Guest post by @pixiesweetlife
Have you ever stayed at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas? If you have — and maybe even if you haven’t — then you know that the resort theming is a nod to the style of early 1900s Atlantic City (minus Steve Buscemi and the cast of Boardwalk Empire, of course). There are a lot of fun, albeit sometimes kitschy things to look at, from the vintage carnival clown slide at the main pool to the model wooden rollercoaster and 3,000-pound hippocampus chandelier in the lobby. And yes, the famed Nanny Chairs are here too, but we’ll get to those!
Why Stay at the Boardwalk?
On my last trip, I was fortunate to stay at the Boardwalk Inn & Villas for the very first time. My in-laws and I were there for our first go-around of the Food & Wine Festival (if you want to see some photos and reviews of what we ate, check out the highlights on my Instagram profile!), and the Boardwalk is an Epcot-area resort. Being a short 10-minute walk from the “secret” back entrance to the park — aka the International Gateway — was a convenience too good to pass up! There’s also a boat that will take you to Hollywood Studios, plus Beaches and Cream is right across the water between the Beach and Yacht Club resorts!
Aside from these things, the fun atmosphere of the boardwalk itself, and the beautifully decorated lobby, the resort was fairly generic. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, and I’d stay there again, but it wasn’t my favorite. Outside of the public areas, the theming wasn’t as great, and as a New York girl raised on summers at the Jersey Shore, it just didn’t make me feel like I was at Disney World.
So What About Those Nanny Chairs?!
It might seem strange, but one of the things I was most looking forward to at the resort was seeing the famed Nanny Chairs, more commonly known as the “creepy chairs.” One look at the photo below and you’ll probably understand why most people think of these things as something out of a nightmare!
Back in the late 1880s, carousels didn’t have the chariot-style benches seen nowadays; instead they had Nanny Chairs for adults to sit on while children rode the carved wooden horses. The chairs at the Boardwalk are replicas of real chairs from 1889, a time when even riding side-saddle would’ve been considered inappropriate for nannies.
There are two chairs situated in the lobby on either side of the fireplace, and if you turn them around, you might be surprised to see that they have names on the back! One is Carrie, the other is Todd. Here’s a little known secret though — there are actually FOUR of these chairs at the resort!
A Scavenger Hunt for the Other Chairs
My sisters and I ran into the wonderful Sofia, a night shift manager at the resort, and when I asked her if she was allowed to tell us where the other two were located, she asked us for our room number and promised to call and leave us a clue. Later that evening, we did indeed hear back from her. “Are you ready? There are 674 steps.”
We thought she was making a joke about the length of her clue, as she then proceeded to recite a poem for us. We did our best to commit it to memory and set off on a midnight Disney scavenger hunt to find the other chairs! Here’s the poem Sofia gave us:
Head to the lobby where you saw the first two,
Find Mary Poppins, she’ll be above you!
Look behind you and walk past the electrolier,
Carry on down the hallway and where do you appear?
Locate the elevators that will be in your sight,
Click number 1 and go down one flight!
Head down the hallway that you haven’t traveled,
And there you will find what had you unraveled!
The Mary Poppins portion had us stumped until we noticed her silhouette inside the replica of Lucy the Elephant. However, we found the chairs with relative ease; these two were named Paul and Alexander, and were equally as creepy as Carrie and Todd. Reveling in the thrill of our discovery, we headed back towards our room (and realized we’d all forgotten our MagicBands in the process).
Above and Beyond Disney Magic
A quick stop at the desk got us a printed card key, but when I asked if we could also have a printout of the poem, the cast members treated us like celebrities. “YOU’RE the Nanny Chairs?!” After some excitement, Sofia reappeared and admitted to us that she’d penned the poem on her own, and that a cast member had even been sent to our door to count the exact steps from our room to the other chairs (674 steps, remember?).
We were thrilled at the level of commitment dedicated to our seemingly simple request, and felt so incredibly special to have been involved in something that seemed to excite the cast members as much as it had us. While our entire vacation was a wonderful one, this single act was truly the highlight of our trip, and one that I’ll always remember thanks to the amazing CMs that went above and beyond to provide their guests with a touch of Disney magic!