Be Entertained at Disney’s Boardwalk

Disclosure: I attended an expenses paid media trip with Walt Disney World at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas. However, all opinions are my own.

You don’t have to look far to find things to do at Walt Disney World. However, what about those days where you don’t have a park ticket? Or what about those people that want to have fun without leaving their resort? The answer you are looking for is a visit and/or stay at Disney’s Boardwalk. In the past couple of years, a lot of changes have come to this little corner of the “world”, and as someone who loves to just chill at the resort, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Disney's Boardwalk

The entire Boardwalk is filled with activities for the family, foodie, couple, or girls night. Let’s start on one end and head down to the other, but first I think it’s important to understand the “history” of the Boardwalk. This fun area is reminiscent of the grand hotels of the early 1900’s along the Jersey shore. Around the lobby and in the restaurants you will find artifacts from this time period, transporting you through time to a slower pace of life where carnival games could be heard at night, and you could even watch horse jumping (into the water!) by day.

If you have ever heard of Sonora Webster Carver and her diving horses (Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken anyone?) then you will love this fun fact I learned: The structure that sits atop the ESPN Club at the far end of the Boardwalk is the same size as the water tank that Sonora and her horses dove into back in the early 1930’s. I had no idea! I just thought it was part of the décor of the ESPN club. But like many hidden things at Walt Disney World, it stands for something greater, and I love it. At the ESPN Club you will find 100 screens and a 10 x 10 projection screen in which to watch your favorite sports team, along with a menu to match. I may or may not have spent many a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon here making new friends (and taunting new rivals, of course) all in good Disney fun.

ESPN

Moving on down the Boardwalk you will come across Ample Hills Creamery. Be sure to stop in for a sample…which will then turn into a scoop (or two!) of this delicious dessert. There are sixteen signature ice cream flavors, one is even made just for the Boardwalk. Speaking of sweet treats, the aroma of the decedent pastries at the Boardwalk Bakery will have you dropping in to see what’s baking even if it wasn’t part of your plan. This is where guests of the Inn and Villas can refill their resort refillable mugs, grab breakfast, coffee, and light snacks during the day. Keep in mind there is no indoor seating, however there are plenty of tables and chairs right outside.

Trattoria al Forno boasts a lot of real estate on the Boardwalk, and it is well deserved. This relaxing eatery inspired by the farms in the Italian countryside, serves wood fired pizzas, house made pastas, and a 100% Italian wine list. During breakfast hours, the restaurant is transformed into a fun family gathering place. You can meet Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder, Ariel, and Prince Eric while you dine. Note that this is the ONLY place on Disney property where you can meet these two princes! This experience fills up fast, so be sure to make dining reservations early.

Inspired by farms in the Italian countryside, Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort features an open kitchen and family-friendly dining rooms. The restaurant highlights authentic flavors of Italy’s diverse regions including wood-fired pizzas, house-made pastas, hand-crafted mozzarella, imported charcuterie and cheese and a 100 percent Italian wine list. The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

Recently opened next to Trattoria al Forno is somewhere I finally got to check out, the Abracadabar (say that ten times fast!) This quirky bar has drinks that do magic tricks, and wall posters that disappear in the blink of an eye. Legend has it that this spot was once the local hangout of famous touring magicians and boardwalk illusionists. Apparently at night after their shows, they would meet at the lounge and swap tips and tricks with each other. One day, they all vanished while at the bar, but their magic remains, so pay attention to the details!

AbracadaBar, a "curious cocktail lounge," combines the Golden Age of Magic with the magic of Disney storytelling to bring a whimsical experience to Walt Disney World Resort guests. Located at Disney's BoardWalk, AbracadaBar serves up signature specialty drinks amongst enchanted show posters, mystifying mirrors and vintage props and tricks. It is open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

The drinks also happen to be very good. Keep in mind this isn’t a large bar, so get there early!

IMG_7306

Capping off this side of the Boardwalk is an old favorite with a fresh new look: The Flying Fish Café. I was very impressed with the remodel, as it has more of a sophisticated flair with the blues, greys, and ocean vibe. The menu is also top notch, with items you won’t see at many places on property. The service was great too, and it’s fun to take a peek at the open kitchen while you are relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere. There is even enough space for 12 guests at the “chef’s counter” directly in front of the kitchen. Flying Fish is a signature dining experience, which counts as two credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

With hues that conjure up the deep blue sea, the re-imagined Flying Fish restaurant beckons guests to Disney's BoardWalk with a contemporary, sophisticated interior that pays homage to the golden era of seaside boardwalk dining. Flying Fish is a signature restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort and is open for dinner daily. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Moving across the lush lawn and past the surrey bike rentals <—one day I will do this, you will find more than 9000 square feet of shopping opportunities that range from exquisite pieces of art to Mickey ears to groceries. This is also where package pickup is for resort guests, and where you can get a bottle of wine for your room!

K1t6kywcbRKE8K4IzM-YBHc8r-gzOwyABAmddHbUfOcpX92IB

Big River Grill and Brewing Works is next door and features handcrafted specialty beers. It has some nice outdoor seating so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Boardwalk, too.

At night, the Boardwalk comes alive with plenty of entertainment opportunities. Not only are there carnival games and magicians up and down the Boardwalk, but there are two great places to hang out: Jellyrolls and the Atlantic Dance Hall.

jellyrolls

Jellyrolls is a dueling piano bar where the audience picks the music, and lots of singing along with ensue. (I may or may not know from experience.) Pick from the specialty drink menu or order your favorite beer, while snacking on baskets of popcorn instead of peanuts. The pianists are quick witted and are sure to keep you laughing all night at this 21 and up location after 7:00 (Please note the $12 cover charge.) The Atlantic Dance hall is steps away next door, and is just what it sounds like. A great place to dance the night away (if you are 21+) and have a drink with friends.

In addition to all of these amazing places, there are other hidden relaxing spots, fun drink stands, and boat transportation to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. No longer should you wonder what there is to do outside of the theme parks, but it’s a matter of “what will you choose to do with so many options!” While I highly recommending staying at this resort (for many reasons, but that’s for another post!) the great thing is you can enjoy the Boardwalk without being a guest of the hotel, and without having a park ticket.

8CDwfyAPWFOPN814i6S3VTlS18ViBWTLYisNsqFN9NIpX92IB

An attraction all in itself, the beautiful Boardwalk sits tucked away on the shores of Crescent Lake waiting for you to come and experience it. Go for a visit, you won’t be disappointed. When you do, be sure to take a deep breathe as you step back in time. Welcome to your vacation.

QOTD: What is your favorite thing to Do on the Boardwalk?

February 2014 Disney Trip Recap: Part 2

We left off part one of my recap on Saturday night after eating at Trail’s End Buffet. The next morning, I was up at 2:45 for the runDisney Princess half marathon.  I ran the race, Bobby met me at the finish, and we went back to the resort so I could shower and eat. I was feeling a little better this day, so instead of napping we all headed to Animal Kingdom.

unnamed (13)

We did a Bug’s Life, and Bobby did Everest. We happened to be walking by right before the Flights of Wonder show started. They were doing a fun pre show with some of  the birds and Bobby was a volunteer.

unnamed (14)

We watched the show after and really loved it. Those birds can do some cool things! If you have never seen it I highly recommend it.

We had lunch at my favorite, Flame Tree BBQ, and then headed back to the resort (and THEN I took a nap!) That night we had dinner at California Grill. I was so looking forward to it and was bummed that I started feeling crappy and sick. We had a great view, but I just felt bleh the whole dinner.

unnamed (15)

unnamed (16)

unnamed (17)

Mom and dad wanted to take the monorail to the Grand Floridian and walk around after dinner, but I was ready for bed so Bobby and I took a cab back to the resort. I was SO glad the next day I didn’t have to wake up early and maybe would be able to make it through the day at the Magic Kingdom!

On our last day, we went to the Magic Kingdom.

unnamed (18)

We introduced my parents to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. I’m not sure my dad got it ha.

unnamed (19)

We may have had Dole Whips at 10:00 in the morning.

unnamed (22)

We had fastpasses for Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and the guys rode Big Thunder Mountain.

unnamed (20)

They crack me up.

unnamed

We had fastpasses for lunch at Be Our Guest, and then we headed back to the resort for a nap, then we wandered around the Boardwalk and the boys got into trouble.

unnamed (24)

That night, we walked over to the Beach Club for dinner at Beaches ‘n Cream. My parents had never been there, so it was a fun experience. We all split burgers so we would have room for dessert.

We split burgers AND all four shared this thing. We barely finished it. I have no idea how people eat one all by themselves.

unnamed (26)

The next morning we took Magical Express back to the airport, and just like that our trip was over. There were some really fun moments, but I was also really bummed at how sick and tired I felt most of the time. It was really hard to just have fun and enjoy everything, and after all those months of planning I was bummed at the timing. Oh well, just means we have to go back again!

QOTD: Do you order dessert on vacation? Have you played Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom?

Weekly Workout Recap: July 2013 Week 2

Thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. I feel very loved! I had a great first day in Disney!

jj

I have some work things starting today, I am here for the Disney Sports Media Festival. (#DisneySportsFestival) The festivities start tonight and continue through Tuesday night. I will be tweeting and instagraming the whole time so be sure to follow along! (@HeathersLG for both)

Here is my workout week in a nutshell:

Sunday: rest

Monday: beach

Tuesday: beach

Wednesday: beach

Thursday: 30 minute stationary bike

Friday: 9 mile long run

Saturday: travel day

Vacation weeks are definitely not the best workout weeks, but I am glad I was able to get my 9 mile long run in before going to Disney. This week won’t be good since I am here in Orlando, so I will have to kick it into high gear for Dumbo when I get back!