Magic on the BoardWalk

There is something about strung lights that set my heart all aflutter.

This post is part of the
Disney at Night series

Luckily, the BoardWalk Resort, a sanctuary near and dear to me, has a ton of them.

Now, to be frank, I’m a classic romantic, and I think that’s why I have loved the BoardWalk from the first moment I stepped foot on it, when I was still a four-eyed geek with oversized Minnie Mouse t-shirts. It reminded me of all my family’s summer vacations at the Jersey Shore (pre-Snooki), and it was just so beautiful.

But it truly comes to life at night. The lights reflecting off the water, FriendShips, families enjoying a funnel cake and a card trick, a glimpse of Spaceship Earth, and what seems like your own personal fireworks show from a variety of directions.

BoardWalk Resort (This Happy Place Blog)

This is where Walt Disney World is most serene for me. This is the reason why I continue to come back, and I ache with how much I miss it sometimes. It is a cool night after a hot August day in the parks. It is enjoying a lovely dinner at Kouzzina and a beer flight at Big River Grille. It is passing by the ESPN Club and wondering if my dad is watching the same game that is playing inside. It’s the hum of the ‘30s music that inspires you to take a little twirl and wish you were wearing your best dress.

One of my favorite Disney at night memories is from when I was still in high school and our trip overlapped with another family – the very family that introduced us to Disney vacations in the first place. It had been a long time since that happened. But for two straight nights I stayed up with the family’s son catching up and traipsing around the boardwalk – swinging on the swings at the Beach Club, playing in the jungle gym at the Swan & Dolphin, walking up to the Epcot International Gateway entrance to hear the shuffle of those tidying up for the next day’s crowd. (The mosquitos also seem to enjoy this spot at night… I received quite a few souvenirs from them.)

Atlantic Dance Hall (This Happy Place Blog)

It might have been our second night of roaming, close to 2 a.m., when we spotted a couple near a bench not too far away. The girl was sitting down and the boy was kneeling next to her. A late night proposal at the BoardWalk with hardly anyone around. That still strikes me as one of the best moments I’ve witnessed while vacationing. It was so simple yet specific and sweetly private under those gorgeously strung lights.

It was just kind of perfect.

The Boardwalk at Night (This Happy Place Blog)

Without the craziness of crowds and parades or even the gallivanting characters, the BoardWalk area manages to conjure its own organic magic. It is a way to take a step back from the hustle and bustle in the actual theme parks without racing to get a Fastpass or playing with that app on your phone. Breathe in deep and just take it all in.

Sometimes the best nights are the ones where you’re not doing much at all. Just enjoying your surroundings and who you choose to spend them with.

What’s your favorite way to spend a night on Crescent Lake? Let us know! 


Estelle is a Disney lover, an ex-band geek, a shopaholic and a lover of Broadway and books. She lives in New York with her husband James and aspires to write her own young adult novel. Estelle relives her best Disney memories on This Happy Place Blog, reviews the latest books on Rather Be Reading and tweets @thatsostelle.

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