Scheduling a day without a park visit can be totally necessary during a Disney vacation. The early morning wake ups to get to that character dining experience or to get into the park before it opens can become exhausting. A day where the only thing on your list is to rest, relax and explore can be refreshing. Just because you’re not at one of the parks doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredible day or evening for that matter. This post is going to to look at Disney’s Boardwalk. A fantastic place to spend a non-park evening.
Boardwalk Inn & Villas is a resort but it is also a place to find nighttime entertainment, experience delicious dining, and dance the night away. Located on Crescent Lake, between Hollywood Studios and Epcot, the BoardWalk is Disney’s very own miniature Atlantic City or Coney Island. With brightly lit signage, lanterns lighting up the night, games and carnival fare. The BoardWalk has a life of its own. With guests walking the BoardWalk stopping and checking out shops or grabbing a bit to eat or simply sitting on a bench and enjoying an ice cream cone. The BoardWalk is a destination in its own right. The Boardwalk is available to any and all guests. There is no fee. It’s a manageable size, so you can take in everything it has to offer or simply pick and choose.
Every single evening you can find a modern day clown on the BoardWalk. An entertainer who rallies a crowd together while he performers masterful tricks. These entertainers park themselves on the Boardwalk and will showcase their talents for any passerby. A group will normally gather around, and kids are encouraged to sit in the front to get the best view. You can expect to be invited to participate in some tricks. If you don’t notice anyone when you first arrive on the Boardwalk, don’t worry they perform periodically throughout the evening.
Try your hand at a couple classic carnival games. Pay a couple dollars to throw a ball, knock down some bottles and win a prize. It’s just like you’re at a town fair.
Head indoors and pass some time playing arcade games. Air hockey, pinball machines, anything you’d expect at an arcade will be here.
Choose between four restaurants located directly on the Boardwalk. Some require advanced reservations but you can always try to walk up or eat at their bar, where they serve the same menu.
ESPN Club serves American favourites. The walls of this restaurant are covered with screens, showcasing every possible game imaginable. You won’t have to miss out on your favourite teams big game during your vacation. Grab a table and spend the evening cheering. ESPN Club is open from 11am until midnight.
At this Signature restaurant you can expect delicious seafood dishes and premium cuts of steak. Flying Fish requires guest to dress their best, tank tops, flip flops and swimwear are not permitted, same goes for cut-offs and t-shirts with graphics. Flying Fish is open from 5pm -9:30pm.
Trattoria al Forno
This Italian restaurant is a favourite of ours. We love their character breakfast and their Italian offerings for dinner. With an open kitchen, this restaurant can be loud. There are tables by the window, giving guests a great view of passersby and there are also large booths. It’s a beautiful venue. The menu is completely Italian, with pizzas and pastas making up the majority of the menu. As you’d expect from an Italian restaurant they have a nice selection of wine. Breakfast is served from 7:30am-12:05pm and dinner is served from 5pm-10pm.
Big River Grille & Brewing Works
This microbrewery has a great patio right on the Boardwalk, as well as a great dinning room inside. You’ve got your regular pub fare here to pair with their selection of draft beers. They do offer a few choices for burgers including the Black & Blue served with beer-simmered onions and blue cheese sauce and crumbles. This is a family-friendly space, so you can enjoy your adult beverage while in the company of your kids. Big River is open from 11am until 11pm.
Even if you’re not up for a sit down meal you can treat yourself to a variety of edible treats. From ice cream to funnel cakes, cupcakes to pizza. There’s something for whatever you’re in the mood for. There are tables and chairs set up all along the Boardwalk, giving you plenty of places to sit and enjoy your treat.
Ample Hills Creamery
This NYC creamery is the newest addition to Boardwalk treats. They offer 16 different ice cream flavours. Ample Hills is open from noon until 11pm. Forgo your dessert at supper and head to Ample Hills for a scoop or two. You’ll find Cotton Candy Ice Cream, Vanilla Bean,Coffee Toffee Coffee and Dark Chocolate. Whether you love a fruity flavour or a chocolatey taste there’s one ready to be scooped out for you.
If Ice Cream’s not your thing, head over to the BoardWalk Bakery where you can satisfy that sweet tooth with a cupcake. You can always expect the Oreo Cupcake and Strawberry Cupcake to be available, but they also feature a seasonal or specialty cupcake. Like any bakery, the BoardWalk Bakery also offers delicious tarts, brownies, croissants, cookies, eclairs. They also serve coffee, tea, sandwiches and soups. Perfect for a late afternoon lunch or late night snack. The BoardWalk Bakery is open from 6:30am-11:00pm.
BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas.
Here you’ll find your carnival roasted almonds, roasted nuts and Mickey Shaped Pretzels. You’ll have five margaritas to choose from and Joe’s also serves beer and pina coladas if margaritas are not your thing. You can enjoy any of these offerings from 12pm to 12am.
Funnel Cake Cart.
Open from 6pm until 11pm, you can get a funnel cake as is or with ice cream or chocolate. The cart also offers Cotton Candy and Fried Ice Cream.
A great place to use up some quick-service meal credits. You can grab a whole pizza to share with your family or you can enjoy a pizza combo. Head up to the window, order, take you meal and sit at one of the tables right beside the window or elsewhere on the Boardwalk. Open from 12pm to 12am.
The To-Go Cart.
What BoardWalk would be complete without hot dogs, corn dogs or mozza sticks? The To-Go Cart has ample supply of fries, onion rings, chilli dogs, chilli fries. Whatever your fried heart desires you’ll be able to find it here. The cart is open from 11am-11pm.
21 and Above.
Out for a night sans kids, or maybe you’re enjoying your honeymoon. If you are 21 and above there are three great spots to spend your evening at the Boardwalk.
A lounge heavily influenced by the art of magic. This dark lounge has a cigar room feel, with dark leather booths and dark wood tables. You can choose to sit at the bar, at hightop tables or relax in a wingback chair. Watch the pictures on the wall as the images appear and disappear during you visit. This lounge does not require a cover charge. Perfect for a night on a budget.
Atlantic Dance Hall
The dance hall is a place to come and do just that. Dance. With cranked up tunes, videos played up on the screen, drinks to be had, you can spend the evening cutting a rug along side your fellow guests. Periodically the dance hall has a cover charge.
Come and enjoy live pianists dueling it out. Two pianist play on stage, taking requests from the crowd and encourage patrons to sing a long. There is a cover charge for this lounge and it is very popular. Hours are 7pm-2am.
If you’re staying at one of the resorts on Crescent Lake you can simply walk to the Boardwalk from your resort. Any other guests can gain access via the walkway from Hollywood Studios or grab a Boardwalk bus at any of the theme parks or Disney Springs. Spending an evening gives you a chance to explore all that the BoardWalk has to offer and maybe you’ll find yourself staying here for your next Disney vacation. Happy Planning, Friends.