My fiance was born and raised in the general Orlando area and worked for Disney for a summer. She also often had a yearly pass and is a big fan of Disney. I had never really been (at least not that I remember) so just recently she planned a trip for us to visit Disney. We stayed at two Disney properties, this being the first.
The best think I can say about the Boardwalk Villas is the location is great. But the hotel itself...it is hard to even give it three stars. The place is in need of a serious update...the rooms anyway. Think like not updated since the 80s. But let me start at the beginning.
As I think with most Disney properties, service is excellent. Staff are immediatley out front to greet and assist you as soon as you pull up and then another person greats you at the door and escorts you to the check in counter to check in. We had some slight booking issues at check in but it was eventually fixed.
You can do valet parking or self park for free. I highly recommend self parking. Follow the signs...not at long walk at all. We took our bags up ourselves....it was a very, very long walk to get from the elevator to our room. There is nothing wrong with the room per se, but for the amount they are charging you, you are getting ripped off. I have stayed at highway hotels in middle of nowwhere that are more modern, updated, and nicer. The place is clean and comfortable, but again, the price is outrageous for the "room". It was spaceous and had plenty of amentities like refrigerator, microwave, kitchen sink, etc.
You will be happy, however, in the morning when you get up to go to the park. We headed to Hollywood Studios first and you have two options. Either take the sidewalk by the hotel straight to the park, which is about 1/2 a mile, maybe a little more, of a walk, or you can take a boat ride as well. We walked there in the morning and then took the boat back mid-day. Same goes with Epicot. You can definitely walk, as we did, or I think the boat will work as well. So, that is pretty much what you are paying for with this hotel...location, location, location.
The boardwalk area directly attached to the hotel is just ok. I had expected more. I think there were two restaurants, a piano bar, a couple shops, a little grocery/nick nack store, and some other places but nothing too great really. You probably could do the whole thing in an easy two hours and then be done with it. Although we never ended up using it, the gym looked outstanding. Also, the pool looked pretty nice as well but again, we didn't make use of it.
We did not eat any food at the hotel. We ate breakfast at a restaurant on the boardwalk called Kouzzina, a greek place, and it was really good...we'd highly recommend it for breakfast.
Well, that is about all there is to say about this hotel. Just know you are paying for location only and will be staying in a subpar room....as least for what they will charge you. I'd only rate the hotel Average, 3 stars, but bumped it up to very good, 4 stars, on account of the location.