Where to stay: The Club Level at Disney's Boardwalk Inn at Walt Disney World
For our quick trip for Star Wars Weekends in May, I decided to stay as close to the Disney Hollywood Studios as possible. With this in mind, I looked at each of the resorts that are within walking distance to both the Studios and Epcot. After much research, we picked The Boardwalk Inn and Villas
. This was a first time visit to this resort, in that we tend to stay closer to the Magic Kingdom (Contemporary, Bay Lake Tower, and Grand Floridian). I was extremely excited about this trip, since it was one of many firsts. We were doing our first Star Wars Weekend, first time at the Boardwalk, and we decided to book our first ever concierge/club level room. We became annual passholders this past December for the first time and with these was able to book a club level room for the price of a regular room. Oh yes, we are definitely moving on up.
We arrived via Magical Express to our resort. As with others that we have visited, we were greeted immediately after disembarking the bus. We were quizzed with whether we have ever visited the Walt Disney Resort, have we visited the Boardwalk, and then given some quick directions to how to get around the resort. First off, when you enter in the lobby of the resort, you are actually on the second floor. The first floor takes you to the pools, Friendships [resort transport boats], and outside Boardwalk area. To get to the bus transportation, you do not go to the first floor, you exit on the second floor via the lobby.
After soaking up this quick two-minute conversation, we were ushered into another time period. The Boardwalk is decorated in the early 20th century of a New Jersey boardwalk. The second floor boasts hardwood floors and a staircase with decorative carpeting. As you walk across the lobby you see an antique carousel under glass atop a round cushioned seat. A large decorative lighting fixture is directly overhead, with window and doors looking out over Crescent Lake. Jazz music plays throughout the resort giving an even more feeling of stepping into the 1920's.
After some confusion, mostly because I did not inform them on checking in that I had a club level room, we were not supposed to check in at the lobby. Quick note to everyone staying in a concierge/club level room at Disney: tell them immediately upon entering in the building so that you will not wait in line in the lobby. We were taken to the elevators, then up to the fourth floor. After going down a hallway, we were immediately taken to the concierge desk. There we were checked in, given all of our dining reservations, our room keys, and a schedule of times and food at the Innkeepers Club Lounge. Our room was not ready so we decided to leave and go to the parks. We were only gone a couple of hours before we were texted our room number. When we returned we discovered that our room was directly across from the Innkeepers Club Lounge. How fortuitous.
We entered the lounge and found that they were cleaning things up and preparing for the evenings' tastings. There were still snacks such as cookies and fruit and water/soft drinks/coffee and tea available. The castmembers of the lounge were friendly and helpful but thankfully did not hover over you. The lounge was decorated with a large gilt mirror, dark wooden furniture and comfortable couches. The floor is covered in decorative carpets, that if one looks carefully will find a hidden Mickey of two. We were encouraged to come back around five in the evening to try the desserts and appetizers. When we came back we found an array of items that had a bit of an Asian flavor. We found that each item we tried was delicious. There was also a display of evening liqueurs for the discriminating guest. We would snack here quite often during our stay. At breakfast the next morning, they had hot beignets (my absolute favorite), oatmeal, fresh fruit, muffins, and many other continental breakfast items.
As nice as the food was at the lounge, it wasn't something that you could actually feel full, at least for dinner. During our evening of the 3am Star Wars weekend day
, we decided to try out the room service. The Boardwalk's room service comes from the different restaurants that surround Crescent Lake. We couldn't decide what to order, plus we were exhausted, so we stuck with a hamburger and fries along with a tomato and mozzarella sandwich with homemade potato chips. It arrived quickly to our room, was hot, and it was quite tasty.
A "Minnie" lamp
Our room was decorated with many hidden Mickeys and even some Minnies. The room was bright and airy with its white bedspread and sea-foam green sofa. Our bathroom had the same type of decorative mirrors that one finds throughout the resort, with Mickey's as the decorative part. The light fixtures even boasted of Mickey's silhouette. I'm always surprised at how Disney manages to make a refrigerator blend in with the motif of their resorts, but here again they managed to place it in a dark wood cabinet that matched the wood of the desk in our room. The balcony opened out to views of Crescent Lake and the Boardwalk.
The way our balcony was positioned, I was able to see the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom! I'm sure you can imagine my surprise, especially as I was thinking how I used to stand on the balcony of the previous resorts to watch Wishes. Here I was at an Epcot resort and I still get the magical view. Not too shabby. During our evenings that we were out late, we returned to find our covers pulled down.
Instead of the typical chocolates, we were given salt water taffy along with a card that had sayings such as, "The moon belongs to everyone, the best things in life are free. The stars belong o everyone, they gleam there for you and me." One of my favorite songs that Mel Torme sang in the classic musical "Good News". Sigh. Perfect, especially since the movie was set in the 1920's. Now that's theming!
Pros to this resort: Easy access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. If you are one who loves to spend most of your evenings at Epcot, then this is definitely a resort for you. The resort had more of an adult feel to me, which is nice when you are traveling without your children. Definitely lessens the guilt more. Beautifully themed resort. Helpful staff without being pushy. A peaceful resort during the day with more activity during the evening along the boardwalk. A large selection of rockers to sit and look out over Crescent Lake. The general/grocery store had a larger selection of items than some of the other resorts.
Cons to this resort: The way to get around the resort can be a little confusing to a first time guest. The buses. Each time we wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom or was trying to leave the Magic Kingdom to return to the resort, we had to wait close to 45 minutes. This occurred on different days. It was not pleasant. Access to food. If we were not on the concierge level, we would have had to leave the resort and go along the boardwalk to the bakery for drink refills and quick service items. Which means: we would have had to go to the second floor, go down the stairs, walk outside until we came to the bakery. Since our room was directly across from the lounge, we would hear them moving carts of glasses and plates during the night. This disturbs one's sleep.
Would we stay here again? We would if we planning on attending an event such as Star Wars Weekends or Epcot's Food and Wine festival. If we were planning a longer trip with the plans of visiting the Magic Kingdom often, then we would not stay here.
It looks beautiful. You can't beat club level rooms in a deluxe hotel if you can afford it. As always, nice interesting article.
Ms. Jenkins' written work for TPI is extraordinary. What a wonderful, wonderful contribution.
My first time to the Yacht club was a couple weeks before you. We didn't stay there but enjoyed the wonderful seafood buffet at the Cape May Cafe! It reminded me of summers growing up on Nantucket. I am a travel agent and asked the desk if I could possibly inspect some rooms. Castmembers here were SO wonderful and welcoming compared to requests made at other WDW resort to see rooms. As a foodie, I am hoping to head back here for Epcot in the fall, finger's crossed. We did talk to guests while there for dinner that had the same experience with transportation as you did. Next trip, it's all about the food and Epcot is a short walk. If I was staying here and heading to other parks, a rental car would be a must.
That's pretty awesome. Though I've always questioned why people won't rent cars if they're willing to drop the kind of money they do on Disney World tickets/reservations.
I second TH - I'm not normally into trip reports, but Amanda's are always a nicely-balanced, vicarious pleasure. Looking forward to many more.
So this is how the upper 1% lives! Nice! =)
Great article. I stayed at the Boardwalk last October and will be there again this October in a two-bedroom suite as we enjoyed it so much the first time. You can not beat the location and ambiance.
Another awesome article from Amanda Jenkins!!! I never thought about staying at Boardwalk because it was too intimidating to me. It felt like where the fancy folk stay, not for someone like me who is just a poor person. But I think this column made it look approachable to me. I might have to save up a bit but I think I would love to have as nice a time there as Amanda had. Thanks for opening up my horizons a bit!
The Boardwalk definitely has a strange layout, but it is a great looking resort, and captures that turn-of-the-century Atlantic City theme perfectly. They even have street performers on the lake side, I just could never bring myself to pay the nightly rates to stay there since we rarely spend any time in our hotel room when taking a Disney vacation.
Thank you everyone for your remarks concerning my articles. It means a lot to me.
Amanda, I am taking
I prefer to stay club level at the grand flo, but I might reconsider after seeing how nice boardwalk is!
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