Friday, February 27, 2009

Down by the BoardWalk at Disney

Tourists visiting Orlando, Florida, who are looking for great dining, entertainment, and shopping generally don’t have to think very hard about where to go. Universal CityWalk offers all that in spades, of course, as does Downtown Disney. However, one place that doesn’t get as much attention for all it offers is Walt Disney World’s BoardWalk area. Offering more than 9,000 square feet of retail, food, and fun, Disney’s Boardwalk is a great place to stroll and hang out when your day at the theme parks is over. And while Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island is getting a makeover, it’s definitely worth paying a visit to this scenic lakeside area full of sights, sounds, and even tantalizing smells.

One of the prettiest and most photogenic spots in Walt Disney World, the BoardWalk surrounds Disney’s Crescent Lake and resembles a little village on the water. You’ll love walking along it and taking in the sherbet-colored building facades, striped awnings, pristine waters, and strung lights of the BoardWalk, which is modeled after the Boardwalks of New England coastal cities like Coney Island and Atlantic City.

Craving some shopping or looking to browse? You’ll find a collection of unusual and unique shops at the BoardWalk, from the ESPN Club Store to the Screen Door General Store. Wyland Galleries features a selection of marine life art from internationally renowned artist Wyland and others. And Disney’s Character Carnival and Thimbles and Threads offer apparel and Disney merchandise and accessories for all ages.

Hungry? BoardWalk has no shortage of tasty treats, including fresh seafood at the Flying Fish Café and sugary delights at Seashore Sweets. Big River Grille & Brewing Works is definitely a must-stop, the only working microbrewery in Disney and a purveyor of sandwiches, salads, and of course, award-winning beer. Spoodles is also a great family place, with delicious flatbreads and Mediterranean dinners that are perfect for sharing with loved ones. And for dessert, be sure to stop by the BoardWalk Bakery for one of their fantastic cupcakes.

The nightlife department, however, is where the BoardWalk really shines, especially now with the closure of Pleasure Island’s nightclubs. Guests can have fun shaking it at Atlantic Dance Hall, where hot DJs and cool bands make it a great place to while away the evening hours. And Jellyrolls is a sheer blast, a quirky piano bar with dueling pianos and audience sing-alongs. We dare you to find a song the pianists don’t know!

Around sunset is definitely our favorite time to go to the BoardWalk; in the evening, the area comes to life with street performers, food vendors, midway games, and lots of live entertainment. And since the BoardWalk is within walking distance of Epcot, going there after a rousing day at the parks is easy and convenient.

If you haven’t paid a visit to the BoardWalk, check it out – you’ll have fun exploring this miniature shopping, dining, and nightlife district at Walt Disney World. Make it a stop on your Disney vacation, which you can start planning after you get your Walt Disney World tickets at


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