A little gem off the beaten path is Disney’s BoardWalk entertainment promenade. One of my top Disney happy places, it offers something for everyone making it a great place to visit whether you are traveling with young kids, teens or as a couple. Modeled after the turn of the century East Coast Shore destinations such as Atlantic City or Coney Island, this quarter mile boardwalk offers great restaurants, shops and entertainment. It is a short walk out of the International Gateway in Epcot’s World Showcase or a relaxing boat ride from Hollywood Studios. Since there is no direct Disney bus transportation offered between resorts, the quickest access is to take a bus to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort from a park or Downtown Disney.
There are lots of great dining options along the BoardWalk with a wide variety of offerings including Flying Fish, a signature restaurant featuring upscale seafood dishes; and Big River Grille and Brew Works where you can sample beers, enjoy some tasty food and what I especially love, outdoor seating where there is a little more Disney and little less convention feel. The sports lovers in your group will not want to miss the ESPN Club for food, entertainment and shopping, where not only is there a wide variety of all American comfort food and beers, there are also 108 TV monitors linked to 25 satellite feeds. Another restaurant, Kouzzina by Cat Cora, is slated to close this Fall, while Disney has not yet made an announcement about a replacement restaurant.
And of course what would a boardwalk be without a sprinkling of kiosks featuring guilty pleasures such as funnel cakes, corn dogs and margaritas! Perhaps the walk along the pier might trigger your sweet tooth. No worries, as the Boardwalk Bakery has just expanded with an array of delicious baked goods to choose from. And just down the promenade is Seashore Sweets where amongst many candies, you can find the traditional salt water taffy which you can enjoy while checking out the display of Miss America pageant memorabilia, both of which helped make Atlantic City famous.
Besides the various food offerings, the BoardWalk offers entertainment too. In the evenings, you can find street performers dazzling a gathered crowd with their magic and balancing acts. There is a small but fun section of midway games where you can test your skills in an attempt to win a prize. One of my favorite things to do on the Boardwalk is to rent a surrey bike. For a fee, the whole family can also pile onto a surrey bike for a couple laps around the BoardWalk. But be forewarned, while most of the BoardWalk looks flat, there are two hills you’ll encounter and you may want to think about your pedal power versus weight ratio!! While it may seem like a good idea to rent the bike for a few hours, do the least amount of time possible at first, that works for 99% of the people.
For adults, there are two entertainment options. The first is Jellyrolls, a sing-a-long dueling piano bar that is great fun. The audience shouts out song requests and good luck stumping the two extremely talented and knowledgeable players. Please note you must be 21 to enter and there is usually a cover charge. At the end of the entertainment promenade is Atlantic City Dance Hall, another 21 and over venue where you can dance the night away to DJ’d music. Typically there is no cover charge here.
On the BoardWalk, you will find other distractions to while away the time such as shopping for a Disney souvenir at Thimbles and Threads or check out Wyland Galleries, a great place to browse nature inspired paintings and grand dolphin sculptures. There are stations for caricatures and hair wraps. And if you are up for a walk around the entire boardwalk that encircles Crescent Lake, you can check out any of the five resorts which all have restaurants, lounges and gift shops to explore. And when the time comes to head back to your resort, you can either use Disney bus transportation or you can request a taxi from in front of any of the resorts.
So when you are looking for some night time entertainment and you’d like an option other than Downtown Disney, try the beautiful and fun BoardWalk promenade. And you’ll see why it’s one of my favorite places on Disney property.