Quantcast
MousePlanet.com


Several years ago, right after the Yacht & Beach Club resorts opened, tram service was provided from those resorts to the International Gateway to Epcot.  The trams ran over a long, curved board-paved drive as it looped around Crescent Lake from those two resorts.  Signs proclaimed the coming of Disney's Boardwalk -- then intended to be a mini-park, a faithful recreation of the atmosphere (at least as Disney chose to "remember" it) of Coney Island's old Luna Park.  The resort that was built instead is a great resort, with plenty of atmosphere, but it pales in comparison to what it might have been. 

Join me for a photo tour of Disney's Boardwalk!

The resort's porte cochere.
The resort's porte cochere.

This is a resort, actually two resorts, designed to look like 1920s Coney Island.  The boardwalk itself sports restaurants, shops, and clubs.  Entertainers and amusements are scattered about to add flavor and distraction.  It truly is a magical place to visit -- all the more so in the evening!

Driving up to the resort, you'll find an expansive circle drive with a stylized porte cochere that protects from the elements if you are unfortunate enough to arrive during inclement weather. 

The lobby vestibule.
The lobby vestibule.

Valet parking is available (free to any WDW guest, although tipping is common) or you may park yourself (you might drive in circles for awhile during busier times in the parking lots).

Walking inside the entry, you'll find yourself transported to the 1920s.  The lobby area is bright and airy.  It walks a fine line between formal (it's not really) and casual (it doesn't quite make it to that extreme, either).  The period feel is strong...but I suppose it's difficult for twenty-first century people to know what it really felt like to enjoy a day at Coney Island.   People didn't fly down to Florida for week-long vacations back then.  The typical person couldn't afford any such thing.  Instead, recreation was focused on the weekends and usually within short travel distance of home.

In any case, I love the details.  I'll show you a few examples in these pictures.  Look at the chandelier above the entryway.  That's not the four horses of the apocalypse.  They actually are carousel horses, butted against each other (no pun intended) and melded into quite an impressive light fixture.  The carousel, amusement park ride theme will be seen again and again at the boardwalk.

The ornate chandelier in the vestibule.
The ornate chandelier in the vestibule.

If you take a hard left turn into the lobby area, you see a nice seating area across from the check-in desk.  There are a bunch of chairs, loveseats, and sofas...and gathered in comfortable groups for folks to relax and visit in.

The lobby sitting area.
The lobby sitting area.

Check out that elephant over the fireplace mantel.  The elephant-shape item on the mantel is a model of an actual building constructed in the 1880s as a gimmick by a real estate developer. A MousePlanet reader sent me this link that provides an interesting postscript to this historical oddity.

In this smaller picture, you'll see a silhouette of a lady in the front (left most) window.  That should give you some idea of the size of this thing!  The model is a curiosity... but the real thing is a 65 foot high monster!

'Lucy,' New Jersey's landmark.
"Lucy," New Jersey's landmark.

Directly across from the sitting area is the check in desk.  As a convention hotel, the Boardwalk has a lot of professional business.  Vacationers make up the majority of visitors at the Villas, but the Inn is predominantly business travelers.

Check in area.
Check in area.

Just down the hall from the lobby is a very rare item at the Boardwalk Resort.  Elevators.  No really, I'm not kidding.  The picture below shows the ONLY elevators that service all of the guests staying in the five story building of the Boardwalk Villas!  (There is a single bank that services the Inn side of the resort, too.) If you decide to stay here, and you have kids (and their things) or any kind of medical condition that makes it difficult to walk -- ASK FOR A ROOM BY AN ELEVATOR.  They're a precious commodity at the Boardwalk, so take my advice seriously!

The Villas' precious elevators.
The Villas' precious elevators.

Just off the lobby there's an outdoor terrace that overlooks the boardwalk green below.  I took the next picture from there, looking across toward the villas building.  You can't tell from the picture very easily, but some of the third floor rooms along this side of the building have extra large decks overlooking the green.  Barb and I stayed in one of those rooms back in 1998.  Our room is almost directly straight through that tree on the left.  The view of Flying Fish Cafe, across the green, and the sounds of the people on the boardwalk was perfect.

The Villas building from the lobby terrace.
The Villas building from the lobby terrace.

Walking down stairs from the terrace, you pass a beautiful collection of container plantings including impatiens, salvia, and other flowers.  It makes for a spectacular garden display.

The container garden.
The container garden.

Here's another picture of the inn from the across the central green.  I should take this opportunity, while I'm thinking about it, to point out the lovely Belvue Room upstairs on this side of the Inn building.  It's a combination bar, sitting room, game room that has an old period radio playing in the background.  It's another great touch in a resort filled with great touches.

The Boardwalk Inn.
The Boardwalk Inn.

Turning our backs on the waterfront, and walking back toward the green, we can see a nice view of the main building which contains the lobby, Dundy's Sundries (a small gift shop and sundries shop), the Harbor Club, the fitness center, and those precious elevators!

The main building viewed across the central green.
The main building viewed across the central green.

Walking past the manicured lawn, the lovely container plantings...thinking about the Belvue Room, Luna Park, the Boardwalk, Atlantic Dance...everything about this resort has been planned to transport the guest back to the 1920s and the seaside boardwalks of yesteryear.

Luna Park is the resort's themed pool area and the closest thing to the real atmosphere of old Coney Island that you'll find here.  The old wooden roller coaster is called the "keister coaster."  It's actually a water slide, and not a real coaster at all.  The pool area has other Coney Island touches, too, like the water squirting elephants over in the kiddie pool area.

Luna Park, with the Keister Coaster (water slide) in the background.
Luna Park, with the Keister Coaster (water slide) in the background.

Another example is Leaping Horse Libations, the pool bar.  It's dressed up as a carousel

Leaping Horse Libations.
Leaping Horse Libations.

Here's a picture I already showed from down on the boardwalk, but since this page is supposed to cover the resort's activities, I'll repeat my mention of the very popular surrey bicycles that you can rent at the boardwalk.  Two, four, and six passenger models can be rented by the hour.

Surrey bicycles (actually quadracycles) available for rent.
Surrey bicycles (actually quadracycles) available for rent.

There's one other activity worth mentioning. You can go on guided fishing trips right from the resort. Pontoon boats, with all the necessary equipment and a guide, go out for those folks that enjoy that sort of thing.

A bass fishing excusion prepares for departure.
A bass fishing excusion prepares for departure.


advertisement

I'll make one last parting comment. In that picture above, that building just above the bass boat is the resort's Community Hall. DVC members can go over there to get videos to borrow, games to play, and special activities that are scheduled to enjoy. Each DVC resort has much the same thing, and the Boardwalk is no exception.

The Big River Grill restaurant, the first micro-brewery on Disney property, Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar, and Atlantic Dance, an old style big band swing dance venue complete this end of the boardwalk.  That yellow building at the very end of the boardwalk is Atlantic Dance.  In this view, you can also see the Swan and Dolphin poking up above the boardwalk buildings.

Atlantic Dance end of the boardwalk.
Atlantic Dance end of the boardwalk.

Turning around and focusing on the other end of the boardwalk, you'll find Flying Fish Cafe, Seashore Sweets, Spoodles, Boardwalk Bakery, Arcade, and the ESPN Club.

Flying Fish Cafe is in the building at the right, behind the top of the boat ramp.  It's a premier restaurant, but frankly it gets mixed reviews.  One of the things it's best know for is chocolate lava cake.  It's baked to order, so it takes twenty or thirty minutes to get one, but is a spectacular confection.  It's a decadent, flourless chocolate cake with a hot liquid chocolate center.  Ice cream is served on the side to provide contrasting flavors and temperatures.

ESPN Club end of the boardwalk.
ESPN Club end of the boardwalk.


Around the corners of the resort's main building, the boardwalk stretches away to the left and right wrapping around Crescent Lake.  Although the buildings along the walk each have their own character and design, they really are attached inside.  The hotel rooms above the boardwalk are all accessed from common hallways.

Stretching away from from us in this view, are the Screen Door (a shop selling miscellaneous supplies primarily for Boardwalk resort guests), Character Carnival (character plush, t-shirts, and souvenirs), and Thimbles & Threads (resort wear).

The boardwalk, looking from the central green toward the Big River Grill.
The boardwalk, looking from the central green toward the Big River Grill.

The Big River Grill restaurant, the first micro-brewery on Disney property, Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar, and Atlantic Dance, an old style big band swing dance venue complete this end of the boardwalk.  That yellow building at the very end of the boardwalk is Atlantic Dance.  In this view, you can also see the Swan and Dolphin poking up above the boardwalk buildings.

The boardwalk, from the boat dock looking toward Atlantic Dance.
The boardwalk, from the boat dock looking toward Atlantic Dance.

Turning around and focusing on the other end of the boardwalk, you'll find Flying Fish Cafe, Seashore Sweets, Spoodles, Boardwalk Bakery, Arcade, and the ESPN Club.

Flying Fish Cafe is in the building at the right, behind the top of the boat ramp.  It's a premier restaurant, but frankly it gets mixed reviews.  One of the things it's best know for is chocolate lava cake.  It's baked to order, so it takes twenty or thirty minutes to get one, but is a spectacular confection.  It's a decadent, flourless chocolate cake with a hot liquid chocolate center.  Ice cream is served on the side to provide contrasting flavors and temperatures.

A view of the boardwalk, looking toward the ESPN Club.
A view of the boardwalk, looking toward the ESPN Club.

Back down on the boardwalk, I wanted to point out the very popular surrey bicycles that you can rent at the boardwalk.  Two, four, and six passenger models can be rented by the hour.

Surrey bikes, ready to roll.
Surrey bikes, ready to roll.

I'll close out this part of the photo tour with a series of pictures of the Boardwalk Resort, taken from Crescent Lake while aboard a Friendship boat that was cruising from the Disney MGM Studios to Epcot.

First view of the resort as the friendship makes its way up the canal from the Studios.
First view of the resort as the friendship makes its way up the canal from the Studios.

First view of the resort after turning the corner around Atlantic Dance.
First view of the resort after turning the corner around Atlantic Dance.

A good view of the Villas end of the resort, with Atlantic Dance in the foreground.
A good view of the Villas end of the resort, with Atlantic Dance in the foreground.

The Boardwalk Villas front and center.
The Boardwalk Villas front and center.

A view of the Villas end, with the 'Crest of the Wave' sign overhead.
A view of the Villas end, with the "Crest of the Wave" sign overhead.

Spoodles, Seashore Sweets, and Flying Fish Cafe.
Spoodles, Seashore Sweets, and Flying Fish Cafe.

The ESPN Club end of the resort.
The ESPN Club end of the resort.

 

 



Talk about this article and more, on the MousePad community forums.