If you’re heading to Orlando Florida, then why not stop by the Disney BoardWalk? While this is part of Walt Disney World it’s FREE to Visit and no park ticket, park pass reservation, or anything is required! For that reason, we think it’s one of the best places to go at Walt Disney World if you’re looking for something fun to do. Whether you’re in the middle of a Disney Vacation or just passing through. Here are our TOP 10 Things to Do on the Disney BoardWalk.
What is the Disney Boardwalk?
As home to several Disney Resorts, restaurants, Shops, Beaches, and Entertainment, this area at Walt Disney World offers everything you could want on a nice day out. While there are not any rides, and it’s FREE to visit, the BoardWalk is good for both kids and adults. Offering fun things like surrey bikes, an ice cream shop, and midway games like you would find at the fair, it’s a great way to spend the day out of the Disney crowds.
Is the Disney Boardwalk Free?
Yes! You can visit the Disney Boardwalk in Orlando for FREE. Plus take advantage of the views, beaches, window shopping, and whatever else catches your fancy in this resort area of Walt Disney World.
Is it Free to Visit the Disney Resorts on the BoardWalk?
Yes, ALL Disney Resort Hotels are free to visit. And the resorts here are no exception. Resorts on the Disney Boardwalk include Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts.
Do you Need a Disney Park Ticket for the Disney BoardWalk?
No. Disney’s BoardWalk is FREE, and you do not need a park ticket, or a park reservation to visit. You can simply grab a Disney bus to any of the Disney BoardWalk Resorts and enjoy your Disney day in this free area. No Ticket is required.
Where is the Disney BoardWalk?
The Disney Boardwalk is located between EPCOT Park and Hollywood Studios. It is accessible by taking a bus to any of the Disney BoardWalk Resorts, or grabbing the Disney Skyliner and getting off at the EPCOT International Gateway stop.
From Disney Springs
The easiest way to get to the Disney BoardWalk if you’re off-site is by taking the Disney Boardwalk Inn Bus from Disney Springs. Simply park your car at the Disney Springs parking lot and take the bus to the resort. Once there, you can simply walk through the lobby and out onto the BoardWalk. And then just grab the bus back to Disney Springs when you’re done.
From the Swan, the Swan Reserve, and Dolphin
Walking to the Disney BoardWalk from the Swan and Dolphin Hotels takes about 5-10 minutes. The Boardwalk is home to several resorts. Staying at any of these resorts, or dining at these resorts will get you parking privileges. You can also follow the signs, if driving, to the specific parking lot designated for The Boardwalk. The Swan and Dolphin, Swan Reserve, The Yacht Club, The Beach Club, and The Boardwalk Inn are the resorts in this area to visit for easy access.
If you are at EPCOT just head back to the World Showcase. It won’t matter which direction you choose. At one point you’ll arrive in France or England. In between these two countries is a pathway called the International Gateway. This pathway will take you past a gift shop and you’ll walk through “exit” gates out of Epcot. Don’t worry, you’ll easily get back in later. Once you clear the exit gates you have arrived. We love heading to the beach at the Disney Boardwalk Resorts from Epcot just to dip our toes in the sand. And when we need to escape the crowds of the parks.
From Hollywood Studios
Take any Disney Bus to Hollywood Studios or drive there. Walk towards the front gates of Hollywood Studios but instead of going through the gates, turn to your right. Here you will see a sign leading to the walking path. From there, just walk along, about 10-15 minutes, and the entrance to The Boardwalk will be at the end of it. One of our favorite things to do is leave Hollywood Studios and walk to the Boardwalk for lunch or dinner. It’s a great way to escape crowds and get some amazing food close by without using Disney transportation.
Take a Boat to the Disney BoardWalk
The main dock at the Disney BoardWalk is right in front of the BoardWalk Inn. You can get here from the Hollywood Studios Boat Dock, Swan and Dolphin Boat Dock, or the EPCOT International Gateway Boat Dock.
Can you Park at the Disney BoardWalk?
You can park in the Disney BoardWalk Inn and Villas overflow parking lot, if you have a dining reservation, for a maximum of three hours. Unless you want to pay for Valet parking for the day at a cost of $25. Our best tip? Skip bringing your car to the BoardWalk, and Park at Disney Springs instead. While this may seem like a bit of a hassle, parking at Disney Springs is FREE, and it’s so close to the BoardWalk, that you won’t be traveling long. Simply grab the Disney BoardWalk Inn bus at Disney Springs. Once you arrive, you can walk through the lobby and out to the BoardWalk.
What Resorts are on the Disney BoardWalk?
Part of the BoardWalk’s charm is that you can experience a variety of Disney Resorts. From checking out the lobbies to browsing the gift shops, and even grabbing lunch at the Disney Resort Disney Quick Service Restaurant, there is plenty to do. The BoardWalk Resorts are all part of the Disney BoardWalk experience and offer interesting entertainment, beaches, and courtyards for relaxing.
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. This resort features a carousel theme, Carousel Coffee, and Belle Vue Lounge.
- Disney’s Yacht Club. Home to large sprawling porches with rocking chairs, Disney’s Yacht Club is themed for New England’s maritime elite.
- Disney’s Beach Club. Featuring an Aloe-scented lobby, you can experience the best pool at Walt Disney World here and beaches across the pathway.
- Swan Hotel. This boutique hotel doesn’t scream Disney, but it offers a great little coffee place and nice rooms.
- Dolphin Hotel. This hotel has a bar in the lobby and beaches for lounging.
- Swan Reserve Hotel. The newest hotel in the BoardWalk area, the Swan Reserve is upscale and within walking distance of both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
What is there to do on the Disney Boardwalk?
The Disney BoardWalk has loads of things to do from lounging opportunities on the lawns, and beaches, to bonified entertainment featuring jugglers, dueling pianos, and even a dance hall. Here are all the things to experience on the Disney Boardwalk.
The Beach Club and Yacht Club Resorts both have beaches. Each includes a slew of loungers, and opportunities to put your toes in the sand. The Beach Club beach is also the location for the Movie Under the Stars, shown nightly at the resort. And you don’t have to be staying at the resort to attend.
Disney BoardWalk Entertainment
One of the best parts of the Disney BoardWalk is all the entertainment. Whether you’re a kid looking for extra fun or a Disney Adult looking for a Disney Date Nite, here are some things you can do at the Disney BoardWalk.
- Atlantic Dance Hall: This dance hall, themed in the Art Deco style, is typically open Tuesday-Saturday nights, 8:00 pm to 1:00 am for guests 21 and up. And it’s FREE.
- Jellyrolls: This Dueling Piano Bar has a $10 cover charge and is open 7:00 pm to 1:45 am. For guests 21 and up, you can visit, enjoy the free popcorn, and even have dinner here.
- Carnival Games: Typically about $2 each to play the Disney BoardWalk is lined with old-school carnival games. Shooting games, basketball games, and more await with loads of prizes to be won at each.
- Performers: Jugglers, Hoola Hoopers, Dancers and more take to the Disney BoardWalk in the evenings with mini-shows to enjoy. During rainy nights, you can often still find these performers inside the Disney BoardWalk Inn.
Disney BoardWalk Gift Shops
There are several gift shops along the BoardWalk but are all connected. Screen Door General Store, Thimbles and Threads, and Disney’s Character Carnival. All offer something special, and in addition to the Resort Gift Shops, provide loads of window shopping time.
Disney BoardWalk Restaurants
One of the best parts of the Disney Boardwalk is the variety of restaurants that allow you to get out of the parks, and enjoy something special.
- AbracadaBar: This bar is open from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am and offers magic at the ready. Check out the AbracadaBar Lounge Menu for a look at drinks and bar basics, like pizza, fries, and charcuterie.
- Big River Grille and Brewing Works: This restaurant includes American pub favorites and craft beers. Check out the Big River Grille and Brewing Works Menu.
- Blue Ribbon Corn Dog: This food kiosk joins other favorites along the Disney BoardWalk! Coming Soon!
- BoardWalk Deli: This quick service restaurant at Disney World features flavors from the classic New Jersey deli, including crumb cake. This is also the location of the refillable mug station for Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. Check out the Disney Boardwalk Deli.
- BoardWalk Ice Cream: This ice cream shop serves ice cream cones, sundaes, and milkshakes in fun flavors and offers outdoor seating.
- BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas: A fan favorite, Boardwalk Joe’s is home to marvelous margaritas and soft pretzels.
- The Cake Bake Shop Bakery and Restaurant: This delectable cake shop includes a restaurant with high tea service and a bakery for grab-and-go treats. Coming Soon!
- Flying Fish: This seafood restaurant also offers up steak and contemporary American cuisine. Check out the Flying Fish Menu.
- Funnel Cake Cart. For a sweet treat, you can head to the funnel cake cart and feel like you’re really enjoying the carnival on the Atlantic BoardWalk of the good old days.
- Pizza Window. Our favorite place for Pizza at Walt Disney World, you can order a classic large pizza, in cheese or pepperoni, and eat it at the outdoor tables, or take it back to your room.
- Trattoria al Forno. Perfect for breakfast or dinner, Trattoria al Forno serves cuisine with an Italian twist. This is one of the best restaurants on the Disney BoardWalk. Check out the Trattoria al Forno Menu.
Top 10 Things to Do on the Disney BoardWalk
Visiting the Disney BoardWalk at Walt Disney World is something we do every visit. The calm, the relaxation, and the chance to be away from Disney crowds are always luring enough. But if you’re looking for other things to do while you’re at Disney or in the Orlando, Florida area, then here are our Top 10 Things to Do on the Disney BoardWalk.
Surrey Bike Rentals
A favorite activity for families and friends on the Disney BoardWalk is renting the Surrey Bikes. These bikes are available in a 2 or 4-person version and are available for $25 per 1/2 hour. If you’re headed to the boardwalk and want to see the sights by bicycle then these bikes can help you get around. While the Disney BoardWalk isn’t too large for walking, the bike experience can feel like a ride and is a great way to add a little more to your day.
The Cake Bake Shop on the Disney Boardwalk | TBD 2024
This “whimsical table service restaurant and bakery” created by Gwendolyn Rogers serves up beautiful cakes in a delightful atmosphere on Disney’s Boardwalk. Offering up both a Bakery and a Restaurant you can delight in cakes, tea service, and savory sandwiches with French flair.
Coming Soon to the Disney BoardWalk is Gwendolyn Rogers Cake Bake Shop Bakery and Restaurant. This restaurant includes fancy foods perfect for luncheon, high tea, and any Disney Girls Trip or Disney Mommy and Me Vacation you’ve got planned. This restaurant includes both a bakery side and a table service restaurant. The Cake Bake Shop Bakery offers grab-and-go cake slices, cupcakes, and treats perfect for a light and decadent treat. The Cake Bake Shop Restaurant serves a variety of beautiful simple foods perfect for brunch, high tea, and any fancy meal you desire.
BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas
This little margarita stand on the Disney BoardWalk is one of the hidden gems in this area. Serving up margaritas and soft pretzels, we love that you can grab a drink and head to the midway games for some good old-fashioned carnival time. Our favorites here are the Jalapeno Stuffed Pretzel, Dole Whip Smoothie and of course, any of the margaritas.
Movies Under the Stars
A favorite Disney pastime you can find at any Disney Resort, the Movies Under the Stars are offered each evening at Walt Disney World resorts. And on the Disney BoardWalk, you can usually see these from the walkway at both the Disney Beach Club Resort and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. At the Beach Club, the movie screen is either on the lawn or beach. At BoardWalk Inn, the screen is center stage on the front lawn, so you can’t miss it. Interested in taking a break to watch a film? These movies typically start between 6:30- 7:30 pm depending on the resort, they’re FREE, and all are welcome. Check out our Movies Under the Stars Guide for all the tips and how to get the schedules.
Looking for Pizza on the Disney BoardWalk? Found at a Pizza Window near the Trattoria al Forno entrance you can get a full-size pizza to go! Pepperoni, Margherita, and Cheese are typically on the menu and can be mobile ordered usually before 4 pm, for a later pick-up time.
Trattoria al Forno
Our favorite restaurant on the Disney BoardWalk, Trattoria al Forno offers up one of the Best Breakfasts at Walt Disney World. Complete with avocado toast, french toast, classic omelets, and a to-die-for iced coffee, if you’re heading to the boardwalk, be sure to stop here. We also love this restaurant for dinner. With a variety of Italian dishes, this restaurant has pizza, gnocchi, salads, and meats worth trying.
Carousel Coffee at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
New to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Carousel Coffee is a small cafe located just off the lobby. Serving Joffrey’s Coffee and Teas, you can also get grab-and-go items here. Themed to the Disney Carousel culture, this cafe also has a small seating area perfect for a break or any remote work you may have brought with you. This is one of our Top 10 Things to Do on the Disney BoardWalk, because it truly is one of the best places on the Disney Boardwalk to get coffee! And we always love finding new Coffee Places at Walt Disney World.
Ale and Compass Lounge at Disney’s Yacht Club
Inside Disney’s Yacht Club is the Ale and Compass Restaurant. One of our favorite places for breakfast, To Go Meals at Walt Disney World and a budget-friendly dinner at Disney, we recently also discovered they have a lounge! We love Lounges at Walt Disney World, and the Ale and Compass Lounge has some of the best small plates, drinks, and even mocktails. This lounge includes a cozy seating area with sofas as well as a bar area.
Lounge on the Beaches at Disney’s Beach Club
While a beach is just a beach, the beaches at the Beach Club are worth the visit. With views of the boats, BoardWalk, and hotels in the area the beach includes a wooden swing, loungers, plus a large connect four and tik-tack toe game. Hardly ever crowded, we love this beach for taking breaks at Walt Disney World. Proximity to the Disney Mug Refill station at Hurrican Hannas is a bonus. And if you’re looking for something to eat or a Disney treat, the Beach Club Marketplace and Gift Shop are just inside the resort.
Grab Ice Cream at Disney BoardWalk Ice Cream
If you’re in the mood for Ice Cream, you can count on large portions and a decent price at Disney’s BoardWalk Ice Cream. We like it best for the fun flavor combinations like brownie and chocolate, and chocolate peanut butter. But the strawberry shortcake ice cream sundae is something to write home about. Grab some ice cream and head to the outdoor tables to enjoy the BoardWalk Views.
Shop at Thimbles and Threads Gift Shop
This gift shop has not only BoardWalk Inn-specific merchandise, but also a variety of resort wear, Mickey ears, specialty collections, and more. If you’re looking for a Disney souvenir, this little shop will surely have something for you. We also love that you can see new Disney merchandise here without heading into the parks. If you’re ready for browsing or shopping, then be sure to stop here.
Stroll the BoardWalk
One of our favorite ways to have a stress-free Disney Vacation is to take breaks. And what better way than to head to the Disney Boardwalk for a stroll around the lake? We love the opportunity to walk and see things. Stop at the beaches, at the resorts and shops, and enjoy the day! You can grab a fun treat for the kids, or yourself, and make a day of it.
Take a Boat Ride
The Friendship Boats sail the lake that connects Epcot and Hollywood Studios. As a result, there are several docks at the Disney BoardWalk that you can use to embark on your next sailing trip. You can grab the boat at the International Gateway for the longest trip to the Hollywood Studios dock. Or grab any of the boat docks along the way. The Swan and Dolphin, and Yacht Club Resorts also have docks, if you’re looking to just sail a bit of your day away.
Hopefully, this list has helped you get a handle on the best things to do on the Disney BoardWalk. As one of our favorite Free things to do at Walt Disney World, we hope you love this area as much as we do!
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.