Resort Review

Resort Review: Boardwalk Villas

The Boardwalk Villas are found in the Epcot Resort area, among the five resorts that sit on Crescent Lake. It’s a Disney Vacation Club resort housed with the Boardwalk Inn. The Boardwalk is an area with lively entertainment, a variety of restaurants and eateries. Lounges, nighttime entertainment, and a dance hall. The whole resort is themed in turn of the century Atlantic City. So you’ve got heavy influences of circus colours, bright lights, and midway designs. Even though it opened in the 90s, it’s still a beautiful and unique resort. Today’s review is going to focus on the Boardwalk Villas, if you want details on the Boardwalk Inn you can find the review here.

The only thing differing the villas and the Inn are the styles of room and the area of the hotel. The Inn is on the Epcot side of the resort whereas the Villas are on the Hollywood Studios side. The Villas and the Inn share a lobby, pools, restaurants and grounds. The Villas are the colorful side of the resort whereas the Inn is white. 

We’ve stayed at the Boardwalk twice. Once on the Inn side, and most recently on the Villas side. So you can be reassured that all this information is fresh and first hand.

Location

Boardwalk Villas are found on the Western side of the Boardwalk. There are rooms that face the lake, the Boardwalk, garden, pools and parking lot. The villas surround the two pools, one courtyard and neighbour the tennis courts. The buildings are bright, fun and inviting. When staying at the villas you can walk to Epcot and to Hollywood Studios. Two pools are just a couple floors down or right out your door. You are in the middle of the action. The Boardwalk itself is across from the Beach Club resort and Yacht Club resort, two other Deluxe resorts. This really widens your options for resort table service dining. Giving you more places to eat on your non-park days, and more places to explore on quiet evenings. From the Boardwalk you can see the Happily Ever After fireworks high above the Beach Club Resort. You can watch the Epcot fireworks over the bridge connecting Boardwalk and Beach Club resort. Every Disney guest should come explore this area of Walt Disney World resort at some point. There is so much to see and do without even entering a park. You’ll be glad you’ve chosen to stay here. 

Transportation. 

Guests of the Boardwalk have the luxury of enjoying water taxis and the pathways leading to Epcot and to Hollywood Studios. These may not be monorail resorts but they do have have great transportation none the less. The bus stop for the Boardwalk is found at the entrance. When walking from the villas, go back towards the lobby and exit out the main entrance. Follow the pathway beside the Inn and make a right. Going straight will lead you to the Conference Centre. The bus stop will be right in front of you. There will conveniently be TVs telling guests how long the wait for each bus should be. The boat launch is found off the Boardwalk. You can take the elevator down to the 1st floor and exit outside. Walk towards the water and the boat launch is in the middle of the boardwalk. 

Magic Kingdom. 

The only way to get to the Magic Kingdom is by bus. It’s a direct route. Straight from the Boardwalk to the Magic Kingdom. The bus starts transport an hour and a half before the park officially opens. The ride will be approximately 10 minutes if there’s little traffic. The earlier you get the bus, the less people you’ll have to worry about. If you want to get to the Magic Kingdom before the park opens I would be down to the bus stop by 7:45. When we stayed here we left our room at 7:30am and were walking down Main St U.S.A. by 8am. When leaving the Magic Kingdom, the Boardwalk Resort bus stop is number 14. Not very close to the front, if you ask me. This is when that stroller is going to come in handy. 

Epcot. 

There are two ways to gain entry to Epcot: by boat and by foot. The boat and the pathway will both give you access to Epcot through the World Showcase entry. This entry puts you in England. And the only World Showcase attractions open before 11am is Norway and Mexico which is on the polar opposite side of World Showcase. So to save your legs, grab the boat for the beginning of your day, and start your day off in The Land and The Sea area of Epcot to save you from walking any further than necessary. 

Hollywood Studios.

Same as Epcot, you can access Hollywood Studios via pathway or boat. For some guests at the villas, the walk to the boat will be as far as the walk to Hollywood Studios. Making the walk a clear choice.

Animal Kingdom.

Bus transportation is the one way to access Animal Kingdom. The transportation begins an hour and a half before the park officially opens. This bus does not come as frequently as you’d like so give yourself lots of time to get from the Boardwalk Villas to Animal Kingdom. Especially if you want to get in before the park opens. The bus ride will take about 15 minutes but you don’t know how long you’ll be waiting for the bus, once you get down to the bus stop and how long it will take for guests to disembark. Give yourself a nice big window of time. When leaving the Animal Kingdom, the Boardwalk is number 4. Awesome location.

Disney Springs.

Disney Springs starts having transportation at 10:30am. This shopping, entertainment and dining district opens at 11am. During the hours that Typhoon Lagoon is open, this bus is shared between the two. So you can expect a bit of a delay getting to Disney Springs or coming back depending on where you land on the schedule. 

Typhoon Lagoon. 

Transportation to Typhoon Lagoon is shared with Disney Springs, so you can expect to either wait on the way there or on the way back. So make sure to bring a change of clothes so you’re not sitting in your wet suit while your waiting for the bus and then sitting on the bus. 

Blizzard Beach. 

Bus transportation for Blizzard Beach is shared with Animal Kingdom. Which is partly why it takes so long for the bus to return to the Boardwalk during the day. This means you are in for a long ride. If you have a rental vehicle I would suggest using this to gain access to Blizzard Beach or try using Disney’s Uber. If you choose to use the bus transportation expect at 30 minute transport time.

ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Bus transportation to ESPN Wide World of Sports is provided from the Boardwalk Villas on runDisney weekends. Otherwise, you’ll need to grab transportation from All-Star Sports, Caribbean Beach or Pop Century. 

Pools

Guests of Boardwalk Villas have access to three pools. Two quiet pools and the main pool. The main pool and one of the quiet pools is found on the villas side of the Boardwalk resort. Unfortunately, being closely located to other resorts in this area doesn’t give you any pool hopping abilities because the pool shared by the Beach Club and the Yacht Club, Stormalong Bay, requires guests to scan their MagicBands to gain access. For tricks on how to get into that exclusive pool check out this previous post.

Luna Park Pool.

Luna Park Pool is the feature pool at the Boardwalk Villas. Many villas surround this fun pool area that’s focal point is the waterslide made to look like a rollercoaster. The whole area is fun. It’s bright and colourful. With a beautifully designed quick-service, pool bar located beside the pool. The Leaping Horse Libations serves burgers, sandwiches and snacks. As well as some delicious beverages, alcoholic and non. Luna Park Pool hosts pool side activities run by recreation cast members, has lifeguards on duty, a whirlpool and washrooms. There’s a kiddie pool closely located as well as a playground. This pool is open to both guests of the Boardwalk Inn and the Boardwalk Villas. To find the pool, simply take the elevator to the bottom floor. Walk outside, and you’ll see this pool area to your left. Lifejackets and pool noodles are available on a first come, first serve basis. 

Community Hall Quiet Pool.

This pool is found beside the Community Hall. You’ll find more people lounging around this pool then in this pool. We used this pool on our last vacation to help teach our daughter to swim. There’s no slides, no lifeguards, so it’s exactly what you’d expect: a quiet pool. It’s very small, and very deep. There’s a nice staircase into the pool but it’s clearly not made for littles. It did allow for a nice, quiet and safe place for the two of us to practice her front glide. There’s a whirlpool located close by. You’ll find this pool in the courtyard immediately after the Luna Park Pool area. 

Rose Garden Courtyard Quiet Pool.

This is my favourite pool at the Boardwalk. This area of the Boardwalk is hidden away and beautiful!!! This area is on the Inn side of the resort. You can find this quiet pool by taking the Inns elevators down to the first floor or by taking the fantastic outdoor staircase. This area is surrounded by cottage style buildings. One side is the conference centre and the other is the unique Garden Rooms that have private access. Picket fences to boot. They’re adorable! This quiet pool is found in the middle of it all, and is also sectioned off by a sweet fence. The pool has a whirlpool and restrooms. Deck chairs and tables. No lifeguards are found here. It’s a perfect spot to spend a romantic evening. 

Restaurants

There are many places to sit and enjoy a meal at the Boardwalk. Mostly the restaurants are located on the Boardwalk itself but there’s also the pool bar and the lounge nestled on the lobby floor of the Inn. And don’t forget this resort is within walking distance of the Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts giving you access to even more variety of table service and quick-service dining experiences.

Table Service

Flying Fish

This restaurant is part of the Signature Dining Restaurants. So it will cost you 2 table service dining credits if you’re using the dining plan. This restaurant has a small menu featuring seafood entrees and fruit inspired desserts. This is one I would indulge in if you are a lover of seafood. And can appreciate a high quality seafood dish. This restaurant is located on the Boardwalk, if you are heading outside from the lobby it will be your first right facing the water. This restaurant only serves dinner, and you should be able to get a reservation a few weeks ahead of time. Hours are from 5:00pm-9:30pm.

Trattoria Al Forno

This Italian restaurant opened in 2016, and quickly became a favourite for us. We had a delicious meal and great service. They offer breakfast and supper here. The breakfast meal is a character meal with Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder. This is a reservation you have to book 180 days before, because it’s a great price for a character meal and it’s the only place to meet Prince Eric. With Italian food you also can’t go wrong. There’s going to be something for everyone on this menu. Trattoria Al Forno is located on the eastern side of the Boardwalk after the AbracadaBar and before the Pizza Window. Hours are from 7:30am-11:00am and 5:00pm – 10:00pm.

Big River Grill & Brewing Works

This microbrewery offers 6 draught beers made on site. It has a large selection of appetizers making it a great place to sit with friends and enjoy a few cold ones. Share some good food, great drinks, memories and great atmosphere. With a bar, dining room and patio out on the Boardwalk there’s a nice selection of places to sit. The lunch menu is served from 11:00am-4:00pm with the dinner menu beginning at 4:00pm-11:00pm. At this restaurant you’re going to find a variety of pub style food, which may be lacking from your Disney Vacation. Big River does take the dining plan but they do not take reservations. Having been around this resort many times they always have room for one more. Or if they don’t have room you can always try one of the other restaurants in the area.

ESPN Club

Come watch your favourite team play on the big screen while you enjoy a meal with your family. This large restaurant has a vast menu with appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and desserts. Again nothing to really write home about or take away as the best meal on your trip, but if you’re looking for a last minute place to beat the heat or tune out from a busy vacation this could be a great place to do that. Located at the end of the east end of the Boardwalk, with the hours 11am until 12pm you can eat or drink at the bar or in the dining room.

Quick Service

Boardwalk Bakery

This place is the best. On our Goofy Challenge vacation we got something from here everyday. Whether it was a breakfast sandwich, a cupcake, a muffin or to refill our refillable mugs. This bakery is open from 6:30am-11:00pm with delicious baked goods and coffees. There’s nowhere to enjoy your food inside but there are a few tables on the boardwalk where you can sit and indulge. The bakery is located on the east side of the Boardwalk, after the pizza window and before the creamery.

Pizza Window

Stop here to grab a pizza combo for lunch or dinner. Or you can grab a whole pizza for the whole family to enjoy (this is a great use of the dining plan). Pop your head in the window and order and then take your pizza to your room or enjoy it on the tables and chairs along the boardwalk. Open from 11:00am-12:00am, this is a great place to stop and grab a slice after a day at the parks. Located on the east side of the Boardwalk after Trattoria Al Forno and before the Boardwalk Bakery.

The To-Go Cart

Find this little spot on the waters edge of the Boardwalk, with everything you’d expect to find in this kind of atmosphere. With a long list of things that come in baskets, this spot does not count on the dining plan as meal credits. You can find corn dogs, fried ravioli, pulled pork, meatball subs, and of course chill fries and cheese & chilli dogs. Embrace the Boardwalk by enjoying some deliciously bad for you food. This spot is open from 12:00pm-10:00pm.

Funnel Cake Cart

This midway themed cart features funnel cakes and fried ice cream. Enjoy one of these delicious treats while walking to Boardwalk. This cart is also found on the waters edge of the Boardwalk on the western side of the dock. The funnel cake cart is open in the evening, from 6:00pm-11:00pm.

Ample Hills Creamery

A creamery based out of NY. With a variety of options for your small or large cone. Come and enjoy an ice cream after a delicious meal at Trattoria Al Forno or after enjoying a Surrey Bike Ride. This location is open from 12:00pm-11:00pm. Found on the easter side of the Boardwalk after the Bakery and before the ESPN Club.

Leaping Horse Libations

Found poolside at the Luna Park Pool. Don’t loose your lounge chair when you’re in need of a snack or a quick lunch. The Leaping Horse Libations offers a few sandwiches, snacks, ice creams bars and kids meals. Open from 11:00am until 8:00pm.

Lounges

Belle Vue Lounge

Located on the Inn end of the Boardwalk. Stop here for a glass of wine or a cocktail. Sit at the bar or relax with a book or one of the many games provided at one of the variety of tables, chairs or couches. It’s a great place to come and enjoy some quality time as a couple or family. We spent quite a bit of time here on our Goofy Challenge Vacation. They do offer some easy breakfast options in the morning but don’t be swayed. Even if you’re heading out to the bus stop make the extra walk down to the bakery for more selection. Open from 6:30am-11:00am and 5:00pm-12:00am. To find this lounge leave the lobby and head towards the Inn elevators and the lounge will be on your immediate left.

AbracadaBar

Open from 5:00pm-12:00am come and enjoy a pre-drink cocktail at this lounge located beside the Flying Fish. There’s a selection of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages. This unique magic themed spot doesn’t offer any food. A fun spot to spend the evening or end the evening after a day at EPCOT or Hollywood Studios.

Adult Only Venues

Atlantic Dance Hall.

Come enjoy a night of dancing. Open from 9pm until 2am Tuesdays-Saturdays this Dance Hall looks reminiscent to the era of the Boardwalk but is contemporary once you walk in the doors. With music ranging from the 80s to current hits you can see music videos playing on the big screen. Go up on the second floor to enjoy a drink or cut a rug on the dance floor. This is a place to go if you enjoy dancing but if you’re looking to enjoy the company of your companion then Jellyrolls would be a better spot to do so. Check the schedule outside before making this your destination for the evening to make sure there isn’t a special event booking. Find the Atlantic Dance Hall on the Western Edge of the Boardwalk. Expect a cover charge.

Jellyrolls

Located across from Atlantic Dance Hall, enjoy a drink with members of your party 21 and older. With pianists playing crowd pleasing songs expect an enjoyable evening. With a cover charge plan to spend a couple of hours here to get your moneys worth. Jellyrolls is open from 7pm until 2am.

Villas

The villas at Boardwalk are available through Walt Disney World resort, using points with Disney Vacation Club and through DVC rentals. These villas are not your standard hotel room, they will have some form of a kitchen or kitchenette. There is not daily cleaning as you would get in a standard room. There are four different styles of villas, all with a variety of view options. One is sure to work for you and your party. 

Deluxe Studio

These deluxe studios are a great set up. With a drop down murphy bed you can actually sleep five people in these rooms, as a opposed to the official 4 people in the 1 bedroom villas. In a deluxe studio, you’re going to enter and have a little spot to place some of your necessities, such as hats, pursers and so on. On one side you’ll have your bathroom and the other side you’ll have your kitchenette. The kitchenette will have a mini fridge, microwave, sink and some dinner ware. On the opposing side of the room you’ll have a generous closet, a sink and then a door separating the toilet and shower/tub from this space. The main living space has a queen size bed and a double size pull out sofa. On the opposite side of the room you’ll have a bureau with enough drawers for the whole party and then there’s my favourite part of the room. The TV unit has a simple table connected to it with two chairs. This table unit pulls out to become a bed. Perfect size for any child or tween. There’s a private patio off of this room. Giving adults a place to hang when the littles are napping or kids crash early. These villas have a standard view, boardwalk view, or garden/pool view. 

$445-692 per night. 10-15 points per night. 

1 Bedroom Villa

We stayed in one of these villas on our last vacation. We were on the top floor with a view of the Swan and Dolphin resort. The standard layout of a one bedroom at the Boardwalk is as follows: when you walk in you’ll have a little entry way. Which has a large closet and a perfect spot for leaving shoes, jackets and hats. Once you’ve entered there’s the main living space which has a kitchen with a dishwasher, stove, sink and garburator. The cabinets are full of dishes, glassware and mugs. A coffee maker is provided along with Joffrey’s coffee. This whole living space is open concept, with a breakfast bar with stools, a round table and two chairs, giving you lots of options for dining in the villa. There’s a double size sofa, that’s a pull out. An armour with a TV, a lounge chair and private balcony. There are two doors off this room, one leads to the bathroom and the other leads to the master bedroom. The main bathroom has a stand up shower, sink and toilet. This bathroom has two doors, one to the master bedroom and one to the main living space. The master bedroom has a king size bed, night stands, dresser with a TV, and a lounge chair. This room also offers its own balcony. The master bedroom is open to a bathing area, with a soaker tub and a double sink. There’s also a large closet in this area, perfect for luggage. This villa is large, giving you all the space you need. On our last vacation we stayed here with our family of four and my mom, Grandma. Three adults and two littles. There was plenty of space for everyone, enough sinks and bathrooms for us all to get ready in the morning for a park day. And with the private patios, we were able to enjoy adult time when the kids went to bed early. These villas also have a washer and dryer in the room. 

$626-908 per night. 20-56 points per night. Cost varies by season and view. 

2 Bedroom Villa

All of the 2 bedroom villas at Boardwalk are what’s termed as lock-off villas. What is done in a lock-off villa is a deluxe villa’s connecting door is unlocked to a 1 bedroom villa. Where exactly in the two villas this connecting door is found is beside the TV unit in the main living space of a 1 bedroom villa and beside the TV unit in the deluxe villa. With this lay out you’re getting 9 spaces for people to sleep. These villas are not as nice as some of the other DVC resorts on property that have 2 bedroom villas that are separate units. What I mean by that is that’s they’re only purpose. You’d find these rooms at Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, Copper Creek at Wilderness Lodge among a few others. The Boardwalk’s 2 bedroom villas don’t allow for a great common space. Allowing for very little flow, or any for that matter. In my opinion it’s not worth the increased cost. 

$915-1592 per night. 30-65 points per night. Cost varies by season and view. 

3 Bedroom Villa

These villas are available to members of Disney Vacation Club. These villas have the capability of hosting 12 guests. On our last stay we say a family go into one of these villas and their room had a staircase in it. This is not seen in the floor plans available on the DVC website, so all the 3 bedroom villas are not the same. Regardless you can be sure that all have three bedrooms, a large living space and a laundry unit. The floor plan shows there is one large living space, with a large dining room and an open kitchen with a breakfast bar. The kitchen has a fridge, stove, sink and dishwasher. In the living room there’s a couple of lounge chairs, love seat and a pull out couch. There’s of course a TV unit with drawers for all your Disney wears. This main living space has its own patio. The master bedroom has its own bathroom, which is a similar style as the 1 bedroom villas. A soaker tub that can look out onto the bedroom. In the same way as the 1 bedroom villas, the shower and toilet part of this bathroom has a door to the main living space, making it the main bathroom for the villa. Each of the bedrooms has its own bathroom, with a shower/ tub unit. Each bedroom has two queen size beds, tv and dresser. All of the bedrooms have a balcony. Staying here would accommodate large groups, a large family, a group of friends. I think we can all imagine an occasion where you could use one of the villas. 

77-145 per night. Cost varies by season. 

Extras

Campfire

Head to the Boardwalk’s fire pit to roast marshmallows and spend some quality time with your party. This fire pit is located by the Villas quiet pool and the community hall. From the lobby head out to the Boardwalk and head to your left to the Luna Park Pool. Walk past the Luna Park Pool to the next pool on your left on your way to Hollywood Studios. The fire pit is on your left when you enter said area.

Community Hall

This community hall is located amongst the Villas buildings and the villa pool. It borders the walkway to Hollywood Studios. Here’s you’ll find boardgames, toys, a foosball table, video games and arts and crafts. Check your recreation schedule for the hours of operation.

Movies Under The Stars

This movies under the stars is located in the heart of the boardwalk on the lawn. Curl up for the ultimate Movie Night. Just be sure to check the schedule beforehand to make sure it’s a suitable title for your family and also bring along some bug spray.

Bicycles

Rent a bike and take your exercise up a notch. Bike around the boardwalk, yacht club and beach club resorts. You can rent single riders or surrey bikes which can handle 2 or 4 people. A fun and unique activity to share with the whole group. Head to the Community Hall for your 1 person rental. For surrey bikes rent them at the heart of the boardwalk.

Tennis

Head to the community hall to rent some rackets, unless of course you brought your own. These tennis courts are located off the walkway to Hollywood Studios. These courts are a first come first serve basis. They are lit which allows you to play later. Open from 9am-10pm, use your room key or magicband to gain access. Looking to learn a few skills while your here, call (321) 228-1146 to book a less for yourself or a group.

Playground

There’s a great playground located in the Luna Park Pool area. It’s gated off which is fantastic for those littles who tend to run like the wind. Now this may seem redundant for some people but the playground is a great place to go on a non-park day to run off some of that dessert for supper. Or it’s a great way to start a day if you’re littles are up really early. To find this playground head towards the luna park pool. If you’re entering the area from the arcade end then the playground will be on your right past the kiddie pool. If you’re entering the area from the dolphin and swan resorts it will be on your immediate left.

Side Shows Games Arcade

Perfect for a rainy day. Come here and play some air hockey, racing car games or basketball style games. To get here leave the lobby and descend the stairs on the left. Walk towards the boardwalk and the arcade is on your immediate left.

Yoga on the Lawn

Start your day of with some relaxed exercise. On Monday and Wednesday mornings at 8:30am head to the lawn at the heart of the Boardwalk. Be there early because there is only room for 20 guests. These spots are reserved for people staying at the Boardwalk. Mats are provided.

Miniature Golf

Head over to the Fantasia Gardens and Fairways for a game of miniature golf. If you have a water parks and more ticket package then this can be included as one of those bonus days. If not it’s $14.00 per adult and $12.00 for kids 3-9 years old. There are two different courses, a nice variety to return to on your next vacation or go back to another night. To get here take the boat to the swan and dolphin or walk across the bridge to this resort. Walk through the courtyard, hugging the water until you pass the first pool on your left. When you pass the first pool on your left take that sidewalk and cross the street. At this point you’ll be on the miniature gold property.

Running

The Boardwalk is an ideal location for runners. You can run the Boardwalk loop countless times to the miles in or you can you use the street encircling the Epcot Resort area. Also you can hop on the walkway to Hollywood Studios. I love running around here. There’s so much to look at on the Boardwalk side, and on the Beach Club and Yacht Club side. Beware, the walkway to Hollywood Studios isn’t shaded so run early in the day and bring water. Here’s a route that I love.

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=7062227

Wyland Galleries

Located in the heart of the Boardwalk come into this art gallery and discover some beautiful one of a kind paintings. Featuring art by Thomas Kinkade and James Coleman. Walk around and marvel at the pieces of art on the display for purchase.

Muscles & Bustles Health Club

Head to the gym to stay fit on your Disney Vacation. Open 24 hours, find this fitness location under the Boardwalk Villas across from the arcade. So head outside of the Boardwalk lobby and walk towards the Luna Park Pool and you will walk right past the gym. It is only open to guests staying at the Boardwalk. Those between the age 14 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult.

Shopping

Dundy’s Sundries

Located off the Boardwalk Lobby head here for magazines, books and other vacation necessities. There’s a couple of apparel items, purses and jewelry. It’s worth a stop if you’re looking for something unique to the Boardwalk. You can find DVC member clothing here.

Thimbles & Threads, Disney’s Character Carnival, Screen Door General Store

Found on the western side of the Boardwalk, these three stores are connected all the way through. Each has their own selection. Thimbles & Threads is a clothing store. You can find great adult Disney attire that is obviously Disney and others that could be found at any store. This is a great place to find a sweatshirt if you’ve forgotten one. Character Carnival has more children’s clothes and toys. Lastly, Screen Door General Store has your necessities, like peanut butter, bread, milk, cereal and so on. Plus lots of delicious Disney treats.

Personal Touch

Overall the Boardwalk is a beautiful resort. It’s in an ideal location. I would recommend it to those who are doing an adult only vacation or vacation with tweens and teens. It’s not a great spot for young kids, with no zero entry pool and the level of noise at night time. If you’re looking for a Disney vacation filled with excitement, great food and entertainment then this is the spot for you. You head down to the Boardwalk every night and watch the entertainers, you can dine at a different restaurant every night. If you’ve never stayed here then I would put it on your bucket list. Happy Planning.