Hello! Morgan here, from Neverland Navigation Co., your personal guides to all things Walt Disney World, and Beyond! So something new opened at Walt Disney World this week and Jake and I just had to be some of the first ones to try it. Boardwalk Deli JUST opened and we wanted to see if it was worth the (BEAUTIFUL) trip to the Boardwalk to dine there. The Boardwalk Hotel is a hotel that is within walking distance of the World Showcase entrance of EPCOT (which is called the EPCOT International Gateway.) International Gateway lets you enter EPCOT between the UK and France pavilions in World Showcase. It is probably as far away from the front entrance of EPCOT as you can get, but that isn’t a bad thing if you are planning to do all of EPCOT anyway. It is also within walking distance to the SkyLiner and to the entrance of Hollywood Studios (although this would be a longer walk, not for the faint of heart.) The Boardwalk Deli is also steps away from the Friendship Boats that can take you to the EPCOT International Gateway or Hollywood Studios if you don’t feel like walking too much before getting into the parks. Once you are in the parks tons of walking (or scootering if that is your jam) is a requirement and I can't help you get around it. I personally LOVE getting in all those steps because it gives me carte blanche to eat all the yummy food that Disney has to offer without feeling guilty about it.
The Boardwalk Hotel is gorgeous and immersive. Full disclosure, I have not been to Coney Island or Atlantic City (which is what the Boardwalk is based on), but I have seen enough 'Boardwalk' settings in movies and TV shows to know what it should look like and Disney really does a great job of transporting you. For me, it is a definite perk of Walt Disney World that in one vacation I can feel like I have been transported to so many different locations that I may never get to see in real life. When Disney aims to transport you somewhere, they go all in on researching and making it a reality. The Boardwalk has 3 sit-down restaurants, a magician-themed bar, a dueling piano bar, shops, a dance club, and even midway games and street performers. Now that I have "set the scene", we will get into the new restaurant! Check out our video review below, or keep scrolling to continue reading!
Let’s talk FOOD! My favorite subject! We ordered 3 sandwiches (actually one of the three was a wrap, but that falls in the sandwich category, right?) Each ‘sandwich’ came with a side and then we got 3 desserts. Let’s start with the wrap so I can stop thinking about whether it’s ok to call a wrap a sandwich. The wrap had chicken salad that was made with walnuts and grapes. I really liked it! It wasn’t mind-blowing or anything but it was good! The texture that the walnuts gave was nice, the grapes were cut small enough that you didn’t get a mostly-grape bite and it was seasoned well. (THANK YOU DISNEY FOR GETTING OVER YOUR FEAR OF SEASONING!) I would order it again.
The next sandwich was an Italian sandwich. Jake is Italian and he said it was great, so it must be, right? Those of us without Italian ancestry trying it also loved it! It had a wonderful pesto that really upgraded it to a level beyond a chain sub-type Italian sandwich. The bread they made it on was a ciabatta and it was perfect. At first glance, I worried it would be TOO crusty on the outside and hard to eat because of that, but I was wrong. It was wonderful. I liked the flour on the outside of the bread. It was a bit messy, but it gave it that freshly baked in a bakery feel. I personally love that the meats they used were Capicola, Soppressata, and Pepperoni. I don’t know what meats are on a traditional Italian Sub (or if there is such a thing as a ‘traditional’ Italian sub,) but I hate it when they put Ham on my Italian sub. I don’t need toddler-esque lunch meat on my sandwich. Ham feels more “elementary school cafeteria” than “Italian.” I guess I’m a diva.
The last sandwich we ordered was the Warm Pastrami Rueben. It was great! A standard Rueben on soft marble rye. I loved that it came to us piping hot. It had good flavor and everyone in our party loved it.
For the sides, we tried 1 of each offering. The options are coleslaw, house-made potato chips, and a cup of soup. The soup was tomato basil, but if I had named it I would have named it "creamy tomato bisque". Let’s start with the bad news. The coleslaw was not good. Were you expecting it would be? I wasn't. The bar is low for coleslaw to begin with in my book and this one somehow didn't even make it to my low bar. It was bland, basic, underseasoned, and not cold. Not cold!? Why!? At the very least this should have been a refreshing option on a hot day, but it wasn’t. We suggest passing on the coleslaw. The housemade potato chips were shockingly awesome. Not that they were the best thing I had, but I have low expectations for a plain kettle chip. I am used to them being somehow break-your-teeth crunchy and also weirdly lightly soft in the middle and always always under seasoned. So I didn’t even really care to try these, but I am glad I did because they were great. They were actually seasoned and they had a perfect amount of crunch. The soup was also surprisingly good. It had great tangy creamy flavor. Jake doesn’t like soup on a normal basis and he liked the flavors in this one!
The desserts that we tried were the Mickey-shaped Cinnamon Roll, the Key Lime Pie, and the NY Half Moon Cookie. Again I’ll start with the bad so we can end this paragraph on a positive note. The NY Half Moon Cookie was … not a cookie. Jake called it a disk-shaped cake and I agree. I expected a black and white cookie and it was not. It was a thin, round chocolate cake with half white icing and half chocolate icing with a cute mickey decoration on top. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I thought I ordered. We ate it with spoons. The Mickey-shaped Cinnamon roll was adorable. Other than that I would say it’s slightly better than meh. It was sweet but it just wasn’t an ooey-gooey cinnamon roll like you can get in a good bakery and a few places inside the WDW resort. In the future I'd not get the cinnamon roll here and get one somewhere else. (In my opinion, Gaston’s Tavern in Magic Kingdom has the winner cinnamon roll at this moment) Lastly, we tried the key lime pie. This was the best of the bunch. Tangy but not too tangy, sweet but not too sweet and the presentation was very pretty. When I go again I will either try a different dessert or I’ll get the Key Lime Pie.
For the BEST news, I would call this a GREAT value as far as a budget-friendly meal on Disney property goes! Each sandwich is between $9-$13 and comes with a side! That s a delicious and complete meal for just over $10! Skip the soda to hydrate with a free cup of water and skip dessert (because you can get better dessert elsewhere!) and this is pretty darn cheap for a Disney meal!
Now for the bad (terrible, really) news. There are NO TABLES inside this quick-serve restaurant. Whyyyy??? There is hardly enough space to wait for your number to be called and for your food to be handed to you. They make everything to go and give it to you in a paper bag. There are THREE tables outside with shade from an awning, but if you aren’t lucky enough to snag one of those tables you will be possibly eating in the scorching sun or the torrential rain. Listen. I LOVE Florida. I even love the heat of Florida and the thunderstorms (if I’m inside,) but I don’t love eating outside here. It is uncomfortable! So here is the heartbreaking end of this story. The food is REALLY GOOD, and the value is REALLY GOOD, but I cannot recommend eating here unless you happen to come when it’s not crazy hot or raining or unless you have a backup plan of where to eat your delicious sandwiches. Maybe in the winter months, it will be a good option. Although even then you would still have to deal with the very aggressive begging birds of Disney. They are famous. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! If you are staying in a hotel room at the Boardwalk and you can take the food back to your room then it would be a good option. But 80% of the time this would not get a recommendation from me just because of the terrible setup with seating and my preference to not be sweating while eating. A slice of pizza you can walk and eat, but not a sandwich and soup. They knew that, they knew about our weather, I’m not sure why all of this wasn’t taken into consideration.
I don’t really know how to end this review because I do recommend this restaurant IF you can get the rare set of circumstances that would make for an enjoyable dining experience. But most of the time, when it’s hot or rainy, if you don’t have a covered (or better yet, air-conditioned) place to eat then I can’t recommend it.
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