ou know how people like to talk about their “happy place,” and how they go there in their heads when times are tough?
Disney’s Boardwalk is my happy place.*
(Well, ONE of them, anyway. It’s between the Boardwalk and the Magic Kingdom, basically. I would have added Mall at Millenia to this list, but when I visited it this year, the realisation that they’d closed down the excellent ZARA that used to be there was quickly followed by the realisation that I’m WAY too old to shop at Forever 21 now, so Mall at Millenia is basically dead to me now.)
(It’s OK, there’s a brand new, and absolutely gigantic, ZARA at Disney Springs – which is ALSO one of my happy places, actually – so I think I’m going to be OK…)
But I was talking about The Boardwalk, which is… I mean, the name kind of gives it away, really, doesn’t it? Just in case you’re still in the dark, though, here are some photos to clue you in:
So, this is an old-fashioned boardwalk resort, built around one of the many lakes which make up the Disney World property at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It has a selection of hotels and restaurants, there are boat trips on the lake and old-timey bicycles to hire on the shore, and Jonathan Ross used to own a timeshare here, apparently. I have no idea why that last point is important (Or, you know, TRUE…), but every time we go here, my mum is all, “Jonathan Ross used to own a timeshare here, you know,” and everyone goes, “Oooh, lovely!” so it’s important to some
people, obviously. Yes it is.
What’s important to ME, meanwhile, is the simple fact that when you step through the giant archway that leads from the Boardwalk Hotel down to the lake, you feel a bit like you’ve stepped back in time, arriving in another, significantly more photogenic time. And, I mean, this is Disney, after all, and while you’re not going to find Mickey Mouse running around signing autographs, you will find the kind of attention to detail Disney is famous for. Like, one time I was walking by the lake and I suddenly realised that the soothing sound of gently lapping waves I’d been enjoying was actually coming from a nearby speaker. DISNEY WERE PIPING IN THE SOUND OF THE WAVES, PEOPLE. God, I love them.
We visit the Boardwalk every time we’re in the Orlando area, but, as last month was spectacularly hot, even by Florida standards, we decided to wait until evening, when we hoped it would be a bit cooler. (Note: it wasn’t.) The place is soul-destroyingly hot beautiful during the day, but it has a particularly nice atmosphere in the evening, when the sun is starting to go down, and the street performers are out to entertain the crowds.
I obviously took the opportunity to dress Max like a dapper old man for the occasion:
Max himself, meanwhile, took the opportunity to obsess over every single door he encountered: and that was a LOT of doors, let me tell you:
(Honestly, I love him to bits, I really do, but I am VERY ready for the current ‘door’ obsession to be over. VERY ready for that.)
Max particularly enjoyed the little beach outside the Yacht Club hotel
, and the absolute highlight of his evening was when he stumbled upon two Bigger Kids playing with light sabre swords, which they actually let him hold. It was so nice of them to stop and chat with him, and they made a little boy very happy: so much so that Terry went to Target the very next day, and bought Max a light sabre of his own.
“But he already has one of those at home,” I pointed out, when I saw him pulling it out of a shopping bag back at our rental house.
“I know,” said Terry, “But he needs two now. For fighting?” And yes, I suppose he does.
The highlight of OUR night, meanwhile? The EPCOT fireworks, which you can see from the side of the Boardwalk closest to the park. EPCOT is right next to the Boardwalk, and you can actually hire a boat to take you to the park itself, to watch the fireworks. We did this one year, and it was absolutely amazing: we had no idea how Max was going to react to the sound of fireworks, though, so we figured this was a good way to find out from a safe distance.
Well, we needn’t have worried, because he was absolutely transfixed by them. “BANG!” he shouted in delight, as the first rocket went off: then he spent the rest of the holiday yelling, “FIRE! FIRE!” at regular intervals, but mostly in very crowded places, where it could be really quite alarming for people, I’d imagine.
And so ended our brief visit to The Boardwalk: until next time, anyway…
(He is totally pointing at a door here…)