Disney’s BoardWalk: A Family Guide

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children sit on Disney's Boardwalk, a great place for families to hang out
We love getting some of the to-go options from the BoardWalk restaurants, and looking out over Crescent Lake. Photo credit: Jennifer Kaufman

Disney’s BoardWalk area may not make Disney must-do lists as often as thrill attractions or in-park experiences, but it should. Plan time on your trip to pay a visit to the BoardWalk. With entertainment, dining and shopping it is worth the trip. Here’s what to do, where to park and tips to elevate your Disney BoardWalk area experience.  

Welcome to Disney’s BoardWalk

Guests staying at the Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht Club, Disney’s Beach Club, the Walt Disney World Dolphin and the Walt Disney World Swan and Swan Reserve resorts are familiar with this area.  Proximity to the BoardWalk is one of the reasons we choose to stay at one of these resorts.

Read More: Restaurants at Disney’s BoardWalk – A Complete Guide

One huge advantage is entry through the International Gateway Entrance of EPCOT. You can also walk from Disney’s BoardWalk area to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s a great way to get your steps in and skip transportation lines! 

Read More: One Day Itinerary For Hollywood Studios

Why Should I Visit Disney’s BoardWalk?

Even if you aren’t staying at one of the nearby Disney resorts, it’s worth a trip to this charming entertainment and dining district. Designed to be reminiscent of a 1920s Atlantic City boardwalk experience,  the glistening lights and vibrant colors of the area create an engaging atmosphere. 

For couples traveling, strolling the BoardWalk at night and enjoying an upscale dinner can be a romantic Disney add-on. Families with kiddos will love the abundant food options. Plus, it’s a great spot to have them work out some energy by walking around. Everyone will love the stunning photo backdrop that Disney’s BoardWalk provides. Pop over after a day at the theme parks on your next  Walt Disney World trip. 

People strolling on Disney's BoardWalk
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

One big question many Disney guests have revolves around parking at Disney’s BoardWalk. If you’re the guest at any other Disney property we always 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. Parking was once restricted to those with dining reservations. While you can now park at the BoardWalk Inn and the Yacht and Beach Club even without a reservation, we recommend making one. Resort guests are prioritized for parking so those without dining reservations could be turned away during busier times.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The Walt Disney World Dolphin, Swan and Swan Reserve are operated by the Marriott. They do not provide free parking.

Take the Disney Skyliner to the BoardWalk

If you don’t have a car, you can utilize resort buses to the BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club or Yacht Club from the theme parks or Disney Springs.

The Disney Skyliner is another fun way to arrive at Disney’s BoardWalk. Aerial gondolas drop guests off at EPCOT’s International Gateway station, steps away from Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club. The Skyliner 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.

We highly recommend you ride Disney’s Skyliner at least once during your trip. It’s a great way to get a view of Walt Disney World from above.

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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

Disney’s BoardWalk boasts things to do for families and for couples. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites.

A busker performs on Disney's Boardwalk, a great free entertainment option for families
A variety of Boardwalk buskers perform every night for guests. Photo credit: Jennifer Kaufman.

Watch for talented street performers.

You’ll find plenty to see and do while strolling along the BoardWalk. In the evenings, street performers wow crowds with juggling, magic, stilt-walking and comedy. There is no published entertainment schedule, but these street performers always draw a small crowd. It’s hard to miss them!

Ride the loop on a Surrey bicycle.

Fans of the musical Oklahoma! may be whistling “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 Surrey bicycles are available. Rental is $25 per 30 minutes.

Do a little shopping and play a game or two.

Along the BoardWalk, you’ll also find themed shops that add to the ambiance. It’s a great spot to window shop or pick up a souvenir from your trip.

If you’re feeling lucky, try the classic midway games. Winners get prizes!

boat docked at Disney's BoardWalk restaurant area at dusk with lights of BoardWalk in the background
Take a boat ride while visiting Disney’s BoardWalk. It’s especially pretty at dusk. Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Take a ride on the Friendship boats.

When you need a break from walking, take a ride on the Friendship boats. Traveling between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT’s International Gateway, the boats also stop at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts and the BoardWalk. Sometimes the boat rides can be as much a form of entertainment as they are transportation! Boats are air-conditioned so they’re a great way to escape the Florida heat for a bit.

Get a Souvenir Pressed Penny.

Kids will love pressing a souvenir penny to bring home. Disney’s BoardWalk area has three elongated pennies pressing machines, all in close proximity to the BoardWalk Inn. It’s also (to a parent’s delight) one of the cheapest Disney souvenirs you can get. You can find them at Promenade Pier, the Screen Door General Store and the BoardWalk Inn lobby.

Rent a Boat at the Marina.

Did you know you can rent boats at Disney? Pontoon boat rentals are available in the Disney BoardWalk area. Boats hold up to 10 passengers (max total weight 1900lbs) and the cost is just $45 per 30 minutes. It’s a great price for a unique experience!

Learn to Fish on Crescent Lake.

How fun is it that you can fish at Disney? Located at the Yacht Club, anglers can book a 2- or 4-hour experience. All gear and bait are provided. Kids 13 and under must wear life jackets at all times.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The early bird gets the fish! Feedback from several SheBuysTravel writers was that early morning excursions had the most luck.

giant disney kitchen sink sundae at beaches and cream disney with blurred girl behind it
Want to truly blow a kid’s mind? Bring them to Beaches and Cream for a kitchen sink sundae! Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Don’t Forget to Visit Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.

Situated directly across Crescent Lake from the BoardWalk are Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts. You’ll get great views from there of the BoardWalk. If you’re walking the BoardWalk loop we highly recommend a stop at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. Reservations are highly recommended if you want to dine inside. Otherwise, you can order from the to-go window and eat outside with views of Stormalong Bay.

A swing on the beach overlooks Disney's Boardwalk area
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 Disney’s BoardWalk

There is a lot to cover here. Dining options are abundant on the BoardWalk and in the area. We’ve got an entire post outlining all dining available at BoardWalk, including kid-friendly dining options and dining for all day parts.

Plan a date night at Disney’s BoardWalk.

While many of the activities we’ve already mentioned can be enjoyed with or without kids, Disney does reserve some things for the adults.

Share a meal at Flying Fish Cafe.

While Flying Fish Cafe isn’t technically adults-only, it definitely skews that way. With a sophisticated menu and dress code, most families shy away from this dining option. Make a reservation in advance and stare into each other’s eyes over surf and turf.

SheBuysTravel Tip: When you are packing for Disney don’t forget to double-check the dress code if you’re dining at Flying Fish Cafe. You don’t want to be turned away!

picture of inside of abracadabar at disney on the boardwalk
Have a magical time at AbracadaBar on Disney’s BoardWalk! Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Sip on a magical cocktail at AbracadaBar.

AbracadaBar is touted as a “curious cocktail lounge.” Don’t forget to ask for the incredibly detailed backstory. Be a part of the mysterious boardwalk legend, enjoy illusions and explore their inventive cocktail menu.

Spend a date night at Jellyrolls.

A favorite spot to spend an evening on Disney’s BoardWalk is Jellyrolls. Named for legendary jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton, this dueling piano bar is a fun spot for a date night. Musicians take requests and the banter makes the whole show. Jellyrolls is open nightly for guests 21 and over. There is a cover charge.

Dance the night away at Atlantic Dance Hall.

Atlantic Dance Hall is another great entertainment venue when you’re enjoying Disney’s BoardWalk after dark. If you feel like dancing this is the spot, playing music from the 80s, 90s and today. Currently, Atlantic Dance Hall is 21+ and is open Thursday-Sunday with no cover charge. We always recommend checking the calendar before planning your visit for current hours.

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, but it also 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 SheBuysTravel!

Keri first tasted travel on a college choir tour to Europe and was immediately hooked. She lived abroad twice, traveled to over 30 countries, and was a professional Cast Member at Walt Disney World Resort and for an educational travel company, before having kids. Once they came, she wanted to keep traveling and has done so since her oldest was three months old. Keri loves traveling with kids because you have to slow down, take breaks, and sometimes live like a local. It teaches kids flexibility, patience, and risk-taking, and it opens their eyes to the world. Keri moved abroad a third time to London for a year, when her kids were ages 4, 1 and 1. Her family travels several times per year, to Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Disney and Orlando, and on ski vacations in New England and out west. They take regular weekend getaways all over New England, where she is based. Keri is a stay-at-home mom and owns the family travel blog Bon Voyage with Kids to inspire families to enjoy the journey of traveling with kids. Keri has been a planDisney Panelist 2023 for Disney Vacation Club and Walt Disney World and as a family travel expert, she is regularly interviewed in major domestic and international news media and travel publications.
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One response

  1. Hi, thanks for the info. I will be going to the Boardwalk on 11/28, the day that I arrive. I am staying at the All Stars so, I will have to do some traveling. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, 169 days to my happy place!!!

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