Disney Port Orleans Resort
Riverside and French Quarter
The Best WDW Moderate
Feel the tranquility of the Louisiana Bayou as you walk around the Sassagoula River. Grab a bite to eat in the beautiful Riverside Mill and watch time flow by. The beauty of the South is alive in the heart of Disney World.
The Disney Port Orleans Resort is really two hotels in one. Really. The Riverside section has old manor homes modeled after the plantation homes of the Deep South. (Riverside was originally known as Dixie Landings.) The French Quarter part of the hotel makes you feel like you’re right down in the French Quarter in New Orleans. (But it’s totally family friendly; no Mardi Graphics beads are exchanged here.)
In 2001, in an economizing move, Disney combined the resorts into one mega-resort. Each section has its unique theme, but the two resorts now share some amenities, like dining and some of the water sports.
What to Expect
At over 3,000 rooms (2048 in Riverside, 1008 in French Quarter), Disney Port Orleans is the largest resort at Walt Disney World and one of the largest in the world.
Upgrading from a value to a moderate resort means you trade in your double bed for a queen size. Yes, size makes a difference, especially if you are tall, like the man-child, or like to spread out. If you really want to relax on vacation, a queen size bed is the way to go.
Port Orleans is a little remote. It’s not really close to any of the theme parks or even any of the other resorts. It is, however, pretty close to Disney Springs.
The guest rooms at Disney Port Orleans Riverside are either in a “mansion” or a “cottage.” They are divided into two sections. There is the rustic Alligator Bayou section and the more elegant Magnolia Bend section. Each section contains 1024 rooms.
Rooms are 314 square feet. Most have 2 queen beds, although several rooms with one king size bed are available. One feature unique to Port Orleans Riverside is the bunk size pull-down bed that allows some rooms to sleep 5.
Room choices include Standard view, Garden view, Pool view, Preferred room, River view, or King bed (which has a Garden or Courtyard view).
In 2012, Port Orleans Riverside added 512 Royal rooms. These are decorated with royal carpets and characters and feature special headboards complete with a fiber optics fireworks display. The Royal Guest rooms are available in Standard view, River view, Garden view, and Pool view. If you really want to add a magical touch, this is the room for you.
The guest rooms at Disney Port Orleans French Quarter are in New Orleans inspired buildings complete with magnolia blossoms and wrought iron railings around the balconies. Rooms are 314 square feet. All rooms have either two queen size or one king size bed.
Room choices include Standard view, Garden view, River view, Pool view, or King bed (which has a Garden or Courtyard view).
Below is a list of the furnishings in the rooms:
• Two queen beds
• Select rooms also have a pull-down bunk to accommodate a 5th guest
• A flat screen cable TV (the available channels favor Disney owned channels)
• One table and 2 chairs
• Free Wi-Fi
• Iron and ironing board
• An in-room safe
• Bathroom with a shower tub, or a roll in shower in the handicapped rooms
• Refrigerator and coffee maker
• Yes, there is a hairdryer in your room.
All Disney World resort rooms include some nice extras, soap, shampoo, and hand lotion. Sometimes Mousekeeping even makes towel animals to amuse children.
Riverside Mill Food Court is the standard Disney food court. Except you have a really cool view of a big mill wheel that actually works! There are six stations where you pick up your food and take it to your table (after you pay, of course).
Boatwright’s, which is only open for dinner, specializes in Cajun cuisine, steaks, and seafood. The skeleton of a fishing boat sets the scene in the middle of the restaurant, making you feel like you are dining in a boat-building factory. This gives an interesting ambiance to your meal. Make sure you try the Andouille-crusted catfish and the crème brulee. Trust me.
The River Roost Lounge is a medium sized lounge with big heart. If you’ve never heard the musical entertainment that Yehaa Bob provides then you are missing something. He really knows how to make the crowd have a grand old time. While you’re there grab a cocktail and snack. You’re going to need it; you’ll be there a while.
Muddy Rivers is the pool bar at Port Orleans Riverside. You can enjoy liquid and solid refreshments as you relax by the pool.
Mardi Gras is the theme of the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory Food Court at the French Quarter. Bright colors and flavors abound with Creole and American classics ranging from hamburgers to Muffaletta’s. Make sure you have a Beignet or two.
The French Quarter is also home to Scat Cat’s Club. Jam to live southern jazz music as you enjoy a variety of cocktails and appetizers.
Mardi Grogs is the pool bar at the French Quarter. From specialty frozen drinks to lite fare, you are sure to find something to help you relax in the southern sun.
Included in the Disney Dining Plan are Riverside Mill Food Court, Boatwright’s Dining Hall, and Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory Food Court.
Pizza Delivery is available from 4:00pm until Midnight.
Doubloon Lagoon: is the swimmin’ hole around the French Quarter. It comes complete with a water slide that looks like a giant sea serpent. Nearby “alligators” appear to play jazz music, which is a nice whimsical feature. There’s also a kiddie pool and whirlpool spa nearby.
Ol’ Man Island: Inspired by Tom Sawyer, this nicely themed pool is located at Port Orleans Riverside but is also available to guests of the French Quarter. This swimmin’ hole has a fantastic waterslide and relaxing waterfalls. Not too far away is a whirlpool spa and kiddie pool.
Riverside's expansive property also includes 5 small leisure pools so guests can enjoy a quick dip in a quiet atmosphere or without hiking over to the big pool at Ol' Man Island.
Each of the “resorts” has a main building with an arcade and shopping, but the main activity center is in the Riverside section.
Some great amenities available to both Riverside and French Quarter include:
• You can rent water craft for a ride on the Sassagoula River.
• Rent a bicycle for a ride down the beautiful country land. Surrey’s are also available.
• Grab a cane pole and let the kids try to catch a big one in the old fishing hole. Sorry folks, you’re not searching for dinner on this fishing trip. Catch and release only.
• Welcome the night with a Cajun Campfire.
• Behold the beautiful scenic view as you jog (or walk) along the Sassagoula River’s mile-long path.
• Kids can have a grand old time at the playgrounds located near the French Quarter and Riverside resort pools.
• South Quarter Games is the arcade located in the French Quarter.
• Medicine Show Arcade is the game room located in Riverside.
• Locker rentals are complimentary at the Doubloon Lagoon pool.
• A 24-hour self-service laundry room is located near the Doubloon Lagoon pool.
• Movies Under the Stars takes place on select nights.
Jackson Square is the place to find activities at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter, including the requisite Disney arcade and shopping areas.
The Sassagoula Steamboat Co. is the main building at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. It contains shopping, the arcade, restaurant, lounge, and food court.
Disney has great transportation options to get around. They can get you to and from the airport, the parks, Disney Springs and more.
Check these out:
- Disney’s Magical Express is available if you are coming from MCO, Orlando’s airport. You can take the Magical Express right to your hotel. This is a free, yes FREE, service! Just make reservations for Disney’s Magical Express and let Disney do the driving.
- Use Disney buses to get to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, and the water parks.
- Take a nice, quiet 20-minute boat ride to Disney Springs for some shopping or dining.
Port Orleans Riverside has about 100 bus stops (depending on the time of day and how cranky you are). Seriously though, there are 4 stops, but it is a nice 10-minute trip if you get on at the West Depot and have to sit through the North Depot, East Depot, and the main stop at the Sassagoula Steamboat Co. Keep this in mind when you are trying to get to a dining reservation.
There is only one bus stop at Port Orleans French Quarter. Sometimes the Riverside bus will swing by to pick up passengers. It’s really nice of them (but gives the Riverside folks an extra long trip).
Dad recommends having a car at Disney World; if you want to conveniently explore other resort areas. This might be a good option since Port Orleans has multiple bus stops (which equals lost park time).
PS. Disney has implemented a parking fee for those guest parking their cars overnight. Sad face emoji.
Join the Bayou Pirate Adventure, which sets sail down the Sassagoula River. This cruise, which is an additional fee, leaves from the Fishin’ Hole on Ol’ Man Island and features the legendary Captain Jean Lafitte, of New Orleans pirating fame. This treasure hunt is for children ages 4-12.
The entire family, or romantic couples, can take in the scenic view on an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage ride along the Sassagoula River (for an additional fee, of course) During December; you can take a magical holiday sleigh ride.
Ready to book?
Contact the good folks at Destinations to Travel. They’ll get you sorted with pricing. Their southern hospitality and extensive knowledge of Disney and all of the latest deals will guarantee you the best service and the best price.
Don’t forget to tell them Dad sent ya.
Dad's Bottom Line
Disney Port Orleans Resort, both Riverside and the French Quarter, is designed to help you relax, slow down, and enjoy your perfect Disney World vacation. Ok, Dad’s not a huge fan of the moderate resorts, but he gives this one two thumbs up.