People ask me all the time which is my favorite Disney World Resort? Without hesitation I always answer with The Boardwalk since it brings together my two favorite places: the Jersey Shore and Disney World. But this resort also brings together two other elements many guests may overlook: the Boardwalk Inn and the Boardwalk Villas. They come together to create this expansive hotel. I’ve stayed at the Boardwalk Inn before, so I jumped at the chance to stay in the Villas in December and I’m here this week to tell you about my experience!
Upon arriving at Disney’s Boardwalk, guests of both resorts are welcomed by the hotel’s lobby brimming with beach charm. The resort was built to give a nod to towns like Atlantic City in their glory days of the 1930s. I absolutely love this lobby with its cozy seating areas and large windows overlooking Crescent Lake. Since I am a Jersey Shore girl I feel at home here and can’t help but fall in love with the place.
If you exit the lobby and head out toward the lake you will discover an area full of restaurants and entertainment unlike any other Disney World resort. Here you’ll find everything from signature dining at the Flying Fish to the dueling pianos at Jellyrolls. Or maybe you want to watch the big game? Well head over to the ESPN Club. If you’d rather just relax, grab a seat on the front porch or along the boardwalk and read a book, people watch, or just enjoy the view. The opportunities to have a blast here are pretty hard to beat.
Since all of that fun is shared between the Boardwalk Inn and the Boardwalk Villas you may be asking yourself: “What are the differences between the two areas?” While they share many amenities such as access to the pool area featuring the Keister Coaster, the Villas are a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) property. Rooms here are primarily used by members of the club who book their rooms using a points system. They range from studio units to three bedroom grand villas which can sleep up to 12 adults. If you are not a member you may still book a room in the Boardwalk Villas, but they are very expensive. While I am not a member, I am fortunate to have generous friends who are and have invited me to stay in their villas.
When you check in at the Boardwalk Villas you will be “welcomed home” by cast members. The check in desk is shared and the host who greeted me couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful. Bell services is also shared and they will be happy to store your bags for you if you are staying in either resort. There was a slight mix up with my luggage when they brought me the wrong bag, but it was quickly resolved.
During my December stay I was in a studio so it came furnished with a queen-sized bed as well as a full-sized pull out couch. There was also a small kitchenette area with a mini fridge and sink perfect for keeping water cold and storing our snacks. The bathroom was divided between an area with with the sink and closet and a closed off room with the toilet and shower. Since I love all things pastel I really enjoyed pinks and greens found in our room; it felt very homey to me. However, I did find that some of the finishes were inferior to the Boardwalk Inn. For example, the countertops were not marble and the bedding was not as soft and cozy as that found the regular rooms.
I really liked my room, but it was a hike from the lobby! It felt like I walked for 10 minutes before finally arriving at my destination. A little walking doesn’t bother me, but this seemed extreme. It was also fairly easy to take a wrong turn and get lost and have to trek all the way back to get your bearings. If you would rather not walk just a distance be sure to request a room closer to the action.
Despite my complaining about my walk to my room, my favorite feature of both the Inn and the Villas is their proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Inn is closer to Epcot than the Villas, but the walk is still enjoyable. If you aren’t in a rush it is lovely to stroll along and take in the sights around Crescent Lake. It is especially beautiful at night so slow down on your way back from Epcot in the evening! While the Villas may be further from Epcot, they are closer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I was able to pop into a door very close to the walking path to get easy access to my room.
If you don’t think you can handle the walk the crews aboard the Friendship Boats will be happy to take you to either park. Just keep in mind walking is usually faster, but the ride can be very pleasant and will give you some time to relax. I really like to take the boat at least once on my trip just to watch the resorts pass by from the water. The Villas and the Inn also share buses to whisk guests away to other destinations within Disney World.
I can’t say enough good things about the Boardwalk! Would I stay at the Villas again? Sure! I really enjoyed my stay at the Boardwalk Villas. Given the choice, I’d probably rather stay in a regular room at the Inn than a studio, but only by a narrow margin. I wonder if my mind would be changed if I experienced a larger villa? I love the atmosphere here and nothing tops the ability to walk to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I can’t wait to stay here again whether it is in the Inn or the Villas!
How about you? What do you think about the Boardwalk Villas? Let me know in the comments!