I was very impressed with Boardwalk Villas upon arrival. My infant daughter and I were met at the door by a cast member, who got us our keys and welcomed us. I had been given a room "near transportation", and there was a crib (as requested) in the room when we arrived. I don't know if I would call the room "near transportation", but it was certainly closer than some of the rooms at Boardwalk. There were three elevators (all in one spot), and that was it. It would be a very long walk for people on the far end of the resort. Also, many times, I had to wait with many others for a "turn" on the elevator. I was on the fifth floor with a stroller, so climbing the stairs was not an option.
I stayed in a studio room overlooking the front of the resort. There was a balcony, where you could see the fireworks from EPCOT. The room itself was nice, but much older and used than the other Disney resorts I have stayed in (Pop, WL, AKV, SSV, Campground, Aulani). The bathtub was pretty old looking and stained, and the drain was plugged. The floor of the tub was uneven, which could have been a problem with someone with a disability, or someone older. I requested that the drain be fixed, but it took all day for them to get around to it. Also, there was a very foul odor under the sink in the kitchenette-smelled like a dead animal or something. I told them about this, but it was never fixed. I had to just resort to not using the trash (or anything else) under the sink. As long as the door was shut, it wasn't as overpowering.
The bed was comfortable, but still used old-fashioned bed spreads instead of the more typical duvet covers. The fold out couch was in bad shape, stained, and the cushions were a bit worn. The TV was newer, a small flat screen with a DVD player. I was happy to see that Disney now offers all the typical channels, not just the ones affiliated with Disney. For example, they didn't get AMC or TNT at one point in time.
The pool area was convenient, and the main pool was designed nicely. It would have been better to have zero entry, though. It was a bit smaller than typical Disney pool areas, but the clown slide would be a big hit with kids. There is also a small pool nearby that is a "quiet area". There is a bar that serves limited food by the larger pool, and there is a community center by the smaller one. The community center was nice, with movies, video games, activities, and free rental dvd's.
The boardwalk area was the best thing about the resort. It has many nice stores and restaurants, as well as live entertainment. It is lit up nicely at night. You can take a boat to either Hollywood Studios or EPCOT from the boardwalk area, or it is a reasonable walk as well. You can walk along the river, as well.
If you buy a resort mug, be aware that the only refill station is way on the other end of the boardwalk area, in a bakery. It is at least a 10 minute walk each way from the pool area or the entrance to the hotel and one bank of elevators.
The bus system to the other theme parks is, honestly, a disaster. Boardwalk is on the same bus line as Swan and Dolphin, so the busses are always jammed with people, especially coming back from theme parks. Also, while I was here (and I understand this is not uncommon), there were several huge Brazilian and Mexican high school groups (literally several hundred of them all at once) staying at Swan/Dolphin. They often would take the resort busses in huge (again, several hundred at a rip) groups, not only filling up the busses and making everyone else wait, but also pushing and shoving and being really loud. On one occasion, at about 11pm, it took me over two hours to get back to Boardwalk from MK because of their groups. The least Disney could do is provide more busses, or provide busses specifically to accommodate these kids when there are that many of them. I would imagine Disney is getting enough money from them to pull this off...
I have used the Magical Express a number of times in the past without any problems. On this trip, I am returning to Alaska at 7am the day after I check out (I check out on 7/26 and my flight is in the a.m. on 7/27). As I am traveling with a special needs infant, staying in the airport overnight would be a real issue. I discussed this with Disney both before I left to come to Boardwalk and when I arrived. Both times, I was assured that it didn't matter that I would be using the transfer voucher on the 27th or the 26th. So, when I called to make final arrangements to leave the resort around 3am on the 27th, I was told I couldn't do this. My plans included going to MK during the day on the 26th, then going to DD for a movie and dinner, then returning to Boardwalk to take the Magical Express back to the airport in the wee morning hours, thus leaving me less time to hang around the airport with an infant.
Boardwalk staff informed me that, regardless of what I'd been told, I could only use the voucher on the 26th. I asked why, and was given no valid reason. I pointed out that a transfer to the airport was a transfer to the airport, regardless of which day I used it. I asked to speak to a manager, and was told that "they would tell you the same thing". At this point, I was pretty annoyed, and asked what would be the story if I gave up the night I had remaining (i.e. the 25th) without a refund, and stayed in the airport hotel for two nights instead, on my dime-would they allow me to take the Magical Express on the 25th, and they said that would be just fine. None of this makes much sense to me. If I had spent the extra time remaining between check-out and returning to the airport, I would be spending MORE money at Disney, not less.
Overall, given the attitude I got regarding the Magical Express, the dated rooms, and the failure to fix up the issues in the room in a timely fashion, I would have to give lower marks than I would have otherwise. I was much happier last year at the Animal Kingdom Villas. The service was excellent and the resort was much newer.
Unless you want to walk a lot, ask for a room near transportation.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.