Disclosure: This BoardWalk Inn tips page contains affiliate links. Read full Disclosure Policy.
When traveling to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, there are more than a few tips you want to keep in your back pocket.
As this resort area is not like your typical resort experience, you’re going to want to make sure you make the most of all it has to offer! Between finding your Disney vacation staples to enjoying what makes this resort unique, using these tricks of the trade will make sure you get the best bang for your buck.
We’ve got you covered, from prepping for your Disney vacation to We’ll See You Real Soon, with our own Disney magic thrown into the mix!
1. Plan Ahead
Not every moment of your vacation needs to be planned, but any experienced Disney-goer knows that you will have a rough idea of what each day will bring during your stay. Make sure you make your dining reservations 180 days ahead of your stay (60 days for the time being), get your park passes and tickets, and of course learn more about your resort!
2. Set Up Your Week
Along the same lines, you’ll want to know what days you will be doing which activities before your trip.
Especially with the park pass system, you will already know which days will be park days (and which park you’ll be in) and which days will be off days.
If you know you’re going to get up early for the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, maybe don’t plan a late night out on the boardwalk on Monday.
Save date night for later in the week, and plan to explore the resort area or ride the Skyliner instead.
3. Choose Daily Outfits
Planning out your outfits for each day will make packing easier, and also helps to coordinate the family for photo opportunities.
This tip is particularly good with kids, as it simplifies packing and getting ready while on your trip!
4. Want to Build a Budget? Try Gift Cards!
It can be almost impossible to set a budget while on a Disney vacation, but if you’re determined not to overspend you might want to try this out.
Get a few Disney gift cards, pre-load them with a set amount, and then when it’s gone, it’s gone. You could even separate the funds out onto individual cards for particular purchases, like dining and souvenirs.
5. Large Group? Get a Villa.
By their nature, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) villas have more space for you and your belongings. If you’re travelling with a big family or larger party, you might find that a villa will meet your needs. Not only that, but the multi-bedroom villas have laundry facilities and a full kitchen built in, which can help you cut cost in other places.
6. Rent DVC Points
If you would rather stay on the Villas side of the resort, it is more cost effective to use DVC points versus paying the “dollar price.” For those that don’t have DVC points of their own, or know someone who will let you borrow, it is easy to rent DVC points through a third party service.
7. Choose Your View
Not all views are created equal! The standard rooms are categorized by view – standard, garden, and water. If you want to have a view of the boardwalk, you’ll want to choose the water view.
On the other hand, if you’re worried that will be too loud or busy for you, you might want to select a standard or garden view room.
Be sure when you’re booking to know what you’re selecting, and if you have any questions or concerns you can always call (407) 939-5277 for help with your reservation.
8. Disney’s Magical Express
If you’re flying into Orlando, you’re going to want to take advantage of this free service to get you to your resort! Disney’s Magical Express takes the stress out of getting to and from Disney property, insuring that you arrive at the correct location without any extra cost. If you checked any luggage, you will need to collect it before heading to the bus, but the driver will stow it for you and retrieve it when you get to your resort. If you’re not planning on leaving Disney property during your stay, it’s really the way to go!
9. Know Your Route
For those driving to the resort, make sure you know exactly what route you need to take to get to Disney’s BoardWalk. While many of us depend on the GPS, occasionally the generated directions take you to the wrong places on Disney property. It’s important to check the map ahead of time to be sure you’re headed to the right place.
10. Get the App, Get the Map
The My Disney Experience app has become a crucial component to any Walt Disney World vacation, from purchasing tickets and making dining reservations to obtaining a coveted Rise of the Resistance boarding pass. This app is important at your resort as well, as you can use it for Online Check-in and even as your room key. For the BoardWalk Resort, you’re going to want to take advantage of the map features on the app. As this resort has an atypical layout, a good way to get where you want to go is to follow the map.
11. Plan Rainy Day Fun
This resort is a fabulous place to explore, so you should make a few activities for your kiddos in case of rain. Bingo, scavenger hunts, and photo journals are all great options for a day stuck inside. You can find some online, make your own, or ask for a scavenger hunt from the Front Desk.
12. Bring Snacks
The BoardWalk Resort has plenty of their own snack options, from sweet treats at the bakery and general store to the hotdogs and pizza available on the boardwalk.
However, if you want to save money on food between meals, you might want to bring your own snacks to avoid the temptation for these items.
13. Screen Door General Store
This shop, located down on the boardwalk, is the main shopping location at the BoardWalk Resort.
Here, you’ll find the “mini-mart” sundries as well as clothes and other gift shop essentials. You can also grab snack-credit items, a slushy, and even fabulously decorated candy apples.
You’ll definitely want to check out this location, especially if you need grocery items.
14. Plan to Wait at the Pool
Even if you’re using online check-in, it’s likely your room won’t be ready right when you show up to check in (unless you’re arriving later in the afternoon). As that’s the case, you should plan to pack a bathing suit and sunscreen in an easily accessible bag, like a backpack or carry on, instead of in your suitcase. That way, you can change in the locker rooms and chill at the pool while you wait for your room, getting started with your vacation right away!
15. Get Unpacked
Once you’re in your room, get unpacked and settled right away. It will make things easier on your park days to get ready and go if you know where everything is and don’t have to dig through the suitcase for it. That goes double for your kiddos.
16. Where Do I Get My Mug?
If you’re well-versed in Disney travel, you know about the refillable mugs. Part of the Disney Dining Plan or available for purchase on their own, you can get your refillable mug at the BoardWalk Bakery for $19.99.
That is also where you will find this resort’s self-service refill station. Leaping Libations and the boardwalk Pizza Window will fill your mug as well.
17. Start the Day with Yoga
It can be hard to stay on top of your workout routine while on vacation, but an easy way to make a health choice is with a morning yoga session.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, a free, thirty minute yoga class takes place on the Village Green.
Take in the glory of the morning over Crescent Lake while you relax your mind and begin your day.
This gentle class will help you refreshed…and less guilty about the No Way José you’re going to eat later.
18. Walk to the Park
Yes, we know you’re going to spend the majority of your park day walking.
However, it can often be faster just to walk from the resort to the park rather than waiting on Disney transportation. Especially in the case of Epcot, it is about a ten-minute walk to the International Gateway entrance.
In the time you could wait for a boat or a bus, you could already be walking through the turnstile.
19. Make Breakfast Quick on a Park Day
On a day you’re headed to a theme park is not the day to do that lengthy character breakfast. This is a great chance to make breakfast in your room or hit one of the counter service locations around the resort. For club-level guests, the Innkeeper’s Club offers a continental breakfast from 7:00-10:30 every morning.
20. Hit the Bakery on the Way
Case in point, you have a great quick breakfast option right on the boardwalk!
The BoardWalk Bakery has delicious baked goods of both the savory and sweet variety. While they are open all day, the bakery is a great breakfast option on your way to the park.
Especially if you’re walking, stop in, grab a pastry, and you’re on your way. Don’t forget to fill your refillable mug with coffee while you’re there!
21. Bus Stop is out Front
There’s only one Disney transportation bus stop at the BoardWalk Resort, located right out in front of the lobby.
Just go to the left of the main entrance, and you’ll find the stop. The only downside is if you’re staying a little ways from the lobby, you’ll need to make time to walk to the bus stop.
22. Hollywood Studios? Skip the Skyliner.
If walking won’t work for you, you should stick to the water transportation.
While the Skyliners are a fun way to travel, you would first have to walk to the station at Epcot, ride to the Riviera Resort, and then change gondolas at the transfer station. Only then will you finally head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Overall, this could be about thirty minutes.
Save the time, take the boat.
23. Use Ride Share
On days you’re going to the Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, you might want to skip the bus and use ride share.
This way, you can control exactly what time you leave and expedite your travel time rather than waiting on the bus.
Especially on Extra Magic Hour days, if you use Lyft or a Minnie Van you can beat the busses and the rush, putting yourself closer to the turnstiles for rope drop.
24. Take the Kids to the Pool
If you have children in your party, you are going to want to spend a decent amount of time at Luna Park Pool. Between the awesome water slide, squirting elephants, and a nice sized baby pool, you’re going to find fun for all ages. Not to mention Leaping Horse Libations is conveniently located right by the pool for a drink!
25. Pick Your Spot Wisely
When hanging out at Luna Park, you want to get there early and choose your spot carefully. While there are plenty of chairs, umbrellas and tables are a bit scarce. In addition, if you want a place near a particular location, like the slide or baby pool, it’s the early vacationer that gets the lounge chair. Make sure you have all your pool-goers with you as well, chair saving at Disney pools is not permitted.
26. Stick to Luna Park
While it may be tempting to try to sneak into Stormalong Bay across the lake, we’re sorry to say it’s only for Yacht and Beach Club guests.
If you’re thinking you’ll get around the rules, there are Cast Members waiting to scan your MagicBand at the pool entrances to make sure you are actually a YC/BC resort guest. Save yourself the hassle, Luna Park Pool is a great place to chill!
27. Pool Day? Pack a Charger.
If you’re going to spend the day at the pool, you’ll want to throw a charger (preferably of the portable variety) in your pool bag. Particularly if you’re going to hang out at the Luna Park Pool rather than one of the leisure pools, some of the rooms can be far away from the pool area. If you don’t want to hike back to your room and then be without your phone why it charges, you’ll take advantage of this tip.
28. Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Since the pools don’t have tons of natural shade or umbrellas, you’re going to want to lather up in sunblock. Florida sun is no joke, and you don’t want to start your trip with a sunburn. Trust us, it will make the rest of the week miserable.
29. Towels on the Balcony is a No-no
In order to preserve the aesthetic of the resort, Disney does not allow guests to hang their towels out on the balconies. While you don’t have to pack a beach towel, as the resort provides them, if you do bring your own towel plan to hang it up in your room. If you have a villa, just pop your towels in the dryer instead.
30. Use the Retractable Line in Your Shower
The balcony rule goes for bathing suits too, but Disney has got you covered! In each shower, you’ll find a retractable drying line so you can hang up your wet things there to dry. If you’re worried about air circulation, leave the fan on to help assist with the drying.
31. Use the Amenities, You’re Paying for Them!
If you spring for a villa or club level room, you have access to facilities and services that standard resorts do not. As that is the case, you’ll want to take advantage of them! No use paying for the full kitchen or access to the Innkeeper’s Club if you don’t use them.
32. Ice-Cream Lover? You’ve Got Options!
There are two amazing ice-cream options within walking distance to the BoardWalk Resort. The first is Beaches and Cream right over at the Yacht and Beach Club, while the second is The Fountain at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. Both have fantastic hand-scooped ice-cream, sundaes, and milkshakes. Until recently, there was also a delicious creamery right on the BoardWalk. Unfortunately, Ample Hills has closed, but hopefully Disney will soon put something in its place!
33. Get a Funnel Cake
It wouldn’t be a true boardwalk without fried food options! Hot and delicious, fresh funnel cakes are available on a daily basis at the funnel cake cart. You also have the option to add chocolate, fried ice-cream, and even cotton candy to your treat.
34. Take an Evening Stroll
The boardwalk itself stretches beyond the limits of the resort area, encircling Crescent Lake and connecting with the walkway to the Swan and Dolphin.
A natural loop, this is a great option for an evening walk after a delicious evening meal.
35. Lounge About
On the second floor of the resort, the Belle Vue Lounge isn’t just a great place to grab a drink. Comfy chairs and couches fill the lounge space, and you can find board games available throughout the day.
Especially on a rainy day, snuggle down in a chair with wine and a checkers partner to enjoy the afternoon.
36. Find the Nanny Chairs
If you’ve ever seen photos of the BoardWalk’s lobby, you might have seen chairs that look like people. These somewhat creepy seats are actually vintage carousel seats made for adults (or nannies, thus the name) to ride while the children road the horses. While there are two right in the lobby, the other two are a bit hard to find. Explore the resort and see if you can locate them!
37. Watch Epcot’s Fireworks
In the evening, if you walk over to the bridge that connects the boardwalk to the Yacht and Beach Club, you’ll have a decent view of the Epcot fireworks in the World Showcase Lagoon. For those that are staying in rooms that face Crescent Lake or on the Inn side, you might even be able to see the fireworks from your balcony! It’s a great way to end a non-park day, with a little extra magic.
38. Bon Voyage Character Breakfast
Particularly if you have princess lovers in your group, you’ll want to check out this amazing character breakfast at Trattoria al Forno. While it isn’t quite to the level of Cinderella’s Table (from a character perspective), you’ll find two popular Disney couples at this breakfast – Ariel with Prince Eric, and Rapunzel with Flynn Rider (Eugene Fitzherbert). This is a great opportunity to see princes, which is a rarity, and beyond that, the food is tremendous!
39. Save the Skyliner for Your Day Off
Even though the Skyliner isn’t practical for the near-by parks, don’t miss an opportunity to try Disney’s newest transportation just for fun! The closest Skyliner station is at the International Gateway entrance to Epcot, an easy walk from the BoardWalk Resort. Stay on and ride through the stations, or hop off and explore the other resort areas. Either way, this is a fun way to spend a day off from the parks.
40. Rent a Surrey Bike
Surrey bikes are family bicycles that can seat four adults and two additional children (depending on the bike). Have a blast riding around the boardwalk and over toward the Swan and Dolphin, letting your littlest rider ring the bell along the way. These bikes do require a bit of push power, so make sure everyone going is up to peddling.
41. Wyland Galleries
When you’re browsing the shops, don’t forget to stop in Wyland Galleries. You’ll see amazing works of art, from paintings to glass sculptures, and several featuring Disney characters. Even if you’re not planning on making a purchase, it’s definitely worth a visit.
42. Have a Special Night Out
One of the special aspects of this resort is that the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. The nightlife of Disney’s BoardWalk is a great chance for adults to get out and enjoy themselves. Have a sophisticated dinner at the Flying Fish, and then go dancing at the Atlantic Dance Hall. You’ll feel like you’re really out on the town without ever leaving the resort!
43. Check Out Jellyrolls
One of the hottest spots on Disney’s BoardWalk, Jellyrolls is a 21 and over jazz and dueling pianos club. Yup, dueling pianos. It’s as cool as it sounds. Enjoy a delicious cocktail, fabulous music, and see if you can stump these musical masters with your requests. There is a cover charge, but it is totally worth it for the experience.
44. Get a Baby-sitter
If that all sounds nice, but you’re thinking “what about my kids?” never fear! Disney partners with the independent childcare service, Kid’s Nite Out, to provide in-room baby-sitting for your little ones. Enjoy a few hours out knowing that your children will be well taken care of and well rested for whatever your next day brings.
45. Play a Carnival Game
Keeping with the spirit of a true boardwalk, there are different stalls up and down the walkways with games you would typically find at a fair or carnival. Test your luck, and maybe you’ll win a prize!
46. Sit for a Caricature Portrait
On the boardwalk or along the Village Green, you’ll find artists creating caricature portraits for guests. While this is an addition cost, sitting for a caricature portrait is a quintessential boardwalk-beach activity. On top of that, when you get your caricature at Disney, you’re going to find a bit of that magical flair you know and love thrown into your portrait.
For our last few tips, we wanted to let you in on some of the best spots around this resort for some truly fabulous pictures. There are several photo opportunities you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of during your stay at the BoardWalk Resort.
Whether you knock them out on your first day or on a day off from the parks, these will be memories that will have you coming back year after year as your kiddos change and grow.
47. Under the Arch
When you first arrive at the BoardWalk Resort, a beautiful shiplap archway decorated by gilded letters spelling the name of the resort greets you.
This is a great chance for a photo op, whether it’s right when you arrive or on your way to the park on your first day.
48. Postcard Sign
On the side closest to the Yacht Club, there’s a beautifully decorated sign modeled after a vintage postcard. Decorated with the name of the resort, the caption reads Come to the Showplace of the Shore, inviting guests to check out all the BoardWalk has to over. This colorful sign is a great place to stop and take a family photo, maybe to make a postcard of your own!
49. BoardWalk Panorama
As you enjoy a walk around Crescent Lake, stop on the Yacht and Beach Club side to snap a photo of the BoardWalk as a whole. If your device or camera has panoramic capabilities, this is a great chance to take advantage of that feature. This shot is particularly beautiful at night, when the BoardWalk is illuminated.
50. Coming Down the Slide
With such a cool exit point to the slide, the head of a clown, it makes for a fun photo! Timing it can be a bit tricky, but that just gives your kiddos (or kids at heart) an excuse to go down the slide again and again.
51. Tis the Season
If you happen to be at the BoardWalk Inn Resort during the holiday season, you’re in for a treat. The BoardWalk goes all out on decorations in the lobby, including gingerbread masterpieces that Disney is well known for. You will find yourself taking hundreds of pictures in order to capture every little detail!
Have you stayed at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn? Share some of your own tips and insights in the comments!
Written by Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer
Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.