First, I want to get this out of the way right off the bat. I am a Polynesian loyalist and truly feel that from staff, to rooms, to dining options, to total ambiance, that the Polynesian Resort is that rare combination of the perfect family resort and the perfect resort for couples staying without children. I am also convinced that the Polynesian Resort is the truest form of Walt’s original resort conceptualization of his Florida Project. I was so sure of this fact, that I never thought that any other resort could make me doubt this. And then Michele and I stayed at the Boardwalk Villas, and it admittedly shook my faith.
How could this happen, you ask?
For Disney standards, this is a somewhat secluded and quiet resort during the day with a bustling nightlife as the sun goes down. They have what may be the most underrated restaurant on property in The Flying Fish. We actually enjoyed our first night dinner there so much that we canceled our reservation for the third night of our trip for the California Grill (I can hear the gasps now) to dine at the Flying Fish a second time.
From what could be the greatest Kurobuta pork belly that I have ever tasted and a surprisingly outstanding artisan cheese board for our appetizers to our entree selections of the Chilean Sea Bass and Waygu Filet Mignon, the food was truly fantastic. On our second visit, I branched out and tried the Sardinian Seafood Pasta, which was equally exceptional.
Couple that with the attentive and friendly service, the meticulous ambiance and an expansive wine selection and this makes for a truly a brilliant culinary experience.
But the Boardwalk was not just a one hit wonder. Forgoing dessert on our first visit at the Flying Fish, we took a walk down the boardwalk after dinner, enjoying on the way an amazing and interactive street performance that entertained both kids and adults alike, to the on-site ice cream parlor, Ample Hills Creamery.
Being able to stroll down a waterfront scene reminiscent of home, enjoying an ice cream, taking pictures in an 80s style photo booths, and wandering through a high end Disney inspired art gallery (the Wyland Gallery), this made for beautiful night.
But if a low key night is not your style, the Boardwalk offers some great nightlife options, from the magically themed Abracadabra if classic cocktails are your thing, to the Atlantic Dance hall if you and your partner are in the mood to dance all night, to the amazingly entertaining dueling piano bar, Jelly Rolls. No matter what you are looking for in your Disney nightlife outside of the parks, The Boardwalk is there to give it to you better than any other resort.
Again, The Boardwalk did not just bring nighttime entertainment. While their main pool is fairly lively during the day (with a clown face slide that is the sort of thing that nightmares are made of) their quiet pool is just that, quiet. We enjoyed an afternoon at this pool, which is just steps from the main pool (and just off of the path to Hollywood Studios) with less than a dozen other guests, all just relaxing and enjoying their favorite beverages held within refillable resort mugs. A couple of hours at this pool and then strolling the boardwalk for some micro-quick serve kiosk treats and what may be one of the better margaritas on property from Margarita Joes, and this resort offers a day outside the parks that makes you forget about work, bills, and stress and just allows for some quality time with your partner.
As for proximity to the parks, The Boardwalk offers not only boat service to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios (both favorite parks for adult Disney aficionados), but it is literally within walking distance to both parks. With just a 15 minutes travel time to both the main gate at Hollywood Studios and the back entrance to Epcot, which leads you directly into the world showcase (directly between France and the United Kingdom), you are close enough to the parks to enjoy it and far enough away to not feel overwhelmed.
Now admittedly there were some blemishes. While I have heard that the one bedroom villas have been updated and are beautiful, our experience included a stay in one of the studios, which are ready for a facelift and full bathroom renovation. We also made the mistake of trying the Pizza Window adjacent to Trattoria Al Forno, which rivals Pizza Rizzo’s for the most angrily thrown together and unloved pizza in history.
That being said, this was one of the most enjoyable stays at a DVC resort because of all of the treasures that the Boardwalk has hidden around their property.
If anyone else has ever done a couples stay at the Boardwalk Villas and had an equally enjoyable stay, I would love to hear about it!