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Welcome back to another Disney Top 5.


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It's that time again. I've just done something that's guaranteed to put a smile on my face and has clearly given me something to look forward to. I booked our next trip to Walt Disney World just the other day. It's such a great feeling to get that confirmation notice and know that you've taken that first step. We're booked!  We're going! Think about it—knowing that you're going to be there soon is probably the next best thing to actually being there. The countdown has begun.

We keep trying to make things different each time we head go to the most magical place on Earth. I'm always impressive that there are places we haven't stayed, restaurants we haven't dined in, attractions \we have yet to experience. Tack on the new things like New Fantasyland, which was behind construction walls the last time we were there, and the possibility of a whole new trip seems more real than ever.

With that new and different vibe on the brain, we booked a resort that we've never stayed in before: come September, we're going Deluxe this time with four nights at Disney's BoardWalk Inn. We've stayed at The Yacht Club across the bay and walked past the BoardWalk Inn many times, but this will be the first time that we've stepped inside the resort.


The grand entrance to the BoardWalk Inn and Villas. Photo by Steve Russo.

So, it's time to start looking forward and planning. Which park on which day? Where are we going to eat? What will we see that we haven't seen before? There are so many things to look forward to when you plan your Disney trip and this time a new resort is giving us a whole new experience. Let's take a look at what I consider are the Top 5 Things to Look Forward to at Disney's BoardWalk Inn.

5 – The Seaside Theme


The Boardwalk from across the bay. Photo by Steve Russo.

I spent all of my summers growing up on the beach; it's hard to escape when you live on an island, so you can say that the shore is in my blood. Of course, Orlando is pretty much the definition of landlocked, but Disney has done a great job of re-creating the shore lifestyle in its resorts, so it's hard to not feel like you're in the tropics at resorts like Caribbean Beach and The Polynesian. The Yacht and Beach Club does an amazing job of replicating a shore resort. From the outside, the BoardWalk looks like an idealized version of the Jersey Shore boardwalks of yesteryear, and I can't wait to feel immersed in that atmosphere. I can only hope that the theme is carried throughout the entire resort. I don't expect to be disappointed.

4 – Sitting on My Balcony


A balcony overlooking the Garden Cottage Suites would be nice. Photo by Steve Russo.

This may not seem like such a big deal, but after staying at Caribbean Beach last summer, I can't wait to have a balcony again—it makes a huge difference. When the kids fall asleep after a long park-filled day, there's nothing better for me and my wife than sitting out on the balcony with a glass of wine, powering down and enjoying whatever view lay before us. My wife is an early riser and I know she likes to go for a run and then come back and watch the resort "wake-up" with her coffee out on the balcony. I didn't spring for a water view room on this trip but from what I understand, there are some wonderfully tranquil rooms overlooking the inner courtyard of the resort. I've requested one of those and let's see if Disney comes through for me. We've got a perfect track record with room location requests, so once the kids are asleep, you know where we'll be.

3 -The Dining Options


We'll be eating at Seashore Sweets' for sure. Photo by Steve Russo.

So far, in the BoardWalk area we've only eaten at the Cape May Café and Spoodles, which leaves us with many different options to try: Kouzzina, the Big River Grille & Brewing Works, Flying Fish Café, the BoardWalk Bakery, and ESPN Club on the boardwalk. Over at the Yacht and Beach Club, there's Beaches and Cream, Captain's Grille and Yachtsman Steakhouse. The Swan and Dolphin have even more restaurants and dining options, and let's not forget the 11 countries of Epcot's World Showcase with all those amazing restaurants and food counters just a short stroll away.

2 – Walking Right Into Epcot


A short walk will bring me to World Showcase. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

There's nothing anywhere else like Epcot. As far as theme parks go, it's a one-of-a-kind. What could be better than being able to walk a short distance from your hotel right into a Disney theme park, especially Epcot? We plan to spend more time there than usual because of the park's proximity to BoardWalk Inns, and that's just fine with me. Best of all is the short walk home at the end of a long day.

1 – Just Being on the Boardwalk


Disney's Boardwalk. Photo by Brian Bennett.

One of our greatest Disney memories took place on the boardwalk one evening. After a birthday dinner for my wife at Spoodles (Kouzzina's predecessor), we made our way out onto the boardwalk for a stroll. For the first time, we decided to rent one of those surrey bikes. We rarely dress our twins in matching outfits, but on this particular night, Casey and Alex (who were probably 5 at the time) were wearing matching Mickey Mouse Hawaiian shirts. They both sat buckled into the seat on the front of the bike. As we went around the boardwalk, we began picking up some speed down the hills, and the boys let out incredibly loud, terrified, simultaneous screams. I could only imagine what that looked like to the rest of the guests out for their walk. When they dress the same, they really look more alike—I imagine it was quite a unique sight. It gave us all an incredible laugh. Even the boys…once they stopped screaming, of course.

It was one of those wonderfully silly Disney moments where the whole family is thoroughly enjoying themselves.  I'm sure we won't repeat that moment exactly, but there's plenty of other fun things to do out on Disney's boardwalk.  Even a nighttime stroll peoplewatching under the lights will be fun. The place seems to have its own certain magical quality to it. I can't wait.

Obviously, I'm looking forward to this Disney trip in a big way. I look forward to all of our Disney trips but staying at a resort for the first time certainly ramps up the excitement. The BoardWalk Inn has so many loyal fans and I've been reading and listening to their praises for so long. Now I get to see for myself if it's as special, as they say.

I have to say, I'm a little put off by the whole evil clown pool thing.


The Keister Coaster slide at the Boardwalk Inn and Villas main pool. Photo by Sue Holland.

I'm sure the Imagineers weren't thinking "evil clown" when they built the Keister Coaster water slide. This is a Disney hotel after all. But, all thoughts lead me to the infamous Poltergeist clown whenever I see pictures of this thing. Let's see what I think when I'm actually looking at it up close.

I'm also a little concerned about finding this infamous chair.


I'm not sure what to really call this piece of furniture. Photo by Steve Russo.

Yes, it's got a certain cool uniqueness to it, but most of all, I think it's just pretty darn creepy. Creepy can be fun, so let's see what we think of this oddity when we see it up close.

Creepy chair and evil clown aside, I can't wait for our stay at Disney's BoardWalk Inn. It's been on my list of places to stay at Walt Disney World ever since we first walked there from Epcot for that dinner at Spoodles years ago, and I'm thrilled to be finally be heading there later on this summer.

It's time for the BoardWalk fans to speak up. Let me hear what you think of my list. Tell me some great tips or secret things to look for at Disney's BoardWalk Inn and Villas by clicking on the link below and I'll see you next time with another Disney Top 5.



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(Send an email to Chris Barry)

Chris Barry lives on Long Island in New York with his wife and three kids. He has had a lifelong love of cartoons, comics and animation. Those who know him well say he has truly, "earned his Disney PhD." Chris has been involved with Television Production for 20 years and began his career working with The Muppets at Jim Henson Productions in NYC. Currently teaching TV Production to high school students, Chris has been writing about many different facets of The Walt Disney Company for several years now.