Complete Guide To Disney Boardwalk Part 1: The Resorts

Sunlight_at_Disney's_Yacht_Club_Resort
Photo Credit: posted to Flickr by Rhys A.

This post is part one of a multi part review of the Disney Boardwalk area. The Boardwalk is my favorite Disney resort location on property. In this post, I will give a brief overview of the resort properties located on the Boardwalk.  Because there are so many great restaurants and entertainment opportunities on the Boardwalk, I will discuss those  in separate follow up posts.  

Photo Credit: By Miosotis Jade (Own work)
Photo Credit: By Miosotis Jade (Own work)

I have stayed in Disney's Grand Floridian twice as well as two other moderate Disney resorts and I love them all! However, the location of the Boardwalk makes it my favorite area on property  in Walt Disney World.

A Backway Into Epcot?

FranceEpcot

Did you know that you can enter Epcot on the World Showcase side?  I didn't know this the first few times we visited.  I had seen on the Disney website an entrance called, "International Gateway" but being a Disney newbie, I had no clue where this entrance was located.  In my experience, few others know it's here and it is generally only used by those staying in a resort on Disney's Boardwalk.  But, oh what a grand place to be!

What makes the Boardwalk so special?

In addition to the less crowded back entrance into Epcot, Disney's Boardwalk offers five wonderful resort accomodations, over twenty dining locations, shopping, and fun evening entertainment.  First, let's take a look at the resorts located in the Boardwalk area.

Resorts Located In Boardwalk Area

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By Paul Hudson from United Kingdom (Disney's Boardwalk)

There are some truly amazing resorts located in the Boardwalk area. There are five properties located here, three of these are Disney owned properties and two are Starwood  resorts.

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Starwood's Swan & Dolphin

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The Swan & Dolphin is actually owned by Starwood Properties. There is quite an interesting history to this, but that's a topic for another day.

My first opportunity to stay in the Boardwalk area came when we picked up a few extra nights before staying at the Grand Floridian for a conference.

Remember, I am a Disney Fanatic, so when hubby asked if I wanted to go a few days early at the last minute, I had no difficulty booking a room!   We use an SPG American Express Rewards Card to earn  hotel points on all our expenses.    I  easily booked the Dolphin hotel using points & cash.

We were not wowed by the room, but the location far outweighed the dated rooms in my opinion.  I can't say the same was true for Mr. VeraVise, but when it comes to Disney, I sometimes have blinders on.

DVC Rental

Disney Perks Without Disney Price

While the Swan & Dolphin are not "technically" Disney properties, they offer many of the same benefits as the Disney resorts.

As a Swan or Dolphin guest  you will have access to

 

Helpful Tips:

Don't Be Confused: There is also a character meal located in the Land Pavilion inside of Epcot similarly named the Garden Grill! It generally features Mickey and Minnie, Chip&Dale, and Goofy.

Savings Tip: The Fountain restaurant which serves sandwiches, burgers, and ice cream takes a AAA card for a 15% discount.  This is something you won't find at a Disney owned property.  Just a little tip!

For the purposes of this article, I have decided to put these properties together.  Many might say the Beach Club and Yacht club are slightly nicer than the Boardwalk Inn &  Villas. However,  in order to stay on the Boardwalk, I would gladly stay in any of these resorts.  The Yacht Club doesn't offer DVC rentals, however, so request Boardwalk or Beach Club when booking with David's DVC Rental

There are opportunities for convention rates at the Yacht Club so consider doing a little homework if you want to stay here for a discounted rate.

[CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: By Tammy Green from Chicago, USA (Beach Club Resort)

Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Disney's_Yacht_Club_-_Aerial_View_(7114579911)
By Rhys A. (Disney's Yacht Club - Aerial View)

Boardwalk Inn & DVC Villas

Silent Wind of Doom at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Silent Wind of Doom at the English language Wikipedia

There is one notable difference between Boardwalk Inn & Villas and the other two Disney properties on the Boardwalk.  Guests staying at the Boardwalk property do not have access to the fabulous Stormalong Bay pool. This pool is reserved for Yacht Club and Beach Club Resort and Villa guests only.  It's worth looking into if you think you will spend a lot of time in the resort pools.  The Boardwalk pool is nice (though for some the clown is a bit creepy), but there is no other pool on Disney property like Stormalong Bay in my opinion. 

Stormalong_Bay_(2433417599)
By Elizabeth from Lansing, MI, USA - Stormalong BayUploaded by Dolovis,

In terms of amenities and location, the properties are very similar.  The Beach club villas and Boardwalk villas have recently undergone remodels.  The room amenities and decor are very similar.

Is a Deluxe Resort Really An option?

Perhaps you are wondering if it's even an option for you to stay here?  As I have mentioned in this article and others, I encourage you to check all your options before ruling out the Deluxe resorts

If you can rent DVC points or stay during a convention, and  if your family is larger than four members, moderates and deluxe resorts may actually be a better value.

Many of the 1 bedroom Villas offer a pulldown Murphy bed.  This means a family of five can sleep in these rooms. 

Therefore, it may be more economical to stay in a Deluxe Villa renting points rather than renting two Value resort rooms.

My daughter is actually relaxing in our Grand Floridian room here, but you can see the sofa against the wall is converted to  a bed.

I hope this has whet your appetite for the Boardwalk area of Walt Disney's resorts.  I can't wait to tell you about the wonderful evenings we had there dining at the Flying Fish, eating ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery, and laughing until we cried at the evening street performers.  

Looking For More Ways To Connect To Other Disney Nerds and Bloggers?

 

Are you looking for other ways to connect to Disney fans and bloggers?

We have some great news for you! Here are a few ways VeraVise WOW Travel offers to help you connect with other Disney fans.

  • Join my Disney Facebook group Where Disney fans and bloggers gather to plan for a weekly Twitter chat on Tuesday nights at 9pm. Use #disfanchat and join us, won't you?
  • Join the #disfanchat Twitter chat every Tuesday nights on Twitter 9pm EST. We have so much fun!
  • Finally come back here every Monday's at 8am EST to join our Mouse  Fan Mondays Blog Linkup.  See the announcement !
Image by: By Rhys A. (Disney's Yacht Club - Aerial View)
Endless Magic 4 Parks

California Globetrotter

15 thoughts on “Complete Guide To Disney Boardwalk Part 1: The Resorts

  1. Wow, it all looks so massive! I always figure those places will be really expensive so I never even look into them. Maybe one day when we finally get over to the east coast I can budget it into the trip! Really helpful post, I’m pinning it for later 🙂 #FlyAwayFriday

  2. The Boardwalk is so fun! Swan & Dolphin are some of our faves – Disney perks + Starwood points? Yes please! We really like that “secret” Epcot entrance, since the World Showcase is one of our favorite places in all of Disney World! Darn…now we’re itching for another trip to Disney! (Okay, we’re ALWAYS itching for another trip to Disney… 😉 #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Yes! The hardest part of writing about Disney is knowing I don’t have an upcoming trip on the books yet!

  3. The last time we were at Epcot, we took the boat ride through the back entrance and around the entire Boardwalk area. It was our favorite “ride” of the day! Thanks for the details about the hotels.

  4. Boardwalk is one of my favorites as well. I’ve always been surprised how few people use the entrance to Epcot near France. It’s such a great way to get into the park. I also love the boat over to Hollywood Studios and the great dining options in this area. Love getting to connect on #TheWeeklyPostcard and through #disfanchat.

    • Thanks Sarah! I am enjoying all the new connections as well! All of those reasons you mentioned make Boardwalk so great! We even find the walk from HS back over to be a pleasant experience and often quicker than the boats if you aren’t too tired to make it.

  5. The boardwalk looks very inviting to stroll, enjoy the water view and generally unwind from a day of rides and shopping. Great post Amanda. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Thanks Annette! It really is! I have made it an evening on several occasions, even if not staying in the area. It makes for such a nice night.

  6. The boardwalk looks so inviting to stroll, enjoy the water view and generally unwind from a day of rides and shopping. Really informative post Amanda – love it. Annette #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Interesting! I’ve only been to Disneyland in California and WDW, but my preference lies on the east coast

    • Oh thanks! It would be a tough choice for me to pick betwee between the parks or the resort areas. There’s so much more to Disney than just the rides.

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