by Disney Magic Diva
Choosing where to stay when visiting Walt Disney World Resort is a major decision. While many people prefer to stay at a non-Disney owned resort, for our family it makes sense to choose a resort on Disney World property.
Of course, deciding WHICH resort is never easy – there are over two dozen choices at Walt Disney World! Our decision is generally based on budget, who’s traveling, touring itineraries, and availability. While we naturally have our favorites, it’s also fun to try new resorts. We’ve stayed at all the value and moderate resorts, and most of the deluxes. It’s a work-in-progress.
When we know we’ll want to be visiting an Epcot festival or Hollywood Studios frequently, we love choosing one of the deluxe resorts on Disney’s BoardWalk. The convenience of walking to the parks is not to be underrated – it can save incredible amounts of time not waiting for a bus or driving to a park. When you stay at a BoardWalk resort, you are literally steps away from the International Gateway entrance to Epcot (as well as Disney’s Skyliner station!). And many people may not realize it’s only about a 10-minute walk to Hollywood Studios from BoardWalk.
So, which resort is right for you? Here’s a quick review of our experiences:
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Probably my favorite of the BoardWalk deluxe resorts, Disney’s Beach Club Resort has it all! Themed to resemble a casual seaside resort, Beach Club is relaxed, calm, and fun! The closest resort to Epcot’s International Gateway entrance, it is a perfect resort choice for an adults’ trip to partake in Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. But that’s not to say kids won’t enjoy it too! The sand-bottom pool at Stormalong Bay was a HUGE hit with our grandkids. What better way to spend an afternoon than pretending you’re at the beach? And with the sandy bottom pool, sand bar, and even sand buckets available, your kids are sure to love it!
One aspect of Beach Club we were surprised at is how far your room could be from the lobby (and food/resort mug refills). The indoor corridors were great when afternoon rain showers roll in, but it can still be a long walk and winding walk through multiple hallways to get where you’re going.
Disney’s Beach Club also has a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) option. Beach Club Villas is the area closest to Epcot, so if you really want to save steps, consider booking a Villa. Remember, you do not have to be a DVC member to book DVC rooms! It’s possible to rent points (we love using David’s Vacation Club Rentals) and get a deluxe resort room at a greatly reduced price!
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
If you are a Disney resort newbie, from a distance you probably wouldn’t even know that Yacht Club and Beach Club were different resorts. Well, maybe if you looked closely you’d notice that one is gray, and one is blue. But in reality, they look like one big complex from a distance.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has slightly different décor, but other than that it’s really no different than Beach Club. It’s closer to Hollywood Studios, the actual BoardWalk, and all the restaurants and nightlife, so if you want to spend more time there, it’s a better choice than Beach Club. Both Beach Club and Yacht Club share the amazing Stormalong Bay, so you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of what many people consider to be Disney’s best pool when you stay at either resort.
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
A Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property, we stayed at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas during a runDisney event. (Read my full review here.) It was a wonderful choice because the runners literally ran past our room! We could see them on the BoardWalk from our balcony! Since spectators aren’t generally allowed on the courses, this was the perfect place to be able to chEAR on our runner!
The resort was so centrally located for us during this trip. We were primarily spending time at Epcot and Hollywood Studios, so it was wonderful to be able to just walk to the parks. If your touring plan involves a heavy emphasis on either of these parks, BoardWalk Inn or BoardWalk Villas is a wonderful choice. (The properties are really indistinguishable. BoardWalk Inn is the “regular” resort, and Villas is the DVC property.)
One drawback we found at the BoardWalk Villas (and the same would apply to BoardWalk Inn) is the lack of on-site restaurants. There are plenty of quick service and table service restaurants on the BoardWalk, but they are not literally AT the resort. You need to walk along the BoardWalk to get to them.
Diva Tip: If resort mug refill stations are important to you, you may not want to choose BoardWalk. The only on-site mug refill station is at the pool bar, which has limited hours and beverage selections. The other refill station is at the BoardWalk Bakery, which is a short walk away down the BoardWalk.
Our room at BoardWalk overlooked the center courtyard, and it was lovely to sit on the balcony and enjoy the view of Epcot, Cresent Lake, and the BoardWalk. We could even see the boat dock from our balcony, so we knew when to hustle out to catch a boat! There is plenty of nighttime entertainment on the BoardWalk, so if you want some fun for after the parks close, it’s close by. But, we never heard loud noise in our room, so no worries if you need your beauty sleep – the revelry shouldn’t keep you awake!
Swan and Dolphin
Although they are not owned by Disney, the Swan and Dolphin are also right on the BoardWalk. These unique twin resorts with giant sculptures of swans and dolphins on their roofs are easily identified from all across Walt Disney World. The modern architecture, numerous fountains, and soaring palm trees create a luxurious resort. While not technically a Walt Disney World resort, guests of the Swan and Dolphin are able to take advantages of some of the Disney resort guests benefits such as FastPass+ reservations (suspended now, though, for COVID-19), complimentary park transportation, and advance tee times at Disney golf courses. Guests, cannot, however, use Disney’s complimentary Magical Express.
So which BoardWalk resort is right for you? Still, having trouble deciding? Consult an expert! Patricia at All for Dreams Travel can help you find the perfect resort at BoardWalk or anywhere you like! Contact her today for a FREE quote!
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