Disney Boardwalk Resorts: Ultimate Guide To Disney Boardwalk Resort Hotels
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.
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.
Read The Entire Boardwalk Series
A Backway Into Epcot?
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
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
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.
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
- Extra Magic Hours in the parks
- FastPass reservations up to 60 days prior to arrival
- Disney Transportation
- Character dining opportunity located in the Swan, at the Garden Grove
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.
Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Boardwalk Inn & DVC Villas
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.
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.