the attic at disney’s boardwalk inn

The Attic at Disney's BoardWalk Inn | amanda jayne events blog

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to tour some of the event space at Disney World. As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, I’m intrigued by Disney from a purely hospitality standpoint (intrigued sounds better than obsessed, right?). While most people think of the theme parks as the most exciting place to hold an event, the bulk of available space within Disney World is actually in its resort hotels, which have tons of fun details that enhance the environment.

Epcot is my favorite Disney park, and I was excited to see some different options for hosting an event within Epcot. But right outside of Epcot are the Epcot area resorts and there are a few different event spaces, including my favorite: The Attic at the Boardwalk Inn.

The Epcot Area resorts include the BoardWalk Inn and the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts, plus the Dolphin and the Swan (which are owned by Starwood, not Disney, so they don’t have all of the same on-site benefits as Disney owned resorts). All of these resorts are located within walking distance of Epcot and Hollywood Studios (which I still call MGM). So these resorts would be my first choice of accommodations were money no object since they are all in the “deluxe” category – the rack rate for a standard room at the BoardWalk Inn is $405/night.

The deluxe resorts are the most themed of the Disney hotels, and Disney takes the little details very seriously. The theme of the BoardWalk Inn is turn-of-the-century Atlantic City. There is an actual boardwalk and the resort is on Crescent Lake. The boardwalk itself has carnival games and entertainers which add to the charm.

The BoardWalk Inn has a conference center with 20,000 square feet of meeting space on one level, including the 10,000 square foot Promenade Ballroom. The decor is very whimsical, which may not be appropriate for your meeting, but is a breath of fresh air compared to most ballrooms.

Disney's BoardWalk Inn | amanda jayne events blog

The space that I really loved though was The Attic. The Attic is in the main hotel building. It is a bit challenging to get there, it is quite a hike from the elevator which might be a deal breaker if your guests were older or not as mobile. But once you arrive, you find a small little room filled with charm. The room itself is small, maximum capacity is 50 guests, but there is an adjacent covered porch which gives you some room to spread out if the heat isn’t too overbearing (which can be a problem in Orlando).  The Attic has views of Crescent Lake, the boardwalk and Epcot.

The Attic at Disney's BoardWalk Inn | amanda jayne events blog

Wouldn’t you love to watch the Epcot fireworks from here?

The existing furniture on the patio is wicker, indoors it’s covered upholstered chairs. There’s an indoor bar that can be used for your event. The rooms are filled with antiques that fit the turn-of-the-century theme, such as carousel horses.

The Attic at Disney's BoardWalk Inn | amanda jayne events blog

The Attic at Disney's BoardWalk Inn | amanda jayne events blog

The Attic at Disney's BoardWalk Inn | amanda jayne events blog

The Attic at Disney's BoardWalk Inn | amanda jayne events blog

The pros of the space are its charm and the Disney details. The cons are that it’s out of the way and difficult to find (I would recommend using lots of signage if I were hosting an event). There’s also only one bathroom which isn’t too much of an issue since the capacity is so small, but still isn’t ideal.

I think this space would be perfect for a bridal or baby shower – it would be perfectly on theme and you wouldn’t have to add to the existing decor.  It would also be nice for a small, intimate wedding (remember, only 50 guests). Corporate events might be a good fit for the space, depending on how the guests took to the theme of the space. The proximity to Epcot is definitely a huge plus.

Check back later today for my post on event space at the Grand Floridian Resort.

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site report – private events at sea world orlando

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a theme park enthusiast – not always a good thing according to my husband, whom I dragged on a vacation to Disney World last year under the auspices of – “We have to go one more time before we have kids!”

I’m also a sucker for an event in a fun, interesting venue. So when I saw that the Cvent Corporate Meetings Summit was hosting an evening reception in Sea World Orlando, I was sold on attending.

The space…

The event was supposed to be in the just-opened Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction. In fact, this event was the first private event to be held in the facility.

We actually started the evening at Ports of Call, the banquet facility. And the only penguin we saw was a costumed entertainer dressed like one. Once I got over my initial disappointment that we weren’t going straight to see the penguins, I realized that Ports of Call was a very nice space. It is essentially a large ballroom that can be divided into three, but there is nothing about the space that says boring ballroom. The lighting and decor lend the space a very subtle nautical theme that can easily be played up for your event, or downplayed if you prefer.  There is plenty of natural light, with an entire wall of windows and doors.

The Cvent event was definitely trying to play up the nautical theme. I tried to take a few pictures but it was a little dim in the space – I was also trying not to be a creeper and take random people’s photos.

 

Apparently I was too discreet....

 

There is an attached covered patio and a little lagoon with a mini waterfall which is perfect for a cocktail reception.

This is obviously not our event, it's a press photo, I just didn't get any shots of the patio. Photo via  Sea World Orlando

This is obviously not our event, it’s a press photo, I just didn’t get any shots of the patio. Photo via Sea World Orlando

But seriously, everyone just wanted to see the penguins we were promised, so after about an hour they announced that we could board buses to go over to the other side of the park to continue the party. And everyone rushed to the covered patio to wait in line.

Once on the bus it was a short ride to our destination, which turned out to be behind the Journey to Atlantis ride. After snaking around that ride building we found ourselves at the designated event space, which included the new Antarctica space and the roller coaster Kraken, which was running for our exclusive use. I should mention that the park was closed to guests at this point so it definitely felt private.

The penguins…

My new penguin friend

My new penguin friend

I was promised penguins so I went straight to the Empire of the Penguin attraction. Now, I know this is an events blog but I’m going to do a mini review of this ride (just in case you decide to host an event at Sea World, you know what you’re getting into).

So prior to the attraction opening in May there was a ton of hype – it was a brand new ride system, unlike anything we’ve seen, etc. etc. etc. So expectations were high – probably too high. The basic gist is that Puck is an adorable baby penguin, just born in the harsh, yet beautiful Antarctic world, that you follow through an adventure as he tries to reach the rest of his family. After the pre-show you board these state-of-the-art trackless ride vehicles that twirl and spin and basically just take you to the penguins.

Here is a ride-through video (if you’re curious):

So while the ride itself was a bit of a letdown, the penguins really are the main attraction, not the ride. And the exhibit is pretty cool – literally, it’s kept at a near antarctic temperature for the sake of our tuxedoed friends. There is the viewing area right after the ride but then you can go to the underwater viewing area, which is kept at a more human-friendly climate. They had a bar set up in this space, which was great for a small cocktail reception on its own, or part of the larger event.

After seeing the penguins, we had the option of – as one Sea World staff member put it – “eating, drinking, riding or spending money.” The last part referred to the Antarctica gift shop which was conveniently open.

The F&B…

The Sea World catering was decent. Better than standard theme park food but not amazing. The reception at Ports of Call featured several specialty stations with food from around the world. The mac and cheese with truffle oil served in a can was pretty amazing and I went back for seconds, probably would have went back for thirds if I didn’t think my new found companions would have been a bit judgy.

Other opportunities…

Sea World offers plenty of other private and semi-private spaces for events, especially for nighttime events when the parks are closed, including private Shamu shows and entire park buyouts. You can find more info on private events here.

Have you had an event, or attended an event at Sea World? What did you think?