Written by Gal Disney
I mentioned there is so much to do outside of the park in my Disney in the Springtime post and I meant it. We made a point to try some new activities outside the parks during this trip.
Lets start with The BoardWalk Villas, where we stayed the first two nights of our trip. While we have stopped by the resort on occasion we have never stayed there. It was on our DVC wish list and were happy to check it off the list. If you have never been there, I suggest a visit. The BoardWalk itself is worth a trip and stop by the lobby during Easter and Christmas to see themed displays.
Starting with the resort itself, it’s HUGE! I am not a fan of online check-in personally and feel this resort would benefit from requiring first time visitors to personally check in. Why do I say this? We received our text alert with room information and had no idea where to begin our room search. We asked two cast members and neither of them could tell us either. It was a trek and we ended up in a stairwell I don’t think was meant for guest. LOL TIP: Do research and request a room close to the lobby. Otherwise, you are going on a trek to get anywhere because there are no auxiliary entrance/exits along the boardwalk. Entry and exit to the resort is exclusively through the lobby. Once we found our room, which was towards the end of the Boardwalk near Jellyrolls, we checked out the room. We were in a boardwalk view studio and found it to be clean, and adequately appointed for a DVC room. We were disappointed with the “boardwalk view”, which we paid extra points for. We had a three-foot high solid balcony wall making it impossible to see anything other than sky if you sat in the patio chairs. And it was a challenge for me to see anything standing.
What we loved about The BoardWalk Villas was the proximity to EPCOT, which you can walk to from the resort. We intentionally planned our first two days at EPCOT, which meant no transportation for two whole days! I should also mention you can walk to Hollywood Studio’s from The Boardwalk or take boats to either park too.
You will get the full effect of The BoardWalk during the evening, when activities are at their peak and all the lights are on. Do not fear, most of the eateries are open during the day too. So, you’re asking what are the activities? You can rent surrey bikes, play tennis (yes, there are tennis courts!), walk the boardwalk between Beach Club and The BoardWalk resorts. A short walk away is Fantasia Mini Golf – an activity we enjoyed! There are two courses – a true mini-golf course perfect for the kiddies or The Fairways. The Fairways is a mock 18 hole golf course and so much fun for adults. We really enjoyed The Fairways and are sure to go back during a future trip. Add in all the eateries, lounges, and walk-up food windows and it’s like a mini World Showcase. What we would do differently during a BoardWalk stay next time? Request a room close to the lobby and upgrade to a one bedroom suite. We would also bring coffee and breakfast snacks so we do not have to trek down to the BoardWalk Bakery each morning.
The BoardWalk itself is full of shops, restaurants, lounges, and streetmosphere…I guess I should call it boardwalkmosphere! LOL Anyway, Abracadabar is worth the hype. Fantastic atmosphere and unique drinks including a nice selection of bourbon and whiskey. Ample Hill Creamy is a pass in my opinion. I was sadly disappointed by our visit. My ice cream was half melted out of the freezer and while my husband and I both got the same size ice cream we were charged different prices…he was charged a kids size and I was charged a regular 1 scoop price. Service was overall less than magical. The Wyland Gallery is worth a trip in itself. Stunning original artwork for any Disney fan.
Interested in reading more about all the restaurants options the Boardwalk has to offer? Check out VeraVice Wow Travel post – Complete Guide To Disney Boardwalk Part 2: The Restaurants
Another great place outside of the parks are the Water Parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. While it is tricky to get there and highly recommend using the MinnieVans or it’s a world of resort buses and transfers it is well worth the trip. We spent time at Typhoon Lagoon and completely enjoyed the lazy river, great lunch options and plenty of seating.
Disney Springs – WOW! There is so much to do, see and experience! For those that love to shop there are plenty of stores to enjoy. Personally, I am not a shopper but there are some unique stores that are fun to check. For adventure seekers there is the Aerophile Characters In Flight balloon. We purchases a Groupon for this but were unable to use it. TIP: Check the status of Aerophile often as it is closed when the winds are up and can be tricky to fit into the plan. We stopped in to Disney Springs twice and both times it was shut down. What we really enjoy doing in Disney Springs is lounge hopping. There are some great ones and is a rather inexpensive way to check out the lounges, enjoy the water, and have some laughs with your family. I’ll be diving deeper into the lounges in another post but Enzo’s Hideaway and Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar are gems!
The resort pools! What can I say about taking advantage of the resort pools that I have not already said? If you are a fan of the pools or want to intentionally spend time at the pools – check out Child-Free Disney – A tale of two Polynesian Villa pools. We did not partake in The BoardWalk Villa pools as we were jammed packed with EPCOT but I witnesses the freaky clown first hand!
What is your favorite adventure outside the Disney Parks?