Review: Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
By Dave Shute
OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S BOARDWALK VILLAS
For typical first-time visitors, I don’t recommend the Disney Vacation Club resorts.
Among the Disney Vacation Club resorts, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas ranks seventh-best overall for first-time visitors.
THE DISNEY VACATION CLUB RESORTS
You can have a spectacular visit at any Walt Disney World resort.
However, this site recommends that typical first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the Disney Vacation Club resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first.
(You can find extensive detail on the DVC resorts here.)
The recommendation comes from the simple fact that the distinguishing features of these resorts–extra space and full kitchens (the BoardWalk Villas kitchen in One and Two Bedroom Villas is above)–will not be of much value to first-time visitors following one of the itineraries on this site, as they won’t be used much.
However, the Disney Vacation Club resorts represent more than 10% of Walt Disney World’s total rooms, and are very appropriate for first time visitors with large families, needing extra sleeping spaces, or looking for a more comfortable place to stay.
Because of this, I’m providing a series of up-to-date reviews. We’ve stayed at the BoardWalk Villas half a dozen times, and this re-review is based on our January 2016 stay, covering the newly-refurbed spaces here.
DISNEY’S BOARDWALK VILLAS
On this basis, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas comes in seventh overall of the Disney Vacation Club resorts. (See this for resort rankings.)
The studios and one and two bedroom villas at the BoardWalk Villas are in a group of DVC offerings with smallish spaces (the Beach Club Villas, Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, and Saratoga Springs are also in this group).
In particular, Two Bedroom Villas are tight for the nine people they hold. Moreover the positioning of the door to the second bedroom deep in the living room is a design flaw, making mornings and evenings when either space is in use as a sleeping space a little more awkward than they need be.
The other spaces–Studios (above), One Bedroom Villas, and Grand Villas–tend to work just fine.
The BoardWalk Villas have largely completed a refurb that began in 2015. The most significant change is that Studios now sleep 5–the fifth in a fold-down bed shown near the top of this page.
This review has five pages:
- The overview page you are on now
- Theming of and accommodations at the BoardWalk Villas
- A photo tour of a refurbed BoardWalk Villas Studio
- A photo tour of the kitchen/dining/living room side of a refurbed BoardWalk Villas One Bedroom Villa
- A photo tour of the baths and master bedroom of a refurbed BoardWalk Villas One Bedroom Villa
BoardWalk Villas Kid Appeal.
- Three of the deluxe resorts–the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort, in that order–have spectacular kid appeal. The BoardWalk Villas has comparatively little visual kid appeal
- None of the moderates do.
- All of the value resorts–Disney’s All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, and All-Star Movies, its Pop Century Resort, and its Art of Animation Resort–have strong kid appeal.
The kid appeal of the BoardWalk Villas, such as it is, comes from largely its pool, not its design, architecture, or theme.
There are some fun artifacts, such as a model of an old-time roller coaster in the lobby it shares with its sister resort the BoardWalk Inn, that will catch the eyes of kids.
But kids generally will find it a yawn compared to resorts with higher kid appeal.
BoardWalk Villas Convenience.
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas is the fifth-most convenient of all the Walt Disney World resorts in carrying out the itineraries for first-time family visitors on this site, and the fourth-most convenient of the DVC resorts.
All of the Epcot resorts are convenient to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot is a short walk or boat ride, and the Studios are a longer walk or boat ride away.
The other two parks are accessed by buses, which are shared with some of the other Epcot resorts.
BEST AND WORST ROOMS AT DISNEY’S BOARDWALK VILLAS
This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms.
This is because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms.
The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.
The map (click it to enlarge it) depicts both the BoardWalk Inn and the BoardWalk Villas.
It struck me once that the BoardWalk is laid out kinda like one of the kids on South Park, and I now can’t get that out of my mind–the lake is the head, with the wings of the Inn and Villas representing the arms and legs…
Sticking with this, for some reason, the wings that contain the BoardWalk Villas rooms are in the left leg and left arm.
Rooms at the ends of the wings can be quite a hike from the single elevator bank near the center of the figure.
Rooms with water views of the Crescent Lake–the “head”–also overlook the BoardWalk dining and entertainment area, and can suffer from noise from it. Rooms overlooking the main Luna Park pool–between the left elbow and left knee–can also be noisy.
However, the “quiet pool,” between the left foot and left knee, is not so loud.
Meanwhile, first floor rooms have patios rather than balconies, and hence have less privacy.
So request a room near the elevator, above the first floor, that overlooks the quiet pool. The room request form will let you get at parts of this. Call to request the rest.
First time family visitors looking for extra or more comfortable space, and who prefer its theme to DVC resorts with more kid appeal.
Families on a budget; families looking for kid appeal.
This review continues here.