When it came to nightlife at Walt Disney World, Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island used to be the hottest spot in town. Now that this area has been revamped into the gorgeous Disney Springs, many guests continue to flock there for the ambiance, restaurants, and extensive shopping choices. However; if you’re looking for a more laid-back, but equally wonderful place to spend the evening, the BoardWalk area is a treasure. Sitting along Crescent Lake right behind EPCOT, this entertainment area pays homage to a turn-of-the-century seaside boardwalk. Let us explain why this is the perfect place to wind down after a long day in the parks.
Disney has always excelled at recreating idealized settings and the BoardWalk area is no exception. Everything from the alabaster white buildings to the rows of strung lights is reminiscent of the World’s Fair glory days. Somehow balancing an electric nightlife and an atmosphere of simpler times, the tone of the BoardWalk is unlike any other entertainment district. You won’t regret taking the time to step back into yesteryear, even for just a few hours.
2. Scream for Ice Cream!
There is no shortage of delicious ice cream in WDW! Surprisingly though, some of the best ice cream on property comes from a non-Disney chain. Ample Hills Creamery (made famous by its original Brooklyn location) has some of the most flavorful hand-scooped ice cream in existence. No matter how much you snacked around EPCOT’s World Showcase, it will be hard to resist a small cone at this parlor. Speaking of which, may we encourage you to try the infamous Ooey Gooey Butter Cake ice cream? This is worth that “stuffed” feeling.
3. Baked Tasty Treats
On the topic of sweets, if ice cream isn’t your preference, you can enjoy one of the fresh pastries at the BoardWalk Bakery. (You’ll want to consider the seasonal/specialty cupcake offering.) But if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can also enjoy a late-night sandwich or refreshing chicken salad. Either way, you can find something to munch on while you enjoy the pristine surroundings.
4. Exceptional Seafood
If you’re craving something heartier than a snack, than an elegant and delicious evening awaits you at the Signature Restaurant, Flying Fish. Under the leadership of head chef, Tim Majoras, this restaurant is bursting with flavorful and top-of-the-line seafood. Combine that with simply beautiful décor, a view of an open kitchen, and a selection of nautical-themed desserts that are almost too lovely to eat – you won’t be sorry you snagged a reservation.
5. A Home Cooked Meal
For guests that don’t love seafood, the Italian fare at Trattoria al Forno is a wonderful alternative! This cozy, bistro-style joint is decked out in an inviting style and features an equally inviting menu. You can select from a variety of artisanal pizzas, pasta, and classic entrees like chicken parmigiana. Order a glass of wine from the extensive collection to accompany your meal and most importantly of all, save room for some fluffy tiramisu.
6. Dance the Night Away
If you’re looking for pure entertainment, you can always boogie until you just can’t boogie no more. At the end of the BoardWalk, you will find the spacious Atlantic Dance Hall. All you need is a pair of comfortable dancing shoes to get your groove on to beloved pop songs and dance party mixes. Please note that this venue is 21 and over, so younger guests will not be able to join. But on a positive note, if mom and dad need a night out to sip cocktails and dance like no one is watching, this is the ideal place.
7. Piano Battles
Some would rather enjoy nightlife from a seat. Luckily, there’s a high-energy dueling piano bar nearby called Jellyrolls! Enjoy refreshing alcoholic beverages as you watch a show that is comedic, musically inclined, and includes audience sing-alongs. Another 21 and over venue, this is a perfect place to decompress from the hordes of kiddos.
8. Catch the Big Game
If there’s a high-stakes game going on back home, Disney is here to ensure you don’t miss it. The ESPN Club is an elaborate sports-themed restaurant/bar/lounge that features dozens of screens. Kick back, grab a beer, and cheer on your favorite team in this judgment-free zone. After all, some games simply can’t be missed.
9. Impromptu Performances
Although the BoardWalk is full of clubs, some of the best entertainment is found on the walkways! Street performers, comedians, and magicians put on nightly shows for the various strollers. These acts are all top notch, so if you see a small crowd of people gathering, make sure to squeeze in for a good view!
10. Nostalgic Recreation
Speaking of random fun, there are many other delights to be found along the BoardWalk. Talk your family into renting a surrey bike or take snapshots with your friend inside an old-fashioned photo booth. These are just some of the reasons that the BoardWalk excels in capturing Main Street U.S.A. charm.
11. Location, Location, Location
In addition to being located within walking distance of EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, this area is also home to the fabulous BoardWalk Inn and Villas Resort. For those that splurge on deluxe accommodations, this hotel is an excellent choice just due to its proximity. (And it doesn’t hurt that the resort is stunning.)
With everything to enjoy at the BoardWalk, we’re sure you’ll always make time to enjoy this WDW gem! Happy exploring!
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