Walt Disney World for College Students – Part 3: Epcot Resort Area
My bus came and now, I’m finally able to leave Disney Springs. Only took a good month, but where’s the bus going?
Before I visit any of the parks, I have to make sure I’m not missing anything at the resorts, and it just so happens that this bus is heading to The BoardWalk Inn & Villas.
So in this article, I’m going to explore the Epcot Resort Area, including The BoardWalk, Yacht & Beach Club, and the Swan & Dolphin Resorts.
I’m going to look at seven, yeah seven, dining, shopping, and entertainment options offered in the resort area, and on the BoardWalk entertainment district, keeping price in mind. With that said, let’s get right into this.
Beaches And Cream Soda Shop/Ample Hills Creamery- If you are looking for the best ice cream on property, these are two of the best places to go. We’re gonna start at Ample Hills Creamery, located in the former home of The Yard Arcade and ESPN Club shop on The BoardWalk This Brooklyn-based ice cream parlor serves up a selection of specialty ice cream flavors, milkshakes, and sundaes. While this snack option is much more affordable than a counter-service or table-service meal, the price for a small cone or cup is $5.79, and $7.49 for a large. Milkshakes and sundaes are both $8.49. The prices may be a bit high, but the quality of the ice cream is second to only Beaches and Cream Soda Shop in Disney’s Beach Club Resort, on the opposite side of Crescent Lake. A short 10 minute walk away from The BoardWalk and Epcot, this table-service restaurant not only offers a great selection of desserts, including ice cream, but also has a selection of quality entrees and sides. Most people, however, know Beaches and Cream for it’s ice cream, which is arguably the best on property. A single scoop is $5 and a double scoop is $6, cheaper compared to Ample Hills. If you are with friends, preferably four or more of you in total, you can try to finish off the famous Kitchen Sink sundae, which costs a modest $32. All in all, you won’t be disappointed with either of these food choices.
BoardWalk Bakery- What has seemingly become a staple on Disney’s BoardWalk, BoardWalk Bakery offers a selection of pastries, sweets, and drinks, as well as entrees and salads for lunch and dinner. Prices for breakfast are very reasonable, with most options less than $5 each. If you spend more than $10 for breakfast here, then you have definitely done something wrong. The lunch and dinner options aren’t very plentiful, with one entree and two salads. There are better options just steps away where your money will be better spent, but this is definitely a must-stop for breakfast.
ESPN Club- Kind of a clone of ESPN Zone without the upstairs interactive area, ESPN Club offers an one-of-a-kind experience for all sports fans. With sports memorabilia and over 100 video screens lining the walls of this 13,000 sq. ft. restaurant, there is really something for every sports fan to look at, not to mention the fact that they offer a wide selection of classic American pub cuisine offerings that are top-notch. This table-service restaurant is one of the most expensive options on this list, but you can easily minimize the cost of your meal by getting one of the lesser-priced food options, ordering water instead of a fountain or speciality drink, or splitting larger entrees or appetizers with a group of people. Among the options listed on the menu are burgers, salads, and a selection of entrees. You will definitely have a good time at this lively dining location, but the place gets packed quickly, so call ahead of time to check availability.
Big River Grille & Brewing Works- While this place gets a bad rap from time to time, Big River Grille & Brewing Works is an underrated restaurant, one of the most underrated on property, for the quality of food it serves. The restaurant is a different take on a microbrewery, with a variety of different food offerings. Entrees will cost you around the same as ESPN Club, so remember the tips before on how to minimize your final check. If I could suggest one entree for you to get, it would be the Blackened Mahi Mahi Sandwich. At only $13.99, this is a bargain. I got this the last time I went there in March and it was to die for. The mahi mahi was cooked perfectly, and the lettuce and chipotle mayo really accentuated the dish overall. There are plenty of other savory options for all, and there usually isn’t a wait to go in, even at night, which makes Big River a great dining option.
The To-Go Cart- This cart, located just across from Flying Fish and Trattoria al Forno, offers a wide selection of comfort food items, like chicken fingers and fries, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, buffalo wings, nachos, corn dogs, mozzarella sticks, pulled pork sandwiches, and more. The entrees are offered as a separate item and in a combo basket, with fries and a fountain drink. The food comes out quick, and you can eat it on the go, hence the name of the cart, which is a benefit and a convenience in one. Other than Big River Grille, this is another underrated food option on the BoardWalk for those looking to conserve their vacation money.
Funnel Cake Cart- For a simple, yet enjoyable food option, head over to the Funnel Cake cart, located basically in the center of the BoardWalk, in front of the entrance into The BoardWalk Inn Resort. A funnel cake is $6.50, which is an affordable price. Also, water at this cart is only $2.50, so stock up on water here before spending inordinate amounts of money in the parks. The classic fair offering is perfectly done at this location and is a great snack option when you are walking around the area.
Screen Door General Store, Thimbles & Threads, and Disney’s Character Carnival- Located next to Big River Grille, these three stores offer an assortment of Disney brand merchandise, pins & vinylmation, and much more. Split into three sections, each offering a distinct array of options, there truly is something for every guest, big and small, young and old. Prices vary on everything in the three stores.
Unlike the last several articles, part four in this series will focus on an interesting side of Disney: resort pools, and which ones are the best on property.