by Disney Magic Diva
If you’re looking for a beautiful resort, within walking distance to TWO Walt Disney World parks, you will definitely want to consider Disney’s BoardWalk Villas. This gorgeous, fun-filled resort is themed after the turn-of-the-century Atlantic City boardwalk and just steps away from both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It had long been on our bucket list, and now ranks as one of our favorite resorts!
BoardWalk Villas is a Disney Vacation Club property, but it is virtually indistinguishable from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. We used David’s Vacation Rentals to rent points for our stay at BoardWalk Villas. (Read all about renting points here.) We chose a preferred deluxe studio (mostly because no standard studios were available, and this was our only choice.)
The room was spacious: plenty of room for 3 adults. It had one queen bed, a pullout sofa, and a drop-down Murphy-type twin sized bed. The colors were soothing and soft – almost a beachy feel. A small table was incorporated into the drop-down bed, similar to the table/murphy bed arrangement at Pop Century. While certain features of the room seemed updated (the backsplash in the kitchenette, for instance) there were other aspects that had a very dated feel (the bathroom, the carpet, etc.)
We were a little surprised that the bath vanity only had one sink – typically in deluxe resorts there are two sinks. But we have noticed DVC properties sometimes vary. We did appreciate the lighted magnifying mirror and all the storage under the vanity. The closet had a pack-and-play for families.
The kitchenette was equipped with a small sink, toaster, coffee-maker, microwave, small refrigerator, dish soap, plates, bowls, coffee cups, and silverware.
Our balcony overlooked the courtyard area and Crescent Lake. It was a wonderful place to relax. Our stay coincided with a runDisney race, and we could even see the runners on the Boardwalk from our balcony! We were also able to watch the Friendship Boats dock, so we knew when to hurry downstairs to catch a ride to Hollywood Studios or Epcot.
On-site dining is one area I wish had a few more options. Naturally there was room service, but I missed the convenience of an on-site quick service location (other than the pool bar).
Diva Tip: If you have the Disney resort beverage mug, you’ll need to walk to BoardWalk Bakery to refill it. The bartender at the pool bar will also refill your mug, but they are open limited hours and only have Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite as beverage options.
While there wasn’t a great selection of on-site dining, there were plenty of restaurants on the Boardwalk. You could walk to the Boardwalk Bakery and get sandwiches, salads and baked goods. (The Crumb Cake was unbelievable!!) One of my favorite quick service options was Pizza Window. We found the personal pizza to be big enough to share!
If you’re just looking for a snack, there’s The To-Go Cart (hot dogs, chicken fingers, sandwiches) or the Funnel Cake Cart are definite options. And of course Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort are only a short 5 minute walk. You can certainly head there for other dining options. (Read my review comparing Yacht and Beach Club here.)
There are several options for table service dining on the BoardWalk. Trattoria al Forno has a delightful Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast with Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel, and Prince Eric (check out my review); and enticing Italian dishes for dinner. Big River Grille & Brewing Works is a great option for sandwiches, salads, steaks and lovers of craft beer. They have their own brewery onsite, so it’s a fun ambiance. (Check out Pink Diva’s review!) Likewise, for the sports fan, the ESPN Club is a popular place to enjoy a meal AND watch the game. With over 100 video monitors and global satellite, there’s always a sporting event sure to please any fan. During big sporting events, you can bet this restaurant will be packed. I’ve seen lines out the door for major football, soccer, baseball, basketball, and boxing matches. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, consider Flying Fish. It’s a luxury experience serving sustainable seafood and premium steaks.
If you’re sweet tooth is calling, there’s not one, but TWO ice cream shops within walking distance from BoardWalk Villas. Beach Club of course has Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – I highly recommend the No Way Jose sundae! If you have a group, try the Kitchen Sink! It’s an experience you will not soon forget! (Read about my family’s attempt here, or Soarin’ Diva’s review here.)
Ample Hills Creamery is down the BoardWalk in the other direction. They have so many amazing flavors, it’s hard to choose. So we usually don’t. Just order the ice-cream flight and you get to try 6 flavors! (click here to read my review)
THINGS TO DO
After dinner and dessert, you may want to enjoy a nice evening of entertainment. Head over to Jellyrolls for a fabulous evening of music, laughter, and sing-alongs. A dueling piano bar, Jellyrolls is a wonderful place to relax and have fun. My daughter, who was married at the Wedding Pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, chose to have her “bachelorette” party at Jellyrolls. We all had a magnificent time!
If dancing the night away sounds like the perfect evening, you can head to Atlantic Dance Hall. This adults only nightclub is the place to show your moves while enjoying music from the 80’s, 90’s, and today.
If you’re looking for family entertainment, the choices at BoardWalk are almost limitless! Besides the pools (see below) and playground, there’s surrey bike rides, campfires, fishing, tennis, pirate cruises (departing from Beach and Yacht Club mornings or evenings), jogging trails, yoga, arcades, painting classes, the community hall and even mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens within walking distance!
We didn’t spend much time at one of the most famous features of BoardWalk Villas – the pool! The big attraction at the pool is the 200’ water slide with a giant clown face. Many people have commented that it is creepy; others love it. Whatever your feelings about the clown, it is certainly well themed to the resort, and the waterslide is a big hit with most visitors!
Like all Disney resorts, the Recreation Staff hosts pools parties every afternoon. Games, prizes, dancing – fun for everyone!
Diva Tip: Every afternoon the Disney Recreation staff also hosted games and activities in the courtyard. We saw lots of kids playing carnival-type games, making floral Minnie-ear headbands, and just generally really enjoying themselves. Once we even saw Mickey make an appearance!
If you (or your little ones) just can’t tolerate the clown face at the main pool, there are also two quiet pools and a splash pad area. Or maybe a drink from the poolside bar, Leaping Horse Libations can help you cope. You can also order food here – salads, pizza and sandwiches.
If you find yourself enjoying the resort so much you don’t make it to the parks (and therefore need a workout since you’re not getting in your steps!) BoardWalk Villas has one of the biggest and nicest exercise rooms I’ve seen! Instead of just a couple machines, Muscles & Bustles Health Club had dozens, all surrounded by great views.
If you just can’t escape work, there is also a business center where you can ship packages, print, copy, or receive fax documents. Banking and currency exchange services are also available.
There are laundry facilities, but if you have a 1 bedroom (or bigger) villa, your room will have a washer and dryer! Talk about comforts of home!
The staff was very attentive too! On especially warm days, they left a basket of towels by the entrance doors so you could wipe perspiration off your face when you returned from a long day at the park. We also found a very considerate note in our room after the runDisney event! They knew we had been participating, and left a kind note of congratulations!
One of our favorite features of BoardWalk is that it is within walking distance to Epcot (about 6-7 minutes) or Disney’s Hollywood Studios (about 10-12 minutes). If your feet need a break from walking, you can also take a Friendship Boat to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Disney busses are available for transportation to Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Diva Tip: Beware that when weather is inclement, boats will suspend operations. Busses will then be available, but will stop at Swan, Dolphin, Yacht, Beach, and BoardWalk, so it will take some time. Just plan accordingly if the weather is an issue.
If you want to travel in style, order a Minnie Van to take you anywhere on Disney property! It’s a convenient way to travel to another resort since busses don’t travel from resort to resort. I’ve also used it when I was traveling with 2 young kids and a double stroller…handling all that on a bus just seemed too overwhelming!
Like all Disney resorts, you can use the Magical Express to get to and from Orlando International Airport. (We always take advantage of Resort Airline Check-In too. Check your bags at the resort, then no need to deal with checking them at the airport. They take care of all that for you, and you just magically pick them up at your destination!)
Are you ready to make your transportation arrangements to Disney’s BoardWalk Villas? Or some other destination? Click here to get a free, no obligation quote from Patricia at All for Dreams Travel.
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