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by Military Diva

A vacation to Disney World can be as hectic or as laid back as you choose.  As most people note, you can easily walk 10 miles a day touring “The World”.  That’s why it is important to schedule a little down time during your trip.

A few years ago my husband and I made a trip without our children.  We followed our usual routing…Magic Kingdom in the morning, swim in the afternoon, Epcot at night, etc.  However without the kids we had so much more free time available.  We chose to take advantage and asked a Cast Member (a most invaluable asset) for a recommendation of what to do outside of the parks.  Her advice…head to the Boardwalk!

We were both aware of the Boardwalk Inn resort and surrounding Epcot resorts. But we didn’t know there was an actual Atlantic City, turn of the century type of Boardwalk right on Disney Property.



Hidden from even experienced guests and locals, the Disney Boardwalk can be found nestled around Crescent Lake in the Epcot Resort area.  It features a quarter mile promenade, several restaurants (JellyRolls, ESPN), shopping, outdoor entertainment and a truly relaxed environment.

The Makings of A Perfect Disney Night!

Upon arrival, my husband and I had no plans or expectations.  But come on, it’s Disney, it has to be wonderful!

To begin we chose to take Disney transportation to Hollywood Studios and take the walk along the lake. It is so well lit, manicured and just full of the smells of Disney.  (Other options include taking a boat ride from Epcot or Hollywood Studios to the Boardwalk or taking an Epcot Resorts bus from the parks/transportation center.)

Our first task was to find our meal.  There are so many dining options to choose from: Big River Grille and Brewing Works, Boardwalk Bakery, ESPN Club, Flying Fish Café, Leaping Horse Libations, Pizza Window, The To-Go Cart, Trattoria al Forno and several other on deck carts.. Being Jersey Natives, we opted for the true Boardwalk experience…PIZZA!  I mean you don’t get much more relaxed or Jersey than Pizza!

Walt Disney World's Boardwalk


Our order included their amazing Boardwalk Signature Pizza.  As we found a table and opened the box we were quickly surrounded by other guests trying to locate the delicious smell! Roasted garlic, mushrooms and spinach filled the air around us prompting our quick social rise!

As soon as our overstuffed bellies allowed, we ventured through the stores that are tucked into the promenade: Disney’s Character Carnival, Screen Door General Store, Seashore Sweets, Thimbles & Threads, and Wyland Galleries offer many of the wares found throughout the parks and Downtown Disney, minus the crowds!

So, bellies full and packages in hand we exited the General Store to a small group of people.  Surprise!  The Boardwalk offers some of the most entertaining street performers on-site. Mind readers, circus like acts and musicians are on hand to keep the laughter rolling throughout the day.  Families can venture to ESPN for a live radio sports show, into the arcade for a bit more fun ,or cruise the area on a surrey rental.  Guests over age 21 can also head to Jellyrolls for a dueling piano experience or head to the Atlantic Dance Hall to hit the night club scene. The Disney Boardwalk truly offers a low cost experience for any age or member of the family.


Disney World Boardwalk, photo courtesy Nikki Alexander

Disney World Boardwalk, photo courtesy Nikki Alexander

Disney's Boardwalk Street Performer, photo courtesy of Nikki Alexander

Disney’s Boardwalk Street Performer, photo courtesy of Nikki Alexander


Now I know what you are thinking.  “But what about Dessert?!”  You know Disney will not disappoint in this area either.  Boardwalk Bakery, Boardwalk Funnel Cakes and Seashore Sweets offer most any treat you can think to enjoy.  But the famous Beaches and Cream Soda Shop  is located just a short walk over the lake to the Beach Club Resort.  Who could resist?

We took a short stroll over the bridge and were quickly served at the B&C Soda Shop To Go counter (no dining reservations needed-tables outside). It was a perfect way to end the night, or so I thought.  Within minutes our leisurely stroll was interrupted by the beautiful boom from Epcot’s Illuminations.  Right on the sandy beach, ice cream in hand, we had a crowd-free unobstructed view of the fireworks!

Best Night Ever!

So, if you and your family find yourselves with an unexpected night off while in Disney World, I would highly recommend a trip to Disney’s Boardwalk area.  Amazing food, low cost or (even better-free!) entertainment, desserts and fireworks all without a park ticket or a large crowd.  Vacation life doesn’t get much better.