Gracious seating at BoardWalk Inn

Photo by Syd Blackmarr

Choosing which Disney property to book, or determining if staying on-campus is best for family dynamics, can befuddle some Walt Disney World visitors.

My experiences at the BoardWalk Inn offered new clarity replacing confusion. There are points to consider to help a family or girlfriend getaway decide.

DestinationReviewThis 911-room property portrays the gracious mood of grand hotels in the 1920s and ‘30s reminiscent of Coney Island amusements in its heyday.

Little children will be comfortable but not as likely to consider the décor as enticing as I did: the daughter of New Jersey/New York parents who told stories of that era in Atlantic City as well as Coney Island.

Boat ride: pleasure, convenience

Movie buffs of all ages staying at BoardWalk Inn will be delighted to know the Hollywood Studios park is a pleasant boat ride away, easy to catch out the back door of the Inn. Or is it the front door?

Monograms among many gracious items in hotel rooms. Photo by Christine Tibbetts

Monograms among many gracious items in hotel rooms. Photo by Christine Tibbetts

Arrive in your own vehicle or Disney transportation from the airport and enter a spacious portico with so many staff that everyone gets a personal welcome.

Ready for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or that boat ride, and descend gracious wooden stairs with turned handrails to reach the boardwalk with 11 restaurants of many moods: sit down and linger, walk up window, lively sports screens or libations only.

Eateries on boardwalk

Do note that the hotel has no restaurant in the building but private dining delivered to you can be arranged from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.

Cook for yourself because kitchens exist in every unit one bedroom and larger.

One more gracious, wide stairway to consider—maybe this is the back door. Whatever, stroll down, especially after sensory overload in the lively parks.

Seating reminiscent of another era. Photo by  Syd Blackmarr

Seating reminiscent of another era. Photo by Syd Blackmarr

Seemed a different kind of Disney magic to me. Still and soft.These BoardWalk Inn stairs lead to intimate gardens and a quiet swimming pool, the neighborhood of villas for sale or rent.

EPCOT is only a walk away—five minute brisk walk or 15-minute saunter, gazing at the gardens, across Crescent Lake and over a bridge. Boat takes guests there too.

Knowing the proximity of my hotel to which parks seems a worthy factor in determining lodging. Sure the buses get visitors anywhere they want to be—but why ride a long way if you could choose a hotel nearest the parks you most plan to see?

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is half hotel, half resort vacation homes, merging easily.

Only 12 king beds so if that matters, book early. Two queen beds and a pullout couch are numerous, and studio rooms with one queen and a pullout offered too.

Bathrooms include separate toilet and tub room; desks provide multiple plug-ins for a family’s electronic devices.

Multi-generational spaces, too

I didn’t do so here but I love inviting multiple generations so the three-bedroom grand villa with full kitchen would be ideal to sleep 12. Taking the little ones to the New Fantasyland would simply require a longer bus ride.

1920s hand-carved Coney Island miniature carousel now in BoardWalk Inn. Photo by Christine Tibbetts

1920s hand-carved Coney Island miniature carousel now in BoardWalk Inn. Photo by Christine Tibbetts

Community Hall is the hotel’s name for a family craft center with daily activities at five specific times each day.

A health club is on site but I didn’t try it. For massage, facial, mani and pedi, stroll to the nearby Yacht Club or take the boat.

Luna Park is the name of the pool, easy access but seemingly hidden from the other gracious, artistic hotel public spaces. Hot tub, kiddie pool and 200-foot waterslide among the amenities.

Notice hotel art

Since I invite children to art museums and exhibition openings, seems natural to allocate time to examine hotel art even in the expansive Disney magic environment.

Everything here is Coney Island themed. Sit on a “nanny chair” yourself and have the kids watch; that’s where my grandmother would have waited while I rode the rides.

Imagine the family on the Flip-Flap Railway Coaster at Coney Island—the world’s first upside down loop-the-loop. Detailed, intricate model in the lobby.

Mythological creature with light bulbs replacing candles.

Mythological creature with light bulbs replacing candles. Photo by Christine Tibbetts

Take the free weekend art tour and talk to Inn staff or you might miss the story of the hippocampus electrolier suspended above 1920s carousel at the front door.

Changing seasonal rates

BoardWalk Inn prices vary – an astonishing 22 categories to consider within the seasons, with dates clearly spelled out.

No charge for guests 17 and under staying in parent’s room.

Standard view room could range from $366 to $607. Standard room club level could be $528 to $836 but how many of us plan to take the family for New Year’s Eve?