By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Review: Disney’s BoardWalk Inn



By Dave Shute

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S BOARDWALK INN

Review Disney's BoardWalk Inn from yourfirstvisit.net

Our most recent stay (in December 2018, our sixth at the BoardWalk Inn since I started this site) confirms that Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, one of the Epcot resorts, is the eighth best deluxe resort at Walt Disney World for first time family visitors.

(It can be a great choice for returning visitors, especially for a trip focused on Epcot and/or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.)

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.

Review - Disney's BoardWalk Inn from yourfirstvisit.netHowever, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort.

(It also suggests that first time visitors should avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. See this for why.)

Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the deluxe resorts are distinguished by having (on average) the most amenities, nicest views, best dining options, best transport options, largest rooms, best service, and highest prices.

Many are also paired with Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts.  For a review of the BoardWalk Inn’s sister DVC resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, click here.

Main Pool Disney's BoardWalk Inn from yourfirstvisit.net

Among the deluxe resorts, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn has a lot of positives.

  • It has a fun pool, though not nearly as good as the one its Epcot neighbors the Yacht Club and Beach Club share
  • It shares with the Yacht Club and the Beach Club Inn convenient access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and
  • It shares with these resorts a short walk to dozens of table service dining options located in these resorts, at the Swan and Dolphin, on the BoardWalk, and in Epcot.

It also has a couple of negatives, also largely shared with the Yacht and Beach Clubs. It’s thin on kid appeal compared to other options, is not as convenient for this site’s itineraries as some alternative resorts (although it is very well located for visits focused on Epcot and/or Disney’s Hollywood Studios), and has limited counter service in general and especially limited breakfast options.

Breakfast Options Disney's BoardWalk Inn from yourfirstvisit.net

The breakfast issue is better than it has been in the past…see the image…but it’s still not as good as many guests would expect.

(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)

In total this review  of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn covers six pages:

The summary review continues below.

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S BOARDWALK INN

Standard rooms at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn are sized in the middle of the deluxe resorts.

They are larger than those at the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge, but smaller than those at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and the other monorail resorts.

Refurbed in 2014, most of these rooms sleep five–two each in two queens, and another in convertible couch with a 72 inch mattress and 6’3″ of sleeping length. Rooms with one king bed are also available.

You can add to this capacity of five a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.

For a photo tour of a standard BoardWalk Inn room, see this. For other room types at the Inn, see this.

DINING AT DISNEY’S BOARDWALK INN

Unusually, there’s no real dining inside the hotel.  Outside, on the BoardWalk, you’ll find multiple dining venues operated by third parties.

None of these except the Flying Fish offers distinctive dining for adults, and none except for breakfast at Trattoria al Forno has particular kid appeal.

There’s not much in the way of counter-service, either. For all the latest offerings, see this.

For more on dining at the BoardWalk Inn, see this.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S BOARDWALK INN

The BoardWalk Inn has three pools–two un-themed quiet pools, and a large themed pool, the Luna Park pool, mean to remind you of seaside amusement parks from early in the twentieth century.

The Luna Park pool has everything you’d expect of a Disney World deluxe pool, but pales compared to Stormalong Bay at the nearby Yacht and Beach Clubs.

For more on the BoardWalk Inn’s Luna Park pool, see this.

DISNEY’S BOARDWALK INN KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is the eighth-best deluxe resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.

Kid Appeal.

The kid appeal of the BoardWalk Inn, such as it is, comes from largely its pool, not its design, architecture, or theme. And if you were to pick an Epcot resort based on it’s pool, it would not be the BoardWalk Inn–it’d be the Yacht or Beach Club, because of Stormalong Bay.

Roller Coaster Model Disney's BoardWalk Inn from yourfirstvisit.net

That said, there are some fun artifacts, such as a model of an old-time roller coaster, that will catch the eyes of kids.

Garden Cottage Disney's BoardWalk Inn from yourfirstvisit.net

Parents will delight in the BoardWalk Inn–it has a combination of peaceful, quiet green spaces and a bustling (though largely undistinguished) restaurant row that no other Disney World deluxe resort can match.

Kids, though will find it a yawn compared to resorts with higher kid appeal.

Convenience.

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is the fifth-most convenient of all the Walt Disney World resorts in carrying out the itineraries for first-time family visitors on this site.

All of the Epcot resorts are convenient to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot is a short walk or boat ride, and the Studios are a longer walk or boat ride away.

The other two parks are accessed by buses, which are shared with some of the other Epcot resorts.

WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY’S BOARDWALK INN

Best places to stay. This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms.

This is because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms.

The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.

Map Disney's BoardWalk Inn

The map depicts all of the BoardWalk Inn and a bit of the Boardwalk Villas.

The main entry to both is at the center, and the wings that contain the BoardWalk Inn rooms are at the right.

Rooms at the ends of the wings can be quite a hike from the elevator bank near the center of the figure.

The BoardWalk Disney's BoardWalk Inn from yourfirstvisit.net

Rooms with water views of the Crescent Lake also overlook the BoardWalk dining and entertainment area, and can suffer from noise from it.

Some upper floor courtyard view rooms have partial views of the Epcot fireworks.

So request either a room near the lobby, with a Courtyard view, or a room with a view of the Epcot fireworks.

BEST FOR:

Any first time family visitors who can afford it, but can’t get into or don’t want to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

WORST FOR:

Families seeking the highest degree of kid appeal. Families too large to fit its 5 person rooms.

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can book you Disney’s BoardWalk Inn–or any other DIsney World hotel.  Contact her using the form below:

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S BOARDWALK INN

This review continues here.

 

PAGES IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S BOARDWALK INN

 

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

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7 comments

1 GrumpyDad4 { 12.21.18 at 5:26 pm }

I tend to attribute the Boardwalk to be part of the Boardwalk Inn, thereby increasing venues for entertainment and dining. The activities available on the Boardwalk, the ESPN Club, and the other nightly entertainment, as well as the additional dining, made this resort a repeated destination for our family.

2 Dave { 12.24.18 at 7:21 am }

Got you, fair point, which is why I have most of these on my “Dining at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn” page. Even so, I find the group a mixed bag for families, and especially thin on quick service (as are the Yacht Club and Beach Club.)

3 Anonymous { 12.27.18 at 2:01 pm }

Belle Vue Lounge and Boardwalk Bakery for Breakfast, the Bakery, various stands/carts, and Pizza window for lunch and dinner. Apple Hills Creamery doesn’t open till noon, so I guess you can’t count that as breakfast.

4 GrumpyDad4 { 12.28.18 at 9:20 am }

What I am trying to convey is that I think the Boardwalk Inn gets a shrug off though it has some neat features to it. Yes, the Polynesian is a great first time choice, but my kids would rather be at the Boardwalk Inn than anywhere else (wait till you give your review on the Club Level; then I won’t shut up).

5 Dave { 12.29.18 at 10:29 am }

GrumpyDad, keep it coming! Especially for returning visitors, any of these hotels can be a great choice, and it’s good for other readers to see such passion. To me the biggest positives of the BoardWalk Inn–especially compared to the other EPcot resorts–are the loveliness of the courtyards, nad better balconies than the Beach Club.

I don’t know when I will get around to writing a review of the Club level at the BWI, but it is at worst tied with AKL as being the best, and for those who can take advantage of its evening offerings and partial IllumiNations view, it is the best!

6 GrumpyDad4 { 01.08.19 at 9:56 am }

Final question on this topic. Did the wonderful cast members in the Club Lounge provide the excellent service that they are known for?

7 Dave { 01.09.19 at 7:53 am }

GrumpyDad, I am a very undemanding dude–for example, I refused the special escort up to the floor, and had no needs or requests of the staff. But I did love all I interacted with–even though my interactions were brief and easy!!

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