My family has enjoyed a couple of weeklong stays at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. The question asked above, is it for you, depends on what you are looking for in a Resort, how much time you will actually spend at the Resort, and what types of amenities you prefer. My family stays at the Value and Moderate Resorts, because we do not spend a lot of time in our room or exploring the property. We get our fill of adventure at the Parks and Downtown Disney area and only hit the room to drop off souvenirs or catch a nap. Perhaps when the kids are older and we slow down a bit, we may justify the extra expense of the Deluxe Resorts and their magical appeal.
Let’s look at the Pros and Cons of Port Orleans Riverside (POR):
- The property is absolutely beautiful, quiet, peaceful, and serenely scenic.
- Bus service is excellent, with 4 convenient, covered stops. (POR shares buses with only neighboring Port Orleans French Quarter.)
- The rooms are in excellent condition and are in the process of getting new queen beds in all rooms. (This creates a new CON below.)
- The food court is spacious and picturesque with lovely views of the Riverside Mill water wheel and Ol’ Man Island, and the food is delicious.
- Boatright’s Dining Hall table-service restaurant serves dinner only, but it’s a great place for hearty Cajun cooking.
- Surrey bikes, rowboats, pedal boats, and canopy boats can be rented for leisure time. Also, fisherman, you can cast a rod-n-reel into the pond stocked with catfish, perch, bass, and bluegill (catch and release only).
- The main pool on Ol’ Man Island features a lovely swimming area with slides, kids’ wading area, and hot tub. There’s also a shaded playground nearby. POR features five “quiet” pools throughout the Resort.
- For the romantics out there, POR offers a private carriage ride for $35.
- Friendships pick up Guests at POR and ferry them along the Sassagoula River to Port Orleans French Quarter and to Downtown Disney Marketplace until 11:00 p.m., running every hour until 4:00 p.m. and every 15 minutes after that.
- Fulton’s gift shop is well stocked and the Cast Members are very nice.
- The resort is large, and some of the buildings are difficult to access. We had to walk from the lobby in pouring rain and blustering wind on a 40-degree night to our room on the backside of Building 18, to which there is not direct route.
- Disney is in the process of replacing all full sized beds with queens. While that’s great news for families of four or fewer, as soon as that work is complete, those of us with parties of five will no longer be accommodated. *
- POR is divided into two themed “parishes”: the backwoods-cottage styled buildings of Alligator Bayou and the stately Gone with the Wind styled mansions of Magnolia Bend. In Alligator Bayou, the multi-level buildings are elevator-less. Guests with handicaps should be sure to request ground floor rooms.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort is a lovely resort with beautiful grounds and a well-maintained setting. My family has enjoyed staying at POR, because its relaxing atmosphere helps us unwind after busy days in the Parks.
Will we stay there again? We’d love to, but probably not, because as soon as all rooms are converted to queen beds, they will no longer accommodate our family of five. But that’s alright. There are many more Resorts left for us to explore!
*Author’s note: There seems to be some discrepancy in reports concerning the refurbishments. Parties of 5 WILL still be accommodated at POR when renovations are complete. However, that applies to the buildings of Alligator Bayou only, and there may be some time periods where trundles are not available while the work is in progress. Rumors state the trundles are being replaced with Murphy-style twin beds, but we’ve been unable to confirm that information at this time.
- Opening in early spring 2012, the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside (chipandco.com)
- Planning 101 – Scheduling Time for Free Disney Resort Fun (chipandco.com)
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