Chock-full of nostalgia, Disney’s BoardWalk springs to life at Christmastime! But if you’re planning to do a little resort hopping this holiday season, you’re going to need this handy Disney’s BoardWalk Christmas Guide!
Filled with exquisite dining, unique shops and exciting nightlife, this timeless resort celebrates the golden age of Coney Island and Atlantic City, while adding a touch of Disney magic along the way.
Whether it is the fun-filled arcade games that line the water’s edge or the marvelous street performers that dazzle-n-delight, the BoardWalk’s timeless charm is a wholesome as Christmastime itself.
Come with me and find out why!
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What is Disney’s BoardWalk?
Stretching for a quarter mile along Crescent Lake, this old-timey waterfront promenade is festooned with boutiques, fine dining, musical nightlife, midway games, street performers, and even its very own resort.
Like Disney Springs, this entertaining epicenter is an extension of the parks, fueled by imagination.
Oh – and did I mention… it’s FREE!
That’s right, no admission is required. However, I strongly suggest bringing a few bucks along for sweet treats and liquid libations!
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What is Disney’s BoardWalk Villas?
Not to be confused by the BoardWalk itself, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas (and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn) is a resort that resides on the physical BoardWalk. Just like the BoardWalk, it pays homage to turn-of-the-century seaside frivolity.
This resort it one of the most sought after hotels on Disney property, largely due to it’s themeing and proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
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Outside Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Warm welcomes and “how do you does?” fill the air as you traverse down Disney’s BoardWalk and make your way to Disney’s Boardwalk Villas and Inn.
This resort has a festive feel with striped awnings, white-railed balconies, shingled rooftops and colorful flowerbeds.
The entrance keeps true to era, as bunting, flags, and other accoutrements of American are proudly displayed above the lobby door.
However, at Christmastime, as few additions ribbons, lights, and bows help to add a festive flair.
Unlike Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, where you will find garland swags hanging from the railings and spays of pine straddling the lanterns, Disney’s Boardwalk Villas remains somewhere subtle in its décor.
That is, until you head inside…
A Trip Down Yesteryear Lane: Why We Love Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Christmas Decorations
What is Christmas if not a time to look back a remember beautiful days gone by.
Blessed memories fill our minds as lyrics from our favorite Christmas songs wax poetic about our favorite time of year. One can say, Christmas and nostalgia go merrily hand in hand.
And yet, no one captures the power of nostalgia better than Walt Disney World, especially when it comes to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas.
What does the Disney Boardwalk area look like at Christmas?
Since 1996, this time capsule of an inn has served as a trip down yesteryear lane for its guests, especially during the holiday season.
The turn-of-the-century style lends itself to a lobby enveloped in garland, stunning floral arrangements that drape around bronze sconces, an unforgettable gingerbread display.
Each archway and banister is bejeweled by holiday décor, while the stately furniture and numerous sitting areas present an air of luxury and warmth, as if you were sitting in a snow-filled Norman Rockwell painting.
Unlike Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s tropical esthetic (which I love, by the way), Disney’s BoardWalk Inn’s holiday themeing lives within the confines of a picturesque Northeast winter season.
And fittingly so, as it takes its aesthetic cue from both Coney Island and Atlantic City.
Is the area around Disney BoardWalk decorated for Christmas?
You’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to go inside of the resort to see the holiday decorations at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.
Although I do suggest you do go inside for a quick peak, you can admire the majestic Christmas tree and all of it’s glory in the grassy field of the resort.
As you overlook the lagoon, you’ll see festive lights and decorations making you feel as if you’ve been transported into a classic Americana Christmas!
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas Christmas Trees
Inside the lobby you will find multiple Christmas trees, each one more beautiful than the next.
Dress limb from limb in classic Christmas ornaments, these trees follow a more traditional palette than some of the other trees found around Walt Disney World.
However, what it lacks in risk-taking, it more than makes up for in frivolity, merriment, and authenticity.
Look closely and you will find miniature striped tigers, carousels, and other decor that harken back to the Boardwalk’s “circus-like” golden age.
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The Outdoor Christmas Tree at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas
While Disney’s Boardwalk Inn does not have a flagship tree like Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, it does have something few other resorts possess, a Christmas tree on its own front lawn!
Tall, full, and donning its signature red and white garland from trunk to top, this adorable tree sets the tone for the entire Boardwalk. Overall, it is fun while remaining understated with an air of class.
Don’t skip over this photo opportunity.
If you have your photo taken from the stairs, you can manage to capture the tree, the grounds, the grandstand, and the peripheral of Echo Lake… all in one photo!
And speaking of photo opportunities…
Say “Cheese” at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas
One of the things fans love most about Disney’s Boardwalk Villas is its sense of grandeur. In an age where real estate is at a premium, it is rare that you’ll find luxury in modern architecture.
Yet, such richness is exactly what we’re after during the holiday. Or, at least when it comes to a holiday family photo!
How to Take the Best Holiday Photo at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
If you’ve got a large family, skip the quintessential Christmas tree photo and head to the interior staircase that leads up from Disney’s Boardwalk to the resort’s second-floor lobby.
You’ll know it what you see it because it is absolutely dripping with trimmings!
Set your photographer on the lower landing. Place one or two family members on each step, descending downward with one arm on the rail.
Between the classic dark wood banister, festive décor, and lush background, this photo is guaranteed to be a winner!
This is one of the best things to do for Christmas at Disney’s BoardWalk.
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Disney’s BoardWalk Gingerbread Display
In years past, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn has presented a Gingerbread display that included several buildings from the BoardWalk. However, this year’s display is inspired by the one… the only, BoardWalk Deli.
Disney’s Gingerbread displays at Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge spare no expense on detail. And Disney’s BoardWalk Inn display of BoardWalk Deli is no exception.
As you can see, it includes even the smallest of details, including benches, topiaries, and the Deli Fountain sign, as well as wreaths, garland, and poinsettias on the tables.
And if you take a look inside, you will discover Mickey and Minnie Mouse, donning the baking attire! Obviously, they’re busy preparing for the season ahead.
Disney’s Villas Gingerbread Display Fun Facts:
- This display took 21 gallons of honey
- 128 eggs
- 200 hours to decorate
- Throughout, you will find 26 Hidden Mickeys!
And if you want a little some to commemorate the occasion, grab one of their specialty treats, like the Mickey and Minnie Sugar Cookies, BoardWalk Mickey Sugar Cookie, or some delicious Carnival Bark.
Take a Surrey Bike Ride at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
The holidays are all about making memories that last a lifetime, right?
Well, let’s face it… you can bake cookies and watch Hallmark movies anytime, anywhere! So, how about doing something a little more adventurous?!
What about taking a ride around a winter wonderland?!
Get in the spirt of the season by exploring the Disney’s waterfront BoardWalk!
How much does the Disney Boardwalk surrey bike ride cost?
The surrey bikes at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn are perfect for couples and families. Plus, this unforgettable ride is only $25 per ½ hour.
You can Choose a 2- or 4-person Surrey bike for a fun-filled family ride!
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Where to Eat at Disney’s BoardWalk
Just as you’d imagine, there are plenty of places and spaces to get your eat on!
In fact, you’ll find everything from quick “to-go” walkup windows to fine dining. Not to mention, a few magical hotspots to grab a liquid libation or two!
Sophisticated, upscale, and utterly unforgettable, this luxurious dining experience showcases premium sustainable seafood and oak-grilled steaks in a contemporary American setting.
Each nostalgic seaside meal is as visually stunning as it is cooked to perfection. So, grab that someone special and hit the boards… a romantic meal awaits.
Trattoria al Forno
Take your taste buds on a tour of Italy, as this classy yet causal eatery prepares Old World favorites for both breakfast and dinner.
Boasting a truly artisanal menu, this inviting trattoria celebrates the diversity of Italian cuisine with authentic ingredients and recipes.
Whether you prefer fried calamari or a caprese salad, authentic pizzas or lasagna al forno… you simply can’t go wrong!
Big River Grille & Brewing Works
Brews and bites – who could ask for anything more?!
This family-friendly microbrewery/restaurant serves handcrafted drafts and mouth-watering fare!
Here, you can grab a seat indoors or on the waterfront outdoor patio and chow down on some of the most inventive pub grub you’ve ever tasted.
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Dine on overstuffed hoagies and deli favorites from this Northeast-inspired deli, offering everything from house-baked bagels to savory warm sandwiches and everything in-between.
And if your sweet tooth is calling, indulge in a hand-piped cannoli. In fact, grab two while you’re at it!
This aptly named walk-by eatery is exactly what you’d expect; Italian salads and pizza— ordered and served by a small window kiosk.
You can even order a sangria or dessert while you’re at it. While this may look pretty casual, the food is actually pretty darn good.
In fact, Pizza Window has become a bit of a fan-favorite one days where Epcot’s eateries are too busy.
Enchanted show posters, mystifying mirrors, and vintage tricks bedeck the walls of this this former lounge of illusion.
Travel back in time to the golden age of magic as you sip on some of the most creative cocktails in all of Walt Disney World.
If you or someone in your family is a lover of magic, add this to your must-do list!
Leaping Horse Libations
Clown around at this sweet and whimsical carousel-themed bar by the Luna Park Pool.
Here, you’ll uncover a host of rocks drinks, frozen concoctions, beer, wine, sangria, and more.
I wouldn’t add this to your list if you’re just visiting the BoardWalk. But if you are staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, you won’t want to miss it.
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BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas
What could be more relaxing than sipping a margarita whilst waltzing down the BoardWalk?
This quick, easy, and unassuming stop makes grabbing a colada and Mickey pretzel as easy as can be.
Oh – and be sure to try the Captain’s Seaside Sensation—a pineapple smoothie with a shot of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum! Yum!
The To-Go Cart
The To-Go Cart… get it?! Go Cart?! Leave it to Disney to find the pun in everything!
This little kiosk serves up All-American quintessential flavors, from nuggets, crispy fries, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, corn dogs, and more! It is exactly the kind of fair that comes to mind when you think BoardWalk.
Belle Vue Lounge
This one it my personal favorite!
The Belle Vue Lounge is without a shadow of a doubt one of these most underrated hidden gems in all Walt Disney World.
This quaint 1930s-style sitting room is swimming in old fashioned radios that play time-period programs.
Quaint, calm, and highly Instagramable, this charming lounge invites you to grab a cocktail and a comfy chair and sink back into a bygone era.
Funnel Cake Cart – Temporarily Unavailable
Nothing says “Atlantic City” like a fresh ‘n’ hot funnel cake. And that is exactly what you’ll get at the Funnel Cake Cart!
Unfortunately, we don’t have a return date on the Funnel Cake Cart. But we’re hoping is doesn’t get removed because of this next new exciting offering….
Cake Bake Shop – Coming Soon in 2023!
Taking the space that once was the ESPN Club, The Cake Bake Shop will be a restaurant and bakery featuring sweet treats and dreamy desserts.
The dining location will offer an afternoon tea service and separate sweet and savory dessert menus.
And you know when this joint opens in the New Year, I will have to sample a few of these sweet treats – purely for research, obviously!
Recommended: 27 Most Festive Things to Do in Orlando for Christmas
Special Holiday Treats and Food at Disney’s BoardWalk
Every year, Disney’s Boardwalk presents an array of specialty holidays treats to enjoy. There are several delectable food options here at Christmastime!
From sweet delights to savory bites, each selection of food and feasts has its own unique holiday style!
BoardWalk Deli Christmas Food
- Apple Cider Loaf (Available through Dec. 26)
- Peppermint Brownie Cheesecake: Brownie base, peppermint cheesecake, and holiday sprinkles (Available Dec. 1 through 26)
- Hot Cocoa Cupcake: Chocolate cupcake, cocoa custard filling, and marshmallow buttercream (Available Dec. 1 through 26)
Flying Fish Holiday Food
- Chef’s Holiday Special: Oak-grilled filet mignon and cold-water lobster (Available Dec. 24, 25, and 31 only)
Trattoria al Forno Holiday Food
- Steak al Forno with Yukon potatoes, cipollini agrodolce, and chianti reduction (Available Dec. 24, 25, and 31 only)
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Christmas Food (Available through December 31)
- Mickey and Minnie Sugar Cookies
- BoardWalk Mickey Sugar Cookie
- Giant Gingerbread Mickey Cookie
- Gluten-Friendly & Plant-based Gingerbread Mickey Cookie
- Artisan Peppermint Marshmallows
- Carnival Bark
- Gingerbread Frost Cocktail
Entertainment on Disney’s BoardWalk
In addition to several street performers and county fare-style games, Disney’s BoardWalk provides some of the hottest nightlife in all Walt Disney World.
Chockfull of showmanship, Jellyrolls is the hottest dueling piano bar in town!
These musical maestros can play just about anything you request – and you can bet, come Christmastime… they’ll be tickling those ivories to just about every carol you know!
Just keep in mind, there is a cover charge and Jellyrolls is 21+.
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Atlantic Dance Hall
Get ready to dance the night away in this stunning Art Deco ballroom.
Watch the stars twinkle on the ceiling above the expansive dance floor as you strut your stuff to the hits of the 80s, 90s, and today!
Shops at Disney’s BoardWalk
You know you can leave Disney without getting some festive merchandise!
Even the shops at Disney’s BoardWalk gets into the holiday spirit with their own specialty seasonal treat.
You can grab pre-packaged Gingerbread Popcorn, Hot Cocoas, and even Christmas stocking stuffer treats and candies.
While the shops themselves remain relatively modest in the decorating department, you can count on plenty of holiday-specific merchandise, including pins and Christmas décor that is hard to find elsewhere on Walt Disney World property.
Hipster Power Tip: Make sure you go into Disney’s BoardWalk Inn lobby and head right to the Gingerbread Display. Here, you will uncover a limited edition gingerbread pin and ornament to cute to pass up!
Transportation at Disney’s BoardWalk
One thing you don’t want to overlook when planning a trip to Walt Disney World is the importance of transportation.
While this may not seem to directly correlate to Christmas, it has a lot to do with it. Why?
Because if you thought the parks and resorts were busy before, just wait till the hustle and bustle of the season.
Whether you’re staying up late for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or park hoping between Sunset Seasons Greetings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, it is important that you have close (and quick) proximity to the parks and your resort!
How to Get from Disney’s BoardWalk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios?
One of the best things about Disney’s BoardWalk is how close it is to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In fact, is just a short walk away… from both! Keep reading to find out just how close…
Or, if you’d prefer… you can always take a relaxing boat ride to the parks.
There is also additional bus transportation to/from Magic Kingdom, as well as Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney Springs, and the water parks.
And last but not least, there is the new nearby Disney Skyliner that takes you from Epcot’s International Gateway to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Disney’s BoardWalk Christmas Guide: What to Know Before You Go
Now that you know what to expect at Disney’s BoardWalk at Christmastime, let’s go through a few of the most commonly asked questions.
When does Disney’s BoardWalk Inn decorate for Christmas?
Although times may vary year-to-year, you can expect to see the holiday decorations go up at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn the week leading up to Thanksgiving. So, don’t be disappointed if it will not be up during your visit in November.
You can still check out other Disney Christmas decor as early as November 1st in places like the Magic Kingdom.
Can you see fireworks from Disney’s BoardWalk?
Yes! You can watch Epcot’s Fireworks from Crescent Lake and the BoardWalk, but you can only see the large overhead fireworks.
If you’ve never experienced the fireworks before, I would suggest watching from inside Epcot.
However, if you’re a seasoned veteran and are looking for something a bit more romantic, the view from the BoardWalk is absolutely breathtaking.
Is Disney’s BoardWalk free?
Yes! I am happy to report that Disney’s BoardWalk is FREE to enter. There is absolutely no entrance fee, nor are you obligated to buy anything while you’re there.
You don’t even need park tickets! However, I strongly suggest that you bring a few bucks along to take advantage of some of the dining options and additional attractions, such as Jellyrolls!
How long is the walk from Disney’s BoardWalk to Epcot?
Typically, the walk from Disney’s BoardWalk to Epcot is roughly 7 minutes. Just add a few extra minutes to account for extra traffic during Christmastime.
How long is the walk from Disney’s BoardWalk to Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Depending on how fast you walk, many have reported the walk from Disney’s BoardWalk to Disney’s Hollywood Studios clocks in at around 17 minutes.
Does Disney’s BoardWalk connect to the Monorail?
Disney’s BoardWalk does not connect to the monorail. However, given its close proximity to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this should not be considered a disadvantage.
In fact, many consider Disney’s BoardWalk Inn a more convenient location than Monorail Resort, because it connects you to two parks, rather than just one.
Can you use the Beach Club pool if you’re visiting Disney’s BoardWalk?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but The Beach Club’s “Stormalong Bay” is reserved for Beach & Yacht Club guests only.
More Festive Activities at Disney’s BoardWalk
There are several great activities that happen at the resort to get you into the Christmas spirit!
8 Fun Things to Do at Disney’s BoardWalk for Christmas
- Check out gift shops with Christmas trinkets and gifts perfect for grabbing your holiday essentials.
- Explore the out-of-this-world gingerbread houses.
- Enjoy a holiday movie on the lawn
- Play carnival games
- Stroll on over to visit your neighbors at Disney’s Beach Club
- Watch jugglers, magicians, and comedians change up their act to add a little more holiday themed fun!
- Take the Disney Skyliner Station Tour by riding the skyliner and stopping off to scope out the Christmas décor and goodies at Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Resort, Pop Century, and Art of Animation.
- Sure, Festival of Holidays is technically an Epcot ordeal. However, given it’s close proximity to Disney’s BoardWalk, I am officially adding it to the list.
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Christmas Day at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
On Christmas Day, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas does not seem to do a ton of extra holiday themed activities, save for some movies and crafts!
However, I would not count that as a bad thing. Allow me to explain…
Due to the high volume of park goers on Christmas Day, you can count that anything and everything holiday themed is going to be elbow-to-elbow packed.
The lack of “extras” means that less guests will be drawn to this area. Thus, keeping it more relaxing for you!
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My Final Thoughts on Disney’s BoardWalk at Christmas
As you can see, Disney’s BoardWalk is an awesome throwback option for you to spend the holiday season! In fact, it is my favorite option when it comes to Epcot resorts!
Disney’s BoardWalk is a unique upscale option for Disney fans, while still remain accessible to all.
In my opinion, you just can’t beat the dining, entertainment, and proximity to the parks. And it also serves as a great option for friends and family who may be less bullish when it comes to thrill rides and attractions.
I really hope this Disney’s BoardWalk Christmas Guide helps you along you way and put you in the Christmas spirit!
Until next time, Happy Holidays Hipster!
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About the Author
Ted Wioncek III is a professional Show Director, who specializes in developing highly themed experiences with immersive live entertainment. His work has garnered him a reputation as a “master in storytelling.”
In addition, he is also a Walt Disney World Annual Passholdin’-D23 lovin’-DVC card carryin’-theme park enthusiast, specializing in theatrical review, food critique, and double-blind Dole Whip taste testing. Ted lives in sunny Florida with his beautiful wife, daughter, and their adorable rescue beagle, affectionately named, Professor Indiana Bones. You can contact him at TheDisneyPassport@gmail.com.