.
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.
So whatever you’re up for on your next Disney Vacation keep the Boardwalk at Epcot in mind. Its full of little gems and a culture that’s laid back, fun and removed from everything else. Whether its discovering the rocking chairs at the Yacht Club or that you’re super good at the fun fair games that flank the boardwalk- we’re up for all sorts of surprises on our next trip. Let us know what you love about the Boardwalk!