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One of Disney’s special gems is the dining and entertainment area of Disney’s BoardWalk. Located right at the waterfront of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and connected to Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts, it adds additional value to your Walt Disney World vacation with all that it has to offer. Here’s how to park at Disney’s BoardWalk, what’s open, and a list of things to do.
Welcome to Disney’s BoardWalk
Guests staying at the Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Yacht and Beach Club resorts are familiar with this area. It’s one of the reasons we often choose to stay at one of these resorts.
Often we take advantage of the International Gateway Entrance of EPCOT or walk over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for access to the theme parks and post park activities at Disney’s BoardWalk.
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But even if you aren’t staying at one of these Disney resorts, you can still enjoy this charming entertainment and dining district, reminiscent of a 1920’s Atlantic City boardwalk experience. The atmosphere of Disney’s Boardwalk (and BoardWalk Inn) harkens back to the most wonderful trends of a 1920’s Atlantic City getaway. In a time when electricity was a new commodity, the glistening lights of a boardwalk would have been a draw; they create a pretty amazing atmosphere here, too.
There is something romantic about spending the evening on the boardwalk with someone special. But it’s also a great place for families. So pop over after a day at the theme parks on your next trip to Walt Disney World for a delicious dinner, after dinner treat, entertainment for the whole family or just a walk about.
- A great place for a walkabout, dining, and games, Disney’s BoardWalk is a great way to spend an evening after the parks. Photo credit: Keri Baugh
Getting to Disney’s BoardWalk
By Car, Parking at Disney’s BoardWalk
The big question many Disney guests have revolves around parking at Disney’s BoardWalk. If you’re the guest at any other Disney property we recommend utilizing Walt Disney World transportation if possible. This doesn’t mean that you can’t visit Disney’s BoardWalk if you’re staying at a resort outside of Disney. You just need a restaurant reservation.
In order to park at the resorts, you must be a guest of the hotel or have a reservation at one of the restaurants. This is checked by the guards (2021 update). If self-parking is unavailable, guests arriving by car may be required to use valet parking, at a cost.
Additionally, guests are not permitted to use the parking lot to visit EPCOT.
Take the Disney Skyliner to the BoardWalk
If you don’t have a car, guests wishing to visit Disney’s BoardWalk can take resort buses to the BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club or Yacht Club from the theme parks or Disney Springs.
Guests visiting the BoardWalk from EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios are already just a short walk or boat ride away.
And, Disney’s newest transportation system, the Disney Skyliner, is another fun way to arrive to Disney’s BoardWalk.
The Disney Skyliner aerial gondolas take guests closer to Disney’s BoardWalk from around the Walt Disney World Resort than ever before. The gondola system connects EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Riders can get off at EPCOT’s International Gateway station and be just steps from Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas, and all of the entertainment and dining options Disney’s Boardwalk has to offer. It is also a way to get a view of the Disney World skyline from above.
Walk or Boat to Disney’s BoardWalk from EPCOT and Hollywood Studios
You can reach the BoardWalk by foot from EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. EPCOT is less than a 5 minute walk. Hollywood Studios is a 15-20 minute walk. That path is occasionally closed so be sure to check with a cast member before setting out.
The Friendship Boats launch from the BoardWalk’s Crescent Lake to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
Disney’s BoardWalk Entertainment for Families
- A variety of talented buskers perform every night for guests walking along the Boardwalk. Photo credit: Jennifer Kaufman
Fans of the musical Oklahoma! might get an immediate warm fuzzy feeling thinking about a “shiny little surrey with fringe on the top.” While the surrey bikes at Walt Disney World don’t have any fringe, they’re still adorable – and so much fun! Two person and four person bikes are available. Rental prices are per person ($25/each).
If a surrey ride isn’t on your must-do list, you’ll find plenty to see and do while strolling along the BoardWalk. Every night you’ll encounter a variety of buskers, performing tricks from juggling and magic to stilt-walking and comedy. There is no published entertainment schedule, but these street performers always draw a small crowd – so you won’t miss them!
Along the BoardWalk, you’ll also find some nicely-themed shops that add to the ambiance. While you won’t find any one-of-a-kind shopping opportunities, it’s a fun place to window shop or pick up a souvenir from your trip.
If you’re feeling lucky, try the classic midway games – which are actually more reasonably priced than those at our local theme park.
Ride the Boat
- Disney’s BoardWalk offers boat service to and from EPCOT’s International Gateway entrance and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo credit: Keri Baugh
When you need a break from walking, take a ride on the Friendship boats. These boats travel between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT’s International Gateway. It stops at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts and the BoardWalk along the way. Sometimes the boat rides can be as much a form of entertainment as they are transportation! They’re air-conditioned too, which is useful on a hot summer day in Florida!
- Looking to rack up your Disney savings on souvenirs? Pack pennies and quarters for your Disney vacation for fun (and thrifty) souvenirs! They are located all around Disney parks and resorts. Photo Credit: Debt-Free TravelingMom Kathy Penney
Get a Souvenir Pressed Penny
Kids will love pressing a souvenir penny to bring home, Disney calls them elongated pennies. It’s also (to a parent’s delight) one of the cheapest Disney souvenirs you can get. There are two penny pressing machines available in the BoardWalk area. One is at the ESPN Club and the other is located at Screen Door General Store.
Rent a Boat
If instead you’re looking for something more active, check out Bayside Marina, where you can rent pontoon boats, Montauk fishing boats, and Sea Raycers.. 2021 update: Currently motorized boat rentals are unavailable.
Learn to Fish
How fun is it that you can fish at Disney? Located right near Disney’s BoardWalk at the Yacht Club anglers can book a 2 or 4 hour experience (you can add on additional hours in person if desired). All gear and bait is provided. Fishing is catch and release. Kids 13 and under must wear life jackets at all times. Boats can accommodate up to 5 guests. Don’t forget to bring sun protection (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen). Call 407-WDW-BASS to reserve.
TravelingMom Tip: We had several TravelingMom’s try this add-on after a conference one year. Those who went in the early morning had the most luck. We recommend an early wake up to catch more!
Take a Side Trip to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
- Just across from Disney’s Boardwalk is Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. It’s just a quick walk away from the to-go window, where you can get a number of yummy sundaes! Photo credit: Jennifer Kaufman
Remember that “favorite view” we mentioned earlier? Situated directly across Crescent Lake from the BoardWalk are Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts. Walking the whole loop is a lovely way to spend an evening, whether as a couple or a family.
On your walk, consider getting a sundae from Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. Be aware the restaurant now requires advance reservations for all seating. The To-Go Window is not available.
- The beach by Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club resorts is one of the most serene places you’ll find anywhere on Disney property. Photo credit: Jennifer Kaufman
Dining at BoardWalk
2021 Update: Please note that currently, not all restaurants and activities are available at Disney’s BoardWalk. It is also strongly advised that you make reservations for the restaurants, as restaurant capacity at Walt Disney World remains limited. In fact, to park at any of the Disney resorts with access to the Disney’s BoardWalk, you must be a guest of the hotel or have a dining reservation (which is checked by the guards). Masks are also required when walking around Disney property both outdoors and indoors, including Disney’s BoardWalk.
Eat all the things.
Let’s be honest, one of the very best things to do at the BoardWalk is eat! So much so that we have an entire post outlining all dining available at BoardWalk. We’ll outline a few family friendly favorites here but be sure to head over to check out all options.
Kid-friendly Dining Options
Trattoria al Forno is a table-service restaurant that offers Italian staples. One of the restaurant’s claims to fame is that the menu is 100% Italian, including more than two dozen Italian wines. We have eaten here with our children and found that large families are welcome, despite its intimate atmosphere. The dining room has plenty of seating and dining options for all ages. In fact, the mornings are definitely family-friendly, with the recent addition of the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast. This character dining opportunity features plated breakfast entrees and visits from Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. (2021 Update: Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast is currently unavailable.)
Big River Grill and Brewing Works is a table-service restaurant with excellent burgers, sandwiches, salads, appetizers and desserts that our family loves. They also have a great kids menu that includes a starter, main meal and dessert! For lovers of craft beers, they have a nice selection to choose from. Outdoor dining is also available, and it is a great way to enjoy a dinner after the day at the parks. This is our family’s go-to place when we come to Disney’s BoardWalk.
Check out these BoardWalk dining options if you’re looking for more choices!
Date Night on Disney’s BoardWalk
You can, of course, enjoy any of the activities above sans kids… but there are some things reserved just for adults.
Romantic Restaurants & Lounges
Flying Fish Cafe is a perennial favorite among guests. The newly-renovated restaurant serves delicious seafood and steak options, in a festive but upscale atmosphere. 2021 Update: This is temporarily unavailable.
Traveling Mom Tip: Flying Fish Cafe is one of just a handful of restaurants on Disney property which asks that guests adhere to a dress code. Men may wear khakis, slacks, jeans or dress shorts, with a collared shirt. Sports coats are optional. Women may wear capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans or dress shorts. Tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover ups, hats for gentlemen, torn clothing and t-shirts with graphics are not permitted.
While Trattoria al Forno is mentioned above as a family-friendly restaurant, it’s also a lovely atmosphere for a date. Small, tucked away tables are perfect for couples.
AbracadaBar, opened in 2016, is a touted as a “curious cocktail lounge.” It’s one with an incredibly detailed backstory. Become part of a mysterious boardwalk legend, but keep an eye on everything around you. It’s a lounge full of illusion… and a fantastic Tom Collins.
Date Night Entertainment
Jellyrolls (Temporarily Unavailable)
My husband’s and my favorite place to spend an evening on Disney’s BoardWalk is Jellyrolls. Named for legendary jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton, this dueling piano bar is easily the best we’ve ever seen, anywhere.
Excellent musicians take requests throughout the night, and fill the spaces between songs with great chemistry and humor. Singing along is highly encouraged!
Traveling Mom Tip: You must be 21 to visit Jellyrolls. There is a cover charge. There is no kitchen, though you’ll usually find snacks such as popcorn and/or pretzels.
Atlantic Dance Hall (Temporarily Unavailable)
Atlantic Dance Hall is another great entertainment venue when you’re enjoying Disney’s BoardWalk after dark. This lively night club plays songs and music videos from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. The Dance Hall is limited to guests 21 and up, but does not require a cover.
Where to Buy Discounted Disney Tickets
We recommend purchasing your Disney tickets through Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it. If you call to make your purchase be sure to mention TravelingMom!