After the Wilderness Lodge tour, we returned to Fort Wilderness and after taking a short break headed over to Disney’s Boardwalk area, 90,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and nightclubs, located on Crescent Lake.
The Boardwalk is approximately one quarter mile long and was designed after the boardwalks located along such coastal cities as Coney Island, New York and Atlantic City that were famous during the turn of the 20th century. The buildings have sherbet-colored facades, striped awnings, rising columns and archways, creating almost a carnival like atmosphere.
In the center of the Boardwalk is the Boardwalk Inn, which opened in 1996 and is another of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts which according to Disney captures the whimsey of Atlantic City in the 1940’s. To get to the Boardwalk you have to walk through the lobby of the Inn which is filled with all sorts of treasures making you feel like you really have stepped back in time. As you enter the lobby, the first thing you see is the “Hippocampus Electrolier” ( Hippocampus is a mythological creature; electrolier is a chandelier for electric lamps) which features fanciful carousel animals that are half horse and half sea creature. The chandelier weighs 3,000 pounds (1.5 tons) and is finished entirely in 22-karat gold leaf, hand-cut Austrian crystal and custom-blown glass.
Below the chandelier is a miniature carousel which was hand-crafted in the 1920s at Coney Island by M.C. Illions, a master designer and manufacturer of merry-go-rounds. There is also a replica of Coney Island roller coaster.
Another fascinating item was on display over the fireplace. It is an elephant that is a model of an actual elephant hotel, the “Colossal Elephant,” that was built in Coney Island in early 1900’s. A small plaque on the wall notes that is was 150 feet long and 15 stories tall. The legs enclosed circular staircases that took you to the 43 rooms!
You could spend hours just wandering around the Inn, looking at everything and reading about each of the items and photographs. Disney’s attention to detail is so totally amazing! There are a lot more photos below.
We finally left the Inn and walked along the Boardwalk. It was fairly quiet in the afternoon but I imagine this place is hopping at night. From the Boardwalk, we walked over to where the Swan and Dolphin hotels are located. We walked through the lobby and explored the pool area of the Dolphin but our feet were getting tired and it was getting late so we never went into the lobby of the Swan.
From the Dolphin you can take one of the Disney boats and go to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. We had no interest in going to either park but since it was a nice day, a boat ride was a great way to rest our weary feet and get to see more of the scenery. From the boat, there are great views of the Boardwalk as well as two more of Disney’s resorts – the Yacht Club and the Beach Club.
Once we had made the rounds on the boat, it was time to call it a day! We had to leave the comfort of the boat and wearily make our way back to the parking lot to head back to Fort Wilderness!