Hi! I hope you love the Boardwalk as much as we do!! Can’t wait to hear all about your trip.
1 - I always ask for a room close to the elevator. Even preferred rooms can be very far from the elevator, and the walk to the room can seem VERY long at the end of a long day in the parks.
2 - The walk to DHS is too long for us. I would wait for the boat no matter what (it usually come every 15 - 20 minutes, and then the ride takes about 10- 15 minutes (because it stops at BCV, and then stops at Swan/Dolphin). If you just miss a boat (see it pulling away), then it might be worth doing the walk. You can cut some time off your walk by getting on the walking path by cutting through the pool area instead of going all the way around the boardwalk. Also, coming back from DHS, you can get off on the Swan/Dolphin stop, and it’s a pretty quick walk over the bridge to the Boardwalk (instead of staying on the boat that stops at BCV before heading off to Boardwalk). It cuts about 5 minutes off.
3 - I’m sorry. I never made it on time for rope drop, but I’m sure others can answer this.
The walk to Epcot is VERY short. But if the boat is there, you might as well take it, because Epcot is the first stop for the Boardwalk. I can beat the boat, but I have to walk VERY fast.