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EPCOT theme park at Walt Disney World has a lot going for it.
Between the rides, numerous restaurants, great drinking options, and various festivals, it’s a great place to visit on a Disney World vacation.
In fact, it might be the main reason for a trip to Disney World. And in that case, you’ll want to stay at a hotel close to Epcot Center.
While all Disney World hotels offer some form of transportation to Epcot, there are 6 hotels that are actually within walking distance of Epcot theme park. These hotels are the best options if you want to be close to Epcot.
Today, we’re going to go over each of those hotels and just how close to Epcot they are. But first, we’ll take a look at the other mode of transportation you can enjoy from these Epcot hotels. And that’s the FriendShip Boats!
Epcot Boat Transportation
The great thing about being within walking distance to Epcot is that you’ll also have access to free boat transportation! You don’t need any tickets or reservations to take the FriendShip Boat. Just wait at one of the clearly marked stops for the next boat to arrive!
Boats to Epcot start at Hollywood Studios and then make the following stops, in this order:
- The Swan, Dolphin & Swan Reserve Resorts (shared stop)
- Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
- Disney’s Beach Club & Yacht Club Resorts (shared stop)
The final stop is at Epcot, at the International Gateway entrance. This entrance is located between the United Kingdom and France pavilions in the World Showcase. The boat dock is also across from the Epcot Disney Skyliner station.
Please note that if you’d like to take a boat to Hollywood Studios, it makes the same stops as outlined above, but in the reverse order.
The entire boat ride from one park to the other can take around 30-40 minutes (depending on how many people get on and off at each stop).
Walking vs Boat Transportation to Epcot
Walking has the potential to be faster, especially since you don’t have to wait for a boat to come in the first place. This can be important if you have a dining reservation or Genie Plus Lightning Lane reservation and you’re in a hurry.
With the boat, you can opt to sit in the interior of the boat (which is covered), making it a better option if you want to stay out of the sun. You can also sit and enjoy a relaxing boat ride.
If you don’t have a preference and aren’t sure if you should walk or take the boat, then I recommend trying both during your Disney vacation. If you’re visiting Epcot from Boardwalk, for instance, I recommend walking to get to the park and then taking the boat back. You’ll get to experience both and see which you like better.
Hotels within Walking Distance to Epcot
The following hotels are all within walking distance to Epcot. The walking distance listed was calculated by Google Maps and can vary depending on factors such as how quickly you walk as well as where in the hotel your room is located. (If your room is in the part of hotel farthest from Epcot, it will obviously take you a little longer to get to the park.)
And as previously discussed, you can also take a boat from all of these hotels to Epcot.
Disney’s Beach Club
At 5 minutes from the International Gateway, this New England themed resort is the closest Disney hotel to Epcot. The building’s exterior is a pretty blue color, except for the DVC building, which is green. Inside, you’ll see a recurring beach motif.
If you like going swimming during your Disney vacations, you’ll be happy to know that many consider the pool complex, Stormalong Bay, the best of any Walt Disney World hotel. Stormalong Bay includes a main pool, 2 kiddie pools, 3 whirlpool spas, a lazy river, a water slide and shipwreck. Guests of both the Beach and Yacht Club resorts can access Stormalong Bay.
Here on the blog, we’ve previously discussed 10 reasons to stay at Disney’s Beach Club. And if you do decide to stay at there, make sure you check out these 5 ways to save at Disney’s Beach Club, as well as our 12 best tips for staying at the Beach Club.
Here’s a video tour of the resort so you can see for yourself what it’s like:
Disney’s Yacht Club
The Yacht Club is right next to the Beach Club, just on the side farther away from Epcot. According to Google Maps, it is a 6 minute walk from the International Gateway.
It’s actually quite similar to the Beach Club, including the New England theming, except that the decor has more of a nautical slant (as the name suggests). It shares a boat stop if you’re traveling by boat to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. And you can enjoy all of the amenities at the Stormalong Bay pool complex.
However, the Beach Club Resort includes DVC villas, while the Yacht Club has no DVC rooms. Renting DVC points has allowed our family to save hundreds of dollars on Disney World vacations (and we’re not even DVC members). So if you’re looking for the bigger value, you’ll want to choose the Beach Club villas over staying at the Yacht Club.
Still, it really is a nice hotel, as you can see in this video tour.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
The Boardwalk area at Walt Disney World is designed to resemble an early-20th-century East Coast boardwalk. And the hotel itself, which is primarily located behind said boardwalk, is themed to Atlantic City during that same era.
While it does not offer the same pool experience as the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts, there is Luna Park Pool, which is cleverly themed to a 1920s amusement park and features a 200-foot-long water slide.
Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is a 7 minute walk from the International Gateway entrance to Epcot, so it’s a little farther away than the Yacht and Beach Club hotels. Also, as the resort is a bit sprawling, your distance really will depend on where your room is located.
Walt Disney World Swan Resort
Whereas the first three hotels we’ve highlighted are official Walt Disney World resorts, the next three are not. The Swan Resort is actually a Westin hotel (part of Marriott).
You’ll enjoy some of the benefits you’d get at a Disney World hotel, such as 30 minute early entry to the parks. You’ll also get extended after hours on select days, just as you would at the Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club.
On the other hand, the bus system is different than the Disney buses. And the bus to Magic Kingdom drops you off at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC), not the Magic Kingdom, so you’ll then have to take a monorail or ferry boat from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom. (Disney buses will drop you off at the Magic Kingdom, which is a lot more convenient.)
And in general, the hotel has more of a regular (albeit upscale) hotel feel than your typical Disney World hotel. This can be a pro or con, depending on your preferences.
And as for the distance to Epcot? It’s about a 15 minute walk to Epcot’s International Gateway. Depending on which way you go, you’ll either walk past the Boardwalk or the Yacht and Beach Club to get to the park. (According to Google Maps, the latter path takes a minute longer.)
Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort
Like the Swan, the Dolphin belongs to the Marriott family of hotel chains (specifically, it’s a Sheraton hotel). And similarly, you’ll get most of the same advantages/disadvantages of staying at a Marriott hotel versus an official Disney World hotel.
According to Google Maps, the Dolphin Resort is the same distance as the Swan Resort if you pass by the Boardwalk and a minute closer if you pass by the Beach and Yacht Clubs. In actuality, the walk from the Dolphin Resort has always taken me longer than from the Swan Resort.
Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
The Swan Reserve is the newest hotel within walking distance of Epcot, as it opened in 2021. And it’s also a Marriott hotel (part of the Autograph Collection).
Per Google Maps, the hotel is a 16 minute walk to Epcot, which makes it only a minute farther than the Swan Resort. Basically, you have to cross a street to get to the Swan Resort (from there you’ll head on to Epcot), so it may take you longer depending on traffic.
If you want to stay at one of the hotels closest to Epcot Center, you’ve got 6 excellent options, with Disney’s Beach Club having the shortest walk.
And at Epcot, there are so many amazing things to enjoy on a daily basis. Plus, there’s nearly always a fun festival taking place, such as the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. You can keep checking for Disney news and reviews at Green Vacation Deals to find the latest updates (and ways to save money).
Looking for an offline resource to help you plan your Disney World trip? We recommend this book, which also served as a helpful resource in writing this blog entry.