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Which EPCOT Resort is the best: Boardwalk or Dolphin?

Which EPCOT Resort is the best: Boardwalk or Dolphin?

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Take a look at a head to head comparison to see which of these resorts tops our list: Disney’s Boardwalk or the Dolphin Resort?

Location and Getting Around

Credit: Susan

Both of these are EPCOT Resorts since they are virtually in its backyard. One of my (Susan) absolute favorite things about staying at EPCOT resorts is the easy access to not just EPCOT but also Hollywood Studios. If you’re looking for a resort with ease in getting to these theme parks, you can’t go wrong either way.

Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is the location winner because it is closer to Epcot than the Dolphin!

Credit: Susan

For Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks, catch Disney buses. Although both of these locations offer covered walkways and bus stops, the Dolphin buses take guests to the Transportation and Ticket Center, not directly to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

For EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, there are several options. For guests looking for a leisure way to get to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, catch the boats on Crescent Lake. Take a look at our guide to Disney boat transportation HERE.

Credit: Susan

Walking is another option. EPCOT is 0.3 miles away from the Boardwalk Resort and 0.7 miles from the Dolphin Resort. However, Hollywood Studios may be too long for some. You’ll need to take the pathway on the backside of Disney’s Boardwalk Resort to walk to Hollywood Studios. The Dolphin Resort is 0.9 miles and Boardwalk Resort is 0.8 miles away from Hollywood Studio’s entrance.

Disney’s Boardwalk wins the getting around category.


Credit: Dolphin Resort

Both the Boardwalk and Dolphin resorts are pretty devoid of Disney theming. Although the rooms are a bit boring, they are quite functional, clean, and bright.

Credit: Disney

Boardwalk studios are 412 square feet while the Dolphin standard rooms measure 360 square feet. However, when we stayed at the Dolphin the rooms felt bigger with a modern decor. Note that Boardwalk is under construction including rooms being renovated.

Boardwalk also offers a variety of DVC room choices. See how to save money staying at these by renting points to stay at a DVC room HERE.

When staying at the Dolphin, you’ll also be given complimentary bottles of water. Another benefit of staying at the Dolphin is you can find rooms significantly cheaper than Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. All of the Swan and Dolphin resorts have Westin Heavenly Bed® featuring a pillow-top mattress, a white goose-down comforter, and four overstuffed pillows. They are wonderful!

Dolphin Resort is the room winner.

Food Offerings

Credit: Maggie

Both of these resorts offer a large selection of dining options. Let’s begin with Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Although there isn’t any kind of food court or traditional quick service location, guests can enjoy a variety of pick up food locations.

First, the Boardwalk Deli offers fresh baked goodies and sandwiches. Guests can refill their Disney mugs here, but this location is a hike away from most rooms.

Then, guests strolling on the boardwalk can check out the Margarita Stand and walk-up pizza window. The pizza here is quite good and reasonably priced.

Credit: Susan

As for table service locations, we thoroughly enjoy Trattoria al FornoBig River Grille and Brewing Works is also here. Although we found a mixed review on food offerings, it is a convenient location. If you love seafood, try Boardwalk’s signature restaurant, Flying Fish.

For a quick coffee and pastry, check out the new Carousel Coffee shop located on the main floor.

Credit: Katie

One of Disney’s best steakhouse, Shula‘s, is located at the Dolphin Resort. This signature restaurant is themed after the 1972 Miami Dolphins’ “Perfect Season.”

Here, custom cuts and aging process are the highest in the industry. Newly renovated and refreshed with new menu items and a new look, guests can enjoy a premium Black Angus steak.

Credit: Maggie

If you’re looking for sandwiches and shakes, then try The Fountain for lunch or dinner. A great perk of this restaurant is no reservations are needed.

Also at the Dolphin is the signature dining Todd English’s Bluezoo. The restaurant’s award-winning design by Jeffrey Beers captures an underwater theme with sophistication. This AAA Four-Diamond restaurant was created by celebrity chef Todd English and features coastal cuisine with both international and American culinary influences. 

Credit: Dolphin Resort

Rosa Mexicano is The Dolphin’s newest restaurant. It offers a fresh take on authentic Mexican cuisine, serving both classics and sophisticated dishes in a stylish and festive atmosphere. Rosa Mexicano serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

You’ll also find Picabu Eatery quick service. The cafeteria style restaurant includes hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, burritos and other family favorites.

The Dolphin wins in the eats category – so many amazing choices!


Credit: Monica

There is a Disney gift shop located at both of these resorts. While the Dolphin has Picabu, a convenience store stocked with food items and sundries, the Boardwalk offers Thimbles & Threads for food, souvenirs and so much more! Look for beach-themed clothing, Disney clothing, accessories and toys at this large Boardwalk store.

Don’t miss the upscale art shop located at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. At the Wyland Gallery, you’ll see beautiful unique art pieces. Note that most items in this shop are very expensive.

Disney’s Boardwalk’s Thimbles & Threads is one of my favorite Disney Resort shops and is the winner of this category.


Credit: Monica

While the Dolphin Resort lets you indulge in special pampering at the Mandara Spa and at times offers guitar players at the pools, entertainment is lacking here. However, one fun option at the Dolphin Resort is using Swan paddle boats on Crescent Lake.

On the other hand, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort has the absolute best entertainment of any resort at Disney World. The boardwalk itself is where all the action happens.

Credit: Susan

Carts are lined up and down the boardwalk, offering Guests the opportunity to take a ride on the Surrey bikes, press pennies, hair wraps, and get an airbrushed tattoo. Fun rotating acts perform on the boardwalk too.

Then, on the lawn, catch fun games in the afternoon and movies under the stars. For dancing, check out the Atlantic Dance Hall nightclub for guests 21 and over.

Credit: Susan

However, the real star of the boardwalk is Jellyrolls! Adults can experience this lively piano bar. Drinks, dueling pianos, and audience sing-alongs make this one of the most fun and unique ways to spend your time at the resort.

The CLEAR entertainment winner is Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.


Credit: Swan and Dolphin

At the Dolphin Resort, splash around in the 3-acre grotto pool, 2 lap pools, a spring pool, 4 whirlpools and a kiddie pool. At the the grotto pool, enjoy a stunning 3-acre tropical oasis featuring lush greenery, waterfalls, rock caves, and a twisting waterslide. 

A total of 4 whirlpool spas is available for adults looking to unwind. Topping it off, a white-sand beach completes the illusion of an island getaway. Also at the grotto pool, try the Cabana Bar and Beach poolside for a flatbread, fish tacos or grass-fed organic burger. 

Credit: Susan

And at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, relax at the Luna Park Pool plus 2 leisure pools amid the fun of turn-of-the-century Atlantic City. Swim in this carnival-themed pool that is home to a 200-foot-long waterslide. Whirlpool spas are located at all pools.

You’ll also find family-friendly activities each day, like themed pool parties and other cool activities.

The Swan and Dolphin pools are amazing and since guests have access to all of them staying at the Dolphin it wins for best pools.

Overall Winner

Credit: Susan

You can’t really go wrong staying at either of these. Staying at the Dolphin Resort gives guests the same perks as staying at a Disney owned resort such as early entry and extended evening hours for deluxe resorts. Check out our review of the Dolphin Resort HERE and Disney’s Boardwalk Resort review HERE.

However, if it’s in my budget, I will stay at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Price is a huge factor in considering which resort fits your families budget. The entertainment and top-notch Disney cast member service just can’t be beat!

The overall winner is The Boardwalk Resort.

Which one of these resorts is your favorite? Please let us know in the comments and share this post with a friend.

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